In the heart of the Tuscan countryside, just 80 kilometers from central Florence, sits Villa Lena: an agriturismo (the increasingly popular Italian phenomenon of a farm-based holiday) that focuses, in equal measure, on organic agriculture and the arts. It’s the perfect place to go for a little bit of everything—its hiking trails are a nature lover’s dream, its locavore restaurant will sate anyone after authentic Italian “slow food,” and its artistic workshops are brilliant for people who can’t help but want to learn something on their vacation, as well as for those who don’t. (Its pool is also an oasis for tanning fiends.)
San Michele, the restaurant on the premises, sources most of its food from the farm that surrounds it, where vegetables are planted among olive groves for oil and vineyards producing red, white, and rosé prosecco. All the vegetables come from the gardens, which makes for delicious seasonal fare—something as simple as a mixed green salad transformed into a special event. That which isn’t grown on site, namely the meat and cheese, comes from hyper-local suppliers, while the pasta is, naturally, homemade.
The rooms, which accommodate 70 to 80 guests, are spread between a large villa for families and groups, two large apartments, and the fattoria, a former horse stables transformed into the main hotel building. Overlooking the green fields and mountains of Tuscany, the ground floor of the rustic fattoria is full of Italian modernist design and artwork selected by Lena, the hotel’s eponymous art collector owner. The rooms are spacious, with soaring ceilings, exposed wooden beams, and oversized bathtubs tucked underneath a window with a view.