L’Andana: shrine of natural calm in coastal Tuscany
A pressing desire to get away from urban stress, an urgent need to fill up your lungs with fresh air, and a thirst for an inspiring landscape might fly you away to the precious grounds of L’Andana hotel in the Western Tuscany.
Even more alluring though are the fresh ingredients expressing themselves in the local Tuscan cuisine. You can savour them here as each season goes by while sipping on the liquified fruits of the generation-old robust vine stocks planted on the sprawling rural property.
Active seductions such as focus-enhancing round of golf, improving your tennis game, equestrian skills and visiting the hill-topping medieval villages, may all-in-all persuade you to spend the next holidays at L’Andana. Families are welcome and there is a separate pool and kid’s activities to keep the calm for adults undisturbed by their frolics.
As the breeze gently caresses the lines of your face like a soft silk scarf, you realise how this Tuscan jewel liberates the mind and recharges depleted energy. Just feed your senses with this natural beauty and forget all the burdens of life, through cooking, walking, cycling, and simply adoring nature from the brisk sunrise to the balmy sunset.
The elegant hotel is set in the skilfully tended vineyards stretching over the coastal plains of Maremma (also the land of Sassicaia). Reaching towards the shores washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea, the climate is often shuffled by the maritime influences, often painting the sky with Raphaelite ceilings. Like in the artist’s Triumph of Galatea, the clouds make you want to soar like the angels on his canvas.
L’Andana is is not far from the more touristy Grosseto. Instead, a short trip to Castiglione della Pescaia, a small fishing village on the coast, rewards not just with a fantastic mamma cuisine (the casual Da Anna is excellent), but also with a more authentic laid-back lifestyle of the locals. For any city dweller this is an awakening experience balancing the spirit in one’s self.
To get here, either fly to Florence, rent a car and race the up-and-down curves for about three hours. Such a stomach-turning ride through the rough Tuscan mountains passes by dozens remote medieval villages, where as if time once stopped, you find solace for your overloaded suffering.
Another option is flying to Rome, hop on a train to savour the coastal vistas all the way North to Grosseto. From there, only 14 miles away, welcomes you at first a stately lane of pine trees, that turns into verdant olive groves and endless vineyards. In the midst of all that landscape hides the pearl grown up as L’Andana.
This former hunting lodge of Leopold II, once the Grand Duke of Tuscany is unique not just for being a refuge from the social and work commitments, but also for the gastronomic cuisine currently directed by Enrico Bartolini of the three Michelin starred restaurant at MUDEC in Milano. His one Michelin starred Trattoria here serves typical Tuscan produce in a contemporary way.
Although the dining room’s interior is casual, the food and its presentation upgrades the meal there to a fine dining experience.
Learning how to prepare delicious meals from local Tuscan ingredients can reset your overworked mind. Cooking classes can be arranged upon request, an ideal opportunity to engage in a lot of hands-on fun. Vegetarian and classes for children are also available. We learned how to fillet fish and made outstanding seafood ragout, partially trapped into the large tubes of paccheri, making these pasta the ideal shape. Sipping a local white Vermentino in between our manoeuvres with the knives injected more joy to the precise cooking instructions.
The lush estate produces its own Tenuta La Badiola wine, olives and olive oil, as well as the superb beef from the local long-horned and in antique silver shades coated Maremmana cows. All these fresh Tuscan staples are served at the farm-to-table hotel trattoria and the Michelin stared restaurant. The property is also a suitable base for additional exploration of the famous Tuscan wines. Montalcino and Chianti are within reach.
As a five-star hotel L’Andana spoils you in the warmly decorated luxury rooms and suites. Some even with their own fireplace. Let the romance warm up your evenings or just roll it all out as there is a small chapel with charming landscape views on the property. On Sundays the bells chime around noon reminding of the country’s catholic devotion. The spacious rooms are tastefully furnished with classic and curvy romantic furniture.
Aromatherapy and other natural treatments are provided by ESPA, a globally established luxurious hotel spa chain. The extensive wellbeing area is sustainably built as the ESPA eco-conscious philosophy prescribes. Accompanied by uplifting facilities like sauna, indoor and outdoor swimming pool and a well-equipped gym with views of the exuberant mountains, the premises set you for a rejuvenating experience after the indulgent Italian meals and the wine tastings.
Athletic guests as well as the play-loving are entertained by a nine-hole golf course or the outdoor tennis court convertible into a football field. If you like running, you will love jogging along the dirt paths lining the vineyards sunflower and barley fields as I did. Moving in nature invigorates not just your body but also by the city drained mind.
The best time to visit is from March until November when all the outdoor activities are still blessed by pleasant temperatures.
Staying in the midst of fertile Tuscan countryside is a genuine escape to simplicity, at L’Andana elevated by its noble history and a luxurious touch thoughtfully designed for the most demanding life connoisseurs.
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Da Anna is still superb , but moved to a new location near clay tennis courts in a natural setting behind town.