I’m connected to Tuscany in a way that I may never understand. It feels like home although I haven’t lived there for more than 7 months at a time. On this most resent trip, I visited Podere di Patrignone. Here is why I feel it’s heaven in Tusacny.
When I knew I was going to go back earlier this year, I decided that I would reach out to places and people that I’ve never visited and rediscover Tuscany from a new perspective.
Deciding where I was going to go within Tuscany was not an easy task. There is so much to do and see. So, I literally threw a pin at a map.
Almost by the design of the Universe, my pin landed near San Gimignano…one of my favorite places.
I wanted to stay somewhere unique and new to me so I researched the area. There are so many wonderful villas in Tuscany; one more beautiful than the other. I excitedly reached out to several
Simon and Verity, owners of Podere di Patrignone responded within a few hours. After an initial email exchange, we set up a Skype call. Within seconds of the call, I knew immediately I was going to love the villa and the owners.
During that Skype call, Verity made me feel like a good friend. We discussed the villa, my visit, and what experiences I could have during my stay.
I was traveling with my colleague and good friend Bibi LeBlanc from Culture to Color, and together we signed up for Verity’s cooking class, a sightseeing hike, and a wonderful authentic Tuscan banquet.
We were thrilled about our upcoming adventure.
When you travel to Tuscany, renting a car in Tuscany is recommended. There is no other way to see her true beauty.
There is no exaggeration in those classic photos you see in magazines and online. Actually, scenery is even more beautiful in person.
The green rolling hills, cypress trees standing thin and tall, and warm smells of olives and grapes bombard the senses and I can’t recommend enough to drive with the windows down.
We arrived late to Patrignone. After parking the car and getting out, we immediately saw a gorgeous outside banquet table under white linen panels, outside lights, candles and a table filled with traditional Tuscan food.
As we walked closer Verity came over and welcomed us with warm hugs and a beautiful smile. It was like coming home to friends.
What makes any visit to a new place stand out is the experience one has with the people who own and run the facility. Every single person from owners to staff exuded passion and joy for Patrignone.
Before we were shown our villa, we enjoyed an amazing traditional Tuscan meal under the stars.
Homemade pasta, fresh meats and cheeses, local wine and olive oil and fresh backed bread covered the table. Everything was perfectly cooked and delicious. What a way to welcome our first night!
Simple ingredients that are fresh and local are key to making Tuscan food so wonderful.
Patrignone produces it’s own organic olive oil and it’s sharp, glorious taste made this meal so wonderful.
After bellies were filled, we were shown our villa. As we walked in the “feel” of the villa was immediate. Villas in Tuscany are filled with tradition, history, culture, and a welcome, homey aura.
Smells of warm delicious meals, baked goods, and ancient culture met us.
A home is a home because of what has happened in it. And this one has seen some amazing things over the years. I’m told that it’s quite possible that this villa was built BEFORE the 14th century.
Tradition mixed with needed modern amenities is in each of the villas that Patrignone offers, everything is as it should be.
From beautifully crafted bedding and furniture to traditional furnishings, no detail has been left unattended.
Verity, owner and partner to Simon, left beautifully baked homemade bread, slices of gorgeous organic meats, their own organic olive oil, coffee, milk, and bottled water for us to enjoy the next day. Another thoughtful touch that was warmly welcomed.
We settled in to our cozy rooms and beds. I slept deeply, something I rarely do. In the morning I woke to the sounds of birds chirping, and the glorious smell of fresh coffee. Yes, very much like a scene in a movie, however, it was real!
I was eager to see my surroundings so I prepared some coffee of my own and headed outside.
Situated in the hills of Chianti, the property is surrounded by rolling hills, vineyards, and acres of trees.
Stretched out for miles was the most gorgeous landscape. Patrignone is what Tuscan dreams are made of.
I went back into my villa and prepared a tray with the fresh meats, bread, and jams that Verity left for us and sat outside on the veranda outside of the villa.
The scenery was quite literally breathtaking. With it came a warm breeze, which brought in hints of cypress, grapes, olives, and Rosemary.
Rosemary grows everywhere in Tuscany and most people don’t realize that the hedges they pass are often made of Rosemary. The sent is intoxicating.
