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IL BORGO DI COLLEOLI  - Our manager Charlotte Wringe's review of her stay in this beautiful Tuscan accommodation:

“This charming medieval castle was the highlight of my recent trip to Italy to source out new top of the range accommodation for 2012. It's been renovated in accordance with Grade 1 'listed buildings' Italian regulations. This ensures the original features are retained even keeping its beautiful wooden beams throughout the building. Bedrooms have been modernized and tastefully decorated to a modern Tuscan style.The charming apartments vary from 1 bedroom right through to suites- with gorgeous king size beds, authentic looking bathrooms, and a cozy lounge/kitchen area. Apartment and studios have kitchenette areas incorporated.There is a reception and lounge area with courteous and helpful staff, along with a beautiful breakfast room- which converts into a wine bar in the evening!Dine in style in the 'I Secoli' restaurant, where you enjoy all typical Tuscan foods, cooked with local produce by local Italian chefs. You can even try truffles here!

Activities include wine tasting, horse riding, bike riding and even hot-air ballooning! And there are lots of places to walk. I did each evening-some wonderful sunsets! No matter what you decide to do, even if it is just relaxing amongst the ancient olive groves or taking dips in either of the conveniently situated scenic pools, your stay will certainly be a memorable one!”

PRICES

Studio for 2 from £430 weekly to £670 in peak season.

Suites with private individual gardens, from £549 to £1042 in peak season. 

Ask us to quote you exactly what you require. We can discuss with you the best option for you, your friends and family. Why not speak to Charlotte herself to find our more about her fabulous experience at this charming Italian resort?

 

Ask us to quote you exactly what you require. We can discuss with you the best option for you, your friends and family. Why not speak to Charlotte herself to find our more about her fabulous experience at this charming Italian resort?

 

 

 

 

Call Lorraine or Charlotte if you would like more details, prices etc for this property.

 

 

 

Photos from Getty Images

Read Judith Wood's review of her Agriurism holiday in the Daily Telegraph...


The sudden rustle in the undergrowth was over almost as soon as it began, but no less terrifying for that. As we pointed our feeble torchlight into the darkness, I clutched my husband's arm and strained to hear. Silence.

Then a crashing of branches as something considerably heavier than a feral cat or fox plunged through the dense thicket somewhere ahead of us. Cue a wail of uncertainty from our five-year-old daughter, Lily, drowned out by screams of terror from me.

"Look, you're the one who's been obsessed with seeing wild boar," my husband whispered. "Go on, now's your big chance." He nudged me, mischievously, but all I did was cling harder, stopping the blood supply to his forearm. Then, mercifully, the increasingly distant sound of scurrying trotters on gravel assured us that our visitor had departed, and we continued on our faltering way through the trees.

On most Italian holidays, going out for dinner means visiting a crowded trattoria in a city piazza. In Campalfi, you set off on foot, intrepidly through the forest at dusk, following the course of the river for a mile until you reach the local pizzeria. Once there, you knock back a carafe or two of Italian courage and load up your torch (preferably two) for the thrillingly scary return trip.

If you thought, as I did, that Tuscany was all manicured hillsides and cypress trees standing formally to attention round identikit hilltop villas, think again.

Just 20 minutes from the Renaissance marvels of Siena lies a wonderful corner of Swallows and Amazons wilderness. This was our first taste of agriturismo, the Italian equivalent of a farm break, and from the resident peacocks stalking the overgrown lawns to the sun-faded painted wooden beehives in the adjoining meadow, Campalfi turned out to be the very antithesis of a stylised landscape.

British visitors are often dismayed to find that the "agri" dimension of many Italian farm holidays begins and ends with olive groves, or vineyards, which adults might find interesting, but they don't have the same romance for children as collecting freshly laid eggs or feeding calves from a bucket.

And while livestock is thin on the ground in Tuscany, we found that the peacocks, parakeets, doves, chickens and the owners' huge wolf-like puppy, Tula – who obligingly adopted us for the duration of our visit – pretty much ticked every box.

