THE BEST WEEK OF OUR LIVES
Perfection does not even begin to describe how exquisite this villa is, the traditional Tuscan architecture with beautifully fitted out interiors with all the mod-cons (if you love cooking the kitchen is divine, or there is a chef you can request too), outstanding views over the valley towards San Gimignano which glows like a magical city in the Tuscan sunshine, the exceptional owners Annagloria and Enzo make the stay so welcoming.
We chose this venue for our wedding celebrations and we were not disappointed. It was probably the best week of our lives, this was also stated by many of our guests.
We had 15 people staying in the villa and it never felt over crowed, the rooms are spacious, the bathrooms beautifully designed, there are a number of outdoor terraces on different levels making it easy to hide away if you want some quiet time.
We will definitely be returning to this villa and highly recommend it to all!
Thank you Annagloria and Enzo for making our wedding week unforgettable
All the Best Russell & Helen
PS: your Olive Oil is Amazing
The Trip of a Lifetime!
A week at Villa il Santo was just perfection! The location afforded marvelous views and vistas. The towers of San Gimignano in the distance were magical. And the fields and vineyards created a masterful patchwork quilt for the eyes. The rooms were spacious, the outdoor spaces inviting, and the kitchen well-appointed The meals we had prepared at the villa were some of the best of our week in Tuscany. I would highly recommend Villa il Santo to any large party of friends and/or family.
Beautiful Villa - stunning views and accommodations!
We spent a week at Villa Santo in October with five other couples. Such a beautiful villa - the views are stunning and the accommodations excellent. Enzo and Annagloria are gracious host and are full of suggestions for excursions/day trips. We enjoyed a photo tour with a local photographer, delicious Italian meals cooked in-house by Nadia, sight seeing adventures to Sienna, San Gimignano, Florence, Greve, Panzo, Monteriggioni, and the laughter and fellowship of great friends in this fabulous villa. Hope to return soon!
Dream vacation in Tuscany
Villa Il Santo is straight out of a Tuscan dream. The views of the Chianti valley are simply spectacular and can be appreciated from both inside the house and from the multiple outdoor terraces and seating areas. The villa is only 30 minutes from Florence and 10 minutes from the nearest grocery store and yet it is isolated and extremely peaceful. The buildings themselves have undergone extensive renovations that seamlessly blend old, Italian charm with stunning modern finishes. The kitchen is state of the art and easily accommodated our 12 guests. Our hosts, Annagloria and Enzo, were warm and professional and very prompt to respond to questions regarding the villa. Simply put, I cannot recommend this villa enough and cannot wait to return!
Beautiful Villa & Exceptional Owners
Villa II Santo did not disappoint. This house is beautiful and the views are just lovely. There was plenty room for the 14 of us and with the bedrooms split between the hay barn and the main house we didn't feel like we were all on top of each other all week. There are several sitting areas around the outside of the property too and that made it nice for getting fresh air with a different view each time. The location is far out and I downloaded the taxi apps once I got a SIM card but none of them would service the area through the app. I caught a taxi to the property from the airport and he got to the area easily but we had a time finding the correct driveway turn in. Other than that there are no other complaints about this stay. Annagloria is a really awesome host. She came to make sure we knew all details we needed to know about the house and she was always available if we had questions. She made arrangements for a group outing for us and when the car service wasn't going to make it in time for us she and her husband rounded us up in their cars to make sure we made it to our wine tours on time. I decided on the last day to move into Florence and without hesitation she said her son would be able to take me into the city and he was there on time the next day.
A Slice of Tuscan Beauty!
Over the past 17years we have stayed at this Villa as well as Annagloria and Enzos' other Villa Castellare in Tavarenella. Needless to say we keep returning for a reason!! The Villas are just beautiful and the owners are simply spectacular! All of the modern amenities, beautiful surroundings, delicious food, wine and the magnificent culture of the area and Italy itself abound! The owners are amazing in their ability to provide you with the best advice, solutions and ideas to enhance your stay. Balloon rides, cooking classes,wine tours, in Villa chef, truffle hunting,tennis, golf,guided tours of Firenze, Sienna, Chianti and restaurant recommendations. In short they know everyone in the area and can solve any and all problems and questions. All in all it is the consummate vacation experience. Be as active as you like or vegetate in and around the Villas. They are magical places waiting for you to discover and enjoy!!
50th Wedding Anniversary Trip
For our 50th Wedding Anniversary trip we were looking for a place that would work for the entire family, 6 adults and 5 children age 13 to 6. In Villa il Santo we found that place.While we did not have all the meals prepared by a Chef,Those that were,welcomming were great from the welcoming dinner to the extra effort they took for our anniversary dinner. What will be remembered by all will be the night the grandchildren were taught how to make pasta which was incorporated into a meal. IlSanto location was perfect for trips to all of the attractions in the area, from cities to small villages. The Villa was large enough for active play and swimming, and at the same time had nooks to quietly read a book.A special mention must be made of our hosts, Enzo e Annagloria who were most welcoming,gracious and a great resource for information. We would go back there in a heartbeat!
Holiday of a lifetime
Wow....we really did stumble upon a Tuscan gem nestled in the Chianti hills, over looking the valley and rows of vineyards. We had spent hours on the internet earlier on in the year looking for somewhere for our friends and family to stay for the week as Mark and I had chosen to get married in Tuscany. Then, we came across Villa Il Santo. On arrival, as we drove down the drive ,this magnificent building came into sight, standing proud on the edge of the hill over looking the most stunning scenery. The contrast of the bright colours in the garden set against the deep greens in the valley was just breathtaking. The sun was shining and as we got out of the car the first thing that struck me was the silence - it was just so peaceful there. The villa is absolutely beautiful. It is large, and even with sixteen guests staying it still felt spacious with several different places for people to sit and relax quietly without feeling claustrophobic. Annagloria and Enzo have renovated the villa to the highest spec possible. It is so tasteful - it retains all the old characteristics of the hay barn and watch tower and yet it is modern and fresh inside with every household appliance that you could ever wish for. This was by far the best holiday we have ever had - obviously our wedding day was amazing but the stay in the villa was a magical holiday and one that none of us will ever forget. The scenery, the luxury of the villa and the peacefulness are the three things which stick in my mind the most. We will definitely be coming back next year. Thank you Annagloria and Enzo - it was truly wonderful to meet you. You are both superb hosts. The Harrimans
You Will Love Villa Il Santo!
Our group of 9 adults and 2 kids stayed at this beautiful villa for a week in June and every single person in our group loved everything about this villa. We started planning the trip nearly a year in advance, and Annagloria was a huge help. She responded quickly to every email and helped us schedule tours, wine tastings, and drivers for the week. When we arrived, we could not believe how beautiful and spacious the villa and grounds were. As gorgeous as the pictures are, they do not do this property justice. The furnishings and décor are truly spectacular and the views over the valley toward San Gimignano from the pool and all the many outdoor seating areas are unbelievable. The villa is also very conveniently located, as we could make easy day trips to the surrounding hill towns and wineries. There are many beautiful properties in Tuscany, but for us what set this one apart were the owners, Annagloria and Enzo. They were friendly and helpful in every way -- from stocking the wine cooler with their own (delicious) wine available for purchase at an incredibly reasonable price, to recommending and making reservations for us at wonderful, small local restaurants, to arranging a magical concert and dinner in an historic nearby church just for their friends and villa renters, to helping us plan a dinner and birthday celebration on the last night with a chef who cooked and served a multi-course dinner for us at the villa. And speaking of chefs, the price for the villa includes a first-night dinner cooked by a wonderful chef, Rosanna. We enjoyed her, and her cooking, so much that we hired her to give us cooking lessons in the villa a few nights later. If you have a chance to do this, we highly recommend it! This week in Tuscany was the highlight of our 3-week trip to Italy, and we cannot wait to come back!
The Perfect Tuscan Experience
Villa Il Santo is everything and more of what we envisioned for this stay. Annagloria & Enzo are true pros and ensure your experience is glorious. The villa is magnificent and proved to be an excellent launching point for daily excursions throughout the region. Local knowledge is huge and these two have it in abundance.
Enzo and Annagloria have created a beautiful villa in Tuscany to share with friends and family! Their hospitality is beyond words. We had a large group stay at the Villa Il Santo for a friends 50th birthday in July 2015. It was a trip full of top notch food, beautiful surroundings, wine and entertainment. Enzo makes sure all your needs are met. Starting with the Villa Il Santo - when we pulled up to the Villa it took our breath away. It's is stunning! The amount of detail and love put into this villa is beyond words. It's a beautiful old farmhouse restored to perfection. It overlooks the hills of Tuscany, and the villa has many balconies and sitting areas that allow you to gaze over the scenery and take it all in. The pool is an infinity pool - it is large enough to accommodate our entire group (approximately 20 guests). The pool is perched overlooking the views. We loved the villa so much that our group opted out of of some of our excursions to the city just to hang out at the Villa. It is extremely peaceful. Looking through the photo album he provided, it took years to restore this Villa to the masterpiece it is today. Congratulations Enzo - well done. Hospitality - Enzo truly cares about his guests and caters to their every need. He will organize outings for you, and will recommend hidden places to see. He offered up wine tastings in our villa, and chefs to come to the villa to cook us up amazing dishes. He even organized a beautiful concert in the woods for us one evening. The concert was hosted on the property of his family home - absolutely gorgeous. I HIGHLY recommend this villa for your visit to Tuscany. You will not be disappointed. If I could give 10 stars, I would!
A stay here should be number one on your bucket list. This villa is stunning and yet very comfortable. We had 8 couples roaming the Tuscan Hills and at the end of the day came back to a relaxing time at the villa and a beautiful home cooked dinner by Rosa. Highly recommend AnnaGloria can arrange most anything you would want to do, guides and tours very good.
Fantastic location, splendid villa and great host!
Wow, what an awesome stay at the Villa Il Santo! Our group of friends (with some kids) had just an incredible experience.
The location is perfect, the Villa is in the middle of the Chianti region and is perched on the hillside for stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys (+the towers of San Giminiano), with beautiful sunsets. You can enjoy the view from so many places in the villa: the dining balcony, the rear shaded area, the solarium, the swimming pool and many of the bedrooms. The location was great as a base for some day trips to Pisa, Siena, Florence and Lucca. All within 1 to 1.5 hours away.
The villa itself is stunning. Beautiful ancient buildings (a main house/tower with his barn) restored to exquisite taste and comfort while preserving the historical flair. Each of the room is very large and very well decorated. Lots of attention to details like very large double shower heads, double sink basins, comfy towels, comfortable beds, etc. Lots of common rooms for reading, relaxing and socializing. Beautiful modern kitchen and dining rooms.
Everything was great with the villa and the spacious rooms and décor far surpassed my expectations.
The nice swimming pool was a hit with the kids (and adults too...). The lawn with bocce balls provided some good distraction before site visits.
The owner Enzo was very present and attentive to make sure that all was going for the best. We organized several services with him (like cook, baby-sitter, wine/cheese tasting etc.) and he was very helpful in organizing everything with delightful local people.
All guests were super-impressed with the stay. Couldn't think of a better place for our Tuscany vacation.
Luxury villa in Chianti
A very special place. We have many beautiful memories of the magnificent views, the tasteful furnished and maintained rooms, the delicious diners and houswines we enjoyed at the outdoor patio's, Annagloria and Enzo attending to our every needs. The villa is perfectly located for for visiting the many ancient towns in the area. We enjoyed every minute of our stay at villa il Santo, with our family and friends.
Villa Il Santo is the quintessential Tuscan getaway. The villa has been beautifully restored yet still maintains much of its old-world charm. There's an instant sense of calm that one feels once you enter the villa. Enzo and his family took care of our every need and we loved the meals cooked by Rosanna - a bonafide Italian nonna! Be sure to try the wines and olive oil produced by Enzo; all are delicious!
The perfect base for an introduction to Italy and an introduction to Tuscany. Views are breath-taking, house is fantastic for a large group and everything you want or need can be accommodated. Beautiful restaurant a short walk from the house, great little village nearby.
The hosts are very helpful and accomodating, Rosanna the cook is gorgeous - and I didn't really want to write this review because I'd like to keep this place a secret in case I ever have the opportunity to return!
Stunning Tuscany Villa...Breathtaking Views... Tranquil Oasis...Perfection in Everyway!!!
Stunning Renovation! Magical Chianti Villa! Perfect Location!(Barbarino Val D'elsa)
We had the most magnificent stay at Villa Il Santo! After EXTENSIVE research on the internet, and I mean exhaustive research, I fell upon an amazing property called Villa Il Santo. (www.villailsanto.com) We have travelled the world and stayed at many stunning properties, but this is at the top of our list. The photos DO NOT even begin to show the stunning beauty of this brilliantly renovated 1000AD property…it’s modern chic with old character blended so exceptionally well. Every turn you make in the house or on the grounds, gives you 180 degree views of what one sees on postcards of Tuscany, with castles on top of hilltops, rolling hills lined with olive trees and vineyards and the towers of San gimanano floating in the distance. I cannot even describe how amazing this property is, and how incredibly helpful the warm, kind, and passionate the villa owners were to us…It was truly hard to leave.
