We spent one week, beginning July 9, at Frances Lodge. Our decision, based on the outstanding online and print reviews,did not disappoint us in any way.
We booked the White Room months in advance and the process was straightforward and quick. Franca responded quickly to our emails and was able to provide us with help and advice prior to our arrival from Rome. On July 9 just after 4.00 PM, both Franca and Franco greeted us with open arms. Their pride in both the property AND as being hosts in Siena was immediately evident. We were given a tour of the property and were in our room quickly. We had decided not to go into Siena that evening but had opted for a ‘picnic’ dinner provided by Franca and Franco. That evening we were served a wonderful meal under a gazebo overlooking Siena and as the sun set, we felt so at ease and as if we were with family.
Over the course of the week, we took three day trips outside of Siena (Volterra, La Crete to Pienza and Multipulciano and finally Chianti). Both Franca and Franco helped plan our days and I would suggest you take advantage of their wealth of information concerning Tuscany should you decide to do the same. Our ‘off’ days were spent either in Siena or at the lodge. Again, our hosts provided us with many hints and advice as well as very interesting insights into the history of Siena.
The lodge is located outside of Siena and is easily accessible by car which is what we had. Taxi and bus service is also available. The lodge looks west over Siena and the views are spectacular, particularly at sunset. The views to the east at sunrise are equally beautiful and they offer a wonderful backdrop at breakfast. We enjoyed going for early morning walks along the narrow and very quiet roads. We found the property to be very quiet and peaceful.
Regardless of where you stay in Siena, it is our opinion that in order to tour Tuscany, a car is your best option by far. For example, our trip into Chianti was less than 100 k return but we were gone over nine hours due to frequent stops and a long lunch (Franca was laughing when she heard this)!
Truly a beautiful building set in exquisite landscaping, we never tired of simply being there. Everywhere you turned, you could see the hard work and attention to detail of the owners. Our room, the White Room, is on the ground floor and as you might guess, is decorated entirely in white. Many of the fabrics we discovered, have been in the family for generations. This room also had a private walkout to a tiny sitting area which we really enjoyed. There is a common room available to guests where there are many books available for research along with comfortable chairs and couches. Air conditioning is available for an extra charge but we found it unnecessary. We decided to simply do what Franca suggested ... keep the windows open (and our walkout door as well). We were never uncomfortable and enjoyed listening to the insects at night and the birds in the morning. There is a fridge in the rooms and this was welcomed. Frances Lodge also has a beautiful pool which we used daily and it was such a great way to cool off and relax after a day on the road. The pool was never crowded and kept very clean. Watching the swallows swoop down over the pool grabbing insects was enchanting.
Breakfast and the ‘Picnic’
Each evening guests are asked to select their breakfast time and food choices. Each room has an assigned table in the garden and it was here we met many of the other guests at the lodge. We found breakfast to be very relaxing and this was where many of us shared our travel stories or advice. Both Franca and Franco doted over us and after breakfast we could firm up travel plans with them. Breakfast, in a nutshell, was outstanding. We could not want for anything else and do they make a great espresso!
Franca and Franco offer a wonderful ‘picnic’ dinner at an extra cost. They serve up a great meal of bread, many appetizers, pasts and dessert along with a homemade dessert wine. Franco has many great wines available as well. All this occurs under a gazebo overlooking Siena and it is there you can sit all evening. Our first meal in Siena was here and it was so memorable, we decided to do the same on our last evening as well.
You won’t find more helpful or gracious hosts than in Franca and Franco. We tried to spend time getting to know them and Siena from their perspective and we were rewarded with many good laughs and wonderful advice. We expressed interest in the origins of the Contrada system in Siena and Franco helped us understand this tradition and why “the Sienese are crazy!” They truly are interested in making your vacation special.
Hopefully this review is not too long winded but it is our way of expressing our thanks to Franca and Franco. If you are planning a vacation to Siena and are considering Frances Lodge, we would unconditionally recommend it.
Hope this is helpful.
Bob and Janice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.