First, thank you to anyone who is responding. I always rely on this website and have gotten nothing but good information. It's a great resource. We are a family of five planning an Italian vacation for late July, early August. It's early days, but I need to button up some lodging. I would love to have our family stay at a Tuscan agriturismo for a couple of nights in early August. We are going to start in Florence and not sure what our departure city will be yet (haven't gotten air tix). With that being said, is it possible to stay at a farm property that is 1) accessible from Florence via train and 2) which may have a small restaurant on property or is walking distance to a small town? Tall order, I know, but I would greatly appreciate help from this group! I saw this property in an old Steves post, ilgreppo. No idea yet how we would get there. Want to find something charming first. Thanks!!
Marie: Rural Tuscany and Chianti are best when you have a rental car. I would suggest you visit Florence first, and pick up a rental car on the way out of town. It's just too hard to schedule a train, as relatively few hill top fortresses are on train lines. Most farms in the region have apartments and rooms for secondary income, as they're relatively small operations. And there are literally hundreds and hundreds of farms. See Agriturismo.com and AirBnB.com and Booking.com for accommodations. The Tuscan roads are well paved and easy to negotiate for a driver. We found relatively few restaurants out in the countryside, as most are in the hill towns. We also found relatively few English speaking people outside of the hill towns, but that really didn't matter to us.
The Agriturismo San Gallo is outside of Lucca just below the hilltown of Monte Carlo. It has a swimming pool, cooking classes, and the local train station about a mile away with frequent local trains running between Lucca and Florence. There is also a local bus line on the road by the Agriturismo. There is an excellent retaurant 200 meters up the road at the hotel Borgo la Torre, and severl more up the hill in Monte Carlo. http://www.agriturismosangallo.it/ENG/home_en.html