Poggio Ai Santi

San Vincenzo, Tuscany, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Emma Taylor
Hidden hilltop hotel with striking views across to the islands of Elba and Corsica, plus a magical garden and a glorious little restaurant
Venture out of Chiantishire into southern Tuscany and you'll find equally good wines, pine-fringed beaches and fantastic seafood... and the bucolic Poggio Ai Santi. High on a hill, 11 gorgeous suites filled with olive-green furniture, driftwood and botanical prints on whitewashed walls sit within a magical garden overlooking the vines, the forest and the sparkling Med. In the distance, Elba (and sometimes Corsica) float above the haze.

Lavender and rosemary scent the air and birds and bees abound, drawn by a multitude of plants and flowers. Wander through the irises and lilies, under a canopy of pines and palms, to find an immaculate lawn, pink roses hugging iron pergolas, and a fantastic pool. To top it off, Il Sale, Poggio's restaurant, is worthy in its own right, drawing in both tourists and locals to create a buzz that's often missing out in the sticks. This peaceful hotel was Dominique and Francesca's family home until they decided to share this spectacular spot with those lucky enough to find it.


  • Perfect for couples thanks to its tranquil, secluded setting
  • Fantastic home-grown, seasonal food at Il Sale, plus an experimental bar serving up exciting and delicious cocktails
  • The spectacular views from the Sea Superior Suites, which also have a private outdoor tub on their balcony - ideal for honeymooners
  • Outstanding service from Francesa and her team
  • The stunning Mediterranean garden filled with flowers and an idyllic pool


  • The restaurant varies its opening hours and days from month to month, particularly during low season (October-April), when it is occasionally shut
  • Sound carries very clearly between the Garden Superior Suites, which is at odds with the peaceful, romantic set-up
  • Families will miss out on this lovely spot: no children under the age of 12 years old are allowed. A blessing for some!
  • It's pricey during the peak season: visit in spring or autumn instead

Best time to go

This part of Tuscany gets a bit clogged with tourists during the high season and it can also get very hot, though Poggio Ai Santi is blessed with cooling breezes due to its altitude. A break in early May is lovely, though don't expect to use the pool at this time, as it's not heated. The landscape changes throughout the year due to the farming of sunflowers and rapeseed, poppies flowering and so on.

Our top tips

You could easily use the hotel as a base for a week-long exploration of the area, or for a few nights as part of an itinerary in Southern Tuscany.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10
  • Restaurant and bar (opening hours vary)
  • Not suitable under 12s
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Pine Forest Superior Suite


All the suites at Poggio are spacious and beautifully decorated. The décor is still fresh and bright, and a lot of thought has gone into the styling. The effect is rather timeless: its rural roots are firmly in place, but it's clear that Francesca (who designed all the rooms) understands modern trends for simplicity. Fussy fabrics are kept to a minimum; pieces of driftwood and antique furniture add interest. Wooden shutters keep out early morning light, and fresh flowers from the garden scent the air.

The 10 suites are spread out between 3 buildings. In the main house are 3 suites (2 Farmhouse Suites and the Garden Suite) and 2 Pine Forest Superior Suites. Adjacent to the house are 3 Garden Superior Suites, and at the bottom of the garden are the 2 Sea Superior Suites. We loved the Garden Superior Suites with their patios and small garden area filled with flowers, loungers, a table and chairs. One of them, No 3, has a sea view from its patio, while No 2 has a more private garden. Our top choices are the 2 Sea Superior Suites - at 65sqm, they have breathtaking, unobstructed views from their large balconies, which feature spoiling outdoor tubs. They really do have the wow factor.

Two of the Garden Superior Suites and and both the Sea Superior Suites have cleverly concealed kitchenettes: within a painted wooden cabinet you'll find a hob, sink, fridge, cutlery, plates and cooking utensils. The suites in the main house lack outside space (one has a very small balcony), but they are the cheapest option.

The enormous bathrooms are spectacular throughout: large walk-in showers, double sinks, lots of glass and expensive tiles, plus super-stylish fittings as only the Italians know how to do!

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • Wifi internet


Poggio has a restaurant, Il Sale, which serves fantastic seasonal, mainly homegrown, food. It is full of Italians, which is always a good sign, and the atmosphere is very relaxed. Its opening times vary from month to month, especially during low season (October-March). During the summer lunch and dinner tend to be on offer, and guests can sit on the adjoining terrace with its far-reaching views to the sea. Being so close to the coast, Francesca and Dominique claim they have a duty to provide good seafood, and they take this duty very seriously!

Menus change on a regular basis and there is a choice of about 6 starters and mains. We enjoyed baby squid and artichoke, tiny clams with fresh asparagus, and an amazing seafood linguine which arrived steaming in its juices inside a paper bag. Meat eaters will enjoy the finest, organic Chianina steak, prepared in a number of ways, and for vegetarians there are always fresh, seasonal dishes. The wine that accompanies the food comes mainly from a local estate, and we thought the reasonably priced Vermentino was delicious.

Breakfast (included) is a buffet served in the restaurant, and you can eat there or out on the terrace, or take your plate into the garden or back to your room. There are homemade cakes and pastries, plenty of fresh fruits, juices, yogurts, and plump tomatoes with ham and cheese that you can drizzle liberally with the fantastic olive oil made from the trees next to the hotel.

The hotel's bar-lounge, Il Sal8, describes itself as 'a laboratory of ideas', and serves up a diverse and exciting menu of cocktails, as well as offering a range of other drinks to be enjoyed on their sunny garden terrace.

The concealed kitchenettes in 2 of the Garden Superior Suites and both the Sea Superior Suites are perfect for whipping up a light lunch (you have a 2-ring hob, fridge, sink, cooking utensils and crockery) and there are several grocers and a larger Co-op down the road in San Vincenzo. In the town, you'll also find several good seafood restaurants, including the famous Gambero Rosso; Dominique and Francesca are happy to help you choose an alternative place to eat for the evening.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Sandy beaches, reached via a gentle stroll through the pine trees, are a 4km drive from San Vincenzo
  • Dominique and Francesca can arrange a whole host of watersports: windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing and kayaking can all be done nearby and they know the experts
  • There is a golf course, Il Pegalone at Follonica, 20 minutes away
  • If you would like to visit the local vineyards, this can also be set up, complete with a driver for the day
  • There are numerous short walks to be taken from the hotel itself, through olive groves and down small lanes. Look out for donkeys on your way!
  • Elba is a short ferry ride away (30 mins) and you can take your car from Piombino port, about 15km from Poggio Ai Santi. It's the largest island of the 'Tuscan Archipelago' and is less developed and more laidback than the mainland, with crystal-clear seas, sandy inlets, barren lands where cacti grow, and picturesque ancient villages
  • Potter about in Piombino: it has a pretty historical centre with a cathedral and palazzo, and its large port is nice to stroll around
  • Back at the hotel, the garden, with its pool, is a lovely place to spend your time. There's a huge variety of plants and a small vegetable plot (the main vegetable plot is across the road from the hotel), plus a kitchen garden full of herbs. The pool has lovely sea views and is the perfect spot for a glass of Vermentino

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Kitesurfing
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting


No children under the age of 12 years are allowed to stay. There are 2 suites that can accommodate an extra bed for a supplement, plus breakfast for well-behaved teenagers aged 12 years and upwards, but it's really a romantic retreat for adults.

Kid Friendly:

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