Invitation to Tuscany Villas Brochure
Our selection of beautiful villas in Tuscany for rent, from an agency with 30 years experience.
Welcome to Invitation to Tuscany We hope you enjoy looking through our brochure. You will find a selection of beautiful properties in Tuscany for you to rent, from small romantic hideaways to sprawling country mansions. Tuscany is a magical and unique region, where the power of the towering influences that shaped the region during the Middle Ages and Renaissance seem to have spread to every valley and village. The great works are well known and iconic, but it is the pervasiveness of this artistry and delight that make the region so exciting. Every village has their maestro; every small church seems to harbour a work worth seeing. The landscape, carefully shaped by man over the centuries speaks of a deep and engaged love for the production of food and wine, and every small trattoria will remind you how true this is. This is a region to explore, and to immerse yourself in – the experience of the everyday is striking and beautiful. Renting a self-catering, independent property is a wonderful way to visit the area: remove the layer of protection and become part of one of the most fascinating cultures of the world. The local markets are treasure troves of fresh food, and cooking and eating al fresco under your own pergola will be an unforgettable experience! Should you need any extra help or something more to do, we have cooks, wineries, bike rentals on hand to make your holiday even more enjoyable. We have also added tips on restaurants, activities and places to go for each of the areas in this brochure, and every house comes with its own ‘house notes’ giving you invaluable local advice on what to do and where to go. We are a family run company, and are proud to say that this is our 30th year of being in business. We have long standing relationships with our clients and have even had young couples with their babies come to stay, and later seen those very babies come back when grown up to get married in Tuscany! We choose and rent houses that we would like to stay in ourselves, giving us a very wide range, from simple cottages to luxurious castles; all of them have something we think makes them special, be it a particularly splendid view, a beautiful historic building or a great location. We visit all the houses personally and go back to For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com them regularly, so we can give you good, first hand advice on finding the best place for your stay; we love to hear from you so, even in this age of online everything, feel free to pick up the phone and let us help you. As well as in this brochure we publish these and other properties on our website: http://www.invitationtotuscany.com. You may search, filter, check availability and even book online, and you will also find further details and more photographs of all the properties. The drawings in this brochure are all done by me, Dan Wrightson – you can see more of them at http://www.danwrightson.com Things to Note when choosing a property Cautionary deposit What's included: Properties are let fully furnished and equipped, including crockery, cutlery, bed and bath linen. Our price includes final cleaning. Fuel for lighting, cooking, refrigeration and hot water is normally included in the rent, but not, except in a few properties, fuel for air conditioning or heating, the cost of which must be paid directly to the owner or his representative before departure. Air-conditioning and heating are extra in most properties. In this brochure “shower-room” means that the room has a WC, a wash handbasin, a shower and probably a bidet. “Bathroom” means that the room has a WC, a bathtub, probably a shower fitting as well, a wash basin, and probably a bidet. A cautionary deposit is required, in the form of credit card authorisation, to cover any unforeseen damages or extra charges applicable to your booking. At the beginning of your stay you should inspect your property with the owner or the custodian. At the end of your stay you should again inspect the property with the owner or custodian, settle any costs or damages and sign the appropriate forms with him/her. A property left dirty may incur extra cleaning charges. Car hire. Our properties are mostly in positions that make a car essential, and many properties will have a t least a short stretch of dirt track for access. We have found, after extensive testing, that hire cars perform best on these types of roads! We have arranged good car hire rates with Europcar, whom we have found reliable and helpful. Remember that in Italy you must always carry personal identification such as your passport with you, as well as proof of insurance for the car. Minimum rental period. Insects, animals and pets The minimum period of rent is normally one week, though sometimes owners will accept bookings for as few as 3 days. Most properties are let from Saturday to Saturday, but some specify a Friday arrival and departure. Bookings of two or more weeks are preferred. With very few exceptions rentals start between 5 & 8 p.m. on the first day and end before 10 am on the last day of your holiday. Bats, flies, ants, scorpions, wasps, hornets, mice, millipedes – no, there aren’t great hordes and swarms of them, and they won’t all be in full march, bent on entering your house and disturbing you; but they are all part of country life, and, sometimes, some of them find their way indoors. Ants and mice especially are