Do you have an appetite for the good life?

By Daily Mail Online – October 11th 2015

This 18th century farmhouse is a superb way to gorge on Tuscany’s finest offerings

  • Il Cortile Pratolino villa is a restored 18th century farmhouse
  • Surrounded by 400 acres of land on the slopes of the Monti del Chianti
  • Historical Montevarchi market is the place to go for local produce

Il Cortile Pratolino villa in Chianti is the perfect base from which to explore Tuscany’s natural beauty.

A large and beautiful 18th century farmhouse, the traditional Italian building has been lovingly restored and features a decadent infinity pool and perfect views of the slopes of Monti del Chianti.

And if rolling hills and blue skies aren’t enough to capture the imagination, the local food markets, gourmet restaurants and sprawling vineyards are sure to delight the senses.

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The restored 18th century Il Cortile Pratolino villa in Chianti is the perfect base from which to explore Tuscany’s natural beauty

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The traditional Italian building has been lovingly restored and features a decadent infinity pool and perfect views of the slopes of Monti del Chianti

The air-conditioned guest-house, which sleeps up to 12 and is built around a sun-soaked flagstone courtyard, lends itself to long al fresco meals with unforgettable views.

Upon arrival at the villa, an intense aroma of lavender hits the senses as it populates the surrounding grounds and sit between a herb garden and blossoming pink hydrangea.

Guests are welcome to self-cater, or use the in-villa chef with home-baked bread, prosciutto, pasta dishes, and cheese from the local area being served upon request.

For food lovers, Montevarchi market has been the go-to place for locals for centuries and Thursday is market day, with some of the best produce in Tuscany on offer.

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Upon arrival at the villa, an intense aroma of lavender hits the senses as it populates the surrounding grounds and sit between a herb garden and blossoming pink hydrangea

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A beautiful infinity pool offers superb views of the rolling hills – and al fresco dining is a must

The air is filled with the smell of roasted piglets, sheep’s cheese and Quinto Quarto – the innards, stomach and cartilage of pork.

Cooking lessons are available at the villa, so after picking up a selection of ingredients from Montevarchi, Italian chef Irene is on hand to give tutorials on traditional Italian dishes, with the best bit being the tasting – she even does the washing up.

Her specialities include Panzanella, a countryside farmers’ salad, made with stale Tuscan unsalted bread, fresh tomato, spring onion and extra virgin oil and stuffed zucchini flowers, which are deep fried in a mixture of rice flour and beer batter, as well as beef fiorentina steak.

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Cooking lessons are available at the villa, so after picking up a selection of ingredients from Montevarchi market, Italian chef Irene is on hand to give tutorials on traditional Italian dishes

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For food lovers, Montevarchi market has been the go-to place for locals for centuries and Thursday is market day, with some of the best produce in Tuscany on offer

If appetite’s allow, an evening’s visit to Ristorante Badia A Coltibuono is an incredibly romantic experience, but be warned, diners are presented with a choice of Antipasti, Primo plati, Secondi all before dessert.

The ‘abbazia del buon raccolto’, erected by the Vallambrosian monks about a thousand years ago, offers dishes such as pasta with rabbit sauce and courgette lasagne, with a view of the hills and the surrounding area and the flavours of Tuscany.

As the name suggests, wine is big business in Chianti, which is one of the production areas most renowned for its tradition and quality of its bottles, with the Sangiovese red wine grape growing in fruition throughout Tuscany – the main ingredient in the Chianti wines.

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Specialities include Panzanella, a countryside farmers’ salad, made with stale Tuscan unsalted bread, fresh tomato, spring onion and extra virgin oil and stuffed zucchini flowers, which are deep fried in a mixture of rice flour and beer batter, as well as beef fiorentina steak

Naturally, there are many vineyards which have wine tasting and tour packages, with each putting their own stamp on proceedings.

A trip to Fonterutoli Osteria offers a rather modern yet historical experience and the Marchesi Mazzei business has evolved over the last 600 years, having been owned by the family since 1435, with a new state of the art winery, making it the most acclaimed wine families in Chianti Classico.

Surrounded by 650 hectares of wood, vineyards and olive groves, as well as a cluster of traditional houses, the church of San Miniato and the villa which was built at the end of the 1500s, the winery tells the story of a family deeply rooted in the Tuscan tradition.

For something on a smaller scale, the Tenuta La Novella vineyard is managed by a lovely French husband and wife couple who are determined to make the site run bio-dynamically and offer a selection of cheeses alongside Chianti and grappa.

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Each of the rooms are individually designed and are traditional yet modern in style

The air-conditioned guest-house sleeps up to twelve and is built around a sun-soaked flagstone courtyard

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Between the bedrooms is a comfortable living space with modern furnishings and wooden beams

A quick dip in the pool back at the villa is highly recommended in order to let your food settle before a visit to local restaurant, Il Canto Del Maggio.

Off the popular tourist trail, this absolute find is situated into a tiny hamlet at the end of a cobbled hill, making heels a little tricky to walk in for the ladies.

Set in the mountain side, the restaurant, which is situated in a quaint house and has a large outdoor eating area, is decorated in fairy lights and offers unforgettable views of the countryside.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Tuscany Now offers Villa Il Cortile Pratolino from £3321 per week which sleeps up to 15 people.(http://www.tuscanynowandmore.com/ ,020 7684 8884)
Lounge Access courtesy of www.no1traveller.com

 

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