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Picture this: rolling hills dressed in emerald green, the sun casting a warm embrace, and the faint fragrance of olive trees and vineyards in the air.
You turn the corner of your rustic agriturismo in Tuscany, a farm stay that overlooks a countryside oasis whilst sipping glasses of some of the best wine you’ve ever tasted, made on the land you’re standing on. Pour me a glass and let me sit on this pool chaise for the next two days please!
Welcome to Tuscany, a land that whispers tales of history, romance, and pure rustic beauty. The scene I painted before you is of Agriturismo Tenuta di Mensanello, a farm stay accommodation in the heart of Tuscany, in the foothills of Siena.
But this is no ordinary accommodation. In this guide, we’re sharing why Agriturismo is the ultimate way for families to embrace the soul of Tuscany.
- What is Agriturismo in Tuscany?
- Why Choose Agriturismo in Tuscany for Families?
- The Typical Tuscany Agriturismo Experience
- Finding The Best Agriturismo
- How long to stay at a Tuscan farm stay?
- Our Tuscan Farm Stay at Argriturismo Tenuta Di Mensanello
- Final Thoughts on Our Farmstay in Tuscany
- Headed to Florence?
What is Agriturismo in Tuscany?
At its core, Agriturismo is a term that beautifully blends together agriculture and tourism. It’s a concept that marries the charm of a working farm with the comfort and hospitality of a vacation stay.
Basically, an agriturismo is a farm stay in Italy that is located on a small, independently owned working farm.
Imagine waking up to the symphony of birdsong, venturing out to pick fresh figs, and then later savoring a sumptuous meal prepared with ingredients harvested right from the farm.
This is the essence of agriturismo in Tuscany. It was created and partly funded by the government in 1985 in order to help connect tourists with the beating heart of the country. This also helped the farming industry that was falling apart since the end of the World War II when farmers started moving into cities.
Since it’s partly a government initiative, the participating agriturismos must be working farms, with a few regulations to follow such as a stay on a Tuscan farm can be of great value.
Prices are very reasonable since the law states that the time devoted to agriturismo must be less than the time used in their agricultural activity. And the annual gross production value of their agriculture must always be greater than the agritourism.
Agritourism is a rapidly growing travel trend across the world but has been thriving in Tuscany for years.
Why Choose Agriturismo in Tuscany for Families?
The allure of agriturismo lies in its authenticity matched with affordability. Families are drawn to these enchanting retreats because they offer a unique opportunity to unplug from the hustle and bustle of daily life and connect with nature, history, and each other.
It’s a hands-on experience that allows children to see where their food comes from, learn about sustainable farming, and create lasting memories amidst breathtaking landscapes.
Plus, it’s a great opportunity to give back to small, local businesses, which is how we love to travel. We loved also getting to know the owners of the agritourismo and their staff who typically live in the nearby small villages.
Everything you need is on the property – from comfortable rooms to great food, and cultural activities. In Europe, kids can get sick of churches pretty quickly, so a farm stay gives them a different cultural experience they’ll connect to more.
And since Tuscany is a fantastic wine region, you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving AND you can even leave with souvenirs – a bottle of wine or extra virgin olive oil and other local produce.
It was the perfect chance for our family to take a break from a busy 5-week European summer trip and enjoy cooking classes together and a quieter approach to travel memories.
The Typical Tuscany Agriturismo Experience
Agriturismo stays vary, but they often include comfortable accommodations, access to the farm’s amenities, and a chance to engage in farm-related activities.
From grape harvesting to cheese-making, families can immerse themselves in traditional agricultural practices.
These stays often include delectable farm-to-table dining, where ingredients are lovingly nurtured and thoughtfully prepared.
Whether you’re staying on a working farm or in a countryside inn, you’ll usually find the farmhouse accommodation clean and comfortable, though probably basic.
Breakfast is often included, and a home-cooked dinner) may be included. Kitchenettes are often available for you to cook up your own feast.
You get to decide how each day looks, whether you want to relax on the farm and indulge in the activities they have available or venture out to the nearby small Tuscan villages and cities, or do a bit of both, like we did.
Finding The Best Agriturismo
When choosing an agriturismo in Tuscany, consider the location, amenities, and activities that align with your family’s interests.
Look for farms that offer a range of experiences, whether it’s a cooking class, wine tasting, or exploring nearby towns. You may even find agriturismos that offer horseback riding, mountain biking, and other more adventurous activities.
The charm of each agriturismo lies in its unique personality, so take time to research and find the one that resonates with you.
Write a list of what you want to experience at a Tuscan farm stay and use those filters when searching for the perfect one.
