Tuscany is one of Italy's most famed and visited regions. It's known the world over for its historic art and architecture, majestic and diverse natural landscapes, and Chianti vineyards and olive groves. You can travel to Tuscany and seek out experiences that provide an excellent value and cost little to enjoy. However, those with spare cash to splurge can have a magnificent trip to Tuscany that would rival the experiences and amenities offered by any major city in the world.
Here are 5 luxurious things that you can do during a stay in Tuscany:
1. The Relais Borgo Santo Pietro
The Relais Borgo Santo Pietro is the epitome of what a five-star resort should be. It's beautifully appointed, has impeccable service, and the entire property is downright impressive. It's set within lush rolling hills, and you can get a wonderful view of the countryside from every room. As you approach the Borgo Santo Pietro's entrance gates, you'll feel like you're about to enter a royal palace. If you want breathtaking scenery and exquisite dining, you can't do much better than this hotel.
Even the pool there puts others to shame, and manages to combine natural elements, modern styling, and a rejuvenating atmosphere. Meo Modo, the resort's on-site restaurant, has some of the best cuisine in the Tuscany region, and many would say all of Italy. The Relais Borgo Santo Pietro also has a Treehouse Bar and Brasserie, incredible wine cellar, falconry exhibition, and a fabulous European style spa. The hotel's staff also coordinates truffle hunts for guests who want to do something out of the ordinary. This boutique hotel also offers cooking classes that will show you how to create delicious, authentic Italian fare.
The price per night to stay at the Relais Borgo Santo Pietro starts at $1,001.
2. Le Baccanti Wine Tours
Tuscany's capital city, Florence, has a wealth of wineries. The entire region is noted for its delicious vino and cuisine, and some of the most exclusive wine tours that you can take there are offered by Le Baccanti. While you would likely have trouble scoring an exclusive, all-access trip through the area's top wineries and vineyards on your own, you can do so easily through Le Baccanti. Some of the tours and vacations offered include the Chianti, Valpolicella, and Soave wine regions.
The company's Brunello di Montalcino tour includes a full day exploring Tuscany's countryside in a deluxe private car. You'll have the convenience of being escorted by your own personal wine expert, who will detail all of the beautiful sights that you come across. At Brunello winery, you'll sample olive oils and wines that are unlike anything else in the world. Afterward, you'll be taken to savor a lunch featuring Tuscan specialties and stop at artisan food and wine shops along the way. This tour would be a dream for any foodie or wine aficionado, but it won't come cheap.
Still, you're sure to fondly remember this $1,000 experience years after its end.
3. Hotel Castello di Casole
Hotel Castello di Casole isn't just a place to stay while you're in Tuscany, it's one of Italy's most luxurious resort experiences. The massive 4,200 acre property was the result of the restoration of a 10th century castle. The property contains over 30 elegant Italian Villas and updated farmhouses, and was once home to Italy's nobility. Now you can go there and experience Tuscan'y beauty in a new way.
This resort has on-site fruit and olive groves spread across 100 acres, its own game reserve, a top restaurant, an al fresco eatery, and a wellness center with an impressive menu of services and treatments. The most expensive penthouses and suites at Hotel Castello di Casole feature luxuries including private gardens and terraces, Carrara marble, free standing tubs, gourmet kitchens, and mini bars. Heated floors, iPod docks, free WiFi, and flat screen televisions come standard at this resort.
A night's stay can cost well over $1,500, depending upon the accommodation that you choose.
4. Cucina con Vista Cooking Classes
Tuscany has many cooking schools and tours, but one stands out among the crowd. In a picturesque farmhouse in the hills of Florence lies Cucina con Vista, a cooking school run by Chef Elena Mattei. Mattei ran an Italian restaurant before opening Cucina con Vista in 2001, and ever since countless students have enjoyed learning her culinary techniques and recipes while hearing wonderful tales of the chef's life in Tuscany.
If you want Cucina con Vista's most exclusive and thorough offering, book the four day advanced course, which costs $1,025. The four separate lessons will teach you how to expertly pair wine with Italian food, prepare first and main courses, and create excellent desserts. During your time there, you'll get to take field trips through Chianti, see the Sant'Ambrogio market, and learn to make Florentine specialties and time-honored dishes. The property itself is surrounded by amazing olive and fruit trees, and the setting is both comforting and refreshing.
5. Argentario Golf Resort & Spa
Many people enjoy golfing on vacation, but getting in rounds on Tuscany's Giglio Island is like being in your own private paradise. Giglio is where you go when you want luxury without the crowds or you prefer vacationing in a very peaceful, exotic setting. The secluded spot is home to Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, which sits beside emerald seas, a rich array of botanical plants and flowers, and foot paths just begging for exploration.
The inside of this resort is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and is a true modern masterpiece. Argentario Golf Club has 18 panoramic holes and hosts many of Italy's most prestigious tournaments. In addition to the great golf course here, there's a large fitness center, tennis and sports courts, sparkling pools, a hot tub, and lounge. The resort's spa contains a wealth of technological innovations. To satisfy your cravings for Italian food, Argentario Golf Resort & Spa has a restaurant, Dama Dama, that serves Tuscany's freshest local food and produce. While you're at the resort, visit Giglio Campese, a lovely area beach, or Giglio Castello, an 11th century castle that has intriguing features.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker