On my recent visit to Italy I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Tuscany at the beautiful Tenuta Valle Buia, an Olive Farm with two guest houses in Southern Tuscany.
Location in Tuscany
It is just over two hours drive north of Rome to the southern coast of Tuscany and the the province of Grosseto. Valle Buia is located inside the Maremma wildlife reserve, close to the port of Talamone.
Perfectly located on a rise, the Farm House and guest houses have beautiful views of the bay and Port.
Tuscany covers a larger area than I realised, it includes Siena, Pisa and Florence as shown on this map.
The Farm House
The farm of 40 hectares has centuries-old olive groves and the main focus is the production of extra virgin olive oil and honey.
The farm house was built with traditional stone. The owners converted the ground floor, which originally housed farm animals into their living area. They went to great lengths to ensure the stone work matched the original.
Also on the property are two guest houses which are let out to holiday makers throughout the year.
Colours of Tuscany
Our gracious hosts must have thought I was a bit weird, when not long after I arrived, I whipped out a colour fandeck and started colour matching. I couldn’t help myself, I had visualised Tuscan colours for years, colour matched photographs for many a colour card and magazine article and here I was, witnessing the real thing!
I got the family to help out.
Despite strict restrictions there a few other working farms on the nature reserve. Most, like Valle Buia have access to private beaches on the reserve. My “mini me” and I were given permission to visit another farm and guesthouse on the sea. I love how the weathered look is celebrated in Italy and adds to the charm and beauty of the surroundings.
We decided to visit the ancient town of Porto Ercole one evening. Porto Ercole is steeped in history spanning the Middle ages and the Renaissance period. As a result, there is a variety of architectural styles and colours that all blend together seamlessly. These include refined Siennnese, Italian Military and Spanish Influences.
The image on the right above, features the Siennese City Gate from the 15th century, built to provide access to the walled town of Porto Ercole. The Porte Senese features a pointed arch, which is typical of Siennese Gothic architecture.
The city gate was protected by a breteche – a small balcony with machicolations (series of openings in a projecting parapet – though which boiling water, stones etc could be dropped on invaders.)
Porto Ercole is the resting place of the brilliant and notorious artist Caravaggio ( known as the most famous painter in Rome and father of the Baroque style) who died in 1610 after a short illness at the age of 39. His paintings have a shocking realism and incredible use of light and shadow.
They say all roads lead to Florence, the regions biggest city, and that is exactly what we did when we left Valle Buia. We rented a car and drove 2 and a half hours to Florence, where we caught a train to Venice. I can’t wait to share Venice through my eyes soon.
Until then have a wonderful week