One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.
At the tail-end of mine and my boyfriend’s European vacation, we decided to treat ourselves to a romantic rendezvous in Tuscany, thanks to a fantastic deal from acclaimed Villa la Grotta. Complete with jaunts to various vineyards, wine tastings, castle and organic farm tours, we knew the last few days of our trip would be well spent.
We took the train from Florence to Arezzo, which takes about 50 minutes -- I would highly recommend renting a car, as Tuscany is extremely spread out and that’s the easiest and least expensive way to explore all of the area’s charming little villages. We took a taxi, and in addition to pricey fares, not everyone in Tuscany speaks English.
Pulling in, elegant wrought-iron gates revealed a pale-pink estate surrounded by lush gardens and an intimate pool area. Though reception is closed from 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. and we conveniently arrived at 1 p.m., they opened their doors regardless to greet us. And as soon as the reception desk heard a faint groan from one of our stomachs, they were quick to comprise an enticing platter of fresh Italian salami, pillowy cheeses, traditional Tuscan bread and unbelievably fresh and flavorful olive oil -- cold pressed just days prior.
Next, we were shown to our room ... or apartment, rather. Floor-to-ceiling windows opened to endless views of the Chianti hills from our spacious living room, and the villa’s simple motto echoed in our minds; “at Villa la Grotta, this is not a hotel ... we want you to feel as if you are home.” And we were.
We spent our time sampling wines in the garden, visiting enchanting restaurants up in the mountains, touring and tasting at the Ferragamo family’s famed Il Borro estate and perhaps most importantly, melting into much-needed moments of deep relaxation. Few things in my life will ever compare to the way I felt in Tuscany, sipping wines, overlooking breathtaking scenery and simply enjoying life with my love beside me.
Above and beyond our impeccable stay, the unbelievably warm and gracious staff at Villa la Grotta spent time getting to know us personally, embracing us like family of their own. I now have a second home in Italy, right under the Tuscan sun.