A Tuscan dream
Or the dream began with Tuscany..
Passing through the Etruscan coast, we reached Relais Sant’Elena with an unlimited view over Tuscany’s picturesque countryside. A very refined place, in perfect harmony with the unbelievable scenery, beautifully restored and interior designed by a local architect. An 18th century Tuscan residence, part of the Giardini Estate, the hamlet is located in the south west of Tuscany, bordering the village of Bolgheri. It is set among the hills of Bibbona, in a highly-acclaimed wine growing region celebrated for its unique “terroir.”
Close to Sassicaia, Ornellaia and many other renown Tuscan wineries, this is a wonderful place to relax with a glass of wine surrounded by amazing landscapes.
The establishment is comprised of 2 different buildings, the Manor House and the Foresteria. Inside both of them, you will find elegantly and charmingly decorated rooms, furnished with antiques, with a great view on the Tuscan hills. The breakfast room is very well decorated with antique furniture and fabrics, crystal chandeliers and calming colors. We couldn’t stop taking pictures of all the details inside.
In the yard there are 2 pavilions with an intimate, relaxing and restful ambience, where you can spend hours reading a book or even take a nap, cuddling in yours partners arms and watching the sunset. A beautiful setting with a garden of dozens of blooming roses, incredibly peaceful and romantic!
The breakfast is very rich. It is also possible to have lunch and dinner at the hotel if you let them know in advance. The hotel staff is very helpful in recommending restaurants in the towns nearby and making reservations. I can truly recommend the restaurants in Bolgheri, this small, typical Tuscan town, located just 10 minutes drive away. We loved dining at La Pigneta and Enoteca Tognoni and enjoyed the wine tasting in the famous Bolgheri vineyards.
If you get the chance, book a tasting at Guado Al Melo, their ‘Jassarte’ wine is incredible.
We visited the region in November, just in time for the truffle festival. So I laid in a stock of truffles that I use it to flavor meat, pasta or, my favorite, pouched eggs.
!At the festival I learned a great recipe to delight my guests, a mix of truffle salsa with cream cheese (I use Philadelphia). It is served on a piece of bread. I assure you there will be no leftovers! Another combination that I love for dessert is Brie cheese with honey and truffle salsa. Even the truffle haters will enjoy this treat!
The beach is located approx. 5 minutes from the hotel. Sant’Elena has an agreement with a beach service place at Marina di Bibbona. Here you can have Traditional Tuscan dishes prepared by chef Luciano Zazzeri at Ristorante La Pineta. I am also suggesting the lovely beach in Baratti.
One hour drive from Bolgheri, we visited Volterra, a prevalently Medieval town with influences from the Roman period and the Middle Ages. Visitors have the immediate impression of stepping into the past, they discover Volterra with its narrow Medieval streets and the enigma of its Etruscan origins with Rennaisance traces. Museums, early Christian churches, towers and house-towers, all are enclosed in the medieval atmosphere. Volterra is famous for the manufacture of Alabaster, truffle festival in november, for the Medieval Week and for many other cultural events.
The glory of the Tuscan people is the sensitivity to beauty and the tradition of evoking it with one’s own heart, mind, and hands. Tuscany is the land of exquisite Art& Crafts stores, earthy and delicious food, antique markets, great pasta and even greater wine variety.
Once you are in this region, you might want to visit the most known Tuscan city, Florence, a real museum of Italian Renaissance, mixed with Roman ruins and Romanesque churches. Here, you might want to learn more about sublime art created by geniuses such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Donatello and Botticelli. I recommend you the book “The Agony and The Ecstasy”, a wonderful insight in the life of the genius Michelangelo. A book about passion, love, struggle and uncease search to perfection, a story of the Italian Renaissance in all its glory, in the seductive Florence of those times.
Tuscany charms all its visitors, boasting an extraordinary, unique mix of sights, famous for their rolling hills, vineyards and medieval towns. For sure we’ll be back to discover more of it.. from its art and culture, to the food and wine.. and to live La Dolce Vita!