You don’t need to see the culinary road-tripping movie The Trip To Italy to know that Italy immediately brings two important things to travelers' minds: first, of course, is the stunning landscape, from the pastel-colored sea-side towns to the lush countryside to the majestic ancient ruins; and second, the extraordinary flavors, from the fine wines to the multi-course meals made from fresh, local ingredients, like tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh cheeses.
As a foodie, Italy was number one on my list of places to travel. I wanted to taste a real slice of margherita pizza, made with buffalo mozzarella in just minutes in a real, wood-burning oven. I wanted to eat pasta (home)made from fresh semolina durum wheat, not poured from a cardboard box. I wanted to experience gelato scooped fresh onto a cone from an authentic gelateria and drink an espresso —not a latte; never a latte — while standing at a coffee bar.
Recently I was invited to experience both the stunning landscape and the extraordinary flavours of Italy at the Adler Thermae Spa Resort
near Siena, an incomparable relaxation experience nestled in the heart of the Tuscan countryside.
From the moment you walk through the doors and into the palatial entrance, your stay in one of their 90 rooms is full of delight and deliciousness. Adler Thermae was built on the site of a natural volcanic hot spring. In addition to the soothing and lovely amenities — three quiet relaxation rooms (shhh! No cell phones or any tech allowed), saunas, unique thermal bathing experience in 37-degree mineral spring water, gyms, daily bike tours, a teen lounge and kids play area — this true Italian treasure has managed to incorporate the tastes of Italy into your complete spa experience.
You would expect the food to be delicious, of course. You can dine in the spa’s lovely open-air Starlight Roof restaurant and enjoy traditional Tuscan cuisine made from local ingredients. Lunches including a sprawling buffet of cold meats, fish, and fresh vegetables and diners can also choose from a daily selection of pasta, meats and seafood to order. Dinner is a multi-course celebration of Italian food with highlights sourced from the lush and scenic Val d'Orcia where the resort is nestled. You can also experience wine tastings in Adler's impressive wine cellar, organized by some of Tuscany's most famous wine makers.
But the food doesn’t stop there. Five times a week, you can enjoy guided tours that combine cultural highlights and tastings of local products. Whether you choose to visit the nearby towns of Montalcino and Brunello or take a historical town visit to Montelupcinao and royal Nobile. Taste the olive oil at a local oil mill. See Crete Senesi and sample the delicious truffles. We were lucky enough to spend one morning walking 11 kilometers (in the rain!) through the hillsides and valleys to the Mulino Val d'Orcia flour mill. We spent the afternoon learning how this family-run organic mill makes its pasta, and we even got to make (and devour) our own! There is something incredible about sharing a lunch with a family who takes such pride on the dish they are putting in front of you.
And when you are tired out from all of your eating and local touring, sign up for one of the multitude of relaxing spa treatments, many of which also incorporate local ingredients like honey, milk, olive oil, wine, and grape seed. I highly recommend the Tuscan Dream Treatment, which includes a soothing milk bath and massage, and the Bacchus Ritual, which includes Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, grape seed peeling, and regenerating massage.
The entire spa and resort is built to maximize visitors' sight lines of the rolling Tuscan hills and fields of vineyards and emerald green. A constant reminder of the natural beauty and lushness of the valley that was a famous stopping place for weary travelers on their pilgrimage to Rome and whose landscape was the inspiration for numerous works of Renaissance art.
So no, you don’t need to see any movies to know that if you love delicious food and beautiful things, The Adler Thermae Spa Resort is a dream vacation you will never forget.
For another culinary tourism gem check out the vegetarian scene in majestic Ireland
Hero Image courtesy of Adler Therma Spa