attracted by even the smallest crumbs. It is a great help if you try not to leave scraps or crumbs around, and inform the custodian of your property if you see signs of mice, so that appropriate action can be taken. Cleaning Properties are consigned clean and tidy for your arrival, and you are responsible for leaving them tidy and in such a condition that a normal clean will prepare them for the guests following you. Some of the properties, especially on a farm, will most likely have some farm cats Please separate your rubbish and take it in bags to the nearest village collection point. You will find different bins for recycling paper, glass, plastic, metal and organic household waste. There is a daily collection from these bins, but no individual house collection. Please do not leave any rubbish behind in your holiday property! 2 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com wandering around and possibly a dog or two. Please note that the company has no control over this so ask your agent to check if you feel this might be a problem. A few properties will allow pets but permission must always be given by the owner. Ask your agent to check this when you book. Passports and Visas You must be in possession of a valid passport to travel to Italy. We recommend that you allow at least twelve weeks to obtain or renew your passport. Children under 16 years may not travel unless accompanied by an adult. Holders of nonEuropean passports should check visa regulations with the Italian Consulate. More information After your balance is paid you will receive a leaflet of Introductory Notes, telling you about driving, telephones, shop hours and other useful tips to help you feel at home in Italy. Please read these notes carefully. Since very few shops are open on Sundays, you will need to do at least basic shopping before arrival. Details of local shops for each property are included with your directions. Credit cards are not so widely used in Italy as in other countries. In particular it is rare that petrol stations and food shops will accept credit cards or cheques. The easiest and cheapest way to withdraw cash is with your bank debit card from any ATM. Most towns and villages have them. And finally Have a wonderful holiday! When to go Tuscany is beautiful in many seasons, and enjoys a warm and sunny climate for much of the year. We have often eaten out on the terrace on Christmas day, bathed in wonderful sunshine. We want to give you a little idea of what to expect if you are lucky enough to be able to come out of season: 30.0 22.5 15.0 7.5 0 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec April, May and June Our favourite time of year is probably spring: bright crisp sunny days, when you can feel the sun’s warmth increasing every day, the air is clear from the heat haze of summer and the ﬂowers and blossoms are bursting with energy, colour and life. These pictures were taken in March and April. June is really early summer and the temperatures are already increasing. If you’re coming to sightsee but you like to do it in your shirtsleeves, this is an excellent time. The great cities of Tuscany are a little calmer than in high season, restaurant owners welcome you with open arms and the museums are perfect. July and August This is high season and the heat is on in more ways than one. Shimmering pools promise a tan, the wine is quaffable and al fresco meals beckon. The museum lines may be a bit longer and waiters a tad shorter of patience, but town festivals sprout everywhere and music and dancing can while away your evenings. September, October and November Another of our favourite periods – the stones of the farmhouses and village walls have now been heated through by a summer of sunshine, and radiate the heat back. The swimming pools and the sea feel like a warm bath and as the sun lowers on the horizon it bathes the landscape in a golden glow. This is also the season when the grapes are harvested and when the olives are picked – main farms will be happy for you to come along and join in, so do ask us if you’d like to participate. December, January and February These are the coldest months of the year, and with the most variable weather. You can be cycling along in a t-shirt, or gazing out a wet landscape – it changes from day to day. These are the months for those who really want to see the artworks of Tuscany without interruption, and for those who enjoy collecting chestnuts in the woods and roasting them over an open ﬁreplace For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 3 Visit our Website Though you may find just the vacation home that suits you in these pages, there are many reasons to visit our website, www.invitationtotuscany.com More information You will find much more information and many additional photographs of the properties listed in this brochure. To find properties just insert the reference number (in the round dot) into our search box in the top right of the home page. More pictures We now use FlipKey to gather independent reviews - so you can see what people who have visited think of the properties too. Just select the "Read reviews" link at the top right of the property's main photo. Book online Under each property listing you will find even more information about the property, including services and facilities available to the guests during their stay. Some properties offer cooking classes, catered dinners and other activities. It is now also possible to book online. Your property will be held free of charge for up to 48 hours to allow you time to check flights and times with family and friends. You can then choose to confirm online or you can ring or email us for any other details you might like to discuss. Book offline We also still like doing things the old-fashioned way - feel free to ring us or any of the agents to discuss which house we think would be best for you - we can help you make a shortlist and give you the lowdown on the quirks of the various areas and of the various properties - we visit them all personally. Find things to do You can filter our properties by area, by size and also by type - we have categorised them to make it easier for you to select what you're looking for, from Romantic Retreats to Family Friendly, or even whether they are close to Restaurants and Shops. Make a wish list While you are browsing through the website, you can add the properties you like to your wish list - just click the "add to wish list" link at the top right of each property's main photo - you will then have a page of your favourites to discuss with us or with family and friends. Check reviews 4 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com We can help you organise activities for when you arrive; from wine-tasting to cycling, hot air ballooning to catering, even yoga and guided walks. Have a look at the "Things to Do" section of the website for inspiration. 30 years of Invitation to Tuscany For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 5 Index to properties in Tuscany Page Ref. 10 10 11 12 12 13 13 13 14 15 16 16 16 17 17 17 18 18 19 283 196 39 21 228 23 25 158 260 167 168 169 202 203 204 115 272 33 Name 6 10 10 4 to 5 4 2 to 3 4 to 5 4 2 to 36 6 to 8 4 to 5 4 to 5 4 4 4 4 4 8 to 9 8 12 4 10 10 2 to 20 6 8 6 10 4 2 to 3 6 to 7 4 to 5 6 22 23 24 25 26 26 26 26 27 94 95 96 91 LUCCA AND PISA Villa Lucia Casina 4 Belcanto Villa Panorama Casa Fiorentina (estate) Casa Fiorentina - Giotto Casa Fiorentina - Cimabue Casa Fiorentina - Botticelli Villa da Vinci 29 30 31 32 33 8 275 127 292 170 THE MOUNTAINS Casa Anna Argentone Mulino Tartufo Ponte Romano 6 36 36 37 38 THE COAST 281 Luna Rossa 217 Casa Fiori 291 Murella 128 Casa Guelfi 40 41 42 43 SOUTHERN COAST 42 Bernardino 27 Casa dei Fichi 44 Torrevecchia* 246 Lookout Tower 93 262 48 294 Sleeps CENTRAL TUSCANY Tasso Molino la Senna Torrevista Cristoforo Rondine Agriturismo Elvira - Noce Agriturismo Elvira - Pinolo Agriturismo Elvira - Rustico Borgo di Tignano (estate) Casale * Lirica - Musicista Lirica - Poeta Lirica - Scrittore Bellavista - Camelia Bellavista - Olivo Bellavista - Erica Castagno Riccio Ragnana 2 to 4 2 6 2 Page Ref. 46 47 47 47 48 49 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 58 59 59 59 60 61 61 61 62 62 63 64 64 65 65 65 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 301 131 132 130 219 287 237 126 117 26 123 302 303 304 146 147 148 38 43 47 177 178 180 182 307 306 286 144 238 274 195 135 10 to 12 8 8 to 9 7 to 8 6 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com Name FLORENCE AND AREZZO Poggio Canale Boscaglia - Camino Boscaglia - Torretta Villa Boscaglia Poggio Capponi (estate) Poggio Landi Casa Silvia Casa Pretello Casa Allioni Casa Cerfone Eremo for 18 Casa Michelangelo Borgo Anghiari (estate) CHIANTI Casolare (estate) Casolare - Gialla Casolare - Azzurra Casolare - Arancio Lornano (estate) Lornano - Sangiovese Lornano - Canaiolo Lornano - Malvasia Gatto Nicolo* Brogino* Stomennano (estate) Stommennano Villa Stomennano Stomennano - Tinaione Stomennano - Volta A & B Stomennano - Cortile Weddings Pievina Mora Villa Oliveto Castellaccio* Roseto 14 Dimora Piaggione Colombaia Sleeps 6 to 8 4 to 6 5 to 6 9 to 12 2 to 27 2 to 4 4 to 5 6 to 7 5 to 6 12 to 14 18 to 21 10 2 to 22 2 to 22 6 8 6 2 to 15 6 5 4 4 4 to 5 8 2 to 36 6 to 8 12 12 4 8 6 14 8 to 9 14 10 10 to 11 17 Page Ref. 76 77 77 77 77 77 77 77 77 77 77 78 78 78 78 79 80 81 81 81 81 55 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 261 74 75 76 15 77 78 79 216 Name SIENA Montestigliano (estate) Montestigliano - Villa Donati Montestigliano - Virginia A Montestigliano - Virginia B Montestigliano - Casa Marta Montestigliano - Massimo Montestigliano - Adriana Montestigliano -Ropoli Sopra Montestigliano - Ropoli Sotto Montestigliano - Damiano Montesstigliano - Luisa Campalfi (estate) Campalfi - Nido Campalfi - Archi Campalfi - Granaio Fienile Poggiarello (estate) Poggiarello - Capanna Poggiarello - Loggia Poggiarello - Casa Mario Poggiarello Torre di Poggiarello Toiano (estate) Toiano - Grappolo Toiano - Vigna Toiano - Uvetta Toiano - Tinozza Gelso Podere Fulvia Leccio Costafabbri Pipistrelli Pastine di Sotto Villa Strega Villa Corsano 82 82 82 82 82 83 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 73 72 248 19 85 34 185 11 247 54 86 53 92 93 94 95 SOUTH OF SIENA 140 Poderuccio 134 Casa del Pittore* 198 Pozzo Pieve di Caminino (estate) UMBRIA 98 273 Castelonchio 99 118 Castell'Orlando - North Wing 100 230 Casa Umbra 101 231 San Fortunato 102 119 Villa dei Priori * Friday to Friday changeover Sleeps 2 to 59 14 4 4 6 4 4 4 6 3 10 2 to 28 2 to 4 4 to 5 2 to 4 10 2 to 33 3 to 5 4 to 5 6 to 8 2 to 15 4 4 2 3 to 4 2 4 8 to 10 6 14 12 10 to 11 20 8 to 10 6 4 2 to 23 6 8 6 8 10 How to Book Invitation to Tuscany Ltd. Holland House 35a Bedford Road London N2 9DB Tel.: +44 (0)20 8444 9500 Fax: +44 (0)20 8444 9550 email@example.com www.invitationtotuscany.com You may book online or contact either the Head Office in London or on of our local agents around the world. All our agents visit