Hotel Highlights

  • Idyllic Italian scenery
  • Eccentric decor and unconventional charm
  • Montefollonico and Montepulciano (Tuscan towns) close by

Overview

Surrounded by some of Tuscany's most picturesque vineyard-rich countyside, hotel Follonico riffs on its habitat and history in a mix of dreamy details. An ancient typewriter atop a hand-carved table waits for the next novelist; a wedding dress hanging in a room is ready for an impromptu romance and whimsically mismatched crockery hints at past and future feast-making.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Follonico with us:

A bottle of local wine

Facilities

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Follonico hotel - Tuscany - Italy

Need To Know

Rooms

Six, including four suites.

Check–out

10.30am; check-in from 4pm to 8pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $219.78 (€159), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

At the hotel

Gardens and free WiFi. In rooms: organic Lorenzo Villoresi bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Stake out Rosso Tramonto for inspiring views from its three windows. Alternatively, if you crave space, spread yourselves across Verde Intenso’s three rooms, each on a separate level, with an original stone staircase.

Also

Keen to bring your dog? Speak to the owners in advance to arrange.

Children

Little Smiths are welcome and cots are free.

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Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

There’s no restaurant – all the more reason to explore the area’s bounty of dining options – but cooking classes can be arranged for a minimum six people (€75 for four courses and wine) and cold meals of meat, cheese and garden-grown veg are available between April and October. Breakfast is pretty special though; all the treats – cheese, meat, yoghurt, jam, fruit, and so on – are sourced within 15km of Follonico, and a selection of freshly baked breads are delivered daily from a bakery in Pienza.


Hotel Bar

There’s an honesty bar in the breakfst room, with beer and soft drinks, including a few local wines: Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti

Room service

None, so raid the delis in Montefollonico and Montepulciano for supplies. (Panforte, cantucci and orange-infused riciarelli biscuits, or local cheeses and cured meats will whet your appetite.)

Smith Insider

Dress code

Be inspired by the suites’ shots of vivid colour and the beautiful frocks (hand-picked by owner Suzanne) that hang on the rails in rooms. Channel your inner prince and princess with a silk shirt or dreamy dress.

Top table

With these views, you’ll be enjoying breakfast outside in summer; at a table by the patio windows in the breakfast room, come winter.

Local Guide

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Follonico hotel - Tuscany - Italy
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

La Chiusa (+39 (0)5 77 66 96 68; www.ristorantelachiusa.com), at 88 via della Madonnina, Montefollonico, is another picturesque Tuscan farmhouse, serving local specialities in its rustic restaurant. Try traditional dishes such as duck with wild fennel, potato pie, and marinated goose. (If you walk here from Follonico, you might have room for pannacotta. Might.) Sample home-made pasta at Osteria del Conte (+39 (0)5 78 75 60 62) at 19 via di San Donato, Montepulciano. Pici – a sort of fat spaghetti – is the area’s most renowned variety; team your pici con ragu or tagliata con rosmarino with a glass of Rosso di Montepulciano. Ristorante 13 Gobbi (+39 (0)5 77 66 97 55) at 5 via Lando has perfected pici in duck sauce. Food is the focus; decor and service are casual and frill-free. Osteria La Botte Piena (+39 (0)5 77 66 94 81) at 12 piazza Dionisa Cinughi, Montefollonico, is popular for its pecorino-laden cuisine. Even the bruschette are impressive: toppings include truffled lardo, livers, pecorino with spicy pear jam, and pecorino with anchovies. You’ll be vying with the locals to eat here, so be sure to book.

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Mediaeval Montefollonico

Follonico

Località Casale, 2, Montefollonico, Torrita Di Siena, Siena, Tuscany, Tuscany, 53049

Planes

Perugia is the closest airport, a 65-minute drive from the hotel. Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) offers flights from Stansted; you can also fly in from Milan or Barcelona (Girona). Alternatively, fly into Florence, about an hour and a half away.

Trains

Torrita di Siena is 10 minutes away by car, connecting to Siena and Chiusa (www.trenitalia.com).

Automobiles

The hotel is 5km from Montepulciano and Montefollonico. There is plenty of free parking for guests.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Joe Dunthorne , Novel narrator

It’s good to suffer hardships: they make rewards feel more deserved. If someone had uttered those words to me, as I sat in the hospital waiting room in Florence, I would have told them to rot in hell, in all the languages at my command. So, in one language.

Mrs Smith and I were on a run of bad luck. While running for a train, that morning, in oh-so-glamorous central Hackney, Mrs S...

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Follonico

Anonymous review by Joe Dunthorne , Novel narrator

It’s good to suffer hardships: they make rewards feel more deserved. If someone had uttered those words to me, as I sat in the hospital waiting room in Florence, I would have told them to rot in hell, in all the languages at my command. So, in one language.

Mrs Smith and I were on a run of bad luck. While running for a train, that morning, in oh-so-glamorous central Hackney, Mrs Smith had leapt down the stairs, knee-first. The cracking noise as she landed had made the station master turn pale. Only adrenalin carried Mrs Smith, limping, on to our flight, and by the time we’d landed, her leg had expanded to resemble a joint of prosciutto. She couldn’t walk. Of our two-day holiday, we spent most of the first day in L’Ospedale di Firenze, getting X-rays. In other news, I’d lost my wallet and my driving licence, but that didn’t matter that much, since there were no hire cars left anyway.

Like I said, it’s good to suffer hardships. Well, it’s good, as long as your reward is getting to spend time at Follonico: a beautifully restored 200-year-old farmhouse hidden away in a Tuscan valley with panoramic views of astonishing countryside. Hobbling out of our taxi, we were greeted by the warm welcome of Follonico’s lovely owners – Suzanne and Fabio.

They considerately offered us the ground-floor Alba Chiara suite – a delightful double room and bathroom separated by an adjoining gallery or loggia with stone floors and exposed beams. The suite is decorated sparely and elegantly, in keeping with all the rooms in the house. A vintage dress and hat hang beside an antique day-bed, there’s an ancient wooden chest for our belongings, and walls and surfaces are adorned with photos of the stars of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, a film we’d watched for the first time – and loved – just a few days before.

With Mrs Smith’s leg iced and propped up on two plump cushions, we relaxed into a stupendous night’s sleep. The bedlinen is apparently hand-woven by a family one village over, and the mattress and pillows were made not of feathers, nor foam, but of an unknown material that we were too busy peacefully sleeping on to bother accurately identifying. (Later, we’re told the mattress is a ‘spring-independent’ one, though we’re none the wiser.)

Pushing open our French windows in the morning, we saw Follonico in full daylight for the first time. In every direction were vineyards and olive groves dotted with bushy cypresses. The picturesque hilltop villages of Montefollonico and Montepulciano perched alluringly on the horizon.

Follonico, as Suzanne was careful to point out, is a home, not a hotel. There are just six guest rooms, and all visitors eat a simple breakfast together in the family dining room with Suzanne, Fabio and their three adorable children. There was wildlife everywhere. That morning, the family cat had brought in a tiny baby bunny rabbit. Several guests had brought their dogs with them, and the polite breakfast conversation was matched with the strange gurglings of the frogs in the pond just outside. It is also apparently not uncommon to see deer, wild boar and porcupines roaming freely.

After breakfast, as we contemplated our immobility, basking in the deck chairs on the terrace outside our room, we were approached by two thoughtful visitors from NYC who took pity on Mrs Smith and offered to take us on a day of adventure in their hire car.

We drove through hills so green and skies so blue that it brought to mind – for any person who has spent too long in front of their laptop – the Windows XP screen saver. When we stopped in Pienza, a sweet eighth-century town, groups of Italian teenagers took time out from snogging sessions to gawp at Mrs Smith’s ‘ham leg’. In Bagno Vignoni – a tiny spa town – the highlight of our exceptional lunch was a dish of warm figs, covered in thinly sliced lardo (that’s ham fat, in Italian) and drizzled in honey.

Getting lost a few times along the way was, as Suzanne correctly pointed out, a joy in itself. We ended the afternoon in the enchanting company of Katya, an expat Londoner who had settled in Tuscany to make wine: the prestigious Brunello di Montalcino. As she took us around her organic farm, San Polino, her passion and charm were enough to convince us each to buy several bottles of the 2006 vintage.

That evening, on Fabio’s recommendation, we ate at another Montefollonico establishment – Ristorante 13 Gobbi. In the middle of the restaurant was an immense, open-topped wheel of pecorino cheese with a glass dome suspended above it. Should you order the tagliatelle with pecorino (and you’d be foolish not to), the waiter brings out a serving of steaming home-made pasta and tosses it directly in the round of cheese before serving it to you. At the end of the night, the glass cloche is gently lowered. It was so simple yet so ingenious; much the same appeal at Follonico. There is flair and imagination everywhere, but nothing is overdone. It was perfect. Indeed, if you have any hardships that need rewarding – a paper cut, say, or a slightly delayed bus – then I wholeheartedly recommend you spend a curative stay in the care of Suzanne and Fabio.

Reviewed by Joe Dunthorne, writer

The Guestbook

Reviews of Follonico from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on 26 Jun 2012

We can only echo previous guests' praise for Follonico and its wonderful owners, Fabio and Suzanne. We stayed four nights in a white essentials room, and we wished it could have been longer. We arrived from an itinerary-packed two days in Florence and were delighted to discover Follonico far off the beaten track and in the most beautiful of settings. The views from the gardens, including those enjoyed from our private terrace across vineyards and golden fields up to the villages of Montefollonico and Montepulciano, were quite simply breathtaking and an artist's paradise. One of the distinguishing features of Follonico is the rustic but elegant decor throughout the buildings and gardens. The attention to detail in the seemingly effortless furnishings were a real pleasure and added to the serenity of our stay. Perhaps the real highlight was having Fabio and Suzanne on call each morning to help plan our days' activities, which included natural thermal baths at Bagni Filippo, wine tasting at Uccelliera (near Montalcino) and trips to the best of the hilltop towns, of which there are many. Whilst there are undoubtedly an abundance of things to see and do whilst in this part of Tuscany, it was the detail and insight of the recommendations we received which made our stay so successful. Like us, future guests will no doubt leave eager to return and revisit this wonderful Tuscan retreat.

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 5 May 2012

Follonico is a cross between a hotel and a boutique B&B. Run by the delightful Fabio and Suzanne, they have opened up their home to those wishing to experience a slice of true Tuscan life. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by their dog, cat, ducks and children waving and welcoming us to their lovely home. We took one of the white classic rooms with its own veranda looking out across the beautiful rolling hills towards Montefollonico and Montepulciano. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and as long as you have a car there are more than enough places to go and visit closeby. Fabio very kindly arranged a champagne breakfast for us on our last day – it was my girlfriend's birthday and everything was done with a smile and willingness to please. Suzanne was also incredibly helpful in telling us the best spots to visit and eat. Follonico is different to anywhere I have stayed before where you will mingle with the other guests in the communal eating area and swap stories of Tuscan adventures and gourmet delights. It should go without saying the the food is incredible, as is of course the wine. We came back with full bellies, big smiles and a slight hangover. We have already planned our next visit back to Tuscany and Follonico but in a classic car and for two weeks not two days.

Rating: 8/10 stars