Tuscany: the very name brings visions of Italian medieval hilltop towns; stunning cities; Renaissance architecture; great wine, food, beaches and art.
Over the years, we’ve enjoyed the splendours of Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca and San Gimignano, so our latest visit took us instead to the scenic Casentino Valley.
And there – about 25 miles east of Florence – we were taken to the La Torricella Hotel, overlooking the medieval hamlet of Poppi and the River Arno.
Here’s our independent review of the hotel and its suitability for people of all ages and fitness levels:
Q: Was the booking process simple and problem free?
A: Yes. For once, we didn’t book this accommodation online. Instead, we simply drove up to the hotel and asked if there were vacancies.
Q: Does the La Torricella have street appeal?
A: Oh yes!!!. The farmhouse-style hotel sits high on a hill looking directly at Poppi castle and other ancient buildings.
La Torricella is surrounded by the National Park of Casentino Forest and everywhere you look is green and lush countryside.
Q: How did check-in go?
A: Smoothly. Reception staff at the La Torricella were efficient, professional and friendly. They spoke perfect English and were well presented.
Q: How was accessibility?
A: We drove right up to the free parking area, walked several paces to the main entrance of the La Torricella. The foyer was typically Tuscan, inviting and modern – and the lift was nearby. We had no problems wheeling our bags.
Our room was on the first floor and we caught the lift without a problem.
The hotel lifts had adequate space and the corridors were wide enough. The key to our room worked perfectly and was simple to operate.
Q: How was the room?
A: The entire hotel is built in the style of a traditional Tuscan farmhouse, with maximum use of stones, terracotta tiles, wood and wrought iron.
Our room was classically furnished, with wooden beams on the ceiling, a queen-sized bed; modern tiled bathroom with a shower; plenty of wardrobes; and a desk.
The room was spotlessly clean.
There was also complimentary high speed wifi that worked well.
Q: Was the bed comfortable?
A: Extremely. The La Torricella’s country setting means the area is particularly quiet – and we slept well.
Q: Were other facilities adequate?
A: Although we didn’t use them, there was a flat-screen TV; cable radio; telephone and a minibar.
Q: Did the room have adequate charging points?
A: The La Torricella room boasted several charging points and we were able to keep our seven devices operating with the use of our multi-cable charger.
Q: Was the bathroom to the expected standard?
A: There was an en-suite bathroom with modern shower and fluffy towels.
Q: Did you get breakfast?
A: Breakfast was included in the room rate. The room was easy to find and breakfast at the La Torricella was extensive and included local cakes.
Q: Were there any problems with the hotel?
A: No. the La Torricella provides comfortable accommodation at an attractive price in a beautiful Tuscan setting.
8/10. The Casentino Valley is a glorious part of Tuscany away from the traditional tourist trail.
And, the La Torricella is an ideal base to explore the walled fortress hamlet of Poppi, with its castle that towers over the countryside.
Although we believe it is possible to take a train from Rome to Arezzo, and then a connection to Poppi, the remote location means that the La Torricella is probably best visited by car.
Once at the hotel, it is a simple matter to use use the reception, rooms and facilities. There are few steps; our room was spacious; and the bathroom was accessible to all. The breakfast room was clearly marked and the floor was generally level.
In our experience, the La Torricella is suitable for visitors of any age. It is a small(ish) family-run hotel with 21 rooms.
The hotel is situated on the top of a hill which offers the visitor a wonderful view of Poppi castle and surrounding medieval buildings.