OUT OF TIME


 Goes the beginning of many a fine fable of adventure, reminding many of us of a time gone by that feels even more attractive in this hectic and chaotic world most of us live in. Transform that sense of pleasure of another time into a welcoming bed and breakfast and locate it in a most stunning part of southern Tuscany and you have the truly inviting Aldifuorideltempo.

 

Perched on the ancient walls of Monticchiello, overlooking the Val d’Orcia this large farm house on three levels with its own walled garden is the creation of Anna, her daughter Francesca and granddaughter Nina. From the moment you enter their home, you are made to feel it’s your home and what a home it is. This old farmhouse is large and extremely comfortable and accommodating. It’s worth noting that people with physical handicaps will find the stairs a challenge and the owner acknowledges this.

 

The house has three wonderful rooms to rent, each with their own large on suites and privacy is guaranteed. The house is furnished in an Italian/English style that is both inviting and relaxing. Slipping so easily into another time also means slowing down to enjoy taking the sun, or enjoying a drink and reading in the walled garden at Aldifuorideltempo which in a medieval village is a rare joy to experience. I doubt anybody will tire of the views of the Val d’Orcia from what will become your own private garden during your stay.

 

Breakfast for this writer is a highlight of a stay here; Sig. Anna weaves magic in her kitchen, complete with its antique Tuscan fireplace, with a table groaning with fresh breads, cakes and cornetti, cheeses (nearby Pienza provides a particularly good pecorino), toast, a variety of teas and of course real Italian coffee. Upon request she will prepare fresh eggs in a variety of ways and I find it the perfect way to start my day here, making it difficult for me to leave the breakfast table.

 

But leave it I do, as you will, to explore the magnificent surrounding countryside dotted with villages and towns that speak of great history and great art. Nearby Pienza is close by and dominated by the architectural legacy of Pope Pius II with a superb cathedral that would sit comfortably in a much larger city like Florence or Siena. A splash in the thermal pools at Bagno Vignoni is a great way to recharge your batteries and you must not forget to visit the imposing abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore to enjoy one of the best cycles of 15th century frescoes in the world by the great Sodoma. There is a library of books in a variety of languages which you can enjoy browsing through in the large living room at Aldifuorideltempo, and together with the help of Sig. Anna whose knowledge of the surrounding towns, their history, what to see and very importantly where to eat, makes a stay even more enjoyable and exciting.

 

Once upon a time I had the most magical holiday in Tuscany, staying at Aldifuorideltempo, run by the charming Sig. Anna where time stood still and life felt simply wonderful. Walking around the garden my mind turned to books that filled my childhood and I found myself quoting a certain bear who once said, “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” (A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh).