A week-long visit to Tuscany is a big part of the most popular family itinerary in Italy for Ciao Bambino readers and clients. This is the best opportunity for families to really dig into their experience together in Italy, as settling into a single location for seven or more days engages parents and children alike in the experience. An essential part of a successful trip to Tuscany with kids is selecting the right accommodations. The vision for many families includes a Tuscany farm stay, also referred to as an “agriturismo” or working agricultural estate.
I love these farm stays with kids! In fact, I recommend them over standalone villa rentals for independent families.
An important note: We call Tuscan farms “resorts” on Ciao Bambino. If you want to search for these properties, go to our Hotel Review page and select Tuscany to browse options. Not every property will be an official working agricultural estate, but it’ll show the range of options for a Tuscany farm stay at a high level.
One myth is that a farm stay in Tuscany means animals. It can, but usually the only animals around are the domestic variety like dogs and cats. Most farms focus on wine and/or olive oil production. Translation, the setting is vineyards and olive trees.
What makes these accommodations work so well for families is their ideal setup with self-catering, spacious guest units with room to spread out. Guests typically stay in apartments or even standalone villas in restored farmhouse or palazzo-style buildings.
One huge plus is that there is usually a property manager who will provide services and support like housekeeping, a private chef, and local guidance. Beyond that, there is a huge range of amenities that can be offered within this category from onsite dining, swimming, tennis, play areas, and even spa services.
Given the ideal setup, there will likely be other families present, particularly over the summer months. One of my favorite things about international kid-friendly accommodations like this is that children have the opportunity to interact with and play with kids from around the world. A priceless experience for any age …
Finally, there is huge value for the quality at agriturismos. The 4-star equivalent quality category we feature on Ciao Bambino are priced for the week and can range on average anywhere from 700€ to 2,000€ for seven nights for a family of four to six people. Compared to a hotel of the same quality level with much less space, this is a huge value.
Frankly, the number of options in this category is overwhelming. We’ve hand-selected a list that offers something for everyone. Many of the properties we feature have been in our portfolio for years and are tried and tested over and over again with families, i.e. it’s the ultimate reliable and relevant list.
How many onsite amenities do you need? Almost all of the properties we feature on Ciao Bambino at least have a swimming pool (Follonico is a notable exception). Beyond that, do you expect to be out and about every day and evening? There is no need to pay for amenities you won’t use.
A good example from our portfolio is La Poggiolaia, ideally located for easy access to Florence, San Gimignano and Siena. There is nothing to do onsite except sleep, relax, and swim, but things to do in the immediate area are endless, and the room-only set up at La Poggiolaia works perfectly as an intimate home-base.
Do you want a true resort experience? If you want an engaging on-property experience in addition to sightseeing, more than just a swimming pool is important.
I found Monsignor Della Casa Country Resort & Spa on my first Italy scouting trip in 2004. With tennis, a playground, onsite restaurant, soccer field, gym, and spa — many families stay and play here throughout the day. A historic estate has been converted to create all the amenity options, i.e. the experience is still authentic. Castello di Casole, owned by U.S.-based Timbers Resorts, offers a full range of luxury hotel amenities within a painstakingly renovated setting.
Do you want significant in-village time? By nature, working farms need land so these properties are not IN villages. Nor are most of them well suited for walking to villages as Tuscan rural roads are narrow without sidewalks and Italians drive fast. Not a good combination for young children.
The key is to select a property that is within a 5 to 10 minute drive of appealing villages. Al Gelso Bianco, for example, is just 10 minutes from an array of picturesque villages where you can get a fabulous dose of local life. Despite this, Al Gelso Bianco is only a 20-minute drive to the main Florence-Siena highway, making larger excursions from here a snap too.
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Do you like the thought of a remote hideaway? An isolated property such as Borgo Lucignanello Bandini can feel like your own private, away-from-it-all retreat. Just know that you’ll be a long drive from some basic services, and decide for yourself if it’s a feasible trade-off.
