La Poderina, Siena, Italy (Merrion Charles): Vacationing these days is all about the destination quarantine—finding that perfect place where you and your loved ones can hole up in luxury and escape any dastardly variants that dare to show their spiked faces. The perfect holiday home this winter has that special combination of extreme comfort, stylish surroundings, and enough indulgences to make you feel like an untouchable queen in a faraway palace. It is a house like La Poderina, perched in the Tuscan hills just outside of Siena.
Winter is coming (allegedly… thanks to climate change, we wouldn’t dare try to predict the shape of the seasons). Even if the days are too crisp for a dip in the pool, it’s nice to have the deep turquoise of a body of water to break up the sea of green of the magnificent grounds. Plus, if anyone in your party starts o get on your last nerve, you can get your revenge by daring them to take a polar bear plunge.
About those fabulous grounds—crafted by award-winning landscape artist Luciano Giubbilei, the natural environment of La Poderina is a veritable Italian Garden of Eden. A classic grove of olive trees? Of course. (The owner produces his own spicy olive oil). Beautifully manicured gardens with charming plants? You shouldn’t even have to ask. (On your rambles, spot the antique roses, rosemary bushes, verbena, and much more.). A little crop of woods to call your own? That’s a weird question to ask, but you are living like a queen, so the answer is “Sì!”
You can easily become the most stylish hermit of them all while on the 24 acres of La Poderina. But if two years in and out of quarantine is about all the alone time you can take, the property is only a five-minute drive from Siena and an easy trip to all of the best spots in Tuscany.
The property sleeps a total of 10 people, including in the two-story guest house located in the garden. Marie Antoinette may have had her Hameau de la Reine, but your Pensione Biblioteca is even more divine. Step into the living room and find a library full of books ready to crack open in front of the window whose beauty is only equaled by the gorgeous view.
Though if the pandemic has destroyed your concentration (raise your hand if you haven’t been able to get through an entire book in months), then you won’t find any judgement here. What you will find is a giant big screen and a film library filled with over a thousand DVDs. Can you say “Welcome to my personal Blockbuster”?
Each of the bedrooms is named after one of the contrade—or neighborhoods—of Siena. It’s easier to embrace the rural life when you are assigned to rooms named things like The Owl, The Wolf, and The Snail. (We are officially claiming The Snail as our winter vacation spirit animal.)
The pool may be too cold to swim in during certain winter months, but that’s exactly the time of year when this giant tub will lure you in for a long, steamy soak. When you’re in Tuscany, no bath is complete without a glass of the finest local red.
This property had fallen into disrepair when the current owner found it and began to work his magic. Today, it is fully renovated and refreshed with a contemporary style that pulls inspiration from Europe, Asia, and Africa. That means soothing neutrals paired with lively pops of color and very dramatic light fixtures.
Another benefit of claiming the guest house: you get a small kitchen to yourself for those night when you want to keep your best pasta creations—and your spicy olive oil supplies—to yourself.
At La Poderina, everything comes in twos: two buildings, two kitchens, and two living rooms in the main house. This is the small living room which features 18th-century paneling recovered from a Parisian hotel particulier.
Keeping with the theme, there are also two dining rooms (not counting the giant travertine marble table that sits under the outdoor pergola). This is the smaller of the two where you can invite a select number of your holiday guests for an intimate dinner next to the fireplace. (Regular readers of this column will know that we are pro playing favorites. Competition is the lifeblood of successful holiday-making, or so we hear.) All others are welcome to fend for themselves in the larger, more formal dining room that seats 16.
Going to the club is not advised at this exact moment of our Pandemic Era. However an after-hours drink in your sultry red living room? By all means, let the party commence!
This delicious hunk of stainless steel perfection is the main kitchen. But we would never force a queen like yourself to get her hands dirty with onions and garlic. If you are more of the restaurant-going persuasion, opt for an in-home cook during your stay. (In addition to the daily maid service, of course.) A masseuse and yoga instructor are also available for in-home visits.
But even more important than making sure you have a whole crew of staff secured to complete your “upstairs-downstairs” fantasy is making sure that you’ve arranged several wine tastings with the help of the experts at La Poderina. It would be a travesty to leave Tuscany without having tasted every single one of its most exceptional vintages.
The hosts at La Poderina tout this property as “the best of both worlds”—it’s rural but close to all the hot spots in Tuscany. It has plenty of nature to amble through, yet is also home to the most stylish of indoor luxuries. In short, it’s a vacation destination that will make you forget that your plans for an epic jaunt around the continent or rave in Ibiza have been indefinitely put on hold.
Book Your Stay: La Poderina, Siena, Italy $1,771/night via Merrion Charles