Tag Archives: Chianti

Villa Le Barone – where poetry and purpose meet

2013c - Villa Le BaroneVilla Le Barone
Panzano in Chianti

“When we fix our gaze on the distant horizon, so contained and tranquil, the vexations and discord of the present are forgotten and when the sweetness of the reawakening earth takes us by surprise each year all discouragement melts away and we are inundated by the love which binds us to the land.”                                                                        Maria-Bianca Viviani Della Robbia – A Farm in Chianti

These words, written over five decades ago by the woman who owned Villa Le Barone, speak of her passion and commitment to this land. It was her love and relentless dedication to modernizing, while preserving, an agricultural way of life that was in peril of disappearing from the Tuscan landscape that gifts us today with an unforgettable country experience. As I sit in this tranquil garden, amid the scent of laurel, rosemary and flowering rose bushes, I am filled with admiration for a woman I did not know, and with gratitude for her unflinching courage in meeting the challenges of a farming life in a changing world.

There is no doubt that Ville Le Barone has always been a special place, but it is wasn’t always an inn. In 1974, Duchess Franca Visconti who inherited the property from her mother, made the difficult decision to sell the farm and most of the land to undertake a project that would carry the villa into the next century. Like her mother, Duchess Visconti was a woman of vision and dedicated passion. She saw the potential for tourism to the region and in 1976 she opened Villa le Barone as a hotel. The original inn consisted of nine bedrooms and five bathrooms. Over the following decades, the other farm buildings were transformed, creating a total of 28 rooms, all with en suite bathrooms, numerous intimate sitting rooms, a delightful restaurant, and multiple garden terraces and a swimming pool. There are no televisions.

And as we enjoy the fruits of Franca’s vision and limitless efforts in transforming the “farm” into an elegant inn, we owe thanks to the current heirs, Count and Countess Aloisi de Larderel, who maintain her dream of hospitality while always expanding and improving. With equal amounts of poetry and purpose, three women have made of Villa Le Barone a “home” and a landscape that embraces the soul.

“But here, in the slow rhythm of hours spent alone, we may unhurriedly re-assess and fairly examine past and present and thus seek balance and proportion in our lives.”                                                         Maria-Bianca Viviani Della Robbia – A Farm in Chianti

Read more about other lovely hotels and restaurants in Italy,  Rooms with a View and Italian Wanderlust, by clicking on their covers:

Rooms cover      italian wanderlust 2

All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.



Ristorante Montebuoni – a restaurant with a view

Ristorante Montebuoni WEBRistorante Montebuoni
Via Montebuoni, 95
Tavernuzze (FI)
Chef/Owner: Emilio Marchitti

Just south of Florence, at the beginning of the road that meanders through the Chianti region of Tuscany, we pass through Impruneta, a town renowned for its terracotta production that goes back centuries. It was here that Brunelleschi had the tiles made for the cupola of the famous Duomo in Florence. We have chosen to stop for lunch at Ristorante Montebuoni, known for its remarkable cuisine and for the expansive views of the valley. On this mid-September day, a veil of mist hangs suspended over the countryside, but all the sunshine we need is to be found in the restaurant’s interior.

A weRistorante Montebuoni 2 WEBlcome glass of prosecco, chilled and sparkling, warms our spirits as we lunch in the large airy dining room where each table is graced with a delightful fresh flower arrangement, each one unique. A second dining area is cozy – its wall crowned with rich wooden cabinets displaying an immense assortment of select wines – a place that beckons one to linger.

Ristorante Montebuoni 3 WEBAfter an antipasto of assorted warm crostini and salumi, we enjoy two Tuscan specialties that one should have when traveling in these parts – one is the Tagliata, that delectable beefsteak sliced and served au jus with olive oil and peppercorns and the other, Peposo, a hearty beef stew, simmered ever so slowly in Chianti wine. This is a dish that was made famous, in fact, by Brunelleschi who would have this stew prepared and slowly cooking in the same ovens as the terracotta bricks, ready Ristorante Montebuoni 6 WEBat the end of the day for his workers. Emilio explains that the Peposo made today differs from the original recipe as it includes the added ingredient of tomato concentrate. Tomatoes were introduced to Italy only after the discovery of America! Our accompanying wine, of course, is a classic Chianti, ruby red in color with a hint of berries in its robust flavor.

Ristorante Montebuoni 4 WEBAlthough there are many desserts to choose from, we find two citrus choices to be the perfect ending to this totally satisfying meal – an orange parfait and a lemon tart, both light and creamy. Fati, our waiter, has treated us to the sunshine of his smile while Emilio, the chef, has made us forget the somewhat gloomy weather. We look out the panoramic windows and notice that a landscape dressed in pearly gray can still show off its finery. It has been a beautiful afternoon.

Chef Emilio

Chef Emilio

A Visit to the Chianti Countryside

original watercolor painting copyright Ginda Simpson

Relais Fattoria Vignale – original watercolor painting – copyright Ginda Simpson

Relais Fattoria Vignale
Via Pianigiani, 9
53017 Radda in Chianti

Located in the heart of the Chianti Classico wine region, Relais Vignale is linked to this famed wine both geographically and historically.  The estate dates back to the 18th century when it was already known for its very successful vineyards. It became the legal seat of the Consortium Vino Chianti Classico in 1924 when the Vignale’s successor, Baldassarre Pianigiani, created the Gallo Nero.

Today, its unpretentious façade in the center of Radda may make it seem rather ordinary in this picturesque town, but immediately upon entering, I was awed by its refined country elegance.  Several lounges, tastefully and comfortably furnished, with frescoed ceilings, softly painted murals and grand stone fireplaces invite lingering anytime of the year, but most especially, I imagine, in the autumn when the evening air begins to chill.

In July, I was drawn outdoors and what magnificent views awaited me in the gardens and from the wisteria and jasmine-covered terrace!  A panorama of gentle hills and terraced land graced with olive trees and vineyards was the perfect backdrop for a lunch or dinner at the Ristorante Vignale.. The rose garden framed in lavender was like a painting come to life.  A small, gated patio outside our suite was delightful with its plantings of rosemary, sage, lavender, climbing jasmine and an apricot tree.  Inside, a lovely room decorated in shades of beige, apricot and terracotta offered yet another haven of relaxation

For dining on our second evening, we took advantage of the hotel’s transport service to their Ristorante S. Donato in Perano.  Chef Augusto Giusti offers innovative interpretations of classic Tuscan meat and pasta specialties, with a particular emphasis on vegetarian dishes.  Each dish was prepared and presented with attention to details that made them pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate. 

The breakfast buffet, served in the scented shade of their vine-covered terrace, is generous and varied, certainly enough to satisfy the appetites of visitors setting out to explore the Chianti countryside.  Or…one could just stay here and savor the beauty and relaxation of this special inn.


All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.