Painterly from just about every angle, the Tuscan countryside is one of Italy’s most ardently loved holiday destinations. The Romans’ and Etruscans’ cultural legacy permeates every aspect of life here, and we certainly don’t blame them for leaving their marks in the region’s fertile valleys. Though looking down at the landscape from a helicopter, we found everything sort of blended into a vast expanse of alternating amber and olive-coloured plains, even the iconic cypress trees, otherwise soaring from the ground like eager cadets.
Why arrive by helicopter, you ask? Well, we could’ve opted for a more subtle entrance but we have a certain experiential title to live up to – and anyway, it’s advisable to say yes and amen when the Fonteverde Spa & Resort offers.
Tucked away in the medieval village of San Casciano dei Bagni, the award-winning five-star hotel sits amid Tuscany’s gently rolling hills, cushioned from whichever direction you look at it, as if in a nod to a historical Renaissance obsession with cardinal points. In our humble opinion, the Fonteverde makes for a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, not least thanks to its shielded setting. And luckily for us, their latest luxury offering sets out to be just that.
If the airborne arrival didn’t give it away, the ‘Gentleman’s Journey’ experience isn’t exactly your average three-night package. Though frankly, we were rather pleased to find the rest of the trip decidedly more relaxing, albeit no less spectacular. From rejuvenating clay facials to an excellent aromatherapy massage (do make use of the property’s natural thermal spa and spring water pools), you’d be hard-pressed not to unwind here, even if you tried.
Once that signature rural Italian sense of calm has set in, gentlemen are treated to a wine tasting at the Fonteverde’s Bottigliera winery, where our expert sommelier had a walk in the park getting us tipsy. After all, local wines are distinguished and what’s a spa getaway without the proven health benefits of a red Sangiovese? Don’t overdo it, however, unless you want to miss out on a private styling consultation with Italian ‘philosopher-designer’ Brunello Cucinelli the following day. A true gentleman will quite literally give Cucinelli the shirt off his back – we gladly parted with a few new ones in lieu.
Other than facials and fashion, the experience includes a vintage car for your Tuscan exploration needs and three nights in one of the Fonteverde’s junior suites. Ours was so spacious; it hardly felt junior at all and we could’ve easily whiled away a whole day not leaving the room. In fact, a designated balcony means you don’t have to venture outside to get fresh air, though good luck trying to withstand Tuscany’s ethereal light and classic views.