Our family of four (two adults, two teenage daughters) have recently returned from a happy and hot August week staying at Le Tortore on the edge of stunning Siena. After the two hour drive from Pisa airport, we were warmly welcomed by Andrea, Thiago's father, with gifts of tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines from his vegetable garden as well as a delicious spread of other local treats to get our holiday off to a flying start!
The villa is set on the family's estate, surrounded by olive groves and cypress pine trees, but within 15 minutes walk of the bustling heart of Siena. Inside, the rooms are attractively furnished with antique pieces, and the efficient modern air con in the two bedrooms was much appreciated as the temperature never dropped below 30 degrees all week. The kitchen is well appointed with everything needed for cooking and we all enjoyed sitting outside for meals on the shady terrace area. And what an incredible view from the bathroom! However, it is the stunning private swimming pool that made the holiday for us, with its sweeping views across the Tuscan countryside to the south.
Using Le Tortore as a base, we thoroughly enjoyed walking into Siena, climbing Le Torre Mangia, marvelling at the richly decorated Duomo and exploring the mysterious shaded streets, hung with flags following the second Palio horserace which had taken place just before we arrived. Make sure you try the ice creams - huge, rich and delicious! Thiago also recommended a meal at La Taverna di San Giuseppe and we saved this treat for our last night - the food and atmosphere were truly fabulous, so make sure you book!
We also drove to Florence on two occasions, using the new park and ride at La Costanza on the motorway. The large car park is linked to the city centre by a modern tram service which stops at the central station, just a few minutes walk from all the main sights. We booked in advance to climb Brunelleschi's Duomo dome - an amazing experience and worth the queue - and also to see Michelangelo's statue of David at the Accademia, but beware - the sheer numbers of tourists and the intense summer heat are pretty overpowering !
In the end, the highlight of every day of our week was escaping the crowds and returning to the peace, quiet and beauty of Le Tortore and swimming in the lovely pool. Thank you Thiago and Andrea for our wonderful Sienese holiday - we feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to stay in your beautiful "home from home".