The property was a collection of old farm buildings, including a granary and a tower, converted to three apartments, tucked away down a precarious rubble road just over a mile from the tiny hamlet of Stigliano. All around us were densely wooded slopes, hiding deer, porcupines and wild boar – cinghiale – of which I longed to catch a glimpse. In addition, somewhere high in the hills, two hours' walk away, lay the Castiglion Che Dio Sol Sa which translates as The Castle That Only God Knows.

Campalfi was run by a talented German chef, who cooked the most magnificent six-course meals of Tuscan specialities, and his Home Counties wife, an artist. There was an engaging quirkiness about the place that wouldn't appeal to the masses, but was utterly beguiling to anyone with a spirit of adventure. For a start, there was no swimming pool – why bother when the river Merse runs lazily right through the floor of the valley? On Sundays, local families descended with improbably elaborate picnics and fishing rods to bag carp; otherwise guests had the water to themselves.

Children were free to explore the natural limestone pools, build dams, net tiddlers and swim to their heart's content. Some adults were less gung ho. When my husband found himself standing thigh-deep in the river surrounded by inquisitive fish, his face was a picture of appalled consternation at being quite so uncomfortably close to nature.

But I loved clambering over the rocks with Lily in a reprise of my outdoors childhood, and we both found it enchanting that shoals of tiddlers nibbled at our toes and ankles as we paddled.

Another major benefit of not having a swimming pool was the air of utter tranquillity around the house; no splashing, yelling or noisy games from dawn until dusk. Instead, we threw open our doors in the morning to the susurration of cicadas and the smell of wild thyme, and drank our morning espressos by the pond, where terrapins sunbathed on the bank and jewel-bright dragonflies danced over the surface.

The other guests were German, spoke impeccable English and made for interesting company over the twice-weekly evening meals prepared by our hosts and served in the communal dining room. Generally, around a third of holidaymakers are British, but the low-key atmosphere and miles of forest walks meant that it was quite possible not to see anyone else for days at a time.

In the course of our week we visited Siena twice, where we marvelled at the 12th-century Duomo, encased in bands of black and white marble, and the brillantly colourful frescoes of its Piccolomini Library before eating lunch alfresco in the Campo. And there were other trips, to the glorious hill town of Montepulciano and the Gothic splendour of the Basilica in Poggibonsi.

Driving back home in the evenings along single-track roads, the hedgerows teemed with pheasants and on one occasion we were forced to stop by deer ambling across our path.

Then, on our last day, as my husband and daughter lazed about in the garden, I set off – more in hope than expectation – to find The Castle That Only God Knows.

I had a roughly sketched map, and was told to turn left and keep walking. It would apparently take me an hour and a half – two if I was very slow. Up I walked, along wide forestry roads at first, Tula bouncing along by my side on her massive tawny paws. Later, grazing my bare legs, I followed a narrow path gouged out of the hillside, through a cork grove, where the trunks had been stripped to make stoppers for wine bottles.

After almost three hours, I was utterly lost and exhausted, Tula was dolefully trailing in my wake and I reluctantly decided it was time to give up and turn back. And suddenly there, below me, were the ruins of the castle, a medieval fortress now overgrown with trees.

Although it is closed to the public and said to be dangerous, I pushed at the gate and, when it gave, entered a bramble-tangled courtyard. From here I climbed the stone steps to the upper floor, where the tremendous views across the valley in the summer stillness took my breath away.

But not for long; anxious to get back before nightfall, I set off at a brisk jog down the hill. Then Tula started to growl. And there they were; a family group of cinghiale, two adults and two piglets, rootling around beneath a stand of trees in search of beech mast. They were smaller than I'd imagined – barely 2ft in height – but formidably thickset. I swear I could see a pale tusk glinting in the shadow. As Tula's growl became a low bark, the largest animal raised its head and looked over at us. Then the group, as one, gave a whisk of their tails and galloped off.

Wild boar may not be the reason most people come to Tuscany, but this was a sweet moment, and one that I suspect will live on long after memories of the frescoes have faded.

This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author and The Daily Telegraph

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