Understand the small road premium. One of the most common mistakes people make is that they assume what looks like a short distance on the map will mean a short drive time. False!
Many rural roads in Tuscany are curvy and slow. It’s possible to have a 30 to 45 minute drive just to reach main access roads from some rural estates. This is one of the reasons we don’t recommend staying in Chianti Classico. We love this area for day trips, but with kids, I don’t want to spend another hour in the car each day, just to get to the highway and back.
Do you want more than just a single day in Florence or Siena? If you plan on being in these cities for more than just a one-day trip, it’s a good idea to stay near the one you’ll visit the most (they are one hour from each other).
Villa Le Piazzole, Fattoria di Maiano and Marignolle Relais & Charme are fantastic options on the outskirts of Florence, and Relais Villa l’Olmo is just south in the town of Impruneta. Montestigliano and Borgo Scopeto Relais work well for Siena; you get all the benefits of the rural experience with easy urban access. Fonte de Medici and Podere San Filippo are well positioned for reaching both cities; the latter even offers a shuttle service.
Is an onsite restaurant important? As these are not standard hotels, the list narrows quickly when it comes to onsite dinner options. Some properties, like Casa Cornacchi, offer weekly or bi-weekly dinners for guests. For others like Tenuta di Spannochia and Poggio Etrusco, food is an essential part of the offering, with cooking lessons (for kids too) and incredible onsite meals. Fighine, Borgo Iesolana and Borgo Il Poggiaccio are three more good bets for on-property dining.
Some restaurants are seasonal and/or closed certain days of the week, so it’s a good idea to check before you book.
Do you want something rustic and authentic feeling or hip and modern? La Foce and La Bandita are mere miles from one another in the Val D’Orcia, but one is one of the most historic estates in the region and the other owned by an American music executive who set out to create something fresh and modern. Monteverdi combines the rustic charm of an ancient village with contemporary interiors by one of Italy’s top designers.
Does a Tuscan spa with incredible pools and a comprehensive kids’ club sound glorious? If so, this is one occasion to give up a farm stay to access all these additional amenities. Hotel Adler-Thermae is our go-to option for this family experience.
Do you want beach time? Many of these Tuscan farms are located too far from the coast to make consequential beach time a reality. Poggio al Casone is an exceptional estate for families and only 30 minutes from the coast. From here, families can hit the sandy beach clubs in Forte dei Marmi or venture up the coast to iconic Cinque Terre and the rest of the Italian Riviera for day trips.
When I think about the location of accommodations in Tuscany, I divide the region in two using Siena as the dividing line. Anything north of Siena is Northern Tuscany and anything south of Siena is Southern Tuscany. Our Tuscany landing page has a map at the top to help you pinpoint property locations.
See our things to do with kids in Tuscany article for a list of top activities with kids, but in general, Northern Tuscany is busier with the “big” attractions. Southern Tuscany is absolutely idyllic but quieter. You can still get to Siena for a day trip from here, but Florence is too far. The upside is that staying at a property in Southern Tuscany, such as La Sovana or Le Terre dei Cavalieri, puts you within reach of sights in Umbria.
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Italy is our bread and butter travel planning market. We have helped hundreds of families have fabulous experiences on their dream vacation to Italy. Our experienced family travel advisors have first-hand relationships with property owners at countless resorts and hotels, and we would love to help you find the perfect Tuscany farm stay for your family. We can often secure great perks, so be sure to reach out and book your stay through Ciao Bambino.
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This is a challenging time for our clients given the uncertainty around the spread of coronavirus, particularly for those with near-term travel plans in impacted areas. We’re working with our suppliers on being flexible with their booking conditions, and enabling families to postpone travel to a later date without a penalty, when possible. Likewise, given the unpredictability around destinations that may be impacted in the future, we’re helping clients planning new trips and understand ways that they can protect themselves until the situation improves. We are ready to help our clients work through questions and concerns.
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