La Chiusa, an 18-room boutique hotel in Tuscany, has relaunched after a renovation. The hilltop building is more than 700 years old, dating back to the 14th century when it functioned as a watch tower. It turned into an olive oil mill in the 17th century and later a hotel in 1978.
A spokesperson for the hotel says all soft goods in the rooms and decor throughout were updated. Amenities include new Wi-Fi, hair dryers, in-room safes and a nightly turndown service. La Chiusa also redid the garden area, added a new boiler (behind the scenes) and is planning to add a pool towards the end of the year.
Executive chef Allesandro Goracci, from Tuscany is now directing La Chiusa's Michelin-starred, garden-to-table restaurant. Specialties made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients include pea soup, suckling pig, handmade pasta and bread, and the signature dessert—a black olive paste (made by soaking black olives in Scotch) and gelato sundae, topped with fresh crème, vanilla ice cream, pistachios and a raspberry-balsamic blend. Guests can go into the kitchen during the day to have a slice of fresh-baked cake or a piece of cantucci (biscotti).
Taking place right in the hotel's kitchen are cooking classes; these typically start at 10 a.m and range between two to three hours.
Classes are designed around a typical Tuscan meal and are taught in English. They focus on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients and feature a four-course meal. Travelers looking for a more intensive cooking experience can sign up for a week-long cooking experience headquartered at the hotel called Cook In Tuscany.
La Chiusa is centrally located in the Tuscany region with access to Pienza (12-minute drive), San Quirico (20-minute drive), Montalcino (35-minute drive), Siena (50-minute drive), Perugia (50-minute drive), Cortona (40-minute drive), and Montepulciano (20-minute drive). It is approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes from Florence.