Emma-Louise Pritchard is the award-winning digital editor of the Country Living website, which covers homes and interiors, gardening, health and wellbeing, pets, travel and staycations, as well as countryside news and events in the UK. Emma-Louise has a huge interest in sustainability and eco-concious travel and will be giving a talk about her beliefs and top tips for living a more sustainable life.
Country Living's first eco-retreat in rural Tuscany
For up-to-date information on travel and COVID-19, click here.
Villa Lena is a unique agriturismo spread over 500 hectares of untouched woodland in the province of Pisa. Surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and organic vegetable gardens, it's the perfect place to host Country Living's first green getaway and learn about the increasing importance of sustainable travel.
Our digital editor Emma-Louise Pritchard has a keen interest in eco-conscious holidays - one of 2020's top travel trends - and will join you in Italy to host this new four-day break. You'll go back to nature and enjoy foraging in the woods for seasonal produce before learning how to cook what you've found. You'll also go truffle-hunting with Villa Lena's dogs and a local guide before enjoying a pasta lunch. The peaceful haven, combining art, culture and nature, runs an artist-in-residence programme and you'll have the chance to take part in creative workshops and enjoy yoga lessons on a deck that overlooks the surrounding Tuscan hills.
You'll stay in one of the farmhouses and stables that have been converted in the grounds. Sustainability is at the heart of it as most of the accommodation is run on green energy and rainwater is recycled for agricultural irrigation. It's managed on biodynamic principles and upholds a close-loop system of buying no seeds and creating no waste. The hotel's restaurant is a communal experience showcasing farm-to-table cuisine based on a seasonal organic menu rooted in traditional Italian cuisine. Your flights' carbon footprint will also be offset with an equivalent payment to a CO2 reduction project.
"For me, 2020 is about turning my attention to sustainable travel, which is why I have investigated the debate around carbon offsetting to make sure we chose a trustworthy, Gold Standard provider for this amazing trip to Tuscany. I can't wait to immerse myself in the natural surroundings of Villa Lena and am especially looking forward to meeting the truffle dogs, yoga on the terrace and, of course, the food - it's Italy, after all."
- Emma-Louise Pritchard
Reasons to book
Stay at Villa Lena
Eat delicious Italian food
Exclusive talk by Emma-Louise
Go truffle hunting
Travel in a small group
Your special guest
- Three nights at Villa Lena in an en-suite room
- Breakfast each morning, three delicious dinners and two lunches in Villa Lena's organic restaurant
- Foraging and cooking workshop
- Truffle hunting with Villa Lena's dogs and a specialist local guide
- Exclusive talk and Q&A with Emma-Louise Pritchard
- Carbon offset fee for your flights
- Optional participation in other activities such as yoga** and artist workshops (at an extra cost)
- Airport transfers (when taking recommended flights)
Day1Arrive in ItalyPisa, Italy
Fly from London to Pisa or Florence and transfer to Villa Lena. Meet Emma-Louise and your fellow guests over a delicious dinner of local, organic cuisine.
Day2Foraging in the Tuscan hillsPalaia, Italy
Enjoy a delicious breakfast with your fellow guests. Join our chef-in-residence either in our organic vegetable gardens or on a hike in our woods to pick and forage the tastiest selections of the season. After spending some time exploring the land, cook what you've collected and learn a new recipe at the same time. Then share the meal either by the pool or on the yoga deck, overlooking the surrounding Tuscan hills. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure - visit the artist-in-residence, explore the local area or simply relax by the pool - before meeting for dinner that evening.
Day3Truffle hunting hike and Toiano VecchioToiano, Italy
Enjoy breakfast with the group of Country Living readers. This morning you'll head off on a truffle hunt. Jump into the bottle green SUV with the truffle dogs and our truffle guide to go hiking for an hour or two into the woods, searching for tartufo bianco. Afterwards enjoy a pasta truffle lunch and a glass of wine.
This afternoon you'll head off on a gentle walk to Toiano Vecchio. Toiano Vecchio is a medieval park, located just 5 minutes' walk from the central hub of Villa Lena, that was renovated in 2017. Once a site for an important medieval castle, it has seen various transformations over the centuries. The original castle collapsed during a violent earthquake and the larger stones were used to build the 19th-century villa, now the centrepiece of the property. The park features a tall mound, marking one of the highest points in the region with a serpentine, wooded walkway up to it. Enjoy dinner with the group this evening.
Day4Return to UKPisa, Italy
After breakfast you'll checkout and start your journey back to the UK.
Boutique eco accommodation in the Tuscan hills
More than just a hotel, this is a rural idyll in the rolling Tuscan hills near the town of Palaia. Siena, Florence and San Gimignano, renowned World Heritage Sites, are a short drive away and the rustic accommodation is furnished with locally sourced antiques, upcycled furniture and recycled handpainted fabrics.
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