For us, we were looking for a farm stay experience that included a cooking class (Savannah’s bucket list), wine tasting, beautiful views, farm to table dining, and one that was affordable.
As many farms may be isolated from towns, or only near small towns with limited amenities, it’s important to research the dining facilities.
Some of them were quite expensive which I knew would blow our budget. Our farm stay was decently priced.
Finding one with a swimming pool was a bonus, and once I saw it, I knew I didn’t want an agriturismo stay without a pool. It’s a perfect farm stay addition for families to give kids a break.
For this trip, I wasn’t too fussed on the accommodation, and was okay with it being more rustic if it meant a better price.
In the future I’d love to experience a more luxury agriturismo experience with a spa.
To find an agriturismo stay use the following booking sites. Be sure to use filters to search for your ideal farm stay.
- Use Booking.com to research I like the security of their cancellation policy. Our Tuscan farm stay is listed here.
- Hotels.com you can select agritourismo in the filters
- You can also find them on VRBO. Just choose the farm stay filter when searching.
It’s best to book several months in advance, especially during high season. There wasn’t a lot of availability when I started looking about two months before our trip to Tuscany.
We were very happy with our choice (more on that below) Here are some of the other Tuscan farm stays I had bookmarked as possible:
- Villa Nottola a former noble residence in the countryside of Montepulciano, besides the namesake winery. It offers a sun terrace with swimming pool.
- Offering a sun terrace with panoramic view over the surrounding hills, Agriturismo Il Casalino is set in a 19th-century farmhouse with olive trees and vineyards in Pienza.
- Located in Montepulciano, Agriturismo Podere Fucile provides accommodation with free WiFi, barbecue facilities, pool with a view.
- The family-run agriturismo Podere Casa al Vento in Sant’Albino is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, 5 km from Montepulciano.
- Featuring an outdoor pool with sun loungers and parasols, Agriturismo Il Poggiarello is set in a typical Tuscan country house near Siena.
How long to stay at a Tuscan farm stay?
How long have you got? It really depends on what you want to do on the property, how much you want to relax, and how much of Tuscany you want to see.
We stayed for two nights, and I wish it was longer. Three nights would have been better, but I think 4-5 nights is optional. Since we enjoyed Siena so much, I would have loved more time to explore some other places in Tuscany.
But, if you can only fit in two like us, you’re still going to have an incredible time! We also stayed nights in Florence – which is the capital of Tuscany.
Our Tuscan Farm Stay at Argriturismo Tenuta Di Mensanello
Our journey led us to the captivating Agriturismo Tenuta di Mensanello, a farming estate nestled in the Tuscan countryside. It’s located only an hour south of Florence in the famous Chianti region of Tuscany Italy.
It was also only 30 minutes to Siena, another famous Medieval City on a hill that was once Florence’s rival (and just as equally beautiful)
We arrived via rental car from Rome (about 3 hours) into the historic village, which is a collection of a small group of stone houses, villas and farmhouses surrounded by 300 hectares of cultivated fields, vineyards, olive groves and rolling hills.
Mensanello Estate has been a family farm for three generations and is currently managed by Neri, the grandson of Ada and Alessandro who began the farm.
From the moment we arrived, we were enveloped in the warmth of authentic Italian hospitality and knew we had chosen the right farm stay.
We met Neir and his partner Annarita (who also helps manage the farm) over dinner and they were warm and friendly, and excited about how they could innovate for a better future for guests.
I chose Tenuta Mensanello because it was family owned and run, it offered a wide variety of programs including a cooking class with the family, wine tastings, and tours of the farm.
It also had an affordable farm to table restaurant, a swimming pool, and they made their own wine, olive oil, meat from semi-wild-bred pigs, other spirits, AND their own beer!
In my research, I didn’t find another place that offered as much variety and value. Staying at Tenuta Mensanello was one of the highlights of our Italian vacation.
Check in Experience at Mensanello
The host at check-in was warm and friendly as we checked in. He told us more about the farm and showed us the local products in the store that the farm produced from grappa to limoncello, red and white wines, and olive oil.
Unfortunately, I didn’t pre-book a wine tasting experience before arrival, as I wasn’t sure of our timings. It was too late to organize it once we arrived – the perfect thing to do after a long drive from Rome.
But he was very accommodating, and he booked a wine tasting experience for us to have during our dinner.
And, after telling us more about the wine, we picked up a bottle of chardonnay to take to the room with us.
He then walked us down to our farmhouse cottage pointing out parts of the farm as we went and showing us where to park and where we could do laundry!
The Farmhouse Cottage Accommodation
The accommodations at Tenuta Di Mensanello are a harmonious blend of rustic charm and modern comforts.
