Podere Trafonti, an inspiring retreat in Tuscany

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Podere Trafonti is a beautiful organic farm, located between Montepulciano and Pienza. I had the chance to stay there during the Incontri di Siena festival in July and I had a great time. I was alone (to cover the festival with my social channels and to collect info for a blog post) but I never felt alone. On the contrary. 

In fact, this is not a regular agriturismo (farmhouse) like many other you can find everywhere in Tuscany, but a special place, filled with positive energy that you can distinctly perceive. If not, wait to speak with Antonella.  She is the owner of the podere (farm), together with her husband Bernard

Podere Trafonti
Podere Trafonti

The story of Antonella

She chose to settle here after years of work, and not just any work.  She was a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross, then director of public and corporate communication for a leading global impact investment management and also executive director of The Womanity Foundation, supporting philanthropic projects favoring women’s empowerment. 

I spoke with her mainly at breakfast, before leaving to explore the lovely surroundings. She’s very nice and easygoing. By the way, in case you’re wondering, she is fluent in 5 languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish… so basically there can’t be communication problems with the guests. 

Podere Trafonti
Podere Trafonti, the breakfast room

I asked her to tell me her story. After years in countries devastated by war and poverty, she needed to start a new, simpler life. Actually, at first Bernard and Antonella were only looking for a vacation house, probably in Provence, closer than Tuscany to their home in Geneva. But the exploration led them here. It was about four years ago.

Instead of the main house, there was a ruin. All around, fields and hills, with no road, no cultivated land, no vegetable garden, nothing. But she felt something here, probably the same energy I perceived, too. And she instantly knew it was the right place, and not only for a vacation house but for life

Podere Trafonti terrace
The terrace

The restoration works

That’s how they purchased the abandoned farm. An incredible architectural firm from Florence (Archiloop, FYI) helped them to give shape to their ideas, restoring the ancient buildings and constructing annexes for guests (there are 5 double rooms in total), a yoga studio and a pool.

One of the guests annexes
One of the guests annexes

And also to create the gravel road leading to the farm and the vegetable garden. The whole process took almost 4 years, but, according to Antonella, there are still some small adjustments to make. For example, during my stay, they were building a wood platform under a tree, for yoga practice. How cool is that?

What I admire the most about her is that she knew nothing of farming, but she was willing to learn, with the help of locals: to plant trees (I saw many new olive trees), to grow vegetables, to drive the tractor and so on. 

Yoga tree
Yoga tree

Bee safari

And she’s still willing to learn more. She attended a course for bee-friendly beekeeping at Bioapi, in order to keep bees at Podere Trafonti, as a way both to continue a tradition of Bernard’s family and also to help the environment. Bees are in fact utterly important for us because they pollinate the flowers and help the earth blooming and nature takes its course. Since they’re very interested in sharing their passions with their guests they’re going to organize some Honeybee Safari in the future, with the aim of exploring the world of bees, their work and their role for the environment. 

The bees, photo courtesy of Podere Trafonti
The bees, photo courtesy of Podere Trafonti

They also organize yoga retreats for people who are looking for a stay in which to relax and recharge, surrounded by nature. You can find the teacher, lovely and beautiful Marie-Jose, on Instagram (@arenas_yoga_and_arts).

Yoga studio at Podere Trafonti
Yoga studio

My experience at Podere Trafonti

I stayed in the annex next to the pool, in a room called Bosco, wood. The room was spacious, with a huge patio door overlooking the woods. It was the right place to sleep and relax. The only sound I could hear at night was that of crickets. I also enjoyed very much the rain-shower and the fact that the bathroom has lots of space for your personal effects. 

Bosco room Podere Trafonti
Bosco room

The swimming pool was a big plus since I love to have the chance to relax after hours of walking up and down those lovely villages, taking pictures and collecting memories to share with you. The pool had the perfect temperature for me. I always manage to get in, even if the water is cold because it’s a matter of principle. But this time… I could get in immediately. 🙂

Podere Trafonti pool
The pool

Another great plus was the breakfast. It was copious and made by all things organic: fruit, fruit salad, honey, jams, bread, cheese (from the farm of their neighbors), omelet, cake, savory muffins, etc. Each day there was something new on the table. All homemade and delicious. 

Breakfast time at Podere Trafonti
Breakfast time
Breakfast time at Podere Trafonti
Breakfast time at Podere Trafonti

And then there were Antonella, Bernard, and the other guests. At that time they were hosting some friends. I’m a very shy person, and I sadly don’t master the art of small talk. But they all made me feel welcome and were kind to talk with me and made me feel at ease. I also had dinner with them one evening and it was very pleasant. 

hammock with a view
hammock with a view

Why choose Podere Trafonti

In conclusion, Podere Trafont is a little paradise on Earth, where you can stay in deep connection with yourself, nature and other people. The environment is very pristine. So much so that I managed to see a squirrel, some roe deer and a fox around and about the estate.

Some of my favorite Tuscan villages are all close, from 10 to 40 minutes away. For example Pienza, Montepulciano, Sarteano and many other towns and attractions of the area between Val d’Orcia and Valdichiana

I miss it already: the gentle breeze, the sound of cicadas and birds, the enchanting views, the refreshing pool, the scrumptious breakfast, the superb design, the positive energy of that corner of Tuscany. And most of all the enthusiasm of Antonella, whose eyes light up whenever she speaks about her new projects and ideas for the podere. 

Podere Trafonti pool
Swimming pool

If you’re looking for a place where to spend just a couple of nights, that’s probably not the place for you. Antonella told me she would like to host couples, families or small groups who embrace her own philosophy of slow traveling and connection with nature

One of the guests annexes
One of the guests’ annexes

Video of my stay

A 2 minutes video of the Podere.

Podere Trafonti

Official website

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SP15, 53049 Torrita di Siena SI