Words by Amelia Bell
A hotel that takes its name from the long driveway leading up to it, L’Andana stands among endless olive groves, vineyards and patchwork fields in the heart of Tuscany’s unspoilt Maremma countryside.
Once the summer home to a famous duke, today L’Andana has all the Tuscan charm you could hope for with sweeping panoramic views spotted from every corner of it. You’ll see these same views from the sun-drenched terrace while sipping on the local wine, from the tennis courts, surrounded by a sea of green, and looking out from your bedroom, ensuring that wherever you are, L’Andana never has a bad side.
Arriving at a set of large iron gates in the middle of Maremma, a mile-long driveway, flanked by towering Cypresses and pine trees, marks the entrance to the 500-acre La Badiola Estate. Fast forward five minutes of perfectly lined vineyards and flashing shades of lush green, and we reach the centrepiece: the terracotta-stoned Medici-era villa, today known simply as L’Andana. It is this entrance and the idyllic surroundings that have made L’Andana one of Tuscany’s most tranquil and authentic places to stay.
La Badiola Estate is the old residence of Duke Leopold II and in a former life it was used purely for Grand Duke Leopold II and his court as a hunting lodge. While it has remained the kind of summer getaway fit for a duke, with old stone columns and elongated arches at every turn, the now five-star hotel features plenty of modern luxuries including two spacious swimming pools, tennis courts, a golf course and a Michelin star restaurant.
As for the design? Though still channelling a sense of old Tuscany, the interiors feature grand chandeliers and rustic apricot hues, antiques and baroque details mixed with sleek modern furniture. There’s a real mix of rustic and contemporary styles running throughout with influences clearly drawn from the surroundings. Like the greenery growing everywhere outside, even climbing its way up the building, plant pots in every size, shape and form are dotted around the rooms and entrance, bringing the outdoors inside.
There are 32 rooms and 15 suites in total located either in the Villa building or in La Casa or the farmhouse next to the main building. Designed by Ettore Mocchetti, each room has unique furnishings but with a theme running throughout. A Tuscan-inspired colour palette of warm orange, reds, earthy beiges and browns paint the rooms, complementing those rustic apricot tones of the hotel, while luxury Italian fabrics, chandeliers and antique 18th-century furniture feel more luxurious and decadent.
Like the interiors in the main entrance and dining room, my deluxe room had a mix of old and new with antique furnishings and modern details: an ornate bedhead with cloud-like pillows upon it, vintage chest of drawers, decorative mirrors and a grand old fireplace. Plus, all the usual modern luxuries including a flat screen TV, jet shower and king-size bed. The bathroom, with its warm details and orange-hued curtains, was my favourite part of the room, particularly with the vintage free-standing bath looking out onto more dream-like countryside views.
Food and wine
Every plate served at L’Andana is overseen by Enrico Bartolini, a name that means you’re in very good hands. A celebration of rustic Tuscan fare with a signature Bartolini twist, the menus in both restaurants feature local ingredients and authentic dishes thought up in fresh ways. For less formal but delicious food, La Villa’s veranda offers up a magical setting and a menu which includes the likes of delicate ‘cartoccio’ style seabass, farm ragout pappardelle and buttery lemon tart, all of which were delicious. Breakfast is also served at La Villa where homemade pastries and breads, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, cold cuts, and everything you can think up, are served daily.
Meanwhile, Michelin star tastes are found at the fine dining Trattoria next door in the villa’s ancient granary. And, next to that, the hotel has its very own winery producing white, red and rosé wine from the hundreds of vineyards enveloping the estate: it goes by the name Acquaguista. During my stay, I completed a wine tasting tour after which I left with an understanding of the history and heritage of this unique winery with the added bonus of sampling Acquagiusta wines and olive oils made within the grounds.
Hidden away on Tuscany’s south coast, this secluded five-star property is found between Chianti and Siena. A lesser-known region, it remains to be one of Tuscany’s best-kept, if not, only secrets despite its close proximity to several hill-top hotspots. A less trodden path by tourists, yet the close proximity to land and sea makes L’Andana an enviable location.
On the one hand, the hotel is surrounded by the rolling hills and pink-ish skies synonymous with Tuscany, and yet a fifteen-minute drive away lie beaches worthy of Southern Italy in nearby Castiglione della Pescaia. As expected, you’ll need a car to get around as trains are limited.
With tennis courts, pools, bikes and a golf course, you can spend hours without moving from the L’Andana grounds. Days here are best started at the ESPA spa which offers holistic treatments from around the world as well as indoor pools, a sauna and a gym, which is next to the lovely adults-only pool lined with sun loungers.
Only a short drive away, we spent an evening in Castiglione della Pescaia, a seaside village with a lovely old town and tangles of side streets brimming with seafood restaurants. Here you can climb up the medieval fortress and hefty set of stairs to the Aragon Castle for views of the Tyrrhenian Sea before rewarding yourself with pizza from Ristorante Alessandro, a local restaurant within strolling distance. Other day trips include hill-top towns like Talamone, Volterra and San Gimignano, though these get very busy.
In a nutshell
A complete hideaway that captures the essence of Tuscany. A place to relax and explore, you’ll feel worlds away from anyone or anything at L’Andana, and yet an abundance of coastal and hill-top towns lies at its fingertips.
Prices at L’Andana, Tuscany, start from €440 per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis.