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30/07/2011 09:00:44

Choosing a place to spend two weeks for a family holiday in Tuscany is never easy soi decided to look on TA as a starting point. I decided upon Il Canto del Sole as many others have done before me based on the excellent reviews and recommendations of the guests who had stayed here before. On arrival after an early start from London, then a two hour drive from Pisa we arrived a little frazzled. The property and it's surroundings far exceeded our expectations. You approach this beautifully restored 18th century farmhouse via a gravely, country road more suited to a 4x4 than our hire car and drive slowly through the tiny medieval village of Cuna till you reach your destination. Despite feeling remote the property is actually only 10km from Siena so easily close enough to pop in frequently after the day trippers have gone. There are about 10 rooms so the number of guests is perfect never more then around 20 people. The place feels private but never lonely. My husband and my my two teenage daughters and i felt immediately comfortable and relaxed in these surroundings and how could anyone not be especially with two such charming hosts as Luciano and Laura to greet you. We stayed here for a total of 2 weeks with just one night spent in Florence. Most guests stayed for less than a week but we were the lucky ones and i feel sure most leaving wished they could have stayed at il Canto for longer. We enjoyed 4 of Luciano and Laura's by now infamous Tuscan meals. My husband and I are both foodies and have fairly high expectations but we were really impressed with the high standard of cookery and skill that came from this country kitchen which could easily show a thing or two to many top London restaurants. Luciano and Laura's cooking excelled in every way using fresh, local (if not indeed their own produce) seasonal ingredients and unpretentious home Italian cooking, Four very generous courses with a great selection of tempting dolce to finish by which time you wish you had left more room. Homemade wine, vin santo and grappa are offered as aperatifs and digestives and a there is a fabulous selection of Tuscan wines to chose from too. Even my fairly fussy teenage daughters ate food they would never even dream of touching at home and enjoyed it all with great gusto. And the price so very reasonable for the quality makes eating here a must whenever possible. The only thing i would have liked is to have been able to take more of these meals outside - even breakfast so that i could enjoy the perfect weather and scenery at every opportunity. Ok aside from the food what else makes this place so perfect. From my childrens point of view there is lots of space for them to wander in freely and safely and there is the lovely pool to cool down in, the games room with a pool table and a variety of board games and an outdoor ping pong table too. But for the girls it was all the very friendly family pets that they loved. 2 dogs Luna and Alba (enjoyed some of our bbq leftovers) the cheeky magpie Hugo who would land on your lap or hat or fly off with a pencil or hair accessory, the two fluffy chickens that were inseperable like 2 old ladies, and the kitten Paco, that we all adored and enjoyed him falling asleep whilst purring in our arms. Any if you love horses Luciano has a couple, and donkeys and i believe i saw a sheep too. All of these animals live in perfect harmony together and with the guests. If that isn't enough just grab a glass of chianti sit on one of the balcony's and just enjoy the views. You will find Luciano and Laura always there when you need them but never imposing. They are a lovely genuine, warm and hospitable couple and with their son Marco will go that extra mile to ensure you feel very welcome and as comfortable as possible. The rooms are cleaned and the beds are made every day, the grounds and pool are also very well kept and cared for. The communal areas are traditional and rusticallu charming, filled with personal touches and antique furniture. There are novels to read and guide books on offer to borrow as well as lots of helpful maps and top tips to visit from Luciano and Laura. The location of this B and B is perfect. Central to all the Tuscan Hill towns (never more than a 45 min drive) and wine regions and yet a million miles away from everything. Coming from the hectic pace of London life this was exactly what we all needed to relax and unwind. We visited Montalcino, San Giminiano, Montepulciano (medieval festival), Voltera, Pienza, Florence (thank you Luciano for dropping us and collecting us from Siena bus station) and of course Siena (3 times) and took a tour of the Chianti region. We visited some fabulous sulphur springs which Laura recommended when it was too hot to do very much so we just soaked in the spring pools and smeared the mud over ourselves. Apparently highly beneficial to your health and well being. We also visited the Hospital di Santa Maria dela Scala in Siena which Laura also recommended. It's noted in the guide books but not at the top of the list but you should definitely make it top of yours after a visit to Siena's Duomo. You won't be sorry it has it all from Etruscan antiquities in the cellars to painted frescoes and beautiful chapels and it's a huge artistic warren creatively presented and you could lose yourself in - allow 2 hours. Another bonus is that you won't be crushed by huge tourist parties as they are all queuing to get up the Civic tower or visit the Duomo museum. Get there before they find this gem - it's right near the Duomo so very central and don't be fooled by the exterior which looks very plain. Although we weren't in one of the self catering apartment s by the pool we had a small fridge in our room and were welcomed into Luciano's kitchen to use his facilities and he even cooked some potatoes for us one evening when we shared a bbq with a lovely Australian family (hi Richard and Andrea if you read this), i was offered their home grown tomatoes and some panna cotta to finish our meal as well as bottles of wine. Grazie Mille! i do hope we can come back again soon in the future. Consiglio sulle camere: All rooms are spotless and clean. If you want to self cater be by the pool, if you need air con these rooms are also best.

