Docciole was designed by the owners to accommodate visits from their large family - it manages to provide large communal spaces as well as give private areas to various parts of the building, together with individual kitchens. Everybody can congregate upstairs in the enormous living room or kitchen, but if you'd like a little quiet time just make your own breakfast and re-join the fray when you've charged your batteries. Together with its proximity to a fantastic village in Chianti, Radda, with excellent restaurants and cafes, this makes it a perfect location for a large family gathering, or a group of friends....
There are several entrances into the large farmhouse, perhaps the most obvious being up the well-trod stone steps to the top floor. Immediately through the front door one is drawn to the light flooding into the very large living-dining room to the right. With chestnut beams soaring over the dining area to double height, the sheer volume of air and light create a marvelously welcoming space. To one side of the dining table for 8 a wooden staircase rises to a mezzanine containing two single beds, while the far end of the living area has sofas set in front of an open fireplace and a doorway leading to a generous country kitchen. Modern appliances find a harmony with a cooking fireplace, bread cupboard and long refectory table and become, in time-honored tradition, the heart of this Tuscan home. Three double bedrooms are on this floor, one off the dining area and two down a side hall past a small study. All of the bedrooms are spacious and furnished with lovely fabrics and country antiques. The two bathrooms, one ensuite and one shared, make great use of terracotta, Tuscany's much beloved material.
Further accommodations are on the ground floor - four large bedroom suites, three double and one twin/double, each with a shower room, dining table, sufficient kitchen facilities to prepare a light meal and an independent access to the outdoors. While the ground floor of the farmhouse does not have an internal staircase to the top floor, three of the lower suites do interconnect, an ideal arrangement for a family unit. While the suites differ in look and layout, care has been taken to provide each with similar comforts.
The garden at the back of the house, planted in fragrant, flowering shrubs and shaded by towering oaks, extends the living space, for under a vine-draped pergola there is a table large enough for everyone to sit down to meals al fresco. There is a free-standing barbecue, a pizza oven, and sun beds to set on the wide lawn overlooking a raised pool bordered on one side by a wooden deck. Additional space is also available for group activities in a charming annex across the drive from the house.
With a very spacious country kitchen on the upper level and additional kitchen facilities in each of the four ground floor suites, it is easy to fashion meals for the whole group or for different ages. Yet a highlight of many a holiday is having a Tuscan cook come to the house and prepare a delicious meal. At Docciole a local chef produces a four-course dinner (€30/person; children under 8 yrs free) which features an antipasto, mixed grill, home-made pasta, fresh garden vegetables and dessert - wine included.
Though the closest restaurant, walkable in 1 km, is Vignale, and the Sandy Bar, which has good coffee, pastries, sandwiches and delicious gelato, the owner recommends a couple of favorites:
La Bottega di Volpaia near medieval village of Volpaia (+39 0577 738001) - La Bottega is a restaurant with an authentic menu, garden fresh produce and a beautiful setting with valley view. Definitely book ahead at this one!!
La Perla del Palazzo in Radda (+39 0577 735640) - La Perla del Palazzo, in the historic Palazzo Leopoldo, provides an excellent Tuscan menu in an elegant dining room or charming garden. They also do cooking lessons if you'd like to learn to re-create their delicious dishes.
Le Forchette del Chianti in Radda (+39 0577 738923) - Le Forchette is another place to pair quality red and white wines with Tuscan specialities.
Venturing a bit further, but still in the Chianti region, you might try:
Badia a Coltibuono near Gaiole in Chianti (+39 0577 74481) - Literally 'the abbey of good harvest', you know that the restaurant on the grounds must live up to its name, and this one does. Delicious Tuscan dishes done with flair and a little something extra. With a breathtaking view from the outdoor dining terrace and wine-tasting menus paired with their dishes.
La Bottega del Moro in Greve in Chianti (+39 055 853753) - Now located in Greve's historic piazza, La Bottega is a family-owned restaurant that feels like home and whose dishes are authentically delicious.
Antica Trattoria La Torre in Castellina in Chianti (+39 0577 740236) - La Torre is located in the central piazza of Castellina and serves food that has made this area famous.
Solociccia in Panzano in Chianti (+39 055 852727) - Though they do have a vegetarian menu, Solociccia is for the serious meat-lover. For €30/person they serve a full meal where the stars of the show are its 6 meat courses.
From the vineyards at the front of the estate the view of Radda in Chianti beckons guests to a first stop and, in fact, it is only one easily walked kilometer to the closest restaurant in the village. The unofficial capital of the region, Radda plays host to several festivals and events throughout the summer, most, though not all, having to do with what is poured into a glass.
Nearby there are Castellina in Chianti, so prized by the Medici that they commissioned a fortress to protect it, Panzano and Greve in Chianti, whose street markets and wide piazzas are reasons for a visit and Castello di Brolio, where the standards for Chianti wine were set.
When ready for cities on a larger scale, there is Siena, the medieval gem at the end of the winding Chiantigiana road, or Florence, the Renaissance jewel box along the river Arno, less than an hour away.
Yet with cooking classes to master, wine to sip and meandering walks to take throughout the estate and the gentle hills that surround it, it is understandable that today's programme might slip to tomorrow's. Tuscan time is, after all, about enjoying the moment you're in, and at Docciole a moment's enjoyment is likely to stretch.
As Radda in Chianti is the unofficial capital of the region, rest assured that Docciole is idealy located for those who like to venture out for some wine-tasting. The grapes from the owners' vineyards surrounding the villa go to the local Consorzio Agrario, but they will leave a bottle or two for guests to enjoy. In Radda there are excellent tasting opportunities in local enotecas, restaurants and wine bars, but for those who wish to go directly to the source we suggest:
Castello di Volpaia and Castello d’Albola are closest to Radda in Chianti.
Castello di Ama, Badia a Coltibuona and Brolio Castle are near Gaiole in Chianti, with the latter being a rural castle and gardens belonging to the Ricasoli family for over 800 years. It was here in the l9th C. that Baron Bettino Ricasoli first created the 'recipe' for Chianti wine, dictating that it must use certain grapes in prescribed proportions: 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia Bianca.
Being so close to Florence there are many festivals to drop in on: The Estate Fiesolana in Fiesole which celebrates dance and music in the hills overlooking the city, the White Truffle Fair in San Miniato which pays homage to Tuscany's famed tuber, or the International Ceramic Festival in Montelupo Fiorentino, beloved by all who love bright pottery.
Or one could head down the Chiantigiana road through the Chianti to Siena for its Palio horse race on July 2nd or August 16th.
While if you happen to be in Radda on the 4th Monday of the month, be sure to check out the market stands set up in the streets of town offering everything from cheeses, meats, pottery, clothing and much more. Nearby there are weekly markets on Mondays in San Casciano, Wednesdays in Siena, Saturdays in Greve in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti & Barberino Val d'Elsa, and Sundays in Panzano.
From € 366 a day for the villa.
€ 2560 to € 3990 per week.
That's from € 26 per person per day, based on 14 sharing.
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This property can be rented for fewer guests too - check the prices below:Docciole for 10 Docciole for 8
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