Tenuta San Pietro

near Lucca, Tuscany, Italy Book from Book from £159 per night

Tranquil gastro-hideaway surrounded by olive groves and vineyards in a lesser visited part of Tuscany
Tenuta San Pietro is everything a Tuscan hotel should be: intimate, with a mouthwateringly fantastic restaurant and wine cellar, plus a terraced garden of flowering shrubs and tubs of roses, surrounded by 500 olive trees and 2000 vines, close to historic and cultural towns. Add a dash of modern design, a divine pool with long views of the Garfagnana mountains beyond, and you’ve got something a little bit special. Nestling in a hamlet in hills to the north of the gorgeous town of Lucca, it's a hidden gem, much like the region itself. This is Tuscany without the tourists, but you're still only 40-45 minutes from Pisa and Florence. When we revisited in 2017 we were struck by the peace, enhanced by beautiful birdsong and church bells.

Tenuta San Pietro is owned by a Norwegian family, so the heavy fabrics and Baroque gilding found in so many Tuscan hotels have given way to a more minimalist, Scandinavian-influenced sensibility in this 10-roomed hotel. We loved the wooden floorboards, exposed original brickwork and design details like an iconic scarlet lip sofa in reception. Food is a real highlight - the hotel’s restaurant draws diners from miles around and is regularly booked out in the summer months. As well as a restaurant, there’s a wine cellar with 350 bottles, a tasting room (you can also sample their own olive oil), a light-filled lounge, and sociable terraces overlooking the olive tree-studded grounds and orchards.

Highs

  • The food. The New York Times called this region the best in Italy, and the cuisine here is excellent
  • Italian manager Gastone is full of energy and enthusiasm and, being married to an Englishwoman, his English is impeccable
  • Wine buffs will love the huge range of local and national vintages, and there are some excellent fattorie nearby for tasting tours (they also produce their own 1500 litres a year)
  • The view from the pool of the Tuscan countryside is exactly what you come here for
  • It's a contemporary hotel and breath of fresh air in a region crammed with grand Baroque palaces

Lows

  • You ideally need a car and Sat Nav - it's not that easy to find - though they do offer a free shuttle into Lucca
  • It's an intimate hotel and sound travels between rooms
  • Summer weekends can get booked up by weddings
  • Right on a small country road, some may notice this if staying in the rooms on that side of the building; note rooms have double-glazing
  • Some rooms could do with a refresh; everything is immaculately kept however

Best time to go

Tuscany is a popular destination but it does have seasonality: spring is warm with wildflowers but chilly nights; summer can be hot (and there are often wedding parties booked in); autumn brings the grape harvest and the olive harvest. We'd recommend April-June and September-October. The hotel is closed November-March.

Our top tips

It's worth taking one of the Superior rooms as they have that wonderful view, or splurge on a Suite for more privacy with your own garden (and the view!).

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10
  • Restaurant
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 6 Nov 2017 - 28 Feb 2018
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Tenuta San Pietro’s appeal is in the lighter touch to its décor as well as its service and fine food. The 8 rooms and 2 suites are all individually designed with muted decor. Splashes of colour are in the paintings by estate’s Norwegian owner. The kingsize beds are a highlight - each brought over especially from Norway - which can be set up as twin beds; some have quirky looping metal bedheads. In the light modern bathrooms you’ll find power showers, and Erbario Toscano olive oil toiletries, fittingly for a hotel that presses its own DOP olive oil.

All rooms are similarly sized. Four Superior Doubles (including Bellavista where we stayed on our 2017 revisit) overlook the valley with fantastic views; the remaining four have mountain views, and being near the (minor) road can get some noise (all are double-glazed). The two Suites are in a separate renovated barn also on the road, but face the valley and are steps above the pool, ideal for families and honeymooners. Expect wood-beamed ceilings, wooden floors, a master bedroom, living room with sofa-bed and spacious bathroom apiece. You also get a little hedged garden with outdoor seating if staying in Leccino.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Cots Available
  • Desk
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Tv

Eating

Tenuta San Pietro is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, unsurprisingly the olive oil is delicious and the wine cellar has around 350 bottles.

Superb chef Guido creates seasonally influenced local dishes with flair sourced from local producers: turbot with olives and capers, slow-cooked guinea fowl, artichoke and clam risotto, homemade pasta with milk-fed pork, and divinely presented desserts. Dinner is served either in the upstairs dining room or outside on the twinkly-lit terrace - both have those long valley views; you may need to book in high season.

For breakfast expect a generous buffet of regional cheeses and cured meats, homemade bread, fruit in season (we had fresh juicy cherries in 2017), croissants, cake, coffee and eggs to order. If not out for lunch choose salads, pasta dishes, fish, or cold cuts from the light bites menu. There are plenty of options in Lucca and nearby, note that it's a windy 7km drive to the nearest restaurant. Foodies can enroll on Guido’s cookery lessons or enjoy olive oil and wine-tasting sessions (there are 18 different local wines within 6-7km). The estate’s olive oil harvest takes place in the first week of November, join in by arrangement.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take the courtesy shuttle bus to the gorgeous walled town of Lucca and wander its Renaissance-era city walls, browse boutiques and food stores, enjoy gelato and coffee in its ancient Roman amphitheatre turned piazza
  • Some of Lucca's medieval basilica churches date back to the 8th century, including the Duomo di San Martino
  • Follow the wine road for the most important local producers. A guided tour and transport can be arranged by the hotel; Terre del Sillabo and Sardi Giustinaiari have been recommended, we especially loved Tenuta di Valgiano
  • The goats cheese farm up the road is worth visiting
  • Nearby country mansions and gardens include Villa Reale, Villa Garzoni's water garden and Lucca's botanical garden Orto Botanico
  • Take a day trip to Pisa (40 minutes), for its iconic Leaning Tower and also its black-and-white marble Duomo and frescoed Camposanto cemetery
  • Florence is only 45 minutes via the motorway, making day trips there very feasible (check the best places to park before leaving)
  • The nearby Alpi Apuane mountains has signed trails for hikers and cyclists - be aware that the winding mountain roads have steep drops
  • Relax at the Lucca Ego Wellness Resort - the hotel offers complimentary transport on request
  • Visit the Versilia Riviera (30-40 minutes), where you'll find bustling beaches and seafront cafés, perfect for people watching
  • Visit Torre del Lago Puccini near Viareggio (30 minutes), the lake and villa where the great composer lived. There's a festival of his music here every summer
  • Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Hot air ballooning
    • Museums / galleries
    • Olive harvest
    • Olive oil tasting
    • Private guided tours
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Well being
    • Wine tasting