the properties, and can give you personal, up to date information to help you decide what would best suit you. You may place an option on a property for 48 hours while you reach a decision, check flights or gather family members. Once your booking is confirmed you will receive an email confirming the details and with a link to a web-page where you may pay your deposit. Alternatively, contact your agent and deal directly with them. The balance is due ten weeks before rental start date. Your receipt and invoice will be the confirmation of the property owner's contract with you. When the balance is paid you will receive your final travel documents including a voucher, directions to your property and your Introductory Notes. Registered No. 05399312 Head Office: Invitation to Tuscany Ltd Holland House 35a Bedford Road London N2 9DB Tel: +44 (0)20 8444 9500 Fax: +44 (0)20 8444 9550 Agentsâ€™ contact details UK BOOKINGS 020 8444 9500 e- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com CANADA Neville and Jenny Reid 46 Four Oaks Gate Toronto, Ontario, M4J 2Ă—2 Canada Tel: +1 416-424-2190 Fax: +1 416-424-2190 Mobile: 416 897 8346 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org USA EAST Barbara & Hugh Barton 6301 Stevenson Avenue #1206 Alexandria, VA 22304 Tel: +1 703 370 3868 Fax: +1 703 751 1731 Email: email@example.com NEW ZEALAND Eurovillas and Tours Limited Michele Roberts PO Box 109415, Newmarket AUCKLAND Tel: 0508 387-684 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org USA WEST Colleen LAMONT, CTC Mgr Journeys Peak Travel 1675 SW Marlow Ave, Ste 401 Portland, OR 97225 Tel. +1 503 352 8018 Tollfree: 866 297 1058 Fax: +1 503 546 1111 Email: email@example.com AUSTRALIA Marian Stanley, Director South Melbourne Travel Pty Ltd 409 City Road (PO Box 111) South Melbourne, Victoria 3205 Australia Tel: +61 (0)3 9690 2133 Fax: +61 (0)3 9699 9326 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Holiday insurance is obligatory. Insurance cover is essential for your peace of mind on holiday. Personal insurance is a booking condition. We must receive full details of this cover when you pay the deposit for your holiday. For more details please refer to insurance conditions through the link on our website. Local Amenities Descriptions in the brochure, in the Introductory Notes and on our website will usually advise you about such things as museums, shopping, restaurants, transport, swimming pools and other amenities. Such references are made for your convenience, and while we take care to ensure the accuracy of information, the Company can accept no responsibility for such information. Our website is a source of extended information, not only about our properties, but also about other activities and connected interests. Visit it at: http://www.invitationtotuscany.com Please send us your comments and suggestions for updating and improving it; bring your laptop on holiday and keep up to date on concerts, festivals, local weather and much, much more. . For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 7 2 1 Volterra San Gimignano The Museo Etrusco Guarnacci in the heart of Volterra has one of the most fascinating Etruscan collections in Italy, not to mention alabaster shops on every corner. This dourfaced terracotta couple on a sarcophagus lid gives a glimpse into the lives of a people about whom so little is known. This picturesque town is more than medieval skyscrapers and tourist shops. For in midsummer you can sit on the steps of the cathedral and listen to opera under the stars, played out against one of the most dramatic backdrops imaginable. 1 4 3 Casole d’Elsa – Palio On the 2nd Sunday of July jockeys mount their horses for Casole d’Elsa’s Palio bareback horse race up the hillside leading to the village. In each of the six contrade, or town quarters, celebrations spill into the streets, so come along and join the party. 2 39 2 Pievescola – Sagra del Fungo In the first 2 weeks of September Pievescola organizes a favourite local event, the Sagra del Fungo, or rather a culinary celebration dedicated to the wonderful Porcini mushroom found in the area. Dancing, local wine and mushrooms in more ways you can imagine. 3 4 6 A 8 1 B 21 228 Elvira Tignano Lirica 3 260 196 C 5 283 5 Rocca di Sillano This mighty fortress on a hill overlooking an area including Siena, Pisa and Grosseto once controlled the valley of the Cecina river. After years of renovation it is now open for visitors intrigued by the area’s defensive past and this beautiful example of military architecture. 115 272 33 7 6 Colle Val d’Elsa In a world renowned crystal manufacturing town, Colle Val d’Elsa’s Museo del Cristallo displays its historic relationship with this sparkling material. And in early September “Cristallo tra le mura” features glass-blowers on display throughout the old town. 8 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 4 Bellavista 7 Radicondoli This quiet hill town with panoramas out each town gate, lets it hair down in early August during its Estate a Radicondoli, with a full program of dance, music, theatre and art. Before the show, stop into La Pergola for dinner on a panoramic terrace. 