Pardini’s Hermitage: Paradise on Giglio Island

Lunch with a view

Late last August we had only a handful of days to go away somewhere, to escape the heat of Florence, the crowds, the daily grind. And so we decided to treat ourselves and spent them at Pardini’s Hermitage, a secret hideaway sort of a place on an island that is a gem in itself – Giglio Island, a very special place for us.

I was already attracted to it by the fact that the only way to get there is by boat. Not the island, I mean, I’m talking about Pardini’s. A short boat ride from Giglio’s port takes you to a remote part of the island where there are no roads, just a lovely, homely villa, set amongst eucalyptus trees and prickly pears, with granite slabs leading into the crystal water.

When we got there it was clear that we were going to be able to wind down here. The rooms — we were in a bungalow set apart from the main villa — were simple and homely. There was barely any phone reception, the wifi hardly worked. No TV. We could actually switch off.

When you weren’t in the water, easing into a kayak or taking a dip (trying to avoid the sea urchins — Marco didn’t do so well on this one), the villa had a “music” room, and a games cupboard — in the evenings guests congregated around the piano and listen to someone sing. There was Mahjong and bocce (boules) and a ping pong table. Probably my favourite bit was the ceramics studio. A quaint, little, loved studio, where you could wander in, pick up some clay and some tools. Here we whiled away hours, in silence, smoothing and building, getting covered in clay. It was bliss.

the ceramics studiopardini-blog-2playing boccegiglio seapardini-blog-3lunch

Each day we had only to decide if we felt like swimming or playing first, and when it was time to eat we were called with the tingling of a bell.

In the evening, guests were invited to the main terrace of the villa for aperitivo, where we mingled, shyly at first, over a spritz and the view of the sea darkening in the waning light. Dinner was served in the main dining room — the freshest fish, handmade pasta, homemade ricotta.

Lunch every day was served on another sea-view terrace (top photo): fresh salads (watermelon and caprino or padron peppers, almonds and chicken) and deep fried zucchini flowers or fresh anchovies. Wine. Slices of fresh fruit. They even have their own kitchen garden, complete with about 40 goats that supply milk for cheese and yogurt at the villa.

After a few days it felt like we had been away a few weeks. A real holiday.

the Pardini familyDining roompardini-blog-1down the pathAnchoviesdip in the seakitchen gardenevening swimtime to go

Getting to Giglio Island:

You must take a ferry from Porto Santo Stefano on Monte Argentario in southern Tuscany, it is a 1 hour journey (there is a bar on board).

I do not recommend bringing a car to Giglio Island and especially not to Pardini’s Hermitage. There are plenty of private garage options to park your car in the port at Porto Santo Stefano. If you decide to explore Giglio while at Pardini’s, you can hire a boat (like the one that you’ll need to take you to Pardini’s Hermitage) to take you around the island. Or once in the lively port, there is a very good public transport system.

More on Giglio Island:

24 hours on Giglio Island (and our favourite winery)
Acquacotta, the cookbook (and see these Giglio Island recipes from it, Tomato and celery salad and Pizza stuffed with onions and anchovies)
Pardini’s Hermitage

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Comments

One Response to “Pardini’s Hermitage: Paradise on Giglio Island”
  1. Val says:

    What a pleasure! I’ve had a dream lately–a fantasy really, but it could happen. There is a plot of land on Monte Argentario. I must convince my husband it is the place for us. I envisioned a pottery studio–I kid you not! I was trying to think of something that could be a resource for the community as well as for visitors. Now I see this little studio on Giglio, surely a sign?

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