Your Vacation in a Chianti Village
As I opened the massive wooden door to the front entrance and stepped over the threshold, I was immediately transported to another time and another place. The B&B Palazzo Malaspina sits in the heart of the small, yet characteristic Tuscan town of San Donato in Poggio. Here even the stones of the medieval tower, which is the nucleus of Renaissance building that makes up the bed and breakfast, breathe an air elegance and romance. High ceilings with their dark wood beams, the table with its graceful composition and the impressive stairwell to the right speak of a timeless beauty that never goes out of style.
Maria Pellizzari, the owner and your hostess, floated down the stairs, greeting me with a warm and knowing smile, discreetly giving me a few minutes of silence to soak in the gracious atmosphere. Even after all the years she has lived here, she still appreciates that first impact of awe and wonder, just like her guests.
The entrance lobby to the bed and breakfast is a harbinger of the surprises that await discovery on the floor above. As we climbed to explore the bedroom suites, I couldn’t help but trail my hand along the stone handrail imagining the 100’s of years of stories, families, and lives that have passed thru these very walls.
The enthusiastic presentation of both the history and the architectural beauty of Palazzo Malaspina was contagious. When Maria transformed the family home into a B&B she essentially decided to share a special piece of herself. She has masterfully created an environment where you feel at home. The rooms with their private en suite bathrooms (which have all toiletries and even slippers!) encompass the comfort and relax of today while highlighting the charm and character of yesteryear. Modern bathrooms, many with a whirlpool tub, electric tea kettles and sound proof windows combine perfectly with the antique furnishings and classical decor.
History & Romance go Together
The first bedroom, was colored in cool shades which skilfully accent the dark wood antique furniture. This room was her grandmother's and is furnished with part of her wedding dowry: a hand carved bed, nightstands and drawers. But that wasn’t the highlight of the room! Maria threw open the French doors and presented the private balcony overlooking the stupendous landscape of vineyards, olive groves and Chianti hills. Though every room offers the same high quality service and extras like air conditioning, heating and wifi service, each room has been decorated to accent its one special feature: a view, an antique stone sink or lovely floor tiles.
In Review of Palazzo Malaspina
We loved: the simple elegance in the decor, highlighting the spirit of Tuscany
Ideal for: couples looking for a romantic atmosphere & travellers who want to stay where they can walk to restaurants and cafés
Overlooking the town square, the second bedroom I visited was in shades of ivory with an area dedicated for reading or programming your next adventure in Tuscany. Maria proudly indicated the old stone sink which was found in the room during the refurbishing indicating how "someone in the past" had actually cut off part of it to close the wall. It now accents the room beautifully; the soft gray stone complementing the rich colors in the terra cotta floor. The bathroom was spacious and romantically inviting with the large whirlpool tub.
Palazzo Malaspina in a Glance:
Location: San Donato in Poggio
Distance: 40 minutes to both Florence or Siena, 30 minutes from San Gimignano
Transport: Car is suggested for travel, however there is access to a bus to Florence in town
Rooms: 5 double rooms each with en suite bathroom
Sleeps: 10 persons
Meals: Homemade breakfast included
The Most Important Moment of the Day
Is it even possible to get tired of waking up in a building boasting of a long and industrious history, in the heart of Chianti and be greeted by a handmade international styled breakfast?
I have my doubts! Breakfast is a “momento importante” according to Maria and she strives to provide a meal that will carry you through the day. Starting with home made sweets, like the delicious peach crostata that I enjoyed accompanied by a fresh espresso during our talk. I believe her motto is: "Breakfast is designed to add a few extra centimeters to your waistline." Glancing through her guest book, many comments were happy to say that said they “gained” with the baked treats during the first meal of the day.
The sala di pranzo impresses even Maria, who practically grew up in the palazzo. During the restructuring of the palazzo many little architectural quirks came to life, like the arch in the dining room that speaks of another entrance to the tower, or the sink on the wall near the tea kettle, the very same tea kettle which is available for the guests all throughout the day. This room is still the center of the house; a cup of coffee, a hot tea, fresh fruit and a place to relax are always available from the moment you wake up till the moment you go to bed.
"Even after years of living here I still feel the awe at touching a piece of history,” Maria continued with enthusiasm, ”Each new discovery while restructuring the rooms was a glimpse at Palazzo Malaspina’s metamorphosis over the years from a medieval stronghold to the Renaissance palazzo that you see today."
The Secret Garden
Directly behind the B&B Palazzo Malaspina is a walled garden where the guests are invited to enjoy the spectacular vista of Chianti. The patchwork plots of vineyards and olive groves intermingle with fields of grain and dark green forest creating the perfect photo opportunities at any time of the day. As if sharing a special secret, Maria told me that most times, her guests grab the complimentary bottle of wine that she provides in the room upon arrival and go to the garden to relax before heading out to dinner in one of the restaurants in town.
It is easy to appreciate why: this green oasis with its shade tree and panoramic view, offer a small reprieve and moment of relax from a busy holiday schedule.
The scenery around the bed and breakfast is another invite to those who choose to stay within the walls of this enchanting little town. The proximity to Florence and Siena, and the beauty of the Tuscan roads that criss-cross Chianti are just one of the special extras at Palazzo Malaspina. It is possible to stroll the small town, following the perfume of the wisteria, enjoying a cappuccino at the local bar or a pizza at the restaurant only a few steps from the front door. With easy access to the Florence Siena highway, travel time to Florence (40 min.) and Siena (40 min) makes planning day trips and morning tours possible.
Making it Easy to Get Around
This is the perfect place to begin your exploration of Tuscany and Chianti, and towns like Colle Val d’Elsa (20 min.) and Castellina in Chianti (15 min.) both of which offer a wide array of vineyards for wine tasting. Just ask Maria, who has maps and valuable information for finding some of her favorites wineries. The town has public transport, which can be used for going into Florence or even Siena, however Maria cautions that the time schedule can be a bit scarce so you need to prepare well so not to miss the last bus.
The ambiance and hospitality at B&B Palazzo Malaspina provides comfort and tranquility while offering the atmosphere and convenience of a small town right outside your front door. The personal attention of the owner, and the romantic decor will have you fondly remembering your holidays in Tuscany.
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