Things To Do
Patrignone is the perfect home base. Literally a stone’s throw from some of the world’s best treasures like Renaissance art, spectacular churches, museums and ancient history, boredom is never an issue unless you consciously chose to be so.
If you’re looking for off the beaten track things to do Castello Di Brolio is a must. The 12th century hilltop castle, owned by the Ricasoli family, is completely intact, and has views of the Siena walls.
It even has a wine cellar that you can visit. (Appointments are a must!)
If wine is your thing then you’ll be in the right place. You can see miles and miles of vineyards right from your villa at Patrignone.
Choose one or two or heck, three and start driving. There is no way you won’t run into one.
Pull in and ask for a wine tour and tasting. You’ll never be turned away and it’s the perfect way to see any vineyard. Bigger more tourist vineyards do require you to sign up and pay ahead of time but there is never a lack of smaller vineyards to pull into and take a tour.
Other activities to get up to are horse back riding, hiking, truffle hunting, cooking classes (on site and off); there are endless things to do in this area.
Bibi and I signed up for the cooking class that Verity offers at Patrignone. I’d heard it was not to be missed!
We joined a few of the other guests and together we set up our tables. Tuscan food is simple but full of flavor. Organic food is part of the landscape of Tuscany and was around before it was a “thing”.
Verity started with fresh pasta. Simply made with semolina flour, water, and salt, pasta is designed to take on the taste of foods and sauces served with it.
We mixed our dough, formed round balls and rolled them out. Taking turns, we passed them through a hand cranked pasta machine that thinned the pasta. After which we hand cut the thinned sheets into strips and placed them to dry a bit.
We moved on to making some bread. Again we used a very simple recipe. Flour, yeast, and warm water was kneaded and before we rolled it all into balls I added Rosemary to mine while others added grapes, olives, salt, or just left theirs plain. We placed them in bowls and covered them to settle and rise a little.
Verity invited us to move on to the kitchen where we all watched as she made a wonderful sauce made with ground pork, Rosemary, salt, cream, and fresh local, Parmesan cheese.
We couldn’t forget about the dessert and, as traditional as any one can be, we made homemade Tiramisu. Again, it was the simplest recipe ever!
Although we tasted along the way, none of us could wait to sit down and eat our creations.
We helped set the table. There’s something about a traditional Tuscan table that’s like no other. I don’t know if it’s the anticipation of the wonderful food to come or if it’s actually the way the table is set but seeing a fully set table in Tuscany brings me the warm fuzzies and makes me think of ancient times when family dinners were where the family gathered to share their hopes, dreams and daily life.
After setting the tableware, we added pitchers of water both fizzy and still, baskets of our still warm homemade bread, fresh olive oil, balsamic vinegar (yes locally made) and several glass carafes of table wine from the Chianti region.
Candles were lighted and Italian music was turned up just enough to hear in the background of voice chatter.
I had to pinch myself! It was time to bring out the platters of pasta, sauces, fresh cut cheeses, and meats.
With moans and groans of anticipation, we all sat around the table and Simon (owner and other half to Verity) made a toast. After cheers and the traditional Boun Appetito, we all dug in.
We ate and drank till we were bursting, and became fast friends.
Dinner was over and we all pitched in to at least help clear the table. Verity and Simon are the ultimate hosts and insisted that we sit and enjoy dessert wine with our Tiramisu.
The food, company, and atmosphere were a little piece of heaven. And for a few hours we were all family.
The night wound down and one by one people headed off to their individual villas and rooms.
I can’t remember experiencing a more perfect evening and I felt blessed by it all.
Tuscany if filled with wonderful things to see, eat, and places to stay. But what make the difference in any experience are the people that are involved in making any occasion a special one.
Patrignone and everyone who has anything to do with its existence is the PERFECT place for any event or vacation.
Verity and Simon go out of their way to make their guests feel like family and it’s those special touches and attention to detail that makes the difference.
I can’t recommend Podere Patrignone enough to couples, families, retreats, or weddings.
It’s the ideal choice and is everything someone dreaming of visiting and touring Tuscany would want for a flawless experience.
For more information or to book a vacation with Podere Patrignone visit their website or email them at:
Address: Castellina in Chianti
Phone #: +39 331 733 8442
Email them directly from their website