This week Charlotte and I are exploring new, for us, little niches of Tuscany. Last summer, I met a young couple who told me about an amazing agiturismo in the remote hills of Chianti. Throughout the course of two weeks I ran into Josh and Ramona several times and they continued to rave about where they were staying. So, I tucked that little morsel of information away in hopes that one day I’d get by the area and check it out.
A few weeks ago, when planning our vacation to Italy, I contacted Ramona and after several text messages got the name and location of the agriturismo. So, here we are!
An Agriturismo can broadly be defined as any agriculturally based operation that brings guest/visitors to a farm for a meal or an overnight stay. Many such agriturismi have popped up in Italy in recent years due to a tax break and stipend offered by the Italian government. Over the course of the next three days, we will visit two such farms that cater to guests.
Today we are relaxing at Agriturismo Savernano! This place is a wonderful retreat that makes me want to slow down, relax and do nothing. In fact, that’s what we’ve done all day… simply nothing! The main building is situated on top of a hill commanding a 360-degree vista of the surrounding mountains, fields and little towns. Even now, while writing this, I can hear the 6:00 p.m. bells tolling from the little village of Viaggio in the valley below. The main building contains eight guest’s bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen and private dwelling area for the owners. The architecture is classic Tuscan… red tiled roof, stonewalls with yellow stucco for contrast, exposed timbered trusses, terra cotta tiled wrap-around porches and plenty of shady seating.
The farm is loaded with grape vines and olive trees from which is produced homemade olive oil and Chianti. To top it all off there is an inviting pool with plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas for those wanting to future while away an afternoon.
The rooms are modern and up-to-date. All have heating and air conditioning, refrigerators, impressive private baths complete with bidet and hair dryer. The towels are first class, thick, big, fluffy and absorbent. The beds are typical Italian… low to the floor, no box springs and very firm.
Now for the best part! The family prepares a simple dinner each night for its guests. Each morning the evening’s dinner menu is posted on a chalkboard in the reception area. Guests must tell the staff if they plan to eat here tonight. I would suggest that you skip any other dinner plans and return straight away to Savernano for a truly simple and typical dinner. Right now it is 7:00 p.m.; I am sitting on the patio typing this blog entry and can, every now and then, get a whiff of roasting garlic, fresh herbs and boiling pasta! I can’t wait to eat!
Last night, we enjoyed two bottles of their own Chianti (€3 per bottle) and a full dinner! The primi piatti was homemade (I said that already, right) Lasagna al forno, made with the freshest pasta I’ve ever eaten. Charlotte said it was so fresh she could taste the eggs! The vegetable sauce was light with just a hint of tomato, basil and garlic. After we devoured our first plate in about three minutes the owner brought us two more! The second course was wild boar (cinghale) stewed in herbs and red wine. It was fork tender and falling off the bone! Accompanying this was the best eggplant parmignano I’ve ever tasted… fresh, lightly battered and sprinkled with just a small amount of cheese. This all was capped off with vin santo and cantucci (biscotti)!
Agriturismo Savernano is about 41 Km south of Florence, just off the A1 autostrada. Rooms go for about €100 a night for a double. The ambiance, atmosphere, pool, rooms and dinner all make this a great experience and a real value.