Twenty minutes from Siena, and less than an hour from Florence, lies the lush and fertile Valdambra region of Tuscany. Bordering the southern tip of Chianti, Val d'Ambra is home to phenomenal restaurants, fabulous castles, and breathtaking vineyards.
Valdambra's unspoiled countryside is dotted with a number of small towns and villages, including Montebenichi, Levane, Rapale, Capannole, Duddova, Ambra, Sogna, and its main town, Bucine - where the region's train station is located and where you can catch an hourly commercial train to and from Florence during the day.
On a map, the town of Montebenichi is but a speck, a sleepy little hamlet of perhaps sixty inhabitants, but this little town on a hill captures everything that makes the Tuscan countryside the ultimate tourist destination. First of all, it has one of the best four-star hotels in the country, the gorgeous nine-bedroom Castelletto di Montebenichi, run by a lovely couple from Milan. Each of the rooms and suites has its own individual personality, with an en-suite bathroom and satellite television. The service is impeccable.
The lack of a restaurant is not a concern for its guests, because right next door is the stellar Osteria l'Orciaia. This small trattoria located in the 16th-century village serves traditional Tuscan cuisine in a friendly, warm atmosphere. We particularly recommend the white bean and garlic soup and the homemade pici, unique to the province of Siena, are a Must!
Going down the hill you reach the Villa Nemora estate with two wonderful villas: the traditional Villa Felciai with 11 bedrooms, and the beautiful Villa Fabbri with 8 bedrooms. These villas offer breathtaking views and are ideal places for family reunions and wedding ceremonies!
Passing through the Villa Nemora, we come to another of Montebenichi's delights, the wonderful Ristorante la Leccarda. This cozy and large restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. The Sciacca, a specialty bread, is a must - and the pizzas made in their wood-fired oven are fantastic. The pasta is delicious and La Leccarda has an extensive menu for meat lovers and vegetarians. The service is warm and accommodating, and the waiters speak fluent English.
Discover Italy's secret gem, Montebenichi is waiting for you!