The Uncontaminated Beauty of Tuscany
Arriving on the scene, I found myself totally captivated by the impressive visual I had from the pool area of I Nidi di Belforte of the Tuscan Apennine mountains, covered in a velvet of forest green, and small patches of pastureland and grazing sheep or cows in the distance. The owners, Nara, Enrico and their daughter Irene, invited me to join them on the covered terrace.
This too is Tuscany. Only minutes away from the most eastern stretches of Chianti, this agriturismo has a foot in Mugello, a foot in Chianti and a foot in Casentino where the lofty mountains taper down into Catenaia and Arezzo. The 8 independent apartments were built inside the completely renovated Tuscan farmhouse and promise extra large rooms, luminous interiors and a few architectural surprises.
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This area and I Nidi di Belforte promises you: cool refreshing breezes even in the height of summer; panoramic views towards both coasts and a lifestyle that still embraces the traditions of the land, including typical dishes, such as grilled meats, and wild game right next to the wholesome grains grown in the sloping hillsides.
History Fuses with The Present
A Review of I Nidi di Belforte
We loved: family oriented atmosphere; great for all ages
Ideal for: couples and small families or groups, perfect for exploring all of Tuscany
I ran my hands over the threshold of the medieval door way incorporated in the apartment called “Il Nibbio”, a three bedroom apartment with two independent entrances. The wall is almost a meter thick — playing havoc with your WiFi connection — it is an intriguing piece of history all the same. There were a few of nooks that are leftovers of the original structure which once stood as fortress before becoming a farm and eventually transformed into this country styled agriturismo with a personal family flair.
The name I Nidi di Belforte, is almost a play on words for the family. Belforte would be the name of the castle, which still has its remains close by and Nara and Enrico will be happy to show you the trail, and the word “nidi” means nest, as in “you are getting a bird's eye view of the valley”, or possible paying homage to the rich quantity of wildlife that roam the hills.
Authentic Flavors of the Land
I am not sure I could ever get enough of the landscape and the sogama of the mountains on the horizon, however as soon as I could draw my attention back to the warm hospitality of the owners I saw that I Nidi di Belforte is so much more than its panoramic views. The covered terrace where we sat and discuss the accommodations, was perfectly shaded from the morning sun - and I must be honest my presence coincided with a fresh delivery of “schiacciata” (sometimes called focaccia bread) the bakers bag was still warm and you could smell the sweet perfume of fresh baked bread. Though I Nidi Del Belforte does not offer any on site restaurant services, this was just a clue as to the good food you can find nearby!
I felt it my “dovere” (my utmost responsibility) to take part in their hospitality - so after a healthy portion of flavourful schiacciata I downed a fresh brewed espresso…and then we got down to to Q&A part of my visit.
The property has been in the family for years, as I child we had more than 500 head of cattle to watch over. This has always been a working farm, however today it is more for show.
I could tell that though the memories of the farm, his grandfather and father before him, were pleasant enough - in today’s scene it was a lot of work to carry on. Especially with only his wife and daughter to help with all the chores. Today the 1 - 2 and 3 bedroom self catering apartments take up quite a bit of their time. They don’t boast an elegant and trendy decor, instead they opted for authentic and comfortable. You will find antiques and vintage pieces throughout the structure, giving I Nidi di Belforte the atmosphere of someone’s memories.
A Special Corner Near Florence
The position, just an hour to the east of Florence, is perfect for planning day trips to visit the museums and masterpieces of the Renaissance City, or for heading towards the towers of Siena, the Roman amphitheater of Fiesole and the castles of Casentino. You will need a car to navigate your arrival to the holiday rental apartments, however you will find that the views will be more than entertaining and merit several photo stops along the way.
What could possible make these holiday apartments any better? Let's talk about the public transport, only a short distance away, with regular runs to Florence definitely make this vacation base intriguing. The knowledge that you don’t need to worry about driving into the city, parking the car and navigation the ZTL zones is a fairly large relief. You can be in Florence with only a 40 - 60 minutes trip on the train. Another absolute plus, at least for myself, is the small restaurant within a short walking distance of the Tuscan farmhouse and agriturismo I Nidi di Belforte.
If you are looking for a corner of Tuscany where you can bank on tranquility (except for the rare airplane or bird which soars above) then you have found your match. The pool, is in a prime position with the majestic skyline in front of it, and several of the apartments have independent entrance ways with private shady gazebos, garden tables and chairs.
I Nidi di Belforte At-a-Glance:
Type: 8 self-catering apartments
Location: Dicomano, 10 km (20 min)
Distance: Florence (60 min) & San Godenzo (20 min)
Transport: a car is necessary
Type of board: no meals
Irene assured me, that though you are in a fairly isolated corner of the world, you will still find that SAT, and Wifi are found throughout the property. Even she considers it a necessity!
They have learned over the years that a few extra activities on the property are ideal for keeping the feisty ones occupied, so you will find a game room with a pool table and several marked trails on the property.
Personally, I believe many will be easily distracted by the large pool and the recliners on the side. The inviting aquamarine waters get the sun all day long taking off the nippy edge.
Eight Ways to Enjoy the Countryside
The apartments range from 60 to over a 100m² thus offering accommodations for even the largest of groups, like that of the apartment “La Poiana” with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. All the apartments come with fully equipped kitchens and are supplied with a bed, bath and kitchen linens. Besides the TV and WiFi there are also several ways to enjoy some family fun.
The services and extras that I Nidi di Belforte offer its guests definitely make this a kid friendly accommodation, and not just toddlers and pre-teens. Your active teen or college student will find something of interesting between the billiard table and games in the common room and ample space to hike, go trekking, fishing or exploring: something is bound to capture the attention of any thrill seeker.
During the early fall and all during spring, these accommodations promise a relaxing and meditative silence. Finishing reading that book - or better yet, finish writing your novel. You will find that the owners, though they have opted to not live on the estate, are only a 5 min walk from the front door, and you can stop at any time to ask them a questions about your itinerary, restaurants or even to plan a visit to one of the local vineyards, or small towns and the many local festivals that celebrate chestnuts, mushrooms and truffles…if the season is right.
Fall in Love with the Great Outdoors
The local scenery is really quite breathtaking, especially if you enjoy the “monte” as opposed to the Tuscan coast and vineyards. The deep green backdrop is relaxing, and refreshing and promises spectacular views in spring, summer and fall. Many guests have arrived, found their favorite corner and then stayed put for the remainder of their holidays. Even Enrico, who has lived here all his life as has his wife and daughter,
We are literally “in cima di paradiso” - on top of paradise, I never get tired of waking up in the morning and looking out over the land.
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Their guests come for the tranquility, the silence, the MTB trails and the long hikes in the mountains. Some come for the local festivals, authentic fare and fresh clean air. And some come for the fabulous hospitality that Nara, Enrico and Irene offer. There is no right answer to why should you stay at I Nidi di Belforte, except that you feel good and create your favorite type of vacation in Tuscany.