8 Market day In just about every town and village in Italy there is a day when travelling vendors come to town and piazzas become bustling marketplaces. The days may differ – in Colle Val d’Elsa it’s Friday, in Casole on Monday and San Gimignano on Thursday - but the bustle and fun are the same. C E N T R A L T US C A N Y Central Tuscany is the area between Siena and Florence, west of Chianti. It is where Susan and Alan Wrightson found their house when moving to Tuscany in 1974 and is still the area we know best and where we have many of our properties. It is also, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany, with a soft and cultivated landscape, interspersed with large areas of forest. A thousand years ago the main pilgrim route to Rome ran through the Elsa valley, through towns like San Gimignano, Colle val d'Elsa, and the delightfully named Poggibonsi. The pilgrims with their diverse cultures and traditions brought a cultural richness to the area that continues to this day. Central Tuscany is dotted with medieval hill towns, churches, frescoes and castles rich with history; the landscape still has the signs of millennia of love and care, covered in olive groves and vineyards. CASOLE D'ELSA Casole d'Elsa is at the centre of Central Tuscany, and is perhaps the loveliest of the Tuscan hill villages, with approximately 1,000 inhabitants. There is one main street, and two village squares; one with the seminary and village well, the other with the ancient castle, still used as the Town Hall. This road becomes a delightful meeting place for locals and tourists alike. Whatever the reasons, somehow there is a very special community here - perhaps it is the proportion of the width of the street with the height of the buildings; perhaps it is the fascination of the alterations to the stone and brick buildings during Casole's existence over the past two thousand years. Maybe it is the fortunate geographical position of Casole in relation to larger towns such as Florence, Colle Val d'Elsa and Siena, allowing for a ﬂourishing local population with roots going back countless centuries. Some say that Tuscan hill villages were constructed on hilltops for defence, others that it was to avoid malarial mosquitoes. Almost certainly, however, origins were religious. All this has had the very happy result of the particularly picturesque tradition of hill towns and villages topping the craggy hills of green Tuscany, enjoying panoramic views and developing a particular form of building suited to climbing down hillsides like the icing on a cake. There is a tangible sense of history living in the stones and in the faces of the population. Self-suﬃcient in the past, the villages continue with a tradition of local craftsmanship and the conserving of numerous local festivals, from opera to horse races, wines to olive oil. Local specialities such as wild boar, mushrooms or whatever is in season, give an excuse for magical open air feasts, with dancing under the stars. In the evenings people gather in bars and squares, or sit out in the street, keeping an eye on the children and gossiping about everything and everyone. VOLTERRA Volterra is one of the oldest cities in Italy. The Etruscan settlement of the 8th century BC developed thriving trades in metals, alabaster and salt. Captured by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, it was sacked in 80 BC by Sulla. The Lombards favoured Volterra and it survived the Middle Ages intact. Almost all the buildings are made of panchina, a kind of limestone related to alabaster for which Volterra is famous. The winding stone ﬂagged streets, squares and narrow arched alleys have wonderful buildings, such as the Palazzo dei Priori, the Cathedral, baptistery and square, a wealth of excellent restaurants and plenty of more portable attractions including alabaster goods and leather wear. Other attractions here are the Roman Theatre, and Porta all'Arco, the intact Etruscan entrance to the city. Concerts and festivities are organised all summer, and there is so much to see you don't need to move. When you do, the coast is 40 minutes away. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com KEY INFORMATION BARS/RESTAURANTS OSTERIA CASOLANI With a fixed price menu and great wine list – you just sit down and let the delicious courses arrive. Casole d’Elsa, Via Casolani 39 Tel 0577-948733 LA PERGOLA Good menu and pizzas here but the Pergola is also recommended for covered terrace at the rear offering wonderful views. Radicondoli. Tel 0577 790717 BAR DELL’ORSO With simple tables and a fabulous glass case loaded with delicious hot and cold Tuscan fare. Great lunch stop. Monteriggioni - Via Cassia Nord, 23. Tel: 0577 305074 EVENTS Palio of Casole d’Elsa 2nd Sunday in July. Volterra A.D. 1398 Last week of August. San Gimignano’s Ferie delle Messi 3rd Saturday & Sunday of June MARKET DAYS Casole d’Elsa – 1st & 3rd Monday of the month San Gimignano – Thursday a.m. Colle Val d’Elsa – Friday a.m. Volterra & Poggibonsi – Saturday a.m. 9 Tasso Montecastelli, Pisa A beautifully converted Olive Mill, with garden and indoor pool On the edge of a village, Tasso was once the local olive oil mill; now it has been beautifully converted into a family home. The house, on three storeys, occupies one half of a large building built into the hillside. Wide doors open into the heart of the house, the ex-olive mill, now a huge kitchen/ living room with brick vaulted ceilings and paved with marble. Through an archway a gently winding staircase leads to the first floor; but on the way, look to the left: a stone vaulted roof protects an almost square indoor swimming bath, entered past ancient columns, with underwater lighting, marble seats, niches for drinks, and a wave machine for energetic souls. On the first floor all bedrooms have en-suite shower-rooms and views over the garden or out over the