Skip to main content


America's Indian Summer is what we call Estate di San Martino in Italy. But not just surprisingly warm autumn temperatures are related to St. Martin's day on the 11th of November. This is also the time of the year the fermentation of new wines has come to an end, a process described by another Italian proverb related to St. Martin: A San Martino ogni mosto diventa vino (by St. Martin every must has turned into wine). 

And with the beach and festival season long gone and the weather forecast for Sunday looking wet and unfriendly, what better time to visit some of Tuscany's finest wineries. San Martino in Cantina is one of five national winery visit days the Italian Wine Tourism Movement organizes every year. Three dozens of wineries in the provinces of Siena and Grosseto adhere to the initiative and welcome visitors for a free autumn tasting in their wine cellars.

On my quest to discover Tuscany's vineyards with a calling for architecture, I'll be tasting wine and admiring building blocks at the Pieve Vecchia vineyard in Campagnatico. The winery has been designed by Italian architect and designer Cini Boeri. Milan born Boeri is also known for her collaboration with some of Italy's finest names in furniture design.

Campagnatico seen from the park of Villa Bellaria
View towards Campagnatico from Villa Bellaria

After wine and architecture move on to literature and visit nearby Campagnatico. The small medieval village came to fame earlier than many another Tuscan hilltop town thanks to its mention in the Purgatory of Dante's Divine Comedy. But unlike Under The Tuscan Sun, Dante doesn't bring hoards of tourists. So don't expect a second Cortona, but prepare for a lonesome coffee bar selling newspapers, a couple of good old Tuscan restaurants, a lovely villa offering accommodation and a population quite happy with the fact that big tourism hasn't hit yet.  

The Pieve Vecchia winery will be open from 10 am to 6 pm on the day. If you'd like to keep tasting, check the website of the Wine Tourism Movement for a list of participating Tuscan wine estates. For exact timing and location, best call your selected winery beforehand.

Not here yet, but wanting to come out in the future? Read my post on planning winery visits in Tuscany.  

Campagnatico's medieval town center in Southern Tuscany
Taking it easy
 Campagnatico in Southern Tuscany
The villa at agriturismo Villa Bellaria in Campagnatico
Villa Bellaria 

Medieval alleywas in Campagnatico
No tourist around

Marble plate commemorating Dante's Divine Comedy in Campagnatico
Dante's take on Campagnatico
Tuscan door and cat in Campagnatico's town center
Nobody home

Popular posts from this blog


A quick round up of my favorite wild hot springs and historic bath towns in Tuscany (more detailed information on spas and rock pool bathing can be found in the single articles the links will lead you to).  WILDERNESS POOLS   PETRIOLO  half an hour to the south of Siena. With its steaming hot water in the upper row of pools a favorite of mine on icy cold winter mornings. The Farma river passes right next to the hot springs. So be courageous and have a splash to try the benefits of kneipping.   SATURNIA  the biggest, most southern and also Italy's best known (and loved!) wilderness pools. The closest option for a soak if you arrive from Rome. To be avoided on weekends.  FOSSO BIANCO  in the Val d'Orcia is a spectacular sight hidden away in the woods below Bagni San Filippo. The shady surroundings make of these natural springs a nice location in the summer.  BAGNO VIGNONI  has a lovely pool below the small waterfall. However, the water arrives from the medieval t


In the wine world the Tuscan coast equals Bolgheri and Sassicaia. No other wine has done as much to turn the lay-back beach side paradise south of Livorno into a famous wine growing region as the prestigious Sassicaia from Tenuta San Guido. But whilst the rise of Supertuscans blended from French grape varieties may resemble a fairy tale story, it shouldn't keep you fro m drinking Sangiovese wines in the smaller and lesser known wineries along the Tuscan shore. 


The Fosso Bianco hot springs and natural pools in Bagni San Filippo If there's one thing I didn't expect when moving to Tuscany, it's the multitude of freely accessible natural hot springs. Day spas and thermal baths can be found all over the world. But when talking hot baths in the wilderness my first guess would always have been a geyser in Iceland.  The generous natural pools near Saturnia  and the hot springs in Petriolo taught me differently. Both places are well known in Italy, a fact that can make them packed on weekends and public holidays. If you like to take your bath a bit more privately, move on towards Val d'Orcia and explore the Fosso Bianco hot springs   near Bagni San Filippo. The waters are as hot as they should be for some comfortable soaking and high in sulfur and calcium (which explains the formation of the white rock and the name of the place).