Podere Dionora

Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy Book from

A handsome Tuscan farmhouse in the heart of hilltown country, offering very exclusive B&B
This is Tuscany just as you dreamed it would be. A cypress-lined lane winds past vines and olives to a handsome farmhouse by a huge oak tree. From the open-air infinity pool and adjacent breakfast room, the views are endless. Inside are 6 cosy bedrooms with beamed ceilings, old wooden furniture and wrought-iron beds; plus a large vaulted sitting room with open fires and comfy sofas. All around are the finest jewels of southern Tuscany: Pienza, whose steeple breaks the wooded skyline; Montepulciano, home of the famous vino nobile; the Orcia valley, steaming with thermal springs; and countless other hilltowns steeped in history and wine.

Staying here is a privilege. The surrounding land is private, still worked for its grains, grapes and olives. There is barely another building in sight. The owner Maria Teresa Cesarini, helped immeasurably by the long-standing, English-speaking manager Giulio, has maintained its pristine beauty and exclusive charm. All in all, it's one of our favourite trad-style country hotels in Tuscany.


  • Peace and seclusion - set in immaculate private grounds of 100 acres, and approached via a cypress-lined drive with 360-degree views over rolling fields and hills
  • Giulio's helpful concierge service is second to none, with horse-riding, balloon trips, nature trails up his sleeve; he even gave us an impromptu wine tasting
  • We loved the delicious breakfast buffet served until 11.30, including home-baked tarts, local cheeses, beautifully presented fruit
  • And ending the day sipping prosecco by the fabulous infinity pool as the sun set
  • It would make a great venue for parties or weddings, with wonderful gardens for a marquee, or plus indoor spaces for a smaller gathering


  • Bear in mind that the decor is traditional - locally crafted antiques and farmhouse chic - rather than contemporary
  • Rates are on the high side - but don't forget you get 100 acres of private grounds and excellent round-the-clock service (for a max of 12 guests)
  • You need to drive to dinner - though it's only 3km to Montepulciano where there are several good restaurants
  • The pool is spring-fed so can be cold, even in summer

Best time to go

Any time of year except midwinter when it is closed. April to mid-June offer lovely spring weather and no crowds; there's a small palio (horse race) in Montalcino in early May. July and August are high season, with crowds, hot weather (occasional storms) and a 2-night minimum stay. Look out for Montepulciano's Arts Festival in late July - early August; and its Bravio wine barrel race in late August. Or check out Montalcino's theatre festival (late July), and its hunting inauguration day (2nd Sunday in August) with medieval costumes, archery competitions and street banquets. September and October are quieter and cooler, with the wine harvest and a one-day caccia festival in Montalcino (last Sunday in Oct).

Our top tips

Don't get stung by the price of bottled water in the minibar - bring a big bottle with you.

Great for...

  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 6
  • Breakfast only
  • Not suitable for babies or very young children
  • Closed: 7 Nov 2016 - 31 Mar 2017
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available


There are 6 bedrooms, 3 on the first floor of the main farmhouse and 3 in an adjacent ex-stable block. All are decorated in simple but tasteful rustic style - terracotta floor tiles, dark wooden beams, coloured fabrics and drapes reflecting the name of the room. Wide, comfortable beds have monogrammed linen sheets and a choice of foam or feather pillows; bathrooms have jacuzzi tubs or hydromassage shower units. The elevation (500m) and thick walls keep them cool, and there's air-con as well, if you need it.

The 3 farmhouse rooms are reached by a marble staircase leading up from the reception areas. The two larger rooms classify as suites, and cost a little more.

Pride of place goes to Pienza, a cream-coloured suite with sloping beams, curtained four-poster and double aspect windows over the garden, making it come alive in the afternoon sun. In a separate alcove is a rather plasticky, programmable jacuzzi tub which speaks to you in an automated voice as it goes about its business. The bathroom has twin basins, abundant toiletries and a stained glass window casting red patterns on the wall.

Across the landing is the other suite, Il Bosco, painted in pale lilac, with green drapes suggesting the woods of its name. It boasts a separate shower and morning sunlight, but otherwise it is similar to Pienza. The only drawback with the suites is some noise when there are people in the reception area below - but it’s empty for most of the day. The small third room, Montefollonico, is tucked in the back, with just one window and a curtained-off jacuzzi tub.

The 3 stable rooms are quieter, and have French windows opening onto pretty private lawns with wicker chairs and sunset views towards Pienza. Bathrooms have circular shower booths with steam jets. Cerro is a corner room with cream walls and intricate ferra battuta bedsteads. On the other corner is Girasole, painted a bold orange with translucent drapes adding to the effect, while pale green Uliveto snuggles in between.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


A slap-up buffet breakfast is laid out in the old limonaia, where citrus trees used to be stored in winter, and whose glassed-in arches make a bright and panoramic sunroom. In warm weather it’s served under the shady pergola outside. Giulio himself prepares the colourful spread of fresh fruit, still-warm cakes and fruit pies, delicate slivers of Parma ham and melon, local pecorino cheeses, cereals, yoghurts, a trio of organic sugar-free jams, croissants, cantuccini biscuits, freshly-squeezed juices and various teas - not to mention smooth cappucinos from the retro machine in the corner. Best of all, the buffet is available until 11.30am, which means you can probably last until dinnertime!

However, if you do get peckish, the staff can usually rustle up a light lunch of sandwiches or parma ham and melon, cheese & fruit etc; or a platter of hams, cheeses, tomatoes, bruschetta and own-label wine if you are arriving late in the evening.

For dinner, there are restaurants for all tastes and budgets in nearby Montepulciano (3km) and Pienza (11km). Top tips in Montepulciano include La Grotta, for outstanding tasting menus and very attentive service; and Le Logge del Vignola, where you can be sure of good wines, as the owner is a sommelier. In Pienza try I Rossellino - very select, with just 5 tables and prices to match; or the cheaper Trattoria Latte di Luna.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Room service


  • Visit some of the fascinating hilltowns within a short drive: Montepulciano (3 km) is one of the largest and culturally richest, with dozens of well-preserved palazzi and churches, from the grand duomo to the perfectly-formed San Biagio near the B&B
  • Pienza is the perfect Renaissance town, small but crammed full of churches, palaces and museums honouring its founder, Pope Pius II; Montalcino (25km), ringed by medieval walls and dominated by a castle, seems barely to have changed since the 16th century.
  • Walk through the fields and woods around the farm - there are marked trails, and you can pick mushrooms in late summer/autumn; or ask Giulio to arrange a horse-riding or cycling trip (mountain bikes are available)
  • Bathe in the thermal waters of Bagno Vignoni (19km) or Chianciano (9 km)
  • Among Italy’s most beautiful abbeys are the 15th-century Monte Oliveto Maggiore, nestling in olive groves (25km), and the Benedictine Sant’Antimo with its daily Gregorian chant (30km)
  • Take a balloon tour over the patchwork of fields, woods and hilltowns - ask staff about this, and about cookery classes
  • Wine-tastings are offered from time to time at the farm (manager Giulio is something of an expert and speaks good English); or head to a nearby enoteca and taste two classic reds, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino.
  • Bustling, studenty Siena (65km) is close enough for a day-trip, and even art-packed Florence (120km) at a pinch

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets


Children are welcome but this is a very small tranquil retreat from the sightseeing in Tuscany and so other guests may prefer to have their holiday home without disturbance. Check with Giulio and Maria when booking what is preferred.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

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