Guys…..this is it. This is the hidden gem. This is the place I will be so proud of finding for you. This one got me head over heels, fair and square, completely won over in love!
Welcome to heaven! Welcome to your Tuscany Countryside Castle and everything you couldn’t have imagined and then some!
We had hired a car from Venice and made the drive down to Lake Garda before heading to Florence – we arrived at night time and pulled up in the dark but I still noticed the brick architecture and castle-like features of this stunning countryside home!
The lovely Eva, Fattoria Pratale’s receptionist who lives on site, showed us to our room – actually I’m going to go with one-bedroom apartment, and a BIG one-bedroom at that! You have a full kitchen, full dining area, couch which folds out into futon, bathroom and separate bedroom down the hallway with beautiful windows to the back hillside view behind the property. High and stunning ceilings, every room has a heater, it was my “Under The Tuscan Sun” moment except literally in an Italian Tuscany landscape setting.
I had heard the best things about Florence, and I was so excited about going, but in my head I had envisioned exactly this, beautiful countryside, a ton of vineyards and beautiful landscapes.
Fattoria Pratale is actually in Pratale, about a 15-20min drive outside of Florence, you would probably need a car if you plan on getting in and out and around everywhere, there’s only two buses that go into town one at 11:00am and the other at 4:00pm – both a 40min walk away, BUT if I had opted for somewhere in the city of Florence I feel I may have been slightly disappointed, not that Florence wasn’t stunning, but it’s another city you know? THIS was what I imagined, this countryside bliss was EXACTLY what I wanted from Florence and I feel fate just led me to this wonder.
The walks aren’t even that bad with or without a car, we did a walk down to Antinori an infamous Vineyard with stunning architecture, it’s about an hour walk away and we pass beautiful farm fields. From the top of the hill where Fattoria Pratale is situated, the sun kisses the fields below and as the wind blows across it the green crops look like a river of water flowing across the countryside – something a camera simply just can’t capture as much as the eye!
We stopped in the field and just sat there for a bit, just being in the moment, which resulted in us actually arriving at Antinori at close, wooooopsies, so that was a fail. But on the way back we passed another vineyard with an authentic Italian pasta store. We picked up a bottle of wine from their own vineyard, some pasta and homemade pasta sauce and decided to just cook up back at our room. I truly feel, cooking authentic Italian cuisine in my little temporary countryside home, to me will be a memory forever. So simple, but brings about so much content, it was perfecto!
I went jogging the next morning through the green fields and vineyards, around the back of the property and down towards the main road, it was half jogging and half stopping to take photos!! Everything is so picturesque, the sun just seems to shine a little brighter – even though we were just coming out of cold winter you could tell Summer would be even better in this bliss!
I could tell just from not one, but two, hillside pools Fattoria Pratale had – closed unfortunately when we were staying but you just know this is where it’s at for summer!
Around the back of the property there is a big patio area, I could see this for a dancing or outside restaurant area or even a wedding! It would be perfect, all of the wedding party could take up the rooms at the hotel and then it’s your own private Italian castle for a few days – seriously may consider coming back for my own – Id always dreamed of a beach wedding but I think Fattoria Pratale may have swayed me.
I completely left a piece of my heart here and will always be one of my happiest memories. Like I said guys. This is it, this is the hidden gem you have been missing! So so glad I stayed here and I would recommend til the cows come home, it’s the different experience away from the city and if you are still not convinced check this out…
One of the days we had to drop our car off and got a cab back on Easter Monday of all days, a few cabbies said no at first due to Easter traffic but luckily someone said YES! We hopped in and he drove us out there, as we were getting out to pay he said to us “I have been driving in Florence for maybe 20 years and I have never ever been out here, this is beautiful. I always do the same routes all the time so when you guys asked I thought why not, something different, but this is just…wow” then he took out a cigarette and leaned up on his car and sat back to watch the fields and we left him to enjoy the view. Even the LOCALS haven’t all discovered it!! This is the real deal, authentic, Italian countryside, non-touristy, GREAT experience you will never regret – that’s a promise.