We stayed at Foresteria Giardino from Sept 14 through 22, so the next several posts are not going to be tied to a date, but places and things we did. (Perhaps if I’d actually written this when we returned, or took better notes, I’d be more precise. But it’s not that important, in the end.)
Il Giardino di Fontarronco Guest Farm is owned by the Illuminati family (I know, right?!) and is situated in the midst of a working fruit farm. You are greeted by a bottle of their cider (pear or apple), a jar of locally produced honey, and fresh fruit.
Built in the late 13th century as the family’s home, it’s been converted into a lovely 12-room inn with a pool, bicycles to ride, and an onsite restaurant. I’m sure that during the summer it is a busy place, perfect for families enjoying a vacation. For many of the days we were there, we were the only visitors and the inn never had more than six people staying. Upside? lots of romantic solitude. Downside? no restaurant.
We stayed in La Cantina — the former kitchen space, perfect for two people. The double bed was comfortable, the walls thick, and the floors cool tile. We had a kitchenette, perfect for making breakfast and keeping juice cool. Every morning the local baker, Giuseppie, would arrive around 9am to sell us fresh breads and pastries. That was often our only ‘alarm’ and J. would hastily pull on some clothes and run out to meet him.
Italians like their pastries sweet! I like a little sweet in the morning, but not every day. Every kind of bread either had a sweet filling, or sugar crusted on top. So J. asked if Giuseppie could please bring some non-sweet pastries, like a criossant the next day. Giuseppie was puzzled, but shrugged . . . and the next day brought rolls that had the sugar scraped off. I laughed, and gave up.
Just up the road is a huge farmstand with every locally produced fruit and vegetable available. You wait in line until one of the staff is free to help you, then just ask (or point, in my case) at what you want. Deliciously fresh melons, tomatoes on the vine, apples, and pears were ours for the asking, along with salad greens, squashes, and onions. We weren’t planning on doing more than lite cooking, so we didn’t buy as much as we could have, but it all looked amazing.
Further into town — Pieve al Toppo — is a full supermarket for our eggs, cheeses, etc. And wine. I drank a lot of varieties and labels I’ve never seen nor heard of in the US, so I didn’t bother tracking them unless they were super exceptional.
We ate at two of the local restaurants, one of which was a pizzeria that we went to three times it was so good (more on that later).
A lot of what we loved about this location was it’s proximity to a number of places: Siena, Volterra, Arrezzo, and Cortona.