hills. The garden stretches below the top of the village walls with beautiful views of the surrounding hills. Covered with forests, olive groves and arable fields, these hills are good walking countryside, criss-crossed with ancient routes to extinct silver and copper mines, to the 10th century castle Rocca di Sillanao, and past Etruscan remains. Montecastelli, the village itself, is wonderfully evocative, a cone shaped crown on a steep hill in beautiful, unspoiled countryside. The village has a small bar/shop and San Dalmazio, a village 10 mins drive away, has a good simple restaurant and a couple of shops. Pomarance a few minutes further, has plenty of shops, banks and services; larger historic towns and the coast are all easy trips by car. Molino La Senna Casole d’Elsa, Siena A large country house in a sunny hollow Molino La Senna is a large country house with a welcoming friendly atmosphere, right in the heart of Tuscany near our favourite hill village of Casole d'Elsa and one of our favourite restaurants in the area, 'La Speranza'. Situated in a picturesque sunny hollow with a stream running at the bottom of the garden, the house is surrounded by lawns and fruit trees and has views across the surrounding hills and woods. The fenced pool has a wide furnished surround. The old bread oven makes a wonderful barbeque, and an enchanting small stone amphitheatre, where once the waterwheel turned, has great acoustics for music. The building is on two ﬂoors topped by a central tower. Entered from a furnished patio with a wisteria-covered pergola, the ground ﬂoor is an arched open-plan kitchen/dining room with a central workspace, and an area furnished for comfortable relaxation with two divans. The underground larder/wine cellar is reputedly Etruscan. On the ﬁrst ﬂoor, reached both by a wooden staircase and by the original external stone stairs, the sitting room takes up a whole wing of the house and has a large open ﬁreplace. There are evocative country views from the windows and the loggia. A double bedroom and a shower room with two washbasins are on this ﬂoor. On a slightly higher level are one double and two twin bedrooms and another shower room. A central staircase leads to the tower. Once a dovecote, this is now a beautiful double bedroom with a shower room and a raised private study area. One of the loveliest sounds at Molino La Senna is the murmuring of the stream at the bottom of the garden, overlaid with birdsong. Situated in a picturesque sunny hollow with a stream running at the bottom of the garden, it is positioned for long undisturbed walks in nature, yet handy to excellent roads to the major attractions of Tuscany. 10 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 283 TASSO Sleeps 6 1 double, 1 twin/double, 1 twin bedroom, 3 shower rooms. Indoor swimming pool. Pomarance (all services) 15 mins. Casole d'Elsa 25 mins. Coast 75 min, Massa Marittima & Volterra 50 min each, Siena 1 hr, Florence and Pisa 90 mins. Map: page 8, ref C 2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “We had a wonderful, memorable time in Il Tasso. We felt like we were staying in a castle! “ 196 MOLINO LA SENNA Sleeps 10 3 double bedrooms, 2 twin bedrooms, 3 shower rooms, Private swimming pool, Satellite TV. Restaurant, bar, shop under 2 kms, Casole d'Elsa, with shops, museum, tennis, theatre 4 kms, Colle Val d'Elsa 15 mins, San Gimignano and Siena 40 mins, Florence 1 hr. Map: page 8, ref C 3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “It is the best casa we have ever stayed in Toscana “ Torrevista Casaglia, San Gimignano An ancient home with a splendid view of the towers of San Gimignano Sitting high on a ridge looking across the valley to the towers of San Gimignano, Torrevista is an excellent place for friends and extended families to gather. There are places indoors and out for everyone to dine together and spacious living areas to sit and recount the day's adventures, but with two independent floors in the main house, there is also room for privacy. The house has a spacious country kitchen with travertine counters, a large dining table and a traditional fireplace. On a corridor off the kitchen are three roomy bedrooms, all furnished with country antiques and bright fabrics. Beyond the bedrooms are two living areas that spread the width of the house with comfortable seating near an open fireplace and an upright piano, tuned and ready for a visiting musician. Two sets of French doors access the lower floor from the garden, where there are 2 twin rooms. This floor also has an eat-in kitchen with doors up to the back garden, making it very handy for preparing those al fresco meals. The furnished pergola on the terrace suggests outdoor dining, whether the nearby barbecue is put to use or the caretaker's home-cooking requested. Torrevista is an excellent base for day touring: San Gimignano draws many to stroll around the shops or sit on the cathedral steps under a starry sky for an evening of music. Also in easy reach are Siena and Florence, once rivals and now many-starred in any guide book and less than an hour away. 39 TORREVISTA Sleeps 10 1 double bedroom, 4 twin bedrooms, 1 with ensuite shower + 2 shower rooms, 1 bathroom, WiFi internet. Swimming pool 12 x 6m Bar, restaurants, shopping at San Gimignano 5 km. Poggibonsi and supermarket 6 km. Siena and Florence 45 km. Map: page 8, ref A3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œIt's your own piece of heaven - very close to San Gimignano! I would definitely stay here again!