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Tuscany: Aristocratic Family in a Farmhouse B&B

Tuscany, Italy

We visit an agriturismo — a working farm that rents rooms to travelers and serves food produced on the premises. Signora Gori is proud to show us her venerable home before we have a memorable lunch — simple, classic, local, and unhurried.

Complete Video Script

Aristocratic countryside elegance survives in Tuscany. But for these venerable manor houses to stay viable, many augment their farming income by renting rooms to travelers. We’re staying in a B&B run by Signora Sylvia Gori. And, like so much of what she serves, the limoncello comes from her farm.

Signora Gori rents a few rooms in her centuries-old farmhouse. As is typical of agriturismi — as working farms renting rooms are called here — the furnishings are rustic, but comfortable.

To merit the title “agriturismo,” the farm must still be in business — and the Gori family makes wine. The son, Nicoló, runs the show now — mixing traditional techniques with the latest technology in a very competitive field.

Signora Gori is proud to show us her home. As her family has for centuries, she lives in the manor house — and the family tree makes it clear: the Gori family has deep roots and goes back over 600 years.

Rick: So it says “famiglia Gori” —
Signora Gori: Gori family.
Rick: All the way back to…
Signora Gori: Millequattrocento. OK.
Rick: Millequattro — 1400.
Signora Gori: 1400.
Rick: Incredibile.

The family room — the oldest in the house — is welcoming in an aristocratic sort of way. Under its historic vault, Grandpa nurtures the latest generation of Goris as the rural nobility of Italy carries on.

Upstairs is the vast billiards room. For generations, evenings ended here, beneath musty portraits — another reminder of the family’s long and noble lineage. And grandma passes down the requisite skills to the latest generation.

Rick: If that was bowling, it’d be very good.

The kitchen, with its wood-burning stove and fine copper ware, has cooked up countless meals.

Signora Gori, happy to share the local bounty, invites us for lunch. Three generations gather on this Sunday afternoon with no hurry at all. The prosciutto and pecorino cheese provides a fine starting course — beautifully matched with the family’s wine.

Pasta comes next — and the children prefer theirs bianco — with only olive oil. And the little one? She’s still mastering the fine art of eating spaghetti. Food is particularly tasty when eaten in the community that produced it with a family that’s lived right here for six centuries.

It’s memories like these that you take home that really are the very best souvenir.

They call this a “zero kilometer” meal — everything was produced locally. It’s a classic Tuscan table: Simplicity, a sense of harmony, and no rush…enjoyed with an elegant and welcoming noble family.