Where do we begin? If you close your eyes and think of the quintessential Italian village, replete with unpaved roads, a Medieval church, glimpses of glorious countryside through stone arches and locals trundling along in bashed up Fiat Pandas or gossiping on their doorsteps, then Monteverdi ticks all the right boxes. A small hamlet perched on top of one of the highest hills in the Val D’Orcia, Castiglioncello del Trinoro was discovered by nostalgic Italian-American Michael Cioffi over decade ago. Cioffi then embarked on an extensive restoration project, transforming many of the abandoned, crumbling houses into some of the most luxurious accommodations in Tuscany, open all year round unlike many hotels in the area.

Choose to stay in either one of the three private villas or in the hotel which has 18 rooms and suites scattered throughout the village.  Decorated by acclaimed Italian designer Ilaria Miani, considered touches include locally sourced Travertine bathtubs, raw linen sheets, and a contemporary art collection displayed throughout the property. Guests will also find bespoke organic bath products in each room, crafted by Maria Candida Gentile to capture the unique natural fragrances of Monteverdi. The area surrounding Monteverdi was made for exploration and discovery, with nearby towns such as stunning Pienza and Montepulciano, as well the garden of all gardens at Villa La Foce. Otherwise, lying on a sunlounger with a copy of Iris Origo’s ‘Images and Shadows’ by the beautiful infinity swimming pool is heavenly. There is perhaps no place at Monteverdi more luxurious than the Monteverdi Spa, with its underground Roman-inspired baths including a heated pool overlooking the Tuscan countryside, a cold plunge pool, and a sensory shower.

The village is off the beaten path, but you won’t go hungry; there are various dining outlets on the property, but if a night out is what you’re after, a drive down the hill will take you to a number of local restaurants. At Monteverdi, we like the fine-dining option Oreade, a chic restaurant staffed by slick, attractive locals under the watchful eye of chef Giancarla Bodoni who sources all her ingredients locally and is obsessive about quality.  Her pici pasta with duck and candied orange is particularly good, in fact so good that we spent the following day learning how to roll the pici in the comfort of our own kitchen in Villa Muri Antichi, with its state of the art chrome kitchen. For a less formal experience, the enoteca has incredibly delicious bruschette, salads and homemade gelato as well an excellent range of thoughtfully sourced Tuscan wines, cheese and hams to be enjoyed from midday until evening. The Culinary Academy arranges cooking classes as well as private dining and Chef’s Tables, and the brand new Lobby Lounge and Terrace Bar oens up to fantastic views of Mount Amiata, the perfect place to spend sunset.

Monteverdi is much more than a just hotel with private villas. Michael Cioffi is passionate about the Renaissance and the culture, arts and humanities that stemmed from this fascinating and critical moment in European history.  When curating the vision of Monteverdi, he looked back to Leonardo’s vision of the perfect Renaissance man and in his own words, has created a “place unlike any other, a place of incomparable beauty, stunning architecture and design, all further complemented by art, music and the humanities.   A place that ignites both the physical senses and the intellect.”