    Kids

    Although this is a quiet adult oriented hotel, families are made very welcome and kids will enjoy the pool, and Gastone's dogs. Older kids may find the place too quiet for them. The suites are ideal as family rooms, children under three stay free if in their parents bed, and there are 4 cots available on request (for a one-off fee per stay). Older children can stay in a pull-out bed (additional cost per night).

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    The Suites sleep four apiece and can take a couple of extra beds plus a baby cot. All rooms can take a baby cot, Superior rooms can take an extra bed

    Baby equipment:

    • 4 baby cots
    • 2 high chairs

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    The chef can create smaller portions of dishes on request, and they can suggest kid-friendly dishes too

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Swimming pool
    • Pigs

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Goats cheese farm up the road
    • Horse riding (10 minutes)
    • Pinocchio Park and Butterfly House (30 minutes)
    • Versilia Coast (30-40 minutes)

    Families Should Know:

    The pool area is enclosed. The hotel is beside a quiet country road

    Distances:

    • Airport: 40 minutes (Pisa)
    • Hospital: 20 minutes
    • Shops: 10 minutes
    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 13 independent reviews from i-escape guests

    9/10
    Room
    10/10
    Food
    10/10
    Service
    9/10
    Value
    9/10
    Overall

    Gastone and his team are truly world class in 'getting it right' when it comes to customer service. Their warmest of welcomes set the tone and they were so genuinely willing to help us get the best out of our stay at this great little hotel overlooking Lucca. Great food, great service, great experience.

    10/10,

    My wife and I enjoyed a fantastic stay. As it was low season our hosts provided us with a great deal on a suite which enjoys great views of Lucca and its own private terrace. Overall the room was spacious, comfortable and cleaned every day. We loved the restaurant, the food was great and the chef was flexible if you didn't fancy the fixed menu which, while expensive, is great value for the quality you receive. There are few alternative restaurants within walking distance so be prepared to designate a driver who doesn't mind tackling the road back up to the hotel at night. The weather was great for the time of year and we managed to use the pool, which added to the enjoyment of our holiday. Overall, this is a great romantic, tucked away retreat that remains within easy reach of Lucca and the rest of Tuscany.

    9/10,

    An absolutely beautiful property with amazing views across the Tuscan hills. The restaurant and food was fantastic and there was a lovely pool to relax in before dinner. One night was the right amount of time for our visit as there is little else around for dinner but it was the perfect stop during our Tuscan adventure.

    9/10,

    The staff were very friendly, helpful and efficient both before and during our visit. We really enjoyed our one night stay and we would recommend Tenta San Pietro to people looking for a bit of luxury in an amazing Tuscan setting.

    10/10,

    The service is what makes this hotel stand out, Gastone and his team cannot do enough for their guests and on more than one occasion went beyond the call of duty to make our stay enjoyable. We didn't initially book a car, however on Day 2 decided that to make the most of the surrounding area, we really did need one. The hotel is fantastic, but you will want the flexibility of being able to eat in Lucca and the other local towns for which a car is essential.

    10/10,

    We loved our stay at Tenuta San Pietro - the view of the rolling hills smattered with winding rows of poplars was just what I expected of picture-perfect Tuscany and the food was excellent. Food was excellent and they were happy for us to order off menu at lunch time to provide a few simple Italian salads that were delicious. Their olive oil is sharp, peppery and unctuous too. Everyone was so attentive offering us advice on the best restaurants and things to do in Lucca. Ask for a room with a view if you can.

    9/10,

    An absolutely lovely hotel, it has amazing views over the countryside. It's a good drive from Lucca - only attempt if confident driving on narrow roads with lots of turns. We had a very nice room and dined in for dinner once which was very good. Strongly recommend.

    10/10,

    Fantastic views, a very warm welcome and individual service. Superb hosts.

    6/10,

    This was an excellent location for a five day break. Beautiful location in the hills above Lucca. As mentioned by other guests the food is excellent and also tremendous value. Nighttime dining overlooking Lucca and the surrounding valley is a wonderful experience. All the staff were extremely polite yet the overall ambience was one of relaxed yet attentive service. High quality but not in any way stuffy.

    10/10,

    What can I say about this hotel that was not stunning and breath taking. The view, the food, the interior, the guests - it was tuscany in its essence. For us Gardone - the manager - was a real treat. He was there to give advice, telling stories and making sure that my 3 young children and my mother had a great time. If you want a picture perfect Tuscany I think this is it.

    10/10,

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    Rates for Tenuta San Pietro