If a holiday in a luxury villa in Tuscany sounds like your idea of heaven, but you’re also interested in sustainable travel in Italy, read on! Il Paluffo is perhaps the perfect Italian ecotourism holiday, poised between Italy farm stay simplicity and luxury Tuscan villa comfort with a private pool.
Il Paluffo is a a 15th-century Tuscan villa situated in the heart of Chianti, near Florence, Siena and San Gimignano. Offering a mix of environmentally sustainable accommodation options and an open-air swimming pool, its stunning location means that Il Paluffo represents the perfect base for a Chianti trip or Chianti wine tour.
Originally a medieval tower house with an olive mill, Il Paluffo Tuscan villa has been lovingly restored and converted into the perfect estate for an ecotourism holiday in Italy. Il Paluffo grows its own organic red and white grapes for wine, organic olives for oil, while keeping a fully organic garden and nurturing bees and chickens for honey and eggs.
Today, thanks to that superb carbon zero refurbishment, Il Paluffo has a relaxed but luxury vibe with eight beds in its boutique B&B, plus four self-catering apartments with private gardens. The entire estate can only host up to 40 guests max so you’re ensured bespoke service during your ecotourism holiday, even in peak season.
Tuscany – where to stay
If you’re trying to work out where to stay in Tuscany, particularly with a Chianti wine tour in mind, this may be the perfect solution. Il Paluffo’s B&B is set within the historic manor house or main house, occupying an entire wing of the luxury Tuscan villa.
It comprises four double bedrooms with antique furniture, frescoes, and private bathrooms. Currently, il Paluffo Tuscan villa only offers a bed and breakfast option here (including a wonderful home-made breakfast spread) so you’ll have to plan your lunches and dinner elsewhere. However, foodie activities on-site and wonderful local restaurants in the surrounding restaurants mean there are lots of options there (more on all that later!)
The self-catering apartments, which are located in a different wing of the luxury Tuscan villa, have modern fitted kitchens and multiple bedrooms for different sized groups, as well as small, private terrace gardens with outdoor dining options. All the accommodation is powered by solar and photovoltaic panels, while five charging stations for electric cars continue the ecotourism holiday theme.
All guests can enjoy relaxing in Il Paluffo’s extensive gardens, part typical Italian farm stay, part luxury Tuscan villa vibe, with its unique private pool. The jewel in the peaceful gardens of the Tuscan villa in fact is actually a naturally Chlorine-free swimming pool, which encourages the growth of water lilies at its edges and is gentle on the skin.
Activities at Il Paluffo agriturismo Chianti
I was lucky enough to visit Il Paluffo in September, on the weekend reserved for the wine harvest. As a lover of Tuscan wines and its wonderful vineyard landscapes, this was a magical time to make a Chianti trip.
Il Paluffo’s owner, Luca, is passionate and knowledgeable about wine, and Il Paluffo’s 1 hectare of vineyards are maintained to produce only organic wines. The estate produces up to 1,000 bottles a year, mostly red Sangiovese grapes, so its precious stuff. The grapes are still harvested by hand using local help. I don’t think I was very useful but loved having a go!
If you visit Il Paluffo around November time, you should be lucky enough to catch the olive harvest. This takes place over a number of days and the olives are immediately crushed to yield organic olive oil in several batches.
Of course, there are also lots of planned activities that you can book at Il Paluffo for any time of the year. Ranging from visits to Tuscan wineries for a full Chianti wine tour, to spa treatments, electric bike tours, donkey rides, a trip to the opera, Vespa tour, ceramic workshop and even a hot air balloon flight, there’s something for everyone at very reasonable prices.
Activities at Il Paluffo – food and drink
You can also combine activities with meal times. A short course of wine and oil tasting with a light dinner (2 hours) costs just €30 per head (minimum of four people) and solves dinner as well!
Otherwise, try a cooking class or pasta making lesson with a professional cook (minimum 2 people) with prices ranging from €55 to €85 per person, depending on how many courses you prepare. This is a delicious introduction to the region’s food traditions. You can also have Tuscan home cooking delivered to your room or your apartment if you can’t face moving in the evenings after a long day relaxing by the private pool (and we can’t blame you!)
Luxury villas Tuscany: Where to eat nearby
Il Paluffo Tuscan villa doesn’t have a regular restaurant so unless you have booking an activity or private dining in your apartment, the evenings make for a wonderful chance to explore some nearby villages or try a Chianti wine tour. Staying at Il Paluffo really requires a car to get around, but the distances aren’t far.
I dined at Osteria di Casa Chianti during my stay at Il Paluffo luxuryTuscan villa (just a 10 minute drive away) and I wasn’t disappointed. This wonderful farmhouse-style restaurant has a lovely terrace garden in the warm months, and cosy fireside tables for cooler nights. Expect to eat lots of Tuscan and even more local traditions – as well as enjoying km 0 wine and olive oil.
Dinner at Osteria di Casa Chianti started with a Certaldo-onion flan, cheese sauce made from a ‘young’ pecorino cheese and walnuts. The nearby town of Certaldo (which is worth a visit) is famous for its large, flat onions with health-giving properties, and these are frequently served in the local cuisine.
Another well-known local delicacy are the so-called ‘galletti’ mushrooms. These were served with handmade tagliatelli for a superb pasta dish.
I also tried the restaurant’s signature roast pigeon, charcoal-grilled ‘red’ chicken, and a superb guineafowl roll in red wine.
How to get to Il Paluffo Agriturismo Chianti
To reach Il Paluffo Tuscan villa, you need to take the train to the town of Certaldo. This is easy to reach from Florence, taking about 45 minutes by train.
From Certaldo, you can arrange for the Il Paluffo folk to directly pick you up, for the 20 minute drive to the villa. However, I would really recommend having your own car during your stay, if you want to explore during the evenings and reach other restaurants. In high summer, it is possible to walk from Il Paluffo to the surrounding villages for dining options in the evenings.
However, after dark, and particularly when the days are shorter, this is not advisable. The roads are dark and winding and this is wild boar country! Whatever you decide, the electric car charging points on site mean that you’ll be doing your bit for sustainable travel in Italy if you drive an electric vehicle.
Review: Il Paluffo luxury Tuscan villa
I had a wonderful stay at Il Paluffo luxury Tuscan villa and would highly recommend it if you’re looking for some where to stay in Tuscany. It is the perfect destination for an ecotourism holiday if you are interested in sustainable travel in Italy, as well as being a great choice for those that love beautiful landscapes, wonderful Tuscan cuisine, and a farm stay with creature comforts.
As a wine lover, this also proved the perfect base for a Chianti trip or Chianti wine tour which ticked all the boxes for me.
Bear in mind that you can book the entire villa (sleeps up to 40) for a bijou wedding, anniversary celebration, renewal of vows, christening, or family get together.
If you’re planning a trip to Tuscany you might also want to check out my reviews of Eating Europe’s Florence food tour, the other side of Florence, or dive into a seven day residential cooking class with the wonderful Cook in Tuscany.