The panoramic views of the Tuscan hills drenched in golden sunlight greeted us as we passed through the iron gate and down the long driveway of La Fattoria Il Poderaccio. Horses, long-legged and sleek, grazed in the pasture as two young foals frolicked nearby. One of the farm dogs greeted us with friendly eyes and wagging tail. We parked our car and inhaled the views once more before we met Lisa Ravà, our host.
The classic country architecture of the old stone buildings, some covered with flowering Bougainville, dates back to the 13th century. Charming and romantic, they are the heartbeat of this biological farm where the people and their animals work together to create an authentic Tuscan experience. The agriturismo, only 5 km from Siena, offers several recently restored independent apartments that are private and contain their own outdoor living areas.
Il Poderaccio, once a Sienese outpost, is very well-preserved and sits on top of a ridge overlooking the sweeping Tuscan views on nearly 80 acres bordering Chianti. The farm includes 12 acres of vineyards that produce three kinds of red wine plus a grappa Biologico Riserva. The wines are a Chianti Riserva DOCG 2013, Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG Biologico, and a Brunaccio IGT red Toscano Biologico.
While we were there, men were harvesting olives by hand in the 12-acre organic olive grove, consisting of a thousand olive trees. Large nets spread out over the ground to catch the falling olives. We had the great pleasure of tasting the fruits of the farm’s labor at dinner later that evening.
Lisa Ravà was a delight to meet and spend time with as was her sister, Annarosa, who was visiting from Milan. Annarosa had previously owned a dress shop in Milan for years. Her clothing pieces, which she had in the house, she designed herself. They are truly beautiful and classic Audrey Hepburn.
Lisa was raised in Venice but moved to Siena after high school to go to university. Her family owned Il Poderaccio, which became Lisa’s home as well. She acquired her great love for horses while a student when a friend introduced her to a well-known jockey whose stables were deeply involved with the Palio di Siena.
We were happy to accept an invitation to dinner that night with Lisa and Annarose. The home-made meal and conversation made truly unforgettable memories.
The menu consisted of Porcini mushroom pasta doused with their own delicious home-grown extra virgin olive oil. It was very green, intense, and aromatic. The vision of the farm hands we saw earlier harvesting the olives for oil flashed through my mind.
Peaches baked with a nutty crust fresh from the oven….very tasty.
My husband, Carl, and I were delighted to join them. We had an engaging conversation in a lovely Italian country ambiance.
Our apartment was very accommodating, nicely furnished, and spacious. I’m not sure what the red crawling vines are but I loved their brilliant red color against the old stone walls.
Inside our apartment, the bedroom was a loft right above the living room. There was a large adjoining kitchen and dining room, a laundry room, and bathroom. It was very cozy and comfortable.
Below are photos of some of the other apartments that we toured. We found them charming, spacious, classic, and comfortable. I especially loved the wood beam ceilings and the large windows that opened out to the gorgeous park-like grounds consisting of plants and flowers from all over the world.
We didn’t use the large, luxuriant swimming pool as it was mid-October and not quite warm enough, but we enjoyed the picturesque setting. I could imagine cooling myself in the pool on a warm day. Afterward, I would choose a comfortable chair with a drink while enjoying the lush country surroundings.
Lisa loves her animals, especially the horses. As a kind, industrious, energetic and focused farm lady, she is up at the crack of dawn, feeding her horses and letting them out to pasture. She has a cow, a goat, several dogs, a flock of poultry, and a sweet little donkey named Marilyn. Each animal is kept in its own pen, but they are thoroughly cared for with love by Lisa.
Il Poderaccio is perfect for animal lovers!
The pastures begin at the top of the ridge right next to the driveway then dip downward. All across the horizon are those beautiful Tuscan hills that instantly create a mood of tranquility, peace, and calm.
Lisa raises champion jumpers for competition. While we were there, we saw a couple of young horses that were born the previous spring at their mothers’ sides.
Marilyn shows us her eye and sniffs as we bend down to say hello. She is from Sardinia and such a cute little critter. While Lisa was feeding the animals in the morning, Marilyn followed her around like one of the dogs. She couldn’t help but show us her curious nature.
The lighting changes throughout the day. Late afternoon is golden which eventually gives way to a rosy blush as the sun sets. It is the perfect place to rest and relax with a glass of wine and ponder by oneself or in good company.
Sunset at Il Poderaccio is a time to be cherished. Everything is quiet and serene. The only sounds are the occasional cry of a bird or the slight whisper of a breeze as the earth begins to cool.
Our time at Il Poderaccio was not long enough. The ambiance was magnetic which made it difficult to leave. I have taken with me beautiful memories of authentic Tuscan farm living, complete with sweeping views, and I can’t wait to return.
Have you experienced an agriturismo in Italy? What did you enjoy most about it?
Nearby things to see and do:
- See the Piazza del Campo in the medieval center of Siena which is only a 20 minutes drive away. It is considered one of Europe’s greatest public squares. Grab lunch or dinner at one of Siena’s many quaint restaurants nearby.
- Pack a picnic and do some wine tasting in Chianti with its several wineries and castles. One of my favorites is Castello di Verrazano Winery near Greve in Chianti. Not only will you experience the old castle cellars, but you will taste delicious wines and balsamic made right on the property.
- Visit Abbeys surrounding Siena and taste some medicinal liquors.
- Do some site-seeing in the 13th century, Gothic style remains of the Cistercian abbey of San Galgano in nearby Chiusdino.
- Visit Florence with all its Renaissance architecture and museums at only an hour away.
- Take a day trip and explore the numerous historical hilltowns such as Volterra, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Colle Val d’Elsa, Montepulciano, Pienza, etc.