“Rustic meets Rococo in this stylish but affordable agriturismo in Tuscany’s (relatively) unexplored Maremma region, between Manciano and the coast”
When owners Alessandro Bonanni and Paolo Maresca relocated from Rome in 2003, they brought a touch of urban chic to rural Maremma - thanks to a winning combination of traditional farmstead, a dash of contemporary style, and antique furniture bought from the estate of Augusta Belloc, an English Victorian traveller who ended her days in Florence. The collection (gilt mirrors, Murano chandeliers, French-polished beds, upholstered chairs) spills into every corner, including an elegant salon (tiled floors, beams, log fire), and 6 bedrooms. Outside are fragrant lawned gardens, and, beyond farmland and mature olive groves, set against rolling fields. A gentle breeze ruffles the surface of the outdoor pool. On a clear day, you can see the sea.
- A blend of cool design, air con, antiques and room to swing a tiger; rooms are terrific value
- Wonderful hilltop views over the Marsillana plains and, in the distance, the Tuscan coast - and lots of vantage points from which to enjoy them
- Alessandro Bonnani speaks excellent English (on any topic of conversation from regional culinary ingredients to Etruscan archaeology)
- His enthusiasm, and a generous library of local guide books, maps, and information, ensure you get the best out of the area
- Perfect if you like a bit of peace and quiet - in the middle of nowhere, but with everything, from walled towns to wineries, nearby
- At the end of 5km of bumpy dirt road, and 9km from the nearest town, the place feels a little isolated and you will need a car
- Rooms aren't enormous, but that's not what this place is about
- The pool area has looks a little bare, though new canopies - since this photo was taken - offer much-needed shade
Best time to go
- Boutique Guesthouse
- Breakfast (+ other meals by arrangement)
- All ages welcome.
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
There are six rooms (two Superior, four Deluxe), all with TV, mini fridges, air-conditioning and independent access to the garden. Deluxe rooms get safes, hairdryers and DVD players too.
The colours after which they are named (Amber, Violet, Indigo, Purple, Lilac, Orange) were drawn from a list scribbled on an old newspaper found among an auction lot of vintage furniture - but are nowhere near as garish as the palette suggests. With plain walls, beamed ceilings and brick floors, each room is simply but beautifully furnished with ornate Victorian beds, rugs (or cow-hides), plump velvet cushions and one or two pieces of antique furniture (a French-polished sideboard, for example, or a shabby-chic leather armchair). Shut out the morning light with original shutters or metallic Venetian blinds. Jungle-print throws on kingsized beds, gilt-framed mirrors, and red silk or white glass shades on brass lamps add a touch of glamour.
Bathrooms feature trough-like stone basins, made from enfero, a coarse material used in Etruscan funeral urns. All have bathtubs with a hand-held shower attachment, except for Lilac and Orange, which just have showers.
For space go for Purple, for views go for Violet or Indigo (on the upper floor). Both Amber and Violet have small mansardas with extra single beds. Lilac and Orange - the two Superiors, a double and twin, both in a restored outhouse - open onto an elegant loggia furnished with table, settle and candelabra.
- Air conditioning
- Cd player
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Dvd player
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Safe box
There is no restaurant or bar, not in the conventional sense, but breakfast, lunch (by request) and dinner are served buffet-style in a long, light dining room with French windows which open onto the garden. Summoned to dinner at 8.30pm by Maria, the hotel’s matriarchal cook-cum-housekeeper, guests are invited help themselves to home-cooked Tuscan dishes - antipasti (cold meats, grilled aubergine), a pasta (the regional speciality is thick tortelli), a meat dish with rice, salads, dessert and cheeses. Carafes of local red wine (Morellino di Scansano) are included in the price (see Cost and Booking).
Breakfast (8.30-10.30am) is continental and includes cereals, cold meats, cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, breads and pastries, local honey and little glass pots home-made natural yoghurt.
The emphasis is on fresh, local produce and the simple 'peasant' food of this once poor, agrarian region - rabbit, pigeon or wild boar, for example. Quercia Rossa produces its own organic olive oil, and vegetables and herbs are grown in their kitchen garden.
For those who would prefer to brave the dirt road and eat out, try Caino in Montemerano (Michelin 2-star) or La Filanda in Manciano (both a 20-minute drive away).
- Dinner by arrangement
- Lunch by arrangement
- Organic produce
- Explore the estate which stretches to 10 hectares of farmland, mature olive groves, oak and cypress trees and a small lake (where you may spot porcupines, deer, badgers or a wild boar)
- For keen walkers, there is instant access to farm tracks, footpaths and dirt roads, which ramble through woods and across fields to nearby towns (Manciano, Montemerano) or to the banks of the River Albegno. The hotel will provide routes and directions
- Don’t miss a dunk in the steamy thermal waters of Saturnia (14km), which gushes out of underground springs at a comfortable 37ºC. Soak in the Cascate del Gorello (a natural, open-air cascade pool) for free, or pay for treatments at the Terme de Saturnia (a posh thermal spa and golf resort, to which Quercia Rossa can provide discounted preferential tickets)
- Spend a day on the beaches of the Tuscan coast (Feniglia on the Argentario Peninsula, Ansedonia, near Capalbio, or Talamone on the Uccellina Parco Naturale), all within a 30-40 minute drive
- The extraordinary Tarot Garden (Il Giardino del Tarocchi), a fantasy-land of Gaudi-like mosaic sculptures, by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, is in Garavicchio, only 30 minutes away
- Visit Maremma’s fascinating towns and villages: Picture-postcard Pitigliano and Sorano (carved from hilltop outcrops of tufa rock) or Scansano (for the region’s best wines). Or take a day-trip to Orvieto (70km) or Siena (105km)
- History buffs will find the place awash with ancient archaeological sites - inlcuding Roman remains at Cosa and Saturnia, and Etruscan tombs at Sovana (a tiny medieval village dominated by the vast Duomo of Saint Peter and Paul)
- Hire a bike (or bring your own). On or off the road, this is great cycling country
- Go horse-riding: Quercia Rossa can book you in with a real buttero (Maremma’s answer to the cowboy) for a ride across the Tenuta Corsini (a large estate, 15-minutes away). The less experienced can ask for a lesson with a teacher. Pre-booked sessions cost €18 - 22/hour.
- Take a Maremman cooking class - a 4-hour extravaganza involving the preparation of 7 dishes and ng with a slap up lunch; available for individuals or groups on Tuesdays
- Learn Italian in Manciano
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Language courses
- Traditional cultures
- Wine tasting
Children are welcome and are free up to 3 years old. 4-7 year olds and 8-12 year olds are charged at different rates for accommodation and dinner. Cots are are available for a supplement.Four of the rooms offer additional single beds - Amber and Violet have dedicated areas for these. A baby-sitting service can be provided on request for a charge.
Family friendly accommodation:
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting available by arrangement
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking