Stunning rural farmhouse set in the Tuscan rolling countryside with far reaching views to Corsica. This is a rare gem - very private, magnificent views, immaculate accommodation and delicious breakfasts!
Manciano (9km); Grosseto (35km); Rome (157km).
Surrounded by wooded hills and vine covered slopes, this rural agri is perfect for foodies and families alike. Breakfast on home-made preserves, tarts and local cheeses while taking in the views across to the wonderful medieval town of Sassetto.
The evening meal was our daily highlight, the friendly owner and his family served up delicious and unusual regional dishes always with an equally tasty veggie option. We chatted over plentiful supplies of the local wine at communal tables under the stars while the kids hunted in the grounds for wild boar and fireflies.
65 euros per night per person half board
40 mins drive from the etruscan coast and nearest station and 1 hour from pisa airport
You probably have not heard about Ai Casali, but that’s only because its one of Friuli’s best-kept secrets. Nestled in the foothills of the Julian Alps, surrounded by forest, vineyards and cornfields, you get a feeling of seclusion and isolation. The rooms are light, airy, rustic and modern and breakfast sets you up for a days relaxation, be it by the pool or using the wellness area. The town of Cividale is a two mile walk away with restaurants and bars serving delicious Italian and Friulian food and wine (made from local ingredients that taste as they were meant to). You feel like you are a million miles away, however, as you sit by the pool or drink in the views from your balcony. Just don’t tell everyone how good it is!
Via Guspergo 17/3
33043 Cividale del Friuli - UD - Italy
It's the real deal: a gorgeous place with endlessly enthusiastic hosts in the middle of an organic lemon grove looking straight out to Capri. Aldo's the farmer, all round lovely guy, and the man who bakes you your fresh bread for breakfast from one of the ovens built into the wall (naturally one for pizzas) while you sit round the big beautiful table in his kitchen, and tells you everything about what he's growing, Naples, and his wife Matilde. And her funny habits. She pops up after work and on certain nights can cook you dinner from their local goodies, and yep, they are good, plenty of fish and home grown vegetables. And as Matilde used to run a restaurant in Sorrento, she's good at it, very good. The farmhouse is a self-restored old stone saracen watchtower with rambling extensions, and you can stay in the tower, just below the kitchen, or in a separate cottage in front with it's own lawn looking straight out to the Bay of Naples and the shimmering blue sea. There's an old fashioned plush restaurant just down the hill through the vineyards, serving divine lobster ravioli and much more. Another mile on there's the small town of Massa, or you can rejoin the crowds in Sorrento for something a bit livelier. There is splendid panoramic isolation at the Torre, but with nearby buses that head out to the pristine nature reserves of the Punta Campanella and onto the Amalfi Coast. When we left, Aldo gave us a rucksack of organic lemons and a huge grin. So recommended it's not true.
Outside Massa Lubrense, 4km from Sorrento
The beach at Fegina is dominated by the famous concrete statue of the Giant, built beside the terrace of a local villa. Representing Neptune, the god of the sea, and despite today having no arms, trident and a leg, this massive sculpture is nonetheless impressive! Monterosso al Mare is the most western town of the Cinque Terre. The village is protected by hills covered with vineyard and olive groves and has beautiful beaches, steep rugged cliffs and crystalline waters.
The main train station is La Spezia. Here you need to take a regional train that stops in every Cinque Terra town.
Lu Branu is a family run agritourismo, situated in the Costa Smeralda, in an area of around 150 acres of land. The farm produces its own food and wine, which are all typical of Sardinia.
Located near the town of Arzachena and within driving distance of at least 20 idyllic beaches, I would recommend this agriturismo especially to families with small children.
The owners are extremely friendly and hospitable. Children will love the play park and tennis court, as well as getting to know the animals and birds at the farm. Parents can relax in the laidback, safe, childfriendly environment.
address - Lu Branu, Giuanneddu 07026, Arzachena, olbia-tempio.
Capri is a beautiful, spectacular and attractive island near the city of Naples in Italy, perfect for a family holiday destination. There are many glorious views to come upon in Capri. Some include; the crystal-clear water holding many wonders, the picturesque little white houses stacked up on the hill sides and ruins of Roman Emperor’s villa.
You will find many attractions and beautiful scenery like the blue grotto, along with staying in a luxurious grand hotel. You can also hire a boat to go underneath the blue grotto varying from €40 to €55. I would recommend this destination to anyone as it is a wonderful place to visit.
On a sunny spring afternoon while driving around Tuscany, we became lost and were desperate to find somewhere to stay. Just when we were about to give up and opt for a Motel, we came across "Agriturismo da Domenico" near the lovely town of Cortona.
As we parked our car, we were greeted by Domenico's family (including Granny) who welcomed us as if we were some lost relatives.
The rooms were rustic and beautifully decorated and the farmhouse something out of this world.
The evening came and we were served a wonderful dinner, full of locally grown ingredients including veal and veg accompanied by local wine and spirits.
We didn't only found a great place to stay, but we experienced the real Italy and made friends!
We had the most amazing day, meeting the hunters in lovely bar belli in Amandola and then driving to nearby woodland with a small trained spaniel- an extensive truffle hunt uncovered two large black truffles and a smaller one that the dog devoured! April is not the best time for this activity and the hunters expect larger yields in summer and then late autumn when the rarer, headier white truffle abounds.
After the hunt we returned to an agriturismo where we sampled home made salamis, home made oven cooked Olive Ascolana (giant bread crumb coated olives stuffed with rabbit, chicken, turkey and spices), then came the truffle pasta which we watched being prepared and was fantastic, Vincisgrassi (a local marche form of Lasagne), big organic Pork steaks, roast veg and potatoes and collapsing chocolate souffle, coffee.
We were also treated to olive oil tasting and a tour de force wine tasting, with many made from smaller local grapes, such as Pecorino wine (named because the sheep like eating the vines) which are real treasures and little known outside Le Marche.
All in all a superb day out and great value at €90- we didnt need to eat for days!
We stayed in a funky apartment at lovely www.villasanraffaello.com
This is a great selection of rooms to rent in an apartment block in Napoli. They are located at various points around the city centre. The owner is a great guy who goes out of his way to make you feel welcome and to help you find where you want to go. He will recommend things if you ask him.
We stayed in the Paprika room for 60 Euros which included a very light breakfast.
This is a great place to stay if you're on a budget. It's located on a quiet street but is very central in the old town. The free breakfast isn't much but its free. The views from the rooms at the back are excellent (ask for number 53 if it's available as it has a small balcony where you can sit and enjoy the view).
Fab takeaway pizzas from this little shop on Calle Mondo Nuovo in Castello. I'm not a great fan of the food in Venice - pretty overpiced and not really very good - apart from a little fish restaurant I know ...
But Cip Ciap is great if you want a quick bite on the run. You can buy by the slice or a whole pizza. I totally recommend the calzone con prosciutto.
Calle Mondo Nuovo, just off Piazza Santa Maria Formosa
Stayed in this Rome apartment (with "Bed&Breakfast" stocked fridge) in San Giovanni. Family run, very nice patio and style, good price and a quiet location. 80 Euro per night.
A great stay. Location is terrific (Colosseum) and the owner is very friendly - I forgot to buy an electrical plug adaptor for my laptop and she provided me one for free.
The area is also safe at night, I really recommend it if you want to see the very best of Rome!
Via Baccina, 44
A small B&B in the centre of Forio whose atmosphere is a sort of Marrakesh meets India (with a hidden garden thrown in). The host is very friendly and knowledgeable about the island, breakfast is generous and there's a small kitchen if you wish to test your culinary skills in situ. Rates are excellent too.
A hostel, or more specifically an apartment, with three rooms and 10 beds. It was 15 Euro per night and provides a comfortable base to explore the beautiful villages and surrounds of Le Cinque Terre
Riomaggiore en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riomaggiore Between La Spezia and Genova
A football bar in the home of Calcio. This small sports bar has a lively atmosphere, showing football and rugby to a predominantly Inter Milan crowd, although they accommodate all supporters and carry games from Britain and elsewhere.
Via Procaccini, Milan (off Corso Sempione) www.blogfromitaly.com/four-four-two/
The second biggest island in the Mediterranean, Sardinia is big enough to need a car to see the best. Three hours driving per day will leave you time for archaeology, walking or rock climbing for the adventurous, or just to enjoy excellent food and landscape. The northern half will be sufficient to fill a week. Cheap flights to Alghero arrive late, allowing just enough time to make it to Castelsardo on the north coast. Continue clockwise along the rugged coast pausing at Isola Rossa. Cut inland through the Valle della Luna strewn with giant boulders to Aggius and onwards to the granite coast of Gallura in the north-east of the island. Avoid staying on the Costa Smeralda but have a look at how the other half spend their Euros. Drive south quickly taking advantage of a useful stretch of motorway to Dorgali. A short drive through a mountain tunnel brings you to Cala Gonone, a perfect bay of white limestone. You’ll want to stay here for at least one night the Miramare is the best place to sleep and eat. The trip across the centre of the island can be tedious but Bosa on the west coast makes it all worthwhile. The coast road back to Alghero knocks Highway One into a cocked hat and still leaves you enough time to see the fantastic cliffs of Cabo Caccia before your evening flight.
This is a very old castle, with beautiful frescoes, enormous wrought iron chandeliers hanging by ropes from the ceiling, stone staircases and shutters on the windows that you can wander in and out of as though it were your own home. You don't need to take a book, you'll discover a new writer in the library or a classic you always meant to read or something someone once told you about, then you can take it and settle in a hammock under the magnolia trees with a glass of something delicious that will have appeared as if by magic. Or, if you're feeling more energetic, Clark might let you help him in the garden, weeding, planting, trimming and designing. After dinner, if you are not still in the thrall of the good company you have shared it with, you can take a walk round the gardens lit by candles in the trees, see the owls swooping overhead and identify plants by their smell.
Castello di Galeazza, Via Provanone, 8585, 40010 Galeazza di Crevalcore, Bologna, Italy
Tel. (+39) 051 985 170
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