Torre a Cona
Passing through the gateway in the centuries-old stone walls that encircle Torre a Cona is like stepping back in time to a more leisurely age. The rolling hills cloaked with vineyards and olive groves could be the background of a Renaissance masterpiece, while the beautifully proportioned villa at the heart of the estate is a model of refined 18th-century architecture. Not that it’s a museum piece; it’s very much a working farm, if a particularly elegant one, that produces superb wines, olive oil and even honey. Its historic buildings have been sensitively restored and repurposed so they gain in modern comforts - flattering lighting, dreamy bathrooms and the like - without losing any of their period charm. The result is a feeling of harmony that will work its magic on even the most stressed of visitors.
A stay here is all about savouring the elegancies of Tuscan life, from its gastronomic delights to the incredible scenery. Visiting the estate’s highly regarded restaurant, with its spin on traditional Tuscan cuisine, is by no means the only way to enjoy the former. A tour of the winery is a must, not to mention the truffle-hunting trip and bee-keeping experience - all with relevant tastings, of course. As for the immediate surroundings, there are guided horse rides and nature hikes for more energetic moods, endless gardens for quiet strolls, and a stylish vine-fringed swimming pool with loungers and gazebos for when you don’t want to do very much at all.
Most of the 25 recently renovated rooms and suites occupy the west wing of the handsome villa itself, except the Classic Rooms, which are in two buildings to the rear. No two are quite the same, though original features such as antique doors, wood-beamed ceilings and terracotta floor tiles are a given - as is the absence of televisions. The Romantic Rooms, in the main villa, have a soft, neutral decor, though it’s worth upgrading to a first-floor Romantic Tuscan View Room or a second-floor Lavish Tuscan View Room for the best vistas of olive groves and rolling hills. If you want more space for sitting, reading or just looking out of the window, there’s an appealing Junior Suite with a smart seating area, the Tuscan View Suite with a unique window and a separate living room, and the largest of all, the Palatial Tuscan View Suite where you can stretch out and imagine being lord of all you survey.