We were lucky enough to use this magical villa as our home base as we searched for a wedding villa… What we realized is our favorite part of the day was knowing we could head back to Villa Il Santo to the private tranquil oasis after driving up and down hair pin turn country roads in search of our wedding villa knowing it was not far off the highway and so close to many towns including Florence, Siena, San Gimanano, Certaldo… We looked at 5 star luxury castles, wineries, villas from Florence down thru Chianti into Montalcino and Val D’Orcia…..and everytime we came back to our beautiful oasis, we could only envision our wedding festivities there…to share this wonderful property with our closest friends and family would be a dream. The only issue is since they renovated this property to the highest level and it sleeps 14-16, it is hard to find anything comparable in the area for other guests to stay in. There is a 5 star luxury hotel 15 minutes away but it just doesn’t compare…
Annagloria and Enzo truly went out of their way to make our stay so incredibly comfortable…with an authentic experience…they set up massages at the villa; hooked us up with local restaurants we would not have otherwise found; stocked the house with everything we needed before our arrival… If only we had more time, they would have hooked us up with so much more...Enzo heard we loved art and took as to a local artist’s studio and offered to help us with renovating and furnishing our house in the states… We wish we could hire enzo and annagloria to do our renovation ☺
Heaven in Tuscany
Beautiful villa overlooking the hills of Tuscany
When can we go back?
The property, the facilities, the owners, and the surrounding area were all fantastic.
Enzo and Anagloria (the villa owners) were very accommodating and welcoming. They helped us coordinate a few activities (truffle hunting, Florence site-seeing) and a wonderful welcome dinner.
The villa facilities were wonderful. The appliances and furnishings were top-notch and the view of the Tuscan country-side was phenomenal.
Our group was 12 adults, but the villa could have easily accommodated another 4 people.
Our wedding was coordinated by a Florence-based wedding planner, but Enzo and Anagloria were very helpful as well. There is a patio area overlooking the countryside that is perfect for a small wedding.
Enzo will stock the wine cabinet with red and white wine made from the grapes on his property (the wine is very reasonably priced and you pay for what you open).
There are several towns/villages within a 15 minute drive so it's easy to shop at the local market or eat at a nearby restaurant.
Our week at Villa il Santo was a once in a lifetime experience and we highly recommend it. I'm already looking for an excuse to plan another trip there in the future.
The terrace and room window view is breath taking as you overlook wine and olive fields.
The location just in the middle between Florence and Sienna in the heart for the Chianti district is perfect for food and wine lovers. The local cook preparing dishes from around the area with respect, is very good.
Local sights just a few kilometers away are great.
Our kids spend whole days in the pool. And with everyday cleaning the site maintained it's high standard.
The only very little minus is the gravel road taking you to the Villa, it is in desperate need of some maintenance.
Thanks for a week in luxury and local Tuscan authenticity!
Two Families, and the Perfect Italian Experience in a Spectacular Villa
Even with 11 people, at least one bedroom went unused. The property is large and very unique. After extensive remodeling, this Villa is really a complex, with an old farm house and barn/tower being entirely remodeled and connected by an enclosed, glass walkway. The renovation is first-rate, incorporating modern conveniences and luxuries (flat-screens, WiFi, washer/dryer, etc.), but retaining a rustic Tuscan charm. The kitchen is commercial grade and fully stocked, and the bedroom suites are spacious, comfortable and have romantic walk-in shower rooms. It was fun just following all the little stairways to see where they led—a bathroom here, a bedroom there, and a sitting room here. Combine the spacious interior with all of the outdoor garden sitting areas, patios and terraces, and an individual could easily find peace and solitude even among a group of 11. And the outdoor gardens are immaculately tended.
The Villa is in the perfect location, just 30-40 minutes outside Firenze/Florence. It overlooks a spectacular valley of vineyards, and the sunsets are amazing. In the morning, fog envelopes the valley floor, and the ancient towered city of San Gimigliano rises on the opposite end of the valley, which you can see from the Villa. A few minutes away is the small town of Barberino, which has a modern grocery store and other shops. We were delighted one night to go into town for gelato only to find ourselves in the middle of the town’s annual Medieval Festival, complete with sword fights, ornate costumes, street performers, crafts and a large parade. We seemed to be the only non-locals there! Everyone was so gracious and friendly, and it made a memorable night. To commemorate the event, I purchased a medieval sword from a blacksmith.
As I said, we used the Villa as a base for a few day trips—Firenze/Florence (magnificent city), Pisa (the leaning tower is the ONLY thing to see there), San Gimigliano (get there early to beat the tour buses), Roma/Vaticano (by train, with a guided small tour through the Vatican), Siena (absolutely beautiful and fantastic food), and a vineyard tour. The awesome part about all of these trips is that we got to return to the Villa each night. When we weren’t day-traveling, we were in the Villa’s pool, on its terraces and simply relaxing in its magical environment. We cooked half of our dinners in the kitchen (trying out our own Italian recipes) and had Rosanna cook for us on the other nights, including a large “welcome dinner” the night we arrived. Rosanna is a sweetheart! She’ll cook what you want and throw in some incredible new things. Herbs come directly from the Villa’s gardens. One night, we asked her to cook a variety of pastas and different sauces, and they were delicious!
