Chianti is a mountainous area of Tuscany known for its world-class wine production, cured meats, cheeses, and fine cuisine.  Florence, where we spent much of the day (shown in my previous post, Italy #12), is located in Chianti.  After we departed Florence, we headed out into the countryside towards our home for the next three nights, Villa Il Leccio

The Chianti countryside is beautiful—rolling green hills, vineyards, and scenic vistas around every turn.  When we arrived at Villa Il Leccio, we were delighted to see that the views were stunning, and the villa was gorgeous.

Giada, the owner, and her nephew, welcomed us warmly.  After we settled in, we were gathered on the terrace for a champagne reception, followed by a guided tour.

The villa has been in Giada’s family for 300 years; however, the building dates back to the 1200’s.  When the Landi family purchased the villa in the eighteenth century, they used it as a country residence where the family gathered in the summer.

In the 1800’s, the land was cultivated into a prosperous farm.  The villa was then converted by Giada’s mother into a country resort in 1998.

Villa Il Leccio is the most charming place we have ever stayed, and meals there were memorable. Breakfasts and dinners were prepared by Giada and served by her nephew.  In the morning, there was a beautiful display of a variety of breads and cakes, along with hot dishes, fruit, cereals, and fresh juices.  Dinner was a three-course meal, accompanied by Villa Il Leccio private label wine.  The dining room was beautiful at night and the table décor included fresh cuttings from the garden where they grow all their own flowers, herbs, and vegetables. 

My pictures don’t do it justice, but these are the photos I shot during our stay:

(For all pictures, click on the image to see full screen view.)

This room was added on in the 1700’s, and these frescoes were painted at that time.
The frescoes in the breakfast room date back to the 1500’s.
Original kitchen
The original kitchen is where a breakfast buffet was set up each morning.
To get to our room, we entered the piano room, went through the sitting room with the frescoes, turned into the breakfast room, made another turn into the original kitchen, and ended up here. We continued up the stairs, and finally arrived to our room. I’m not complaining; I was happy to be able to wander through the sprawling villa each time, so I could enjoy the beauty of each room!
This is the back of the villa.
Giada and her nephew
The formal dining room where we gathered each evening for a lovely meal.

The following morning, we drove through the Chianti Valley to visit Li’Apicorno, Martha and Petro’s goat and bee farm.  Martha showed us how goat cheese is made and what life is like raising goats.  We got to meet the goats, which were quite friendly!

It was chaos when Petro let the babies out to find their mom’s for a feeding!
Petro fed the goats chestnuts, a big treat for them!

Not far from the goat farm was Buondonno, the family winery run by Martha’s father.  We enjoyed a wonderful lunch served with Chianti Classico wine, while enjoying views from the terrace overlooking the Chianti Valley. It was such a classically exquisite Italian experience! 

Risotto with goat cheese
Our tour leader, Ben, with Deb and Cesare, our driver
Their dog made the rounds to each of us to get petted– and for (hopeful!) hand-out.
Bruce gave Martha a pair of his fused glass earrings as a gift. It just so happened that blue was her favorite color!

Later in the afternoon, Oscar led us on a walk across the valley from Villa Il Leccio, so we could enjoy views of the villa and the countryside.

A zoomed-in view of Villa Il Leccio off in the distance

What a beautiful place!