It’s funny the things that stay with you when you travel. In Italy last year, we found this quiet country lane one afternoon while driving around Tuscany near Montepulciano. At the far end of the lane was a lovely agriturismo, Tuscany farmhouse and cheese shop on the side, but it was what we saw on the way in that made us stop and stare. A flock of long-eared Tuscan sheep - the real cheese producers - were grazing in the field, and the bells around their necks played a chorus that grew louder and louder. It was Tuscan-style slow travel at its best!
I stood gleefully mezmorized, surrounded by the incredible tinkling of bells, so struck by the moment. This year I knew I wanted to go back again, and after a search on Google Earth, I found that field again, and Villa Mazzi.
Choosing Where to Stay in Tuscany
You may think Tuscany is a small town where everyone knows everyone. It's actually one of the largest regions in Italy (nearly 9,000 square miles) with many picturesque hillside towns surrounded by rolling acres of pasture and farmland. Choosing where to stay in Tuscany on your vacation can be pretty overwhelming.
You can explore the region's highlights in a few days with a lot of driving. But we recommend you base yourself in northern Tuscany near Florence if you want to visit the Renaissance city, Chianti, and San Gimigniano, and further south if you want to explore the southern towns of the Val d'Orcia as we did like Arezzo, Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, Montecchiello and others. There were several Montepulciano hotels we could have chosen, but we stayed at a Tuscany agriturismo last year in Chianti and loved the homey feel. If you're visiting the Tuscan Val d'Orcia and want to stay in an authentic Tuscan agriturismo, Montepulciano has many to choose from. Some are luxuriously appointed, while others offer more rustic accommodations so authentic to Tuscany. We found Villa Mazzi to be a perfect blend of both.
The Accommodations at Villa Mazzi
Villa Mazzi is a rustic Montepulciano agriturismo with 4 distinct apartments. We stayed in their largest called La Loggia. The 2-story apartment was immaculate, spacious, and even lovelier than online.
There were 4 people in our party: me and my husband, my sister, and her daughter. So with 3 bedrooms, my sister and niece each had their own room with a Queen-size bed and shared a bathroom between them. My husband and I took the queen room upstairs in the “attic” space, though it was nice and bright with a recessed farmhouse window that we left wide open our entire stay.
What We Liked
We couldn't have asked for a quieter setting with amazing views of the bucolic pasture and Montepulciano on the hill. You should see it at night! And the sheep - they grazed through several times a day. The apartment is located just minutes from Montepulciano, on the road to Pienza and other lovely towns in the Val d’Orcia. The grounds are well-tended and fun to stroll with fruit trees and beautiful views all around.
We made dinner here several nights and never lacked for the basic ingredients or plenty of clean flatware, cookware, and dishes. We bought a small bottle of olive oil at the store, along with pasta, fresh tomatoes, bread, artichokes, olives, and other staples. There were basic spices at the house, and we even found fresh oregano outside!
Outside seating and loungers
We visited in early June, and there were only a few other guests. But even during a busy time at full capacity, there would be plenty of private places for guests to relax alone outdoors and take in the peace and quiet.
The apartment itself was clean, well-maintained, and spacious enough for everyone to stretch out. Our rooms were warm, comfortable, and authentically and tastefully decorated. Each room had large armoires for clothes that needed to hang. And I must say, our bed was the most comfortable one we’d slept in our entire trip.
Owner and manager Loredana and her daughter Martina were always there to help with questions, offer excellent shopping and dining recommendations, or just to chat.
It wouldn't be a proper agriturismo without a friendly pet or two, and Leo kept us good company.
Villa Mazzi sells their own olive oil, preserves, and honey in their Gift Shop, along with a selection of local products such as wine, salumi and pasta. This is a working agriturismo, though not with livestock or other animals. Loredana grows fresh fruits for preserves, and crafts her own honey. Depending on the time of year, the weather and her harvesting schedule, you may be able to arrange with her ahead of time to participate in some light harvesting. I wish we could have timed our visit to do this - next time. But check out what was blooming during our stay:
What We Didn’t Like
I strive to be objective when it comes to reviewing properties, and even at the very best, generally there's something that can be improved upon. Yet I'm hard-pressed to find that here. At Villa Mazzi, Loredana clearly strikes a balance at her Tuscan agriturismo, giving just the right amount of care and attention to her guests and the property without disrupting your privacy. We felt tended to and cared for, but also right at home. Frankly, there's nothing I thought fell short.
There are many factors that influence how much you enjoy an overnight stay - whether at a 5-star hotel or a Tuscany agriturismo. It's how you were made to feel that's important. And in this case, we were made to feel like family.
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If You Go
Villa Mazzi is an affordable and family-friendly place to stay in the heart of Montepulciano, Tuscany. Its central location is ideal, so close to everything but with the most perfect view of town from your backyard! Check rates and more details here. Strada per Pienza, 30 - I-53045 Montepulciano, Siena, Toscana.