Enzo and Annagloria were so gracious as hosts. They helped us set up reservations for the vineyard tour, train tickets to Roma and gave us great advice and suggestions about what to do and see on our day-trips. The last evening, they came over together and we just talked for a long while. A wonderful evening! And they gave us olive oil from their own press to take home. You can actually purchase wine and olive oil from their vineyard, which we still need to do. They are just warm and hospitable people.
At Anna’s suggestion, we booked a hot air balloon trip across the Chianti valley, and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. We got up early one morning and met the balloons in a field just a few minutes out of town, loaded up into 3 balloons and took off. The views of the valley, Barberino, local castles, vineyards, etc. were spectacular, and the 40-min. ride on the noiseless air was one of the most serine and inspiring things I’ve ever done. A “must do” if you stay at the Villa. (I’ve uploaded pictures here of both the Villa and the hot air balloon ride.)
In all, I tried to plan the trip of a lifetime for my family, and I pulled it off thanks to Enzo and Anna, who gave us great ideas. Their Villa is a masterpiece, and their warm hospitality was the topper. My family talks often about our time in Italy, and they’re already asking when we can go back. When we do, we’ll certainly stay again at Villa il Santo. It’s the perfect Italian experience!
Best Birthday Ever in A Magical Villa in Tuscany
The only complaint was the weather -- as the outdoor space is exquisite and beautifully landscaped with breathtaking views and we had hoped to enjoy that aspect of the house and the countryside. Everything else was perfection. The welcome dinner cooked by the incredible chef Rosanna will always be remembered -- both for its inventive use of local ingredients like salvia from the garden -- to its multiple courses and incredible flavors that we still remember. We asked Rosanna to come back two other nights as it was such fun to enjoy dinner “at home” after the day of activities. After dinner, we would relax in one of the living rooms to chat and laugh. We also arranged for breakfast to be cooked one morning and had an over-the-top meal prepared that kept us fueled for a long day of activities. There was never a lack of wonderful food or wine, which is available at the house (from Annagloria and Enzo’s vineyard) at a very reasonable price per bottle.
The house is fairly easy to find (you will need a car, although if you arrive at different times, you can arrange transport to/from Florence easily. Annagloria was so helpful with arranging transportation.) Day/afternoon trips to Florence, Sienna, and San Gimignano were very easy. We even made it to Cortona on a rainy day, which was fun (would be considered far by European standards; not US). Don't over schedule yourself as you will want to enjoy time at the villa. There is plenty of room to relax. With the three living rooms, there is always a place to escape for quiet and they are big enough for everyone to enjoy one another’s company. Of course, consistent with all the best parties, we usually gathered in the kitchen!
I will never forget the magical week we spent at Villa il Santo and look forward to going back. Annagloria and Enzo are marvelous hosts. If you want to spend time with family or great friends and be in the heart of Tuscany, consider Villa il Santo; you will not be disappointed.
I had a fantastic experience
Perfect location for culture and cuisine
So this is what spectacular is
Annagloria and Enzo created a truly special place, and the supporting cast, including Rosanna the cook or the daily cleaning crew, our needs were always met. This villa is special in so many ways and the only thing bad was that the week went by too fast.
Villa Il Santo - a stunning estate nestled in the rolling Tuscan hills
The owners of Villa Petragnano were warm and responsive to all of our needs. Their cook prepared our first night's dinner and it brought a standing ovation from all of us at the meal's conclusion. BTW - The sound of applause in the two-story dining room is joyous and energizing. We found ourselves applauding throughout our visit for the slightest reason - i.e. the appearance of the appetizers, the opening of a bottle of wine, the conclusion of dinner - you get the idea.
I asked the owners for suggestions for a mineral bath and a horseback ride excursion. Prompt response from owner, Annagloria, resulted in a relaxing afternoon soak in the town of Bagna Vignoni. The last full day at the Villa we had a pleasurable ride through the rolling countryside on delightful horses owned by neighboring Il Paretaio Stables.
This was the perfect place for the perfect Tuscan vacation/birthday party. Ciao!
All you could hope and wish for in a beautiful setting!
ROBERT ST. JOHN: Dreaming of Tuscany
They spoke lovey-dovey French to each other over dinner and professed their knowledge of French wine, food and culture at every opportunity. No matter what the conversation was about, they always had a comeback that “______ (fill in the blank) was better in France.”
