In the heart of Tuscany, just a stone’s throw from San Gimignano, lies the vegan Agrivilla i pini, where conscious lifestyle, culinary delights and design enter into a perfect symbiosis. Surrounded by olive groves and a sea of vines, this stately estate, which looks back on a history that goes back to the 15th century, is enthroned.
Once the residence of aristocrats, the villa was later a meeting place for farmers and winegrowers, who eagerly networked and exchanged recipes in the time-honoured building.
Today the Agrivilla i pini is a hotel where enjoyment still plays a special role. Guests are pampered from morning to night with fresh, vegan organic creations. Many of the ingredients that end up on the plates come from the i pini’s own permaculture food forest just a few metres away. To crown the moment of pleasure, the service team, affectionately known as the i pini people, fill the wine glass with a Vernaccia di San Gimignano with a fine almond note, grown on the hill in front of the estate.
Design meets Nature
The sustainable concept of the i pini is also continued in the hotel rooms. I sleep wrapped in hand-woven linen sheets, dried on the line from the Tuscan sun instead of the dryer. Minimalist interior allows me to relax and breathe deeply. Selected, restored wooden furniture decorates the room. Tuscan designer lamps dangle from the ceiling of the tuff stone wall and in the clay bathroom hangs a fine collection of framed mirrors, like valuable flea market finds.
In the soap dish there is a vegan organic soap for skin and hair and at the wardrobe I hang my clothes on hangers, made by a carpenter from Tuscany. As in most hotel rooms, I don’t find a television opposite the bed, which tempts me to waste my precious time.
Everything, every single component in the i pini contributes to a harmonious whole. A special concept that reminds me of the value of life and at the same time invites me to special moments of well-being.
As a member of Green Pearls, a platform for unique, green hotels all over the world, the i pini meets numerous sustainability criteria and cultivates a conscious approach to nature and the environment.
A Tuscan oasis: Relaxing at the saltwater pool
When I arrive, deep clouds hang over San Gimignano and pour out over the landscape at regular intervals. If I had to choose a mood, bright sunshine or grey-white veils of mist – the choice would be difficult for me, because I cannot deny my weakness for this mystical atmosphere and my heart leaps every time I look out of the window in the morning and am greeted with mist.
Even if a rainy day does not invite you to go swimming. So instead of swimming in lanes, today it’s more a question of making yourself comfortable on the veranda in a knitted jumper. Together with a good book. Or watch from the tearoom how the rain makes the water surface of the pool dance.
In San Gimignano I take all kinds of weather conditions with me in three days. From thunderstorms with rain, to foggy mornings when the sun slowly regains its dominance. Then another day announces itself to enjoy the heart of the Agrivilli. The splendid saltwater pool with a view of the surrounding olive groves.
Strolling through the Manhattan of the Middle Ages
Actually, one does not want to leave the enchanting i pini at all. But finally, at the gates of the Hotel San Gimignano with its magnificent skyline, which gave the city the nickname Manhattan of the Middle Ages, is waiting for you. Once upon a time, 72 towers rose to the sky. Today 15 are still standing.
Climbing the steps of the highest tower, the Torre Grossas in Piazza Duomo, a spectacular view of the roofs of San Gimignano and the picturesque hills of Tuscany is revealed.
Undisputedly the most beautiful square in San Gimignano is Piazza della Cisterna. Sitting on the steps you can see the colourful hustle and bustle and enjoy a wonderfully creamy gelato, from Dondoli of course. The Gelateria has the reputation of offering the best ice cream in the world and has even won countless prizes.
Delicacies from the creative cuisine
In the evening I drive the almost 1.5 kilometres of gravel road back to the i pini. On no account will I miss the vegan gourmet dinner. Chef Lahiri and the team have once again outdone themselves and the menu on the table is already making my mouth water. My highlight was the spicy borlotti bean soup, garnished with spicy herbs from the Food Forest, which were poured with the water from the saltwater pool, giving the herbs a special taste.
A last delicious breakfast on the terrace, a last walk through the olive grove and vineyards where I meet some of the i pini people at the grape harvest. Then it is time to say goodbye to the wonderful Agrivilla. Once again, take a deep breath of the Tuscan country air. And exhale with a promise: I will come back.
Like it? Pin it!
*This article was supported by Agrivilla i pini and Green Pearls. The experiences and adventures described remain unaffected.