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Reviewed 14 June 2013


We more than enjoyed our stay of two days in this fantastic remote place. A perfect place to relax. Already the last five kilometers to the place on an untarred forest road force you to slow down. The 'albergo' is beautifully situated high up in the Orcia valley with a view on the valley, the surrounding hills, some castles and remote farms. Beautiful things to see in the surroundings, for instance Bagno Vignoli with its famous, ancient hot water spa.
However, most impressive is the albergo in itself. Starting with a heartly, warm welcome that makes you feel home immediately. Though we arrived late - thanks to Alitalia and the airport in Rome we arrived at 10.30 pm instead of 3.30 pm - Elena and Andrea welcomed us with a good grappa and wine to help us forget the travel frustrations and with an excellent meal. That brings me to the food: excellent, down to earth, perfectly prepared, high quality, local ingredients. This is true for diners and breakfast. The finishing touch at one breakfast was a delicious birthday cake witch helped me to cope with the fact that I got sixty. And finally, the accommodation: we had a very comfortable, spacious room, designed according the rule 'less is more', a big, very comfortable bad and a spacious bathroom.
To summarize: perfect place to be and to come back.

Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank Franz T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2013

We were on a four-day walking tour of the Val d'Orcia in Tuscany with three friends and were fortunate enough to stay at this beautiful, tastefully decorated agriturismo. Andrea and Elena were very friendly and helpful. The rooms were beautiful and the dinner and wine from their own vineyards were wonderful. We all wished we could have stayed here for all three nights, but the road called - but the same road can lead us back there and surely will. If you are in the area, stay at Pian di Meta Vecchia - you will love it.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Geraldine K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2013

I recently had the very good fortune to spend a week at Pian di Meta Vecchia. This farm is hidden in the middle of woods in the Orcia valley. Andrea, who runs the farm with his wife Elena, picked me up where the bus left me off: in the very beautiful town of Castiglion d’Orcia, a little wonderland of winding cobblestone streets, stone buildings, a square with a fountain, a museum, only open on weekend afternoons, unfortunately, and a church which was open and which turned out to contain a number of extremely interesting works of art. Add a pastry shop, an antique shop, and a couple of restaurants, and Castiglion d’Orcia would well merit a day’s visit.

Andrea’s car plunged into woods so thick I was expecting the farmhouse to be more or less buried in them; instead, the house sits on a kind of hill from which it surveys seemingly endless vistas of rolling hills and valleys, olive groves and vinyards, and not one but two castles. I was immediately treated to a tour of the grounds in the form of a hunt for wild asparagus in the company of one of the farm’s two cats; we emerged an hour later equipped with an impressive handful (for only a few of which I can claim credit) and an appetite sufficient for the risotto we were to make with them. Then it was back to the house for the first of many long chats with Andrea and Elena, charming, sophisticated and kind people who obviously love running their agriturismo.

This was the beginningof an enchanting week. Pian di Meta Vecchia is, for those who love long hikes, splendidly situated, and Andrea and Elena are extremely generous with their time, whether poring over maps and guidebooks in the evening or driving me and other guests to starting points for more far-flung hikes in the morning, or picking us up in the evening, or (most importantly) quietly slipping into our hands a package that turned out to contain a sandwich or a cake, lest hunger should strike on a long walk.

I have already mentioned the beauty of Castiglion d’Orcia; it forms a circle with the charming bath town of Bagno Vignone and San Quirico d’Orcia. A short but exciting walk north brings one to the 12th C. Romanesque monastery of Sant’Antimo where the monks sing all the offices and masses in a very simple, even austere, but pure and lovely Gregorian chant, and the neighboring town of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, with its own beautiful church. Twelve km to the west is the charming village of Sant’Angelo in Colle and twelve km to the north is the famous wine destination of Montalcino, also the home of a first-rate art musuem. But more lovely than any of these destinations are the paths that lead between them: tranquil paths winding through woods or groves, filled with the songs of birds, in which you are likely to see a hare or a deer suddenly leap across, and giving way regularly to breath-taking panoramic views.

For my fellow non-drivers: there are buses, although infrequent. It is thus possible, for example, to walk to Castelnuovo dell’Abate in the morning, enjoy a tour of the abbey, then take a bus to Montalcino, spend the day there exploring the museum and the wines and a good lunch, and then take the long, lovely hike back in the late afternoon. And, as I said, Andrea and Elena are extremely generous about driving guests to starting points in the morning or picking them up in the afternoon.

Andrea and Elena have gathered a small library of books relevant to the area: two of them quickly became my bibles for the week: a lavish guide to the art and architecture of the whole province of Siena, and a quirky and cultured companion to ten hiking trails in the immediate vicinity complete with maps so detailed that they mention every farm: highly useful when hiking in remote areas.

No matter how beautiful the day’s hike was, however, the best part was returning to Pian di Meta in the evening. On a typical evening I would return to the house to find a fire roaring in the living room and a cozy group gathered around it on the Indonesian carved-wooden benches with some sparkling white wine while enchanting fragrances drifted from the kitchen. Elena and Andrea spent years running a restaurant in Venice and are the dream conversation partners for anyone who loves cooking. My fellow guests this week were a charming Canadian couple with whom I compared notes on the hiking trails we had explored, and a young couple from Turin who ended up sharing their secrets for a perfect bagna cauda.

Now about the cooking. After months of travelling all over Italy I have had some extremely great dining, but absolutely nothing matches the superb quality, variety, generosity, and good taste of Andrea and Elena’s table. Here are a few of the things I enjoyed in the course of one week: lasagna stuffed with ricotta and fresh herbs; lasagna with cardoons; a risotto of asparagus; a risotto of artichokes; a huge platter of fish and seafood, fried and steamed; a rabbit wrapped in bacon and stuffed with nuts and sausage; a fish soup; an onion soup; chard sauteed with apples; carrots sauteed with fennel and balsamic vinegar; endive with cheese and walnuts; beef long braised with a sauce redolent of cardamom and fennel seeds and other herbs and spices; spaghetti with ricotta and tomatoes; a seafood salad fresh and with an abundance of herbs; a dense, chewy, spicy cake of nuts and fruits and chocolate—and these are only a few of the things that stand out from a week crowded with incredible meals, and all of the very highest quality. If you’re wondering about all that fish and seafood so far from the sea, Wednesdays and Fridays are the days when the fishmonger comes to Castiglion d’Orcia with a cart overflowing with the bounty of the sea; I accompanied Andrea on one of those days and it was an assortment that many beach residents would envy.

For breakfast there was a plum and walnut jam, a lemon marmalade, a fig jam, an apricot jam, and some amazing homemade croissants. But both at breakfast and dinner what almost stole the show was the bread which Elena bakes from her own natural sourdough: thick, chewy, crusty flavorful whole-wheat bread judiciously studded with pumpkin and sunflower seeds and varied by the addition of, now and then, some buckwheat flour or a bit of cornmeal. After weeks of white bread, this was too good to be true, and I savored every bite of it. It should go without saying that wine and the olive oil are also abundant and excellent.

The house itself has a modern, earthy tone, the walls covered in clay and the wooden beams painted white; solid handsome wooden tables and doors, and enormous windows that give on vast panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and admit vast amounts of glorious sunlight. There is good coffee and tea, there is always a platter of fresh fruit on hand, and the rooms and bathrooms are luxurious.

To sum up: a clean, comfortable, charming house; a ravishingly beautiful part of the world; a hiker’s paradise bedecked with castles and monasteries and fine art and good wine; excellent people and spectacular cuisine.

On my last morning Andrea took me on a walk through the woods which turned out to have a surprise destination: a cliff from which we had a breath-taking view of the Orcia river, winding emerald and turquois through the countryside far below. Then it was back into the woods for another surprise view: the house, this time from the other side of a wide pasture; it was as if I had never seen the house before. Then Elena drove me to Castiglion d’Orcia and stood with me as we waited for my bus to come. I didn’t want to leave this Paradise. As we stood talking about the various magic names that I had discovered over the course of the week: Ripa d’Orcia, San Quirico, Bagno Vignone, a guilty realisation stirred: I still had Elena’s book in my bag, the one filled with local hiking trails. I almost wished I hadn’t realised this: not because I wanted to steal the book, but because I would have liked an excuse to return. I may have one anyway: apparently Elena is planning to make a bergamot marmalade sometime soon…

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank tainancastorp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2013

It's worth to drive a white road every single time to reach the lovely place, restored in an old and ecological style. When you arrive on a grass field and you see the house infront of you, you say: yes, that is the place. Not only for vacccation, but also for living. Isolated from daily traffic and completely stressless, with excelent base to visit history sites and famous wine cellars of Tuscany. Hospitality and readiness of Elena and Andrea to inform, advise and also arrange some visits at special wine cellars and food facilities around Tuscany is great. But great are also their lunches and dinners, prepared from food delivered from the local suppliers. Will come again. For sure.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank zoran p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2012

Wonderful place, full of peace, where the stars shine and the wind carries away the thoughts…
The farmhouse is isolated but you can reach many magical places all around, the best of Tuscany!
The accommodation is perfect, natural style and impeccable in all respects. The food and the wines are delicious.
What else? I recommend this little piece of paradise to all who love nature and want to make a sustainable holiday, to all those who love to eat very very well.
What my concern, I hope to go back soon!!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Federica308
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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