What a wonderful welcome we received from Marco (and later Dani) at La Massa when we drove up exhausted from our 7 hour drive from Cap d’Ail in the South of France.  But it was worth every moment of the journey to arrive at La Massa – a golden villa in the mountains of Casentino.  The fridge was full of wonderful local Tuscan produce, such as fennel flavoured salami, delicious lean prosciutto, home–baked bread and all the essentials (especially the wine) to keep us going so we didn’t have to dash out to the local Lidl supermarket on Sunday morning . Thank you Dani for the delicious kiwi pavlova and Tuscan pate you made for us.  What a treat!
Dani is a wonderful host and told us all the local places to visit, such as the spiritual St Francis of Assisi’s Sanctuary at La Verna. Bustling Florence with it’s magical buildings and Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Arno River (and we appreciated Dani’s advice on where to park and bus to ride into the City centre). The nearby town of Poppi and it’s medieval castle, which we visited on a rainy afternoon, is fascinating.  The Wool Museum at Stia is well worth a visit and we lunched in the 2 local restaurants (Osteria Filetto).  We also paid a visit to Arezzo and the amazing Valdichiana Outlet Village and visited San Gimignano for a day .  There is so much to see locally with lots of restaurants serving local Tuscan food at reasonable prices (with Osteria il Porto in Ponte Di Poppi being a favourite). We tended to do a full day trip one day and then a morning exploring nearby the next, giving us the chance to use the beautiful pool at La Massa, which seems to be set into the mountainside, in the afternoon.
La Massa has everything we could have wanted for a comfortable and relaxing stay with all the mod cons and efficient WiFi and we were treated to a wonderful “last night” dinner with Dani and Marco – which was a perfect way to end our stay.
We cannot thank them both enough for making us so welcome and introducing us to the delights of Eastern Tuscany.  We loved it.