I’m not sure if it was the picturesque landscape, rural air, romantic setting or the amazingly accommodating owner and staff at The Palazzo del Borgo in Rivalto, Tuscany that makes me feel compelled to write a review about it. Let’s just say it’s all of the above!
I booked this little retreat near Chianni as a birthday surprise for my boyfriend. So far, this year has been a bit of a rollercoaster so I wanted to find somewhere that we could both just truly relax. And this definitely ticked that box.
Driving up the steep meandering road to get to our accommodation, it’s safe to say we were both a little dubious about our hire cars’ ability to actually get there without giving up. But thankfully, it got us there safe and sound, to one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been to. Think panoramic views with rolling hills and Tuscan buildings, complete with olive trees and vineyards.
We were shown to our apartment which was located on the ground floor. When entering, I have to admit that I was at first a little underwhelmed. The apartment was quite dark and didn’t have a private outside space which I was expecting. I had that feeling where I thought the other apartments might be nicer (which I realise is a problem I have rather than it being justified in any way!).
However, we settled in, cracked open a bottle of wine and I had soon forgotten my initial apprehension. In actual fact, the apartment itself turned out to be an absolute haven. It stayed cool regardless of the heat outside, we had a kitchen with all the amenities you’d need and the bed was very comfortable. It turned out we didn’t need any outdoor space because the area was so quiet that it was all pretty much ours anyway! Our highlight was the hot tub overlooking the panorama of Tuscany – one of those moments that you realise life is pretty sweet!
What made our stay that much more special was how accommodating the owner, Rachele, and her staff were. On the first evening when we ate in their restaurant, I tried to explain that I can’t eat dairy. The next morning at breakfast, I was greeted by Rachele with two yoghurts specifically for me. It was such a nice gesture. Unfortunately they were lactose free rather than dairy free (this seemed quite common, it’s clear that the italians have an understanding of lactose intolerance but potentially not dairy intolerance) but regardless, the thought was there.
On the third morning, I was presented with another two lactose free yoghurts and some lactose free butter. I took these with me and left them in the fridge in our apartment but didn’t want to eat them as I knew they’d cause me stomach pain. And on the final day, they brought me a box of all their food intolerance items for me to take a look through. These were definitely tailored towards gluten and nut allergies which seemed to be consistent with the general understanding of allergy / intolerance types in Italy.
Rachele also organised wine tasting for us at a local vineyard which was absolutely beautiful.
She drove us there and back for a very reasonable 10 euros per person (although we ended up being substantially less well off – or more, depending how you look at it – as we decided that we should really start our wine collection now…).
The location of The Palazzo del Borgo would have been enough to make it special but when the extra touches were offered, it went above and beyond our expectations.
Oh, and if you like cats, you’ll like it even more!!