We stayed in an apartment (Nocciola) in the quaint farmhouse cottage with beautiful views of the surrounding vineyards from our small deck. The rooms were cozy and inviting, creating the perfect atmosphere for relaxation after a day of exploration.
Now as I mentioned, they were rustic with sparse amenities and furnishings.
I actually liked the rustic appeal.
We didn’t spend much time in the room, so it didn’t bother us. The beds were comfortable and there was a fridge and a small kitchen if you wanted it. There was also a private bathroom. This is typical for agritorusmo stays.
There wasn’t any air conditioning, but we had fans which was fine for us as we don’t like AC much!
Tenuta di Mansenello has a range of accommodation from self-equipped apartments that can host up to 6 people; bed and breakfast rooms inside the buildings of the historic village; and an ancient farmhouse with four apartments located about 600 meters from the village.
Swimming Pool Serenity
Of course, the first thing we did after checking in was head down to the swimming pool. It gets pretty hot in Tuscany, and we’d been sitting in the car for far too many hours. The glistening swimming pool offered respite.
We spent some time swimming, lounging poolside and soaking in the serenity of the Tuscan landscape, and the sounds of silence. Well, when we stopped splashing and talking.
Pre-Dinner Drinks with Views
As the estate is on a top of a hill there are plenty of places to enjoy the beautiful countryside views with a glass of wine.
After a relaxing afternoon on the property Craig and I snuck away to enjoy a pre-dinner drink on a cute little rooftop patio. We had our bottle of the estate’s chardonnay and beer brewed at Mensanello.
The farm brews different kinds of artisan beer using local water, barley they grow themselves, malt and natural ingredients.
Craig really enjoyed the light and refreshing flavor and loved that it was not too high in alcohol content. I took a sip and enjoyed it. I am gluten free but found in Europe I could have some here and there and not be bothered.
In the USA it’s a different story, as soon as I returned home, I got bothered by the smallest amounts.
I really enjoyed the chardonnay. Typically, I’m a white wine drinker, but Italian white is not something I’m a big fan of, especially their chardonnays.
However, the chardonnay from Tenuta was outstanding. I did not find another white to match it on the rest of our trip – and I tried multiple whites from all five countries we visited, including French chardonnay.
I’m very disappointed I did not bring some bottles home with me.
There’s also another lovely section with wine barrels under the shady trees on the other side of the pool where we enjoyed a glass of wine the following evening before our cooking class.
Where we saved on accommodation, we splurged on good food and wine. This is Tuscany after all.
Your connection to the tranquility of the countryside, with views all around, continues on the covered verandah of the restaurant. I was delighted to walk ten steps from our room to this wonderful terrace for a farm-to-table dining experience.
The menu at the restaurant changes based on the season so your meals are made from fresh local produce. Since Mensanello pasture raises their own pigs, we couldn’t start our meal without a charcuterie board of cold cuts and local cheeses. It was some of the best cured meats I’ve ever had (ordered the following night as well).
You can also expect freshly baked bread with the estate’s own olive oil to dip it in. (I wish I could have had this! The olive oil is great!)
Service was warm and friendly with accommodations made for my gluten sensitivities and suggestions offered.
For mains we enjoyed pasta, strip steak, and a selection of Tuscan meats – chicken, ribs and sausage.
As we learned on our Tuscan food and wine tour in Florence, Tuscan cuisine is heavy on meats and bread, not pasta like you’ll find in other regions of Italy.
But don’t worry if you’re a pasta lover, as it’s on the menu! But enjoy a little Tuscan style food while here. Florentine steak will most likely be on the menu!
And all good Italian meals end with tiramisu – Savannah licked her tiramisu bowl clean. And for adults, all good meals in Italy end with a digestif – hey it’s good for your stomach!
Mensanello make their own limoncello and grappa. That’s a hard pass on the grappa for me, but yes thank you to the limoncello. Again, I wish I bought a bottle of that home with me too!
Lunch is served in the restaurant upon request. And dinner and breakfast is also open to the public.
Breakfast was also a lovely buffet spread of Italian meats, cheeses, and home cooked cakes and pastries. Craig and the girls enjoyed filling up on this feast each morning.
As I don’t typically eat breakfast, and I’m gluten free so can’t justify spending on buffet breakfasts, I was happy enough to hear their stories while sipping on a black coffee! Breakfast is an additional €10 per person.
Breakfast is included for the bed and breakfast style rooms. But not for those staying in an apartment or the villa.
Here are other restaurants in Tuscany you may want to visit.
Wine Tasting at Mensanello Estate
As mentioned, you can do a separate wine tasting experience on the farm, OR combine it with dinner, which is what we did (on both nights – this is a big reason for visiting Tuscany!)
