Until quite recently Italy was not considered by many as a golfing destination, but in the last few years Italy’s Golf & More campaign and the announcement that Italy will host the 2022 Ryder Cup has catapulted the European country into the golfing limelight, emerging as a credible destination for golf breaks.
One of the standout stars of what Italy has to offer golfers is the Argentario Golf Resort & Spa in south west Tuscany. Nestled in a verdant valley on the picturesque promontory of Monte Argentario in Maremma region, this luxurious, environmentally-friendly resort is the ideal retreat for those looking to immerse themselves in the Tuscan way of life whilst enjoying some memorable holiday golf.
The 18-hole golf course, designed by Italian architect David Mezzacane and professional golfer Badlovino Dassù and several holes were subsequently shaped by Brian Jorgensen, is noted for its panoramic views of the Orbetello Lagoon, Tyrrhenian Sea and surrounding Mediterranean topography.
It is however a deceptively varied and technically-challenging layout. The undulating front nine runs in and out of cork-oak woods showcasing local flora and fauna whilst the back nine meanders gently through romantic, centuries-old olive groves at the foothills of Monte Argentario.
The course is characterized by small, fast-paced greens, a host of intimidating water hazards running alongside several holes and tricky, rolling fairways reminiscent of a links layout. More often than not, a refreshing sea breeze cools down the Tuscan sun though adds an extra challenge to game management which, on this course, requires a combination of accuracy and power.
Its location on the Argentario promontory in a protected natural area, only five minutes from the Duna Feniglia Nature Reserve and 25 km from the Parco dell’Uccellina Reserve, has meant utmost consideration was given to the environment when the course was laid down in 2006. Since then all on-going course maintenance has used products that are completely natural and as a result the 6,218 meter, par 71 course has been awarded the Agri Cert certification for its bio eco-compatibility. Subsequently this new habitat has seen the return of animal species such as fallow deer, hares and a variety of birds, including the rare Hermit Ibis.
The well-equipped Golf Academy features the TrackMan IIIe simulator, the latest-generation platform for analyzing your swing and a driving range whilst in-house professionals, Emanuele Canonica and Paolo de Salvatore, are on hand at certain times of the year to give golf lessons.
For those wishing to play other courses in the area, the golf club is part of Tuscany’s Golf District initiative, allowing guests to play at special rates at the nearby Golf Club Toscana, Punta Ala and Terme di Saturnia which can all be reached within two hours of Argentario.
Off the course, the 5-star design hotel’s extensive, Espace Wellness Center is ideal for some rest and relaxation where guests can regenerate and rejuvenate both body and soul.
The MediSPA is a specialized nutrition spa where you can experience the Wellbeing Method, a new concept of wellness centered on reaching a balanced and healthy physical and mental state through food re-education and exclusive treatments. The Center also includes a fitness area with Technogym equipment, bio-sauna, Kneipp circuit, heated indoor swimming pool, massage cabins and tanning beds.
Thanks to the mild climate of the Maremma, a wide choice of activities is on offer that can be undertaken throughout the year. For the more active, there are tennis courts, an outdoor pool, running trails and a small football pitch to have a kick around on whilst horse riding, boat and bike rental and fishing trips can all be arranged.
For lovers of gastronomy, cookery classes and wine tasting are also available whilst a little further afield, the wild and rugged terrain of the Maremma, the Tuscan olive groves and vineyards, the pristine beaches of the Costa d’Argento, famous for its crystal-clear waters, and medieval hilltop villages like Magilano and seaside towns such as Porto Santo Stefano can be explored. A little further afield the historic centers of Rome, Florence and Sienna are a must for art and culture vultures.
Argentario’s range of design-led rooms, boasting the latest technology, all have panoramic views over the golf course, lagoon and Monte Argentario landscape as well as private, wooden-decked terraces, ensuring tranquillity and privacy.
After golf and sightseeing, the bar – or 19th hole – is the place to savour an aperitif or taste some local Tuscan wines. Located at the base of the hotel’s brilliant white, statement staircase that forms the backbone of the dragonfly-shaped property, the bar features the quirky Pig Tables by Marcel Wanders whilst the adjacent, expansive wooden deck is the only place to be at sunset.
The Dama Dama Restaurant, named after the fallow deer that occasionally roam the resort, is a contemporary vision of an elegant mountain retreat. It serves delicious, healthy cuisine that offers a modern interpretation of Tuscan and Italian fare. Created by local chef Riccardo Cappelli, all dishes are made with local organic produce some of which, like the virgin olive oil, come directly from the resort’s own vegetable garden whilst the rest is sourced from Maremma farms.
For those that fall in love with this part of Italy, Argentario Golf Residences offers your own little piece of Tuscany following the construction of an exclusive collection of bespoke luxury villas that are seamlessly integrated into the landscape. Each villa boasts ground-breaking design and views over the golf course and surrounding landscape, with residents able to enjoy all the facilities of the resort.
For more on Argentario, easily accessed from Rome Fiumicino Airport by car in just 90 minutes, visit www.argentarioresort.com