THERE is nothing quite like getting out of the city and breathing in some fresh country air.
If there is anything better than a day in the British countryside, a day in the Italian countryside might be it.
For picturesque views, few places can top the rolling hills of Tuscany. With warm sunshine, idyllic olive groves and lip-smacking food and wine, it is the perfect place to chill out for a few days.
Following a short flight to Florence, we climbed winding roads into those stunning hills. After a few hairpin bends – and a sigh of relief – we left the city far below to arrived at La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort.
The luxurious hotel is nestled deep in the countryside but is not as cut off as you might think. It is less than ten miles from the city of Siena, home to some 14th century towers and worth the trip for a day’s sightseeing.
The hotel – part of Hilton’s Curio Collection – was a medieval estate and some of the original buildings are now guest areas. No two rooms are the same and ours was filled with quirky art and antiques. The fun mix of old and new made the hotel feel unique.
The resort is spread across two villages, Borgo Bagnaia and Borgo Filetta, so it didn’t feel crowded.
Clearly, lots of guests were here to enjoy the golf, spending most of their days out on the 18-hole course. Golf isn’t my sport but if anything could lure me into teeing off, playing under the Italian sun would do it.
Channel your inner Rory McIlroy here and you can enjoy incredible views at the same time as polishing your swing.
But I was quite happy to sip prosecco, munch local cheese and watch others head out with their clubs.
It wasn’t all idling. There were lots of other activities to keep us – and the golf widows – amused.
While hiking, horse-riding and mountain biking were all available, we slapped on the sunscreen and signed up to explore the local pathways on foot.
If you are feeling brave, hire a moped and zip off as the locals do, to soak in more culture further afield or visit the nearby vineyards.
After all that exercise, I fully deserved my visit to the hotel’s Buddha Spa. With thermal spring-water pools and a selection of blissful Clarins treatments it is a “bellissimo” addition if you fancy a pamper.
You can’t visit Italy without getting stuck into the fabulous food – and we certainly did. You could spend all your time tucking into tasty Tuscan treats and never get bored.
The hotel mixed relaxed eating with more formal restaurants, each offering local flavours in freshly prepared dishes.
Whatever you do, don’t leave without trying the tiramisu.
After a few happy nights under the Tuscan sun, I was sad to say “Ciao!” to this lovely place.
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