We enjoyed the experience of tasting four (healthy pourings) of the IGT and DOCG wines made on the estate from rose to merlot. The wine tasting session introduced us to the nuances of Tuscan wines, a journey of the senses that left us enchanted.
It was by far some of the best wine I’ve ever had. And while this region is known for its Sangiovese, what really had me talking for the rest of the night was the smooth, luxurious Ada, the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Fontediaccia merlot was also outstanding, and we brought home a bottle of Sangiovese that is patiently waiting for a special occasion on my bar shelf!
Cooking Class on the Terrace
Savannah had Italian cooking class high on her Europe bucket list. I knew there was probably no better place to do it than in the Tuscan countryside.
Our two-hour cooking class was on the terrace with Tenuta’s chef Sabrina and sommelier, Guiseppe who ensured our glass was full the entire time and for dinner after.
Guided by skilled chefs, we learned the art of crafting handmade pasta and the secrets behind perfecting a traditional tomato sauce.
Sabrina spoke limited English, but Guiseppe was fluent and translated each step of the cooking process. They were both a lot of fun and informative about Tuscan food and culture.
Sabrina taught us how to prepare bruschetta, homemade pasta, ragu sauce and tiramisu. There were gluten free versions of each for me, including the tiramisu which I was thrilled about. And we were given the recipes for all of them to take home.
In the process we learned just how easy – but also difficult it is to make pasta. So much of it relies on the humidity levels in the air. If that’s not right, there is no helping your pasta. Sabrina had to take it into the kitchen to straighten it out near the end!
But we’re all very keen now to try making it at home and are all set to buy a pasta machine.
Guiseeppe’s warm personality made us feel like we were old friends. Like the wine tasting during our meal the evening before, Guiseepppe explained each of the four wines as he poured them.
He was accommodating as to when we wanted to eat the food we cooked, holding it for us to enjoy an hour later when the restaurant opened.
Before our dinner was served, we filled up with another charcuterie board – that meat is too succulent to not eat twice.
Again wine tasting was paired with the beautiful meal that we cooked ourselves. Savannah was adamant that hers was the best tiramisu. I was grateful I had my own gluten free version to enjoy this time.
Then our server bought out a treat to wrap up the meal. Vin Santo with cantucci, a typical Tuscan cookie with almonds, also known as biscotti. The Vin Santo (made on the property) is a sweet wine.
The cantucci is very hard, so you have to dip it in the Vin Santo which softens it. Separately, both aren’t very good, but together, it’s a delicious way to end a meal.
Considering the cooking class included the lesson, wine tasting and the food to eat, it was of incredible value and a highlight of our Europe trip.
Apart from the cooking classes, Mensanello also offers extra-virgin olive oil and wine tasting experiences, agro-trekking and farm tours, picnics in the countryside, and seasonal activities.
Once you’ve booked for your accommodation at Mensanello, email them to book your cooking classes and other activities in advance.
Exploring Nearby Treasures in Tuscany
Tenuta Di Mensanello’s strategic location made it an ideal base for exploring the gems of Tuscany.
Mensanello is just a few steps from the and the town on the hill, Colle Val d’Elsa and the Via Francigena, which is an ancient road and pilgrimage route from Canterbury in England, through France, Switzerland, to Rome and then to Apulia, Italy.
Today, it is a popular route for hikers and cyclists who want to experience the history and culture of Europe.
I was quite content to not leave the farmhouse during our stay, but Annarita convinced us it was worth going to Siena for half a day.
Not only does she help manage the farm, but she is also a tour guide in nearby Siena and gave us lots of insider tips.
I’m glad we went, as it was a beautiful Tuscan city to explore, especially the Siena Duomo, which has to be one of my favorite churches ever.
The other town in Tuscany I heard so much about – but didn’t get a chance to visit – is San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also only 30 mins from Mensanello. See these other places to visit in Tuscany and these Chianti towns worth exploring and restuarants in Tuscany to enjoy. We’ve made the planning easy for you with our 14 day Italian itinerary.
Final Thoughts on Our Farmstay in Tuscany
Our agriturismi experience at Tenuta Di Mensanello was a symphony of flavors, emotions, and connections.
As we said “arrivederci” to this haven, we carried with us not just memories, but a deeper understanding of the land, its people, and the beauty of slow-paced living.
If you’re seeking a truly immersive family getaway, where the past meets the present and nature welcomes you with open arms, look no further than an agriturismo stay in Tuscany. We recommend Tenuta di Mensanello and would return for longer in a heartbeat!
It’s a journey that promises to touch your heart and awaken your senses, creating memories that will linger long after you’ve returned home.