Ruffino Relais: Staying in Between the Vineyards in Tuscany, Italy
When it was confirmed that I would visit Tuscany for the second time in just a few months, I was over the moon. Tuscany is stunning, Tuscany is gorgeous, and Tuscany is unique and a must for any Italy itinerary.
After visiting Tuscany in spring 2019 with my little dog, road-tripping for about 10 days, I came back in the summer this year to spend another 2 nights and explore a bit more of the vineyards, the landscape, the food, and a newly-opened little hotel called Relais Ruffino.
Are you a wine lover?
Then, you surely have heard of Ruffino – one of the most important wine producers in the world. BUT, now Ruffino has opened a relais, a small boutique hotel in the countryside, in one of the most unique regions in the world: Tuscany, Italy.
So, if you are looking for a unique place to stay in Tuscany, then the Ruffino Relais might be the perfect option for you.
Since the relais just opened in 2019, here is some important information on what to expect when staying at the relais right in the heart of Tuscany.
Disclaimer: I was invited by Ruffino.
Even though I am not a wine person, I still had a wonderful stay at this beautiful property, and here is why I enjoyed my stay at the Tuscan wine relais from Ruffino.
Ruffino Background Information
Ruffino wine has a long history. Founded in 1877, near Florence, it is one of the most important wine producers in the country, producing Tuscan classics, like Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale, Riserva Ducale Oro, Chianti Ruffino, and Brunello di Montalcino Greppone Mazzi.
Ruffino is also a member of The Grand Wine Tour, an association of wineries across Italy offering exclusive wine tastings (more on that later).
But they have also bought two Veneto estates for the production of Prosecco.
At the end of 2011, Ruffino was acquired by Constellation Brands, the #1 wine company in the United States, which distributes in almost 90 countries worldwide. By the way, Ruffino was the first wine producer to export Chianti to the United States.
They have several estates in Tuscany – including the Poggio Casciano, Gretole, Montemasso, La Solatia, Greppone Mazzi, and Santedame.
While you can book different activities at some of the estates (including wine tastings), Poggio Casciano is the only estate that also offers accommodations.
No, unfortunately, my Italian skills have not improved much, but I have learned a few new words: ‘Poggio’ is the Tuscan word for a terraced hilltop and the name ‘Casciano’ is said to derive from Cassius, a commander in the ancient Roman army who was granted large land holdings in the region.
Ruffino´s first hotel opened on the Poggio Casciano estate.
It is located about 23km from Florence airport and 12km from the city center of Florence – making it easy to get to Florence and the airport by car.
Nestled among vineyards and in close proximity to Florence, it is the perfect place to stay when you are looking for something more unique and quiet, but also want to visit Florence without too much effort.
It is quite a small hotel with only 7 rooms – so, if you want to visit in the busier summer months, book well ahead of time to make sure you can enjoy a tranquil time at the Poggio Casciano estate.
The rooms are clean and different from all the modern hotels I have stayed at recently, but with all the important facilities and equipment I would have needed for a few days – from toiletries to a hairdryer. I cannot think of anything that I would have needed that wasn’t already there.
The seven double rooms have vineyard or garden views, and have been renovated in a country style – I loved the details of the lovely walls and the interior.
They even had Sky TV.
But what about two of the main things? Wi-Fi and air conditioning? Luckily, all rooms offer both.
Side note: The beds were so comfy – I had some of the best night sleeps at Relais Ruffino.
I am not the biggest pool person, but in the summer months (especially in a hot country like Italy), a pool is essential. Does anyone disagree? I didn‘t think so. Ruffino Relais has a small and cozy infinity pool with great views, which is open in the summer months.
The estate is not only a hotel but also Ruffino´s main visitor center – so you will see some other people here and there. But in general (especially in the pool area and the hotel itself), it is a very quiet place.
Things to Do at Poggio Casciano
Pool – Views like these are probably different from most other pool views in the world.
Pool/Billiards – There is also a pool table inside, which is perfect if you want to spend time indoors.
Petanque Court – Yes, there is even a petanque court (which I did not use).
Italian Garden – Okay, the garden is small but definitely lovely and a great photo shoot location.
Vineyards – You can easily stroll the vineyards and enjoy this beautiful scenery by yourself or with your companion (and ask if you can visit the other Ruffino vineyards close by, too).
Picnic – Ask where you can picnic. Picnicking in the vineyards can be so much fun with good drinks, food, and such scenery.
Florence – Florence is a must-see place in Tuscany and so I surely recommend doing a day trip to Florence from Poggio Casciano.
Siena – Siena is another beautiful city that you can visit from Poggio Casciano and makes a fun day trip.
Pisa – From Poggio Casciano, you can even do a day trip to Pisa. So no need to change hotels.
So, what else can you do?
Well, you could get all the Ruffino wines that you can find at the shop on the estate, or you could do a wine tour here.
Winery Tour – Of course, when in Tuscany, a wine tour seems obligatory. Explore the famous Chianti vineyards, walk through the cellars, and taste the most famous wines.
There are different tours you can book directly – either do a walking tour through the estate while tasting wine, or there is also an underground barrique tunnel that connects the villa with the newer winery buildings, which you can visit on a tour.
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Where to Eat? Breakfast / Dinner and Lunch
Of course, it is also a lot about food. You can book your breakfast, but you can also have lunch and dinner at the estate´s restaurant.
Typically, an Italian breakfast means sweets in the morning, but also some fruits and coffee and tea. But you also have savory foods and can order eggs.
You can have your breakfast indoors or outdoors (overlooking the vineyards). The hotel might be small, but it has enough places to sit down and relax either indoors or out.
On some days, you can also have lunch and dinner at the restaurant:
Locanda Ruffino is open Monday to Friday for lunch, from 12 to 2 pm, and Thursday to Monday for dinner, starting from 7:30 pm.
While I am a big fan of the Italian vegan dishes, this was probably the only thing that was not perfect to me. There are some vegetarian dishes to choose from but vegans might have a harder time here. I am not sure if the restaurants cater to people who do not eat the typical Tuscan food.
Traveling With Dogs
Traveling with dogs? As a dog owner, I had to ask whether dogs are allowed and the good news is… yes, small and medium-sized dogs are allowed on Poggio Casciano for an additional fee (please contact the hotel to ask if you travel with bigger dogs).
For wine lovers, Poggio Casciano is probably one of the best places to stay. But you do not have to be into wine to like this hotel – I enjoyed beautiful architecture, gorgeous scenery, and a quaint place while I was here, making it a wonderful place to stay.
I had an amazing time at Poggio Casciano estate and while I was enjoying my time there, I was thinking about how amazing it would be to even rent out the whole place for my family. I definitely see myself coming back, and maybe one day, my family will rent out the whole place to enjoy some time in Bella Italy and have the perfect Dolce Vita.
Poggio Casciano was different from the places I had stayed at during my first Tuscany trip – in a very positive way!
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