Imagine a quintessential Tuscan landscape: infinite hills dotted with vineyards and olive orchards, an impressive entrance through a long colonnade of cypress trees that leads to a medieval hamlet dating back to the 14th Century…
You’ve arrived in Locanda dell’ Amorosa, a veritable gem of rustic luxury near Sinalunga. If you’re in luck, you’ll be greeted by a tall man with an unmistakeably noble bearing – that will be Marquis Carlo Citterio, the owner of the Locanda.
I first met Marquis Citterio (“just Carlo please”) over 30 years ago. He dreamt of converting the abandoned village of Amorosa into a world-class rural retreat and, unlike most of us who have entertained a similar dream at some point of our life, he actually did it! Starting with a fabulous restaurant, Carlo has been renovating and adding this and that over time, thoughtfully, with a great deal of taste.
Today, Locanda dell’ Amorosa has 27 rooms, a gourmet restaurant named “Le Coccole” that serves exquisitely fresh local ingredients accompanied by an ample selection of extraordinary wines, and a more casual wine bar “Osteria” where you can sample delicious cheeses and salumi from hand-picked producers, have a drink or two and enjoy the simple pleasures of “buon vivere”.
We settle in for a leisurely chat in the Osteria.
Carlo is a curious blend of a modern entrepreneur and an old-fashioned gentleman. But, first and foremost, he is a committed humanist; he sees the people who work at the Locanda as his family, investing a lot of time and energy in nurturing the potential of every person – he says he gets frustrated when people are not using their full capacity. “It’s more and more difficult to find people with the right attitude, formation and culture”.
Culture clearly matters. “I feel very Italian and I feel European, but at heart I am Mediterranean; my tastes and my way of life are those of ‘L’uomo del Sud’, a southerner”.
Carlo feels profoundly identified with his land – his eyes light up as he talks about the surrounding fields and forests that have belonged to his family for over a century. His expression changes as he contemplates the future: he has two daughters, but neither wishes to follow in his footsteps. It seems inevitable that the hotel will change hands in time to come, and we can only hope that it will continue in the same spirit, as magnificent as it has been for the last 40 years.
If you’re looking for a haven of tranquillity and an authentic Tuscan experience, you’ll find it at Locanda dell’ Amorosa. As they say in the Michelin guide, it’s well worth a detour.
A SOLITARY WALK FROM SOUTHERN SPAIN TO TURKEY, EXPLORING
MEDITERRANEAN VALUES AND TRADITIONS THAT ARE IN DANGER OF EXTINCTION.