As a child that might have seemed obnoxious, but in later years I came to appreciate their devotion, not only to each other, but the country they had fallen in love with in their youth. Who was I to decide what country/region/culture someone else should love or not love? These days I can relate to their dedication on another level. The minute I set foot in Italy, several years ago, I was smitten. In a strange way, I felt at home.
I love, love, love America, Mississippi, and my hometown of Hattiesburg. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. But Italy calls to me in some strange way I never anticipated.
Earlier this year I cancelled a spring break trip to Tuscany. I had made the arrangements in advance of last year’s book tour and hoped to visit Italian friends and old haunts in 2014. Due to scheduling conflicts and business concerns the timing didn’t work. I would be there right now shopping at the green grocer, talking with my friend Enzo about this year’s olive oil harvest, and traversing the Tuscan hillsides looking for new, out-of-the-way locals-only trattorias and osterias.
Instead I sit at a desk in a windowless office dreaming of Tuscany. Though in my mind’s eye I am sitting in the Viola Club in the small town of Tavarnelle.
The Viola Club is run by a family – mom in the kitchen, dad behind the bar, and son waiting tables. The food 100 percent authentic Italian, it is good, and unbelievably inexpensive. We ate there often and they nailed the food every time. It was one of those places that wasn’t much to look at but was filled with local color.
Paolo, the son, serves all of the tables. The menu changes daily and is handwritten on a piece of poster board. I spent a few mornings in The Viola Club’s kitchen with Paolo’s mom, Giuliana, and his wife, Elizabeth. They cooked. I soaked it all in. It was a blast.
I miss that place. I also miss cooking with Enzo’s olive oil that was made using olives picked from trees just outside our villa’s kitchen.
I miss eating pizza in the medieval town of Barbarino. The tiny restaurant there is a culinary anomaly. It’s cramped, the service is slow, and it’s named for a muzzle-loading rifle, but it has the absolute best pizza on the planet. Period. The crust is the thinnest I have tasted. The toppings are minimal. It is the exact opposite of what we Americans accept as pizza, and it is wonderful.
I miss hunting for truffles with Roberto Minnucci just down the hill from our villa. Watching the interaction between a truffle hunter and his dog is similar to a South Mississippi quail hunt, except the prize at the end of the day is the elusive Italian white truffle.
I miss buying my wife flowers every day at the local flower shop just off the Tavarnelle town square. There is something about a small flower shop on a European town square that lifts the simple act of gifting a floral arrangement into another stratosphere.
I miss the view from the villa across the valley. It can’t be described in words on a page because it changes every day, but the diversity and complexity of a Tuscan sunset is something everyone should witness.
I miss bringing home pastries from the bakery that are wrapped like presents using gift paper. No matter what one purchases – one croissant, a frozen cake, or a dozen lunch pastries – they wrap it in very nice blue and gold wrapping paper and tie it with a small blue ribbon.
I think of Italy often. I long for the slow, measured daily pace of life in a locals-only Tuscan village. Mostly I miss our friends Annagloria, Enzo, Barbara, Alberto, Gianni and Esa.
Spring break approaches and I am home. Though I don’t want to become like my aunt and uncle. I hope to never be a person who begins every sentence with, “Over in Italy …” If I ever pick up that habit, grab the nearest brick and knock me in the head. But, in the meantime, my friends and family might have to endure my yearning just a little longer.
Robert St. John is a restaurateur, chef and author of numerous books.
The most luxurious villa and friendly service in all of Europe!
If you want the best holiday/experience of your life you MUST stay here... Nothing else will suffice!
Spectacular 50th Birthday
Paradise Under the Tuscan Sun
The meals are prepared by 2 different cooks one for the morning and the other in evenings. Meals are done with flare and good use of local produce. The accompanying wine selection is quite a treat. Several good restaurants are nearby if you so desire we did so only on one evening.
The owners are wonderful and make you feel so at home. They reside about 5 minutes down the road but are in and out and available at anytime to assist with questions or arrangements.
It is truly one of those places when it comes time to go you want to stay longer and it is difficult to believe that you have already been here for 7 days.
Practically perfect, in every way
The beautiful villa -- a plethora of lovely rooms, each with its own en-suite. The renovation of the villa is beautifully done. The kitchen and bathrooms are a pleasure to use. The details are thoughtful and tasteful.
The exquisite views -- these went on forever and encompassed vineyards, olive groves, cypresses, and lovely medieval structures, including the medieval Manhattan, San Gimignano.