by Anastasia (Londra, Regno Unito)
18/06/2011 03:01:06

It is hard to describe in words what a great host Laura and Luciano are. They make a great effort to ensure that all the guests are happy and satisfied. Often times we felt like family rather than guests. Luciano gave us great suggestions to plan our time around the area. Do not miss an opportunity to enjoy the dinner cooked by Laura/Luciano. Apart from our interaction with the owners we also enjoyed playing with their two dogs (Alba & Luna) and the little cat. We are so glad that our search for a perfect vacation home has come to an end and we can't wait to go back again.

by Prashant & Sonia (June 2011 USA)
15/06/2011 19:29:48

Il Canto del Sole was a great place for us to unwind after the hustle and bustle of Rome. Laura and Luciano were perfect hosts during our five day stay. Laura outlined a map of the Chianti area for us to take a day tour, and she also offered us other recommendations for places to visit and dine. The first night we were there we were awed by a fabulous meal that Laura cooked. She is a gourmet cook and her meal was truly a treat. There was a great variety of food to enjoy each morning at breakfast. The rooms and bathrooms were clean and spacious. The grounds are lovely and we so enjoyed the dogs Luna and Alpha. We enjoyed hearing Laura talk about her family and how much she loves running the B & B. Il Canto del Sole is a perfect setting for taking day trips throughout Tuscany. Consiglio sulle camere: Ask for ground floor room if steps are a problem.

by katlanyou (Rochester, Minnesota )
15/06/2011 18:28:42

We stayed at this farmhouse for 3 days as we explored hill towns in the Siena area. It is a lovely location in the countryside with nice amenities for relaxation. A beautiful pool area provides an opportunity for some down time if you have been on a hectic road trip, and it's always nice to be greeted by a couple of friendly dogs. The rooms are clean and quiet and ours had french doors opening onto a grassy area with table and chairs. We were particularly appreciative to be able to use the washing machine. But the real highlight of our stay here was the food. The owners cook dinner a few times a week and you don't want to miss the opportunity to enjoy their authentic, delicious Tuscan cooking. We had lasagna one night that we dream about. The guests gather together in the cozy dining room and it's fun to get acquainted with the other travelers while enjoying a memorable meal. The owners are gracious and delightful and do everything they can to make your stay comfortable. The farmhouse is located out a long gravel road and might be hard to find at night. But once you are familiar with the location, it is an easy 15 minute drive to Siena. We also explored San Gimignano and Volterra on a day trip from this location.

by janny (USA)
24/05/2011 15:29:02

Our decision to stay at Il Canto Del Sole was based upon the many Tripadvisor reviews and I have to say our expectations were surpassed! The property is beautiful and the surrounding area stunning. The property is very convenient for transportation, whether by car or bus. The rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable. Our children especially enjoyed the grounds and the animals. Luna and Alba are some of the most gentle and patient dogs I've met. The breakfasts where very good and the evening meals cooked by Laura were amazing! We were very excited to try the local wines and were delighted to discover that Luciano offers wines from Chianti, Montepulciano and of course Brunello for sale. Not only are a great deal, but a time saver! What better way to get the best value for your money than to have the choice of wines hand selected by a local! However, what truly sets Il Canto del Sole apart is the graciousness of Luciano and Laura. More than hosts, they welcome their guests with a warmth and sincerity that I've previously only experienced when staying with friends. Thank you Luciano and Laura, for sharing your piece of tuscan paradise with us!

by rdhwaldrup (Dallas, Texas)

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