When we decided to celebrate Tim’s 60th in Italy with the kids, I thought it was a brilliant idea, but had no idea how to go about finding the perfect villa. I asked our travel agent and a number of friends, but was still none the wiser so embarked on a little research myself… and found the perfect solution, Villa Podere Brogi.
Villa Podere Brogi is owned by a darling man Walter, along with his kind wife Anna and beautiful sister Christina. When Walter and Christina’s father left them the old farmhouse they transformed it into this villa, with no stone unturned.
While the farmhouse and pool are stunning it’s the personal touch and deep-seated desire to ensure we had the best holiday that made this place even more incredible.
From the moment we arrived we felt comfortable and nothing was too much trouble from the welcome dinner Anna and Christina cooked us on our first night, to Walter generously allowing us to dip into his wine cellar loosely keeping an account of what we drank.
Walter organised chefs, cooking lessons, a rental car so the kids could get about, birthday celebrations and Anna even cooked Amatriciana (an Italian specialty) one night in her home and bought it to the villa as one of the kids had said it was their favourite Italian dish.
The main house has an inviting, warm and spacious kitchen with all the mod cons and a great marble island so everyone can pitch in together to cook. Adjacent is the indoor dinning room with beautiful china and glassware you would find in the best of homes with several living areas off it, all with open fires. The kitchen and living rooms spill out to several al fresco eating areas and beyond are the gardens and heated pool. Upstairs are five beautifully appointed bedrooms, all with ensuites.
The second dwelling on the property is a 350 year old renovated farmhouse with another two bedroom suites and games room.
I’d would highly recommend Villa Podere Brogi and can promise you Walter, Anna and Christina will look after you, so if you are looking for the perfect family holiday or want to get a group of friends together or just want to indulge yourselves in one of the most beautiful places in the universe, keep reading and I’ll impart all the knowledge I have.
So where do you find Villa Podere Brogi?
It’s on the Tuscany Now and More website which is a British company, specialising in Italian and Tuscan villa rentals. They have over 150 stunning properties and I can say dealing with them was a pleasure. They’re every professional with many of their staff having stayed in the properties so they’re well versed to answering detailed questions about each property.
Before you rush to the website, here is a list of things you should think about while looking at properties.
- Who are you going to rent off?
There are a number of companies that rent villas in the Tuscany region, but from my experience I would recommend Tuscany Now and More.
- Duration – how long do you want a villa for?
Typically, villas are rented on a weekly basis from Saturday to Saturday.
- How big?
Villas vary in size from small to sleeping up to 20. Although there were only seven of us in our villa it did sleep 14, but we just loved the space and privacy so my advice is don’t cram people in as it’s good to have a little ‘time to yourself’ over the course of the week.
- How to decide on a location?
What are the things that are important to you? For us we wanted to be in the country, but with reasonable proximity to restaurants and close enough to some of the towns so we could go on a few day trips. Villa Podere Brogi is about an hour from Siena and Montepulciano and about 45 minutes from Florence with many smaller villages in between.
- Catering – make sure the villa can provide the services you want.
Before we arrived I asked Walter to buy cheeses, snack foods and beverages so we had an inviting looking fridge. There’s nothing worse than arriving somewhere starving and having to wait till dinner.
I’m not sure if it’s standard, but Walter’s lovely sister Christina and wife Anna cooked us a welcome dinner on our first night – the softest and most delicious lasagna I’ve ever eaten. It was great to be able to relax without having to worry about cooking.
Over the course of the week we planned (and Walter organised) a few activities revolving around food.
Breakfast – We chose to have breakfast catered each morning (of course you can do it yourself), but we like to start to the day sitting down together and chatting about what we are going to do for the day. As you can see the fruit, sweet treats, eggs, cold cuts were all delicious.
Pizza cooking lesson – On our second night we had a pizza chef, Liliana and her daughter come to the villa and teach us how to make the perfect Italian pizza. They were fabulous and while we were busy inside preparing the pizzas, Walter was outside stoking up the pizza oven – a wonderful and memorable night.
Catered birthday dinner – Wednesday was Tim’s designated birthday night although his real birthday wasn’t until later in July. We had a chef come to the villa who prepared a delicious five course meal, with Walter and Anna helping. Anna made these canapés.
Italian cooking lesson – On our last night we had another birthday celebration, Matt’s 28th. So instead of going out to a restaurant we got a chef in to up-skill us all with our Italian repertoire. Starting the in kitchen at 5.30 pm we prepared Aubergine Parmesan, learned to make pasta with two sauces, a delicious chicken dish and a chocolate dessert.
Restaurants – As it turned out we only had one meal out at a restaurant as the villa was so incredible nobody wanted to leave. Walter is happy to make recommendations and organise bookings.
Self- catering – The kitchen was brilliant and worked with a crowd. With one of the biggest supermarkets I’ve ever seen just 10 minutes away, COOP.fi lunches were a breeze. The fresh Italian produce would inspire any cook.
Villa Podere Brogi, like many villas is in the country so it is essential to have a car.
There are just two places I want to mention over and above the obvious historic villages and sites in Tuscan area and that is the ‘Prada Outlet Store’, literally minutes from Villa Podere Brogi and ‘The Mall’ just 30 minutes away. If you are looking for a luxury outlet with big names including Gucci, Mont Blanc plus 50 more with up to 50% off retail and a good tax return on departure from the EU, you’ll have fun shopping.
If you want additional reassurance for Villa Podere Brogi or any of the other villas read the reviews and you will get an honest appraisal from the guests.
Happy hunting for your next holiday.
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