If you’re looking for a Tuscan country house vacation set among swathes of verdant vineyards, Relais Ruffino is the place to stay.
Only 20 minutes southeast of Florence by car, this just-opened accommodation occupies the Renaissance villa on Ruffino’s Poggio Casciano estate. Centuries-old steps lead up to a picturesque terrace dotted with scarlet geraniums before being welcomed into the airy reception area by Ruffino’s attentive hospitality staff. The history immediately makes an impression as a pair of red-and-cream medieval lamp standards beckon guests into the salotto, a monumental lounge whose rounded ceiling is decorated every which way with rococo-style vine frescoes. Observe the painted country scenes on the walls while enjoying the estate’s Modus wine ensconced on one of the mustard-ruby settees. Or chat with fellow oenophiles over a game of billiards in the spacious hall next to the breakfast room, where guests indulge in a generous spread of locally produced jams, cakes and cookies alongside Tuscan cured meats and brunch favorites like scrambled eggs.
Take your pick from the seven classic rooms, all equipped with air conditioning to beat the summer heat. From Robbia’s white and gold furnishings to the Poggiola and Bacio family suite, perfect for parents and princesses with the pink-accented single and adjacent sage green double, every room vaunts its own distinctive personality while staying true to a traditional Tuscan country ambience. Relais Ruffino is perfectly placed as a villa rental for family vacations and reunions, or even for a romantic break for wine lovers.
The pool deserves a paragraph all of its own. Temptingly tucked behind the villa, the irresistibly large lido twinkles under the Tuscan sun. It’s the epitome of the infinity pool, the edge of the water blurring with the green topiary gardens and the lush vineyards planted to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that belong to the Poggio Casciano estate. Instagrammers (or not) stand defenseless before the symmetrical rows and sublime natural light. A hearty barbecue area offers another reason to linger poolside.
Ochre arches welcome you to Ruffino’s visitor center across the courtyard, where the focus is on a friendly feel with memorable service. Discover how cousins Ilario and Leopoldo started out small-scale by adopting the motto “Here we make ideal wine”. Inspect the medals that established Ruffino’s global reputation as well as the 1890 parchment issued by the Duke of Aosta appointing Ruffino as the official supplier to the Italian royal family. Tasting tours range from the 90-minute Taste of Tuscany tour to the popular two-hour Vineyard in the Glass visit, which begins in the vineyard before venturing underground for a special barrel tasting in the centuries-old ageing cellar. Wine connoisseurs are drawn to Back to the Future, a vertical tasting across four decades of Riserva Ducale Oro, the producer’s landmark Chianti Classico, a way to understand the evolution of the Ruffino brand from past to present.
Prices start at 100 euro per night, breakfast included.
Via Poggio al Mandorlo 1, Quarate-Bagno a Ripoli (Florence) - Reservations: [email protected]
Tel. +39 055 6499704