Having a great base for visiting Tuscany -- the villa is situated midway between Siena and Florence (a full day visit ), in close proximity to Certaldo (historic centre is worth a quick visit), San Gimignano (beautiful, had dinner and a stroll there), Volterra (spent the afternoon and loved it; and the drive between San Gimignano and Volterra is spectacular), Monteriggioni (a fun and easy breakfast stop on the way to Rome). The villa is a short walking distance to the hamlet of Petrognano, site of a well-rated restaurant and a lovely collection of mostly abandoned honey-coloured stone buildings, and is a long walk (or short drive) to Barberino di Val d'Elsa, where the local co-op grocery store was convenient for quick supplies, and the Thursday morning market in the town square provided delicious treats (fine cheeses, excellent cured meats, fresh fish, etc.). We also made a day trip further afield, to the Cinque Terre, with a stop in Lucca, which we very much enjoyed. This is a two-hour drive though, so non North Americans may find it a little far to go. All that said, we also enjoyed just resting and relaxing on the property itself!
Annagloria -- She helped us a lot. She gave us terrific recommendations on what to see and do; she made arrangements and reservations for a wine tour, and a guided visit of Florence's Accademia, Uffizi and Vasari Corridor and organized a delightful classical concert for us in the Villa by a talented soprano and pianist.
Rosanna -- Rosanna, the cook, prepared our welcome meal. We hired her for breakfast the following day and for two more dinners. The food she prepared was traditional Tuscan, and very good home fare, with multiple courses based on local ingredients. But for several of us, even better was the opportunity to work with her in the kitchen and enjoy her instruction and company, while expanding our Italian vocabulary. She is a treasure.
Enzo and Annagloria's wine -- There is a wine fridge in the kitchen stocked with their very good and reasonably priced wine. We helped ourselves most liberally!
There were two drawbacks, one of which was very minor.
First, from the moment we arrived and for the next several days, there was an unfortunate septic odour that was pervasive outdoors. Thankfully, the smell dissipated with the arrival of the warmer weather towards the end of the week, so we were able to enjoy the outdoor areas and the (very cold!) pool. Since no other reviewer has mentioned this, I suppose that it is an unusual occurrence. Annagloria mentioned the weather/prevailing winds, and Enzo mentioned some recent work as the cause. Apparently, waiting for it to pass was the solution.
The second drawback was very minor (and would be easily addressed for the benefit of future guests): for such a high-end villa, offering perfect accommodation for large parties of adults, the coffee making set up is inadequate. Picture thirteen coffee-addicted adults standing around a mid-size electric drip coffee-maker and two small stove-top espresso percolators, waiting for their morning fix. We missed our Jura! Even having more of the espresso percolators (one per couple?) would be an acceptable solution.
These two issues aside, Villa Il Santo ranks with the most beautiful and comfortable places we have stayed.
The Most Perfect Tuscan Experience!
Superb villa, sublime views, gracious hosts
A Gem in Tuscany
Wonderful villa getaway in the heart of Chianti region!
An amazing holiday in Tuscany
The setting of the villa was spectacular. As we were driving in after passing through Tavarnelle, we would round a bend to see the most gorgeous villas commanding impressive views and would say to each other “we hope ours is as good as that” and so our anticipation was building and building the further we drove. When we finally turned down the laneway and came to the end where the villa was perched looking out over the entire valley and across to San Gimignano in the distance, we were thrilled to see that both the location and the villa itself were in fact superior to all those we’d seen on the way in! Rosanna, the cook you’d help arrange, was already in the kitchen preparing our dinner, so the wonderful aroma that greeted us as soon as we stepped from the cars, as well as all the flowers in the garden in full bloom were the perfect entrée to the property itself. The furnishings and finishes, the manicured grounds, the sparkling pool, the spaciousness, the cool interiors on warm afternoons – everything was perfect. And the proximity to great vineyards and markets in local villages meant there was always something interesting to do nearby too
Stay july 2013 ( Australia)
Perfect and Beautiful Experience
By John from Philadelphia for a stay in 01/05/2013
one for the ages
By Jerry & Sheila PIerri from Exton, PA
Our Wedding In Italy - Made even better by Il Santo
Capodanno da favola!
Magical Location and Property
Views from property was outstanding...
A fabulous once in a lifetime experience!
WOW WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PLACE
Very tranquil but near to great places to visit although we were reluctant to ever leave the villa !!!
The owners are a delight and very helpful.
Many thanks Steve & Sue.
Truely 1st Class
The whole villa is well furnished and incredibly well equipped throughout, especially the kitchen. The owners, Annagloria and Enzo (lovely people) were on hand to help with any enquiry we had without ever being intrusive. the cleaning staff were very thorough and, well, the chef Bellissima Rosa, could give Nigella a run for her money any day of the week. Enzo supplies his own wine (very cheap) and oil from the estate to give everyone a truely excellent taste of Tuscany.
We look forward to staying there again with the whole family and we would recommend the villa to anyone without hesitation. You are in for a real treat!
(Hot air balloon group)
An unbelievable Tuscan experience.
There are lots of different seating areas to unwind in both inside and outside the villa. It was very easy to be comfortable in one large group or to sneak away for some privacy or to read a good book in peace. The infinity pool and Jacuzzi area are also perfectly situated to enjoy the view and get a tan!
Each beautiful guest room delighted every one of our diverse group. Tasteful, stylish, cool and contemporary with fabulous en-suite bathrooms. It was very warm during our visit and the air conditioning throughout the villa was very welcome!
This villa has been restored beautifully and to a very high standard. You must take a look at the photograph album available to guests to see just how much work has gone into the complete transformation in rescuing the building from its prior disuse.
Rosanna cooked a traditional welcome meal for us on our first night, using locally sourced ingredients, including olive oil and wine produced by the owners of the villa. The meal was absolutely delicious and she was a delightful lady. You can arrange to have Rosanna cook for you again during your stay and we also enjoyed a great lunch and evening meal at a lovely restaurant within easy walking distance, again in a glorious setting, just a short walk up the hill. The local town of Tavernelle is not touristy and, traditionally once a week during the summer, it closes off the main street to traffic. The restaurants and cafes spill out and barbecues and market stalls provide a brilliant atmosphere. Just ask the hosts, Annagloria and Enzo, about booking a table at Paulo's Cafe to enjoy a really local experience. The food is great and very reasonably priced but Paulo alone is worth making the trip for!
Enzo and Annagloria were attentive to all our enquiries prior to our visit, and looked after us really well during our stay. They are such warm and friendly people, that nothing we needed help with was a problem. Their daughters, Gemma and Bianca, were also very welcoming and friendly too when they showed us around the villa on arriving. We all had a brilliant holiday.
The only thing that will disappoint you about this villa, is if you don't book early enough and miss out!
Beautiful villa in Tuscany
Best wishes from Iceland
Our stay in August 2012
Only advice I would provide future guests, is to follow Annagloria's driving directions. The GPS will not take you there which caused issues for most members of our large group.
The perfect place for a family vacation!
Villa Il Santo in Tuscany is a truly superb villa located in a terrific spot. The villa is just a short drive from Florence, San Gimignano, Sienna and an hour from Lucca. You cannot find a better location overlooking the rolling hills of olive trees and grape vines. The rooms are all beautifully outfitted and all have exquisite views. We travelled with a friend who is a master chef and what a joy it was to cook in this modern and well-stocked kitchen. We enjoyed our evenings at the large dining table and our days in the sun at the hillside pool. We are the owners of a villa in Tulum on the Yucatan/Riviera Maya. Our villa is rated Top Vacation Villa by Trip Advisor and we are always in search of the best villa experience. As a villa owner and a seasoned traveller I can say that this villa is truly wonderful. The villa owner Annagloria is knowledgeable & helpful to her guests. This service is truly invaluable when visiting a villa - Annagloria excels as an owner. I highly recommend it!
Dream Vacation at Villa Il Santo!
Our extended family travelled to Italy last summer, ages ranging from 3 to 73. We did a lot of research to find just the right place - - and we did. Villa Il Santo is divine. The views are spectacular and the Villa equally so. There is plenty of space, with beautiful sitting areas and an outside dining area where we ate every day. The restaurant at the top of the road was delicious - only wish we could have gone a second time. Annagloria and Enzo are wonderful hosts, committed to making the experience perfect. We would go back in a minute
Our magical trip to Tuscany
The interior of the Villa is stunning and built to provide you with all the comforts of home plus more. The old antiques complement the simple, clean, contemporary furnishings of the overall design but none of them take away from the beauty of the buildings and their history. It's like old and new found a perfect place to coexist.
Annagloria was very attentive to our groups needs and meet with us on a regular basis to discuss daily trips, places to see and shop, cooking/menu arrangements, wine stocking needs or anything else that we might needed. Knowing that we could have called on her or her husband at any given time for anything just make the vacation that much better.
We intend to return to Tuscany for many years to come and to stay at any of these properties, not only because they are beautiful but because their owners truelly embody the spirit of true hospitality and Tuscany.
Love Family, Florida USA
Richard Love from Indian Harbor Beach, Florida