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Pieve a Pava

Natural beauty, elegance and relaxation at a rustic 4th-century guesthouse in the Tuscan hills

by Karen Day in Travel on 22 October 2010

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Located in the rolling hills of Tuscany's idyllic Crete Senesi region, it's hard not to feel enchanted driving up the gravel road to the rustic guesthouse Pieve a Pava. Combine the stunning natural setting with a building dating back to the 4th century, elegantly relaxed ambiance, as well as gracious hospitality, and you have a recipe for subtle perfection.

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On a recent stay, my traveling companions and I arrived in the evening to a warm welcome by owners Johny and Rita, along with their adorable Jack Russells. After a quick tour of the grounds, the endearing Belgian couple made us dinner reservations at the nearby La Locanda del Castello and set up a bottle of Belstar Prosecco, fresh cheese and pistachios to enjoy while watching the sun set over Mount Amiata—the highest point in Tuscany.

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Just as Pieve a Pava strikes a pleasing balance between its environs and creature comforts, it seamlessly mixes old and new for a similarly harmonious experience. One of estate's brick buildings, the church of Santa Maria di Pava, was rebuilt several times due to conflict between Siena and Florence and anchors the property. Across from it, the kitchen and dining area, accented by its meticulously crafted brick lattice walls, has a glass-paned front that give way to the lush surroundings outside.

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Other thoughtful details like Philip's Biscuits (from Antwerp), Etro toiletries and high-speed wi-fi make you feel at home (if not a fantasy home for most), and strategically-placed seating areas invite you to hang out and relax with other guests—which mostly include easy-going European artists and designers.

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Whether simply appreciating a place designed for true tranquility, taking a dip in the salt water pool, or hopping on one of the Vespas that are on-hand for local sightseeing, Pieve a Pava is a memorable destination for anyone seeking a holiday that really feels like one.

Prices vary depending on the room and season, but typically average €330 per night and include food and beverages. See more images of Pieve a Pava after the jump.

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