â€? For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 11 Cristoforo Casole d’Elsa, Siena A pretty cottage and garden in Casole d’Elsa “Cristoforo is a pretty little cottage, lucky enough to have a wide garden within the village walls, with flowers and fruit trees and a barbeque, all on the west wall of Casole d'Elsa, a wonderful Tuscan village with 3 bars, 4 restaurants, grocers and the essential hand made ice-cream shop. There is also a village swimming pool and a tennis court on the edge of the village, within easy walking distance. From the bedroom windows there are panoramic views towards Volterra, San Gimignano and folds of hills for perhaps 90 kms. It is a charming house well suited to a family who want to experience life in a Tuscan village. The entrance is directly from a quiet village street onto a mid-level landing. On the lower floor are the kitchen and the living room, with a brick vaulted ceiling spanned by a wide brick arch. The living room has comfortable dining and lounge furniture and a wood burning stove. A glazed door from the living room opens onto the garden. Upstairs, there is a room with a washbasin, WC and a washing machine. There is a shower room and there are two small double bedrooms, one of which can be made up as twin beds close together if preferred. Local materials have been used in the restoration and the work has been done with care and love for this charming little medieval cottage, which belongs to a Sienese couple. The friendly village of Casole is a delight and is described elsewhere in this brochure. When you are not taken up with everything in the village, including its museum and summer programmes, with touring Tuscany and trying all the wonderful wines and restaurants, you can celebrate the excellent local wines from a deckchair in the garden. Rondine Casole d’Elsa, Siena A quiet house and sheltered garden in Casole This is a charming village house made from the careful conversion and reconstruction of a much larger building in Casole. You can watch the many swallows swirling and diving around the back of the church above the rear of the house. With beamed ceilings, and very nice furniture, the house is well insulated and stays delightfully cool, quiet and undisturbed. 21 CRISTOFORO Sleeps 4 - 5 1 double, 1 double/twin, sofa bed, 1 shower room. Shops, banks, restaurants, playgrounds and museum in the village. Swimming pool and tennis on other side of village. Siena 40 mins, Florence 1 hr. Map: page 8, ref B 2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “We especially liked Cristoforo because of the small town of Casole d'Elsa. It was great having the real life experience of living in a Tuscan village.“ 228 RONDINE Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin, 1 shower room, Dishwasher, Insect screens, WiFi internet, Village pool nearby. Siena 40 min, Volterra and San Gimignano 25 mins each, Florence 1 hr, Swimming pool and tennis at a short walk just outside the village. Map: page 8, ref B 3 Casole is a charming village with restaurants, grocery shops and friendly cafes. There are a series of festivals throughout the year, of which the most important is Casole's very own version of the Palio, in early July. A horse race up the hill is preceded by flag waving and festivities and culminates in a large village outdoors meal, with the local butcher working the barbecue! WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “It is the best casa we have ever stayed in Toscana “ One enters into a sitting room with a comfortable sofa, next to a charming kitchen with an antique table and a door to a large garden with furnished patio, lawn, olive tree and flowers. The apartment also has a double bedroom, a twin bedroom and a large shower room. A gate leads from the garden to a sloping path to the higher part of the village. 12 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com Agriturismo Elvira Casole d’Elsa, Siena A cottage and two apartments in a farmhouse just outside a village Agriturismo Elvira is a farm in a beautiful position 900m. from Casole d'Elsa. Its resident owners have created attractive holiday accommodation in the farmhouse and a detached cottage. A few hundred metres along a farm lane from the main road, Elvira enjoys views of the walled town of Casole and beautiful countryside, with San Gimignano, in the distance. living room/kitchen with a dishwasher and a single sofa-bed for a child, a double bedroom, a bedroom with a single and a 3/4 bed, and a shower room. A shared laundry room has a washing machine, which guests may use for a small fee. On the ground ﬂoor of the main farmhouse, Rustico has beautiful brick vaulted ceilings. The sitting/ living- room is also the kitchen (tiny oven). The shower room is up a few steps, and the twin and double bedroom are on either side of the living room. There is a furnished patio outside. NOCE Sleeps 10 - 12 Estate accommodates total of 10 – 12 Swimming pool. Casole d'Elsa: shops, restaurants, banks, museum, tennis court, walking distance or 5 mins. drive., Colle Val d'Elsa 10 mins, Siena 40 min, San Gimignano, Volterra each about 30 mins, Florence 1 hr. 23 NOCE Sleeps 2 - 3 Insect screens, Satellite TV, Barbecue. 25 PINOLO RUSTICO Noce AGRITURISMO ELVIRA Sleeps 4 - 5 Insect screens, Barbecue. 