For our time in Tuscany we stayed at Villa Armena in Buonconvento. The Renaissance style villa was completely restored in 2012 and consists of 10 unique and well appointed guest rooms. It is located just 20 miles south of Siena and not far from the popular wine towns of Montalcino, Montepulciano, and Chianti.
Villa Armena is owned and operated by a husband and wife team (Eduardo and Elena). With Eduardo’s mother Laura serving as the hotel’s sommelier, Villa Armena is truly a family affair. We appreciated their sincere hospitality and found the entire staff to be friendly and helpful. Eduardo and Elena arranged both of our wine tours and they had lots of recommendations for things to do in the area.
As you can see from the pictures, the exterior of the Villa is beautiful. The brick facade and surrounding countryside is pretty incredible. It really feels like something straight out of a movie. But we were just as impressed with the interior of the hotel. Working A/C, free wi-fi, marble bathrooms – who said an authentic Tuscan experience meant leaving behind traditional American amenities?
Villa Armena’s restaurant is Il Sorbo Allegro. Eduardo explained to me that his goal was to turn Il Sorbo Allegro into a dining destination and to that end the restaurant uses only the finest locally sourced ingredients and serves both classical dishes and modern interpretations of classics. The restaurant has several indoor tables though most diners prefer to eat outside. The patio area is very charming and even has a direct view into the kitchen.
We had two dinners at Il Sorbo Allegro over the course of our stay and found the food to be very good (though not as exceptional as our food in Modena). Standouts included the beef tartare with orange and fennel, a house salad that featured the delicious local produce (an off menu request that they gladly accommodated), and their pasta bolognese. I also had a delicious lamb chop that despite being somewhat overcooked, was expertly seasoned. Our one nitpick is that the portions were relatively small for the price.
53022 Buonconvento (SI)
Because we did have some difficulty finding Villa Armena, here are some directions for those driving to the property. On the main road from Siena to Rome is the town of Buonconvento. As you approach the small town center from the north, the town will be on your right hand side (the walls and a watch tower are easily visible). There are two gas stations on the left hand side of the same road within the city limits. After the first station (but before the second station), make the next left hand turn (if you see a soccer field on your left hand side after making the turn you are in the right spot!). Go over the train tracks and continue on the road for about 3 minutes. When you reach the fork in the road – take the right (there is a sign that says Armena) and continue on the unpaved road. Proceed with some caution as this is a thin, winding road that is used for both ingress and egress. Continue driving until you arrive at two dumpsters. Veer left. Although you will feel like you’re almost there, drive another 5-7 minutes along the gravely road. You will pass a burgundy gate and several small private villas. Villa Armena is at the end of this road.