Route du Bonheur
Maître de maison of Arnolfo Ristorante
My Route du Bonheur in Tuscany… from the inland to the coast
“Originally from Sicily, our family arrived in Tuscany in the late 1960s. This move transported us into an entirely different culture, a different land. In spite of the unfamiliar surroundings, it was clear that the region would become our home. We never left. That’s because the south of Tuscany boasts sublime villages, springs that were already exploited in Roman times, olive groves, lagoons, sheer cliffs, creeks and islands…
Relais & Châteaux proposes its Routes du Bonheur for your inspiration: they are suggestions of itineraries that you can adapt to your preferences and desired experiences. Our advisors are at your disposal to individualise your routes and help you make reservations at our properties.
Example for a 4 nights stay from 964€*
* Minimum indicative rate per person, subject to availability, on the basis of a double room with double occupancy, including accommodation, breakfast and dinner (menu, without beverages) in the properties suggested for the itinerary.
Activities on site and nearby must be reserved by you.
My Route du Bonheur
Step 1: 1 day, 1 night
A dream come true
In the heart of a region dedicated to art and near the Carrara marble quarries so beloved by the Archangel Michael, Il Bottacio was designed around an old seventeenth century mill that was once used to produce olive oil. This enchanting place offers visitors the best of the Tuscan countryside. This is a place dedicated to beauty, relaxation, and the kitchen, where, as its owner Laura d’Anna Mogavero says, Dreams become reality.
Beaches and shops in Forte dei Marmi
Along five miles of sandy beach, the colourful booths of Forte dei Marmi are one of the postcard perfect images of seaside Tuscany. Here, visitors can enjoy the waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the shade of palms trees. This former fishing village has become a resort where the clientele is both chic and trendy, and is known for its luxury brands and rich antique market almost as well as for its fine sand. In the evening, this small town comes alive with the rhythm of restaurants and later, nightclubs featuring the best DJs in the country.
Puccini Festival, Torre del Lago
The only festival in the world dedicated to the composer of Madame Butterfly, the Puccini Festival brings opera lovers together in the countryside that so inspired the musician. Giacomo Puccini long lived in Torre del Lago, where he settled with Elvira, the mistress who became his wife. Every year since 1930 in July and August, the greatest opera stars can be found on the outdoor stage of the Grand Théâtre, performing his greatest creations: Turandot, Manon Lescaut, La Bohème, etc.
Step 2: 1 day, 1 night
Relais Borgo Santo Pietro
A dream come true – one that we look forward to sharing with our guests
Owners Claus and Jeanette Thottrup came here from Danmark and have beautifully renovated the ruins of this thirteenth century former villa that once served as a stopping place for travelling pilgrims. In the space of ten or so years, they have planted some 250,000 plants in the grounds surrounding the villa. I regularly come to this Tuscan secret garden, a veritable oasis of calm.
Relais & Chateaux Arnolfo Ristorante, Colle di Val d’Elsa, Siena
I opened this restaurant in 1982 with my mother Concetta and my sister Alessandra. In 1989 our brother Gaetano joined us, after completing his training in St. Moritz and Paris. Arnolfo, named after a famous architect, is a true family restaurant, devoted to Italian gastronomy. Gaetano always strives to highlight organic regional produce. In a way, I do the staging of my brother’s cooking, by pairing his dishes with the perfect wines from Tuscany or from further afield.
The crystal of Colle di Val d’Elsa
All the crystal glassware that you will find on our tables comes from the local factory. Colle di Val d’Elsa is the crystal capital of Italy, the Italian Bohemia. Throughout the town, engravers, master glassmakers and antique dealers display magnificent collector’s items. Over ninety percent of the country’s production is still manufactured here. Don’t miss the lovely Museum of Crystal, which recounts its history from the Middle Ages onwards. Via del Fossi 8, Colle di Val d’Elsa
Raw-milk cheeses by Guido Pinzani, Volterra
For over forty years, Guido Pinzani has been specialising in making cheeses from raw sheep’s milk. In a traditional cheese dairy, not far from the Carthusian monastery in Pontignano, he offers absolutely delicious aged pecorino cheeses. You have two main options: take a trip to the dairy for an on-site tasting, or… discover his incredible cheeses on the menu at Arnolfo Ristorante. 52 per Casole d’Elsa, Volterra
Photo Festival, Massa Marittima
Featuring exhibitions, screenings, workshops, competitions and meetings with photographers, the Toscana Foto festival has over the past twenty years become a major event in the world of photography in Italy. The festival takes place in July in Massa Marittima, a superb medieval town located four hundred metres above sea level, known for its cathedral and its old fabrics.
Step 3: 1 day, 1 night
Between the sea and pine forests, a charming and unusual Tuscany
In four generations, the Gallias have become one of the most important families in the hotel industry in Italy. In Grosseto, it is Andrea Gallia-Ansaldi who is continuing this tradition of hospitality and luxury. The hotel enjoys an exceptional location on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the heart of a pine forest, beside a sandy private beach, you will discover the Pagoda restaurant. In front of you is a magical sight: the island of Elba.
Golf course at Punta Ala
Opened in 1964, this 6168-metre-long eighteen-hole course (Par 72) is without a doubt one of the finest in Italy! Above the sea, the course meanders between oaks and pines, strawberry trees and bushes. The setting is the magnificent Maremma in Tuscany, where scrubland borders the sea. Play a few holes on its natural contours before enjoying the sunset over the water.
The island of Elba
Located in the Arcipelago Toscano National Park, Elba is only a few nautical miles from the coast. Climb aboard the hotel’s boat to discover its pebbled coastline and secluded little beaches, far from the madding crowd. The picture-perfect scenery of scrubland and orchards, vines and beech groves, enchants everyone who comes here. I witnessed one of the most memorable sunsets of my life here.
The Palio Marinaro of Castiglione della Pescaia
Another picturesque seaside town: the silhouette of the huge Aragonese Castle towers over this pretty village with its narrow backstreets. Below, the azure sea is bordered by sandy beaches. In August you can attend the races during Palio Marinaro, a festival that features teams of local fishermen who compete against each other in small boats. Head to the quays of the little port to take part in this amazing festival.
Step 4: 1 day, 1 night
Caino Singing the praises of the region
Caino is a tiny restaurant with just a few tables and an exceptional menu. This remarkable place seems far away from everything, tucked away off the cobbled streets of the charming village of Montemerano. No matter. The road which leads to the door of Valeria Piccini’s kitchen is one of the most beautiful in the country, and the dishes served are as elegant as they are delicious. This is truly a unique place.
Saturnia and its hot springs
My brother Gaetano and I regularly visit the hot springs of Saturnia. Known since Etruscan times for its open-air baths, the town offers visitors the chance to luxuriate in waters that are more than 37°C all year round. The springs and their therapeutic properties were already well known to the Romans. It’s up to us to preserve and make the most of this heritage.
The Orbetello lagoon
This is a paradise for bird watchers. Managed by the WWF, the Orbetello lagoon is an exceptional site where you can observe nearly two hundred different species of birds, including ospreys, herons and flamingos. In the evenings, you can watch more magnificent sunsets over the lagoon and Monte Argentario. To see as many birds as possible, opt for a visit to the lagoon between September and April.
We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :
39 02 6269 0064
Provide the code : TROVATO
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