158 RUSTICO Sleeps 4 Insect screens, Satellite TV, Barbecue. Map: page 8, ref B 3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY Noce is a sweet detached cottage in the grounds of the Agriturismo. It looks towards the vineyards and is close to the pool. It has a furnished garden patio, a kitchen/dining-room, a sofa bed for a child, a double bedroom and a shower room. The views over the Chianti hills are stunning. “The Italian owners are so friendly and warm, the cottage is cosy but has everything you need.“ PINOLO On the ﬁrst ﬂoor of the farmhouse, reached by external stairs with a furnished loggia at the entrance, Pinolo, the biggest apartment, has a large Pinolo For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 13 Tignano Volterra An historic hamlet in beautiful countryside TIGNANO Air conditioning in Bar/Restaurant Babysitting available. Swimming pool 16 x 8, WiFi internet in estate restaurant. Volterra 10 mins, Casole dâ€™Elsa 15 min, Siena 30 mins, Pisa Airport 1 hour. 244 PICCHIO Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, 2 shower rooms. 253 RONDINI Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, 2 shower rooms. 254 ULIVO Sleeps 4 2 twin/double bedrooms, 2 shower rooms. 245 API Sleeps 6 1 twin, 2 double bedrooms, 3 shower rooms. 257 SALTO DEL GATTO Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 shower room. A collection of buildings from a 19th century seminary has been lovingly restored to create a group of apartments, with a central pool and a wonderful bar/restaurant looking out over the valley. A small chapel flanked by cypress trees is the first part of the hamlet you see after following a good unpaved road that leads past working farm buildings and broad fields topped with woodland. Each apartment is entirely independent, has its own furnished terrace and is tastefully decorated. Living in one of these exquisitely restored apartments gives you the chance to experience the simplicity of Tuscan living while enjoying the greatest comfort. Whether sitting country-style around the table or lounging on a sofa, there is plenty of room to share the day's events. Each bedroom has its own shower room, good mattresses and generous cupboards and drawers. The rooms are light and airy thanks to high ceilings with newly sanded beams and to 258 NIBBIO Sleeps 2 - 4 1 double, 1 sofa-bed, 1 shower room. Map: page 8, ref B 2 14 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com generous windows that draw in the tranquil country side. The imaginative owners have ensured that this historic hamlet provides many modern facilities to suit a wide range of interests. A charming, beamed osteria/bar with a piano and a large terrace looking out towards Casole provides, on request, candle-lit evening meals carefully prepared by the owners using local produce and respecting your dietary needs. The large pool is well furnished and well sited for the splendid views. A small shop stocks a range of local produce; a comfortable lounge provides games and books, a multi-purpose room for the possibility of large screen movies and exhibitions or business conventions. The car-free space between all these buildings is refreshed by grassy areas and shrubs and houses examples of old village life: the threshing floor (now paved), a cistern, and a wood oven that now bakes pizzas instead of bread for the community. Casale Pievescola, Siena A romantic Tuscan farmhouse superbly positioned in the Montagnola hills Casale is a beautifully converted Tuscan farmhouse in the Montagnola hills west of Siena. Sufficiently high to take advantage of the wonderful views of this historic area, yet set just below the crest of the hills, it is snugly settled into its 3 hectares of grounds, gently perfumed by lavender and antique roses. On a rise behind the house, the large pool has a wide, furnished terrace. A large furnished terrace with pergola at one end, ideal for outdoor dining, leads into an elegant dining room and or into the farmhouse kitchen with original ﬁreplace. From the kitchen a staircase leads to a studio, from where open tread wooden stairs lead to a gallery bedroom with twin beds. Off the studio is a shower room serving a twin/double bedroom on the same level. A few steps down is a large sitting room with a ﬁreplace, beyond which is the master double bedroom with ensuite bathroom. With an independent entrance on the other side of the house on two levels, there is a charming twin/double bedroom, a shower room and a small kitchen/ living room. The owner has left books, brochures and cards for visits, restaurants and other services to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. This house is the private joy of its owner, and its conversion and furnishings express her delight and care, with beautifully conserved original features enhanced by treasures collected over many years. It is also child friendly, due to frequent visits by children and grandchildren. A happy house, ideally situated both for relaxing in the glorious and fascinating Montagnola countryside, and beneﬁting from the vicinity of Siena, San Gimignano and Florence. Casale is situated a couple of kilometres near the historic village of Pievescola, with a Romanesque church, a bar/shop and other restaurants. Pievescola holds a Sagra del Fungo festival each September, celebrating the enormous quantities of Porcini mushrooms found in the woods. 260 CASALE Sleeps 6 - 8 1 double, 3 twin/double bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 2 shower rooms. WiFi internet. Swimming pool, 6 x 17 m., Rents Friday to Friday. Small village with bar/shop and restaurants 2 kms., Supermarkets, shops, restaurants in Colle Val d'Elsa 14 km., Casole d'Elsa 20 mins, Siena 35 mins, San Gimignano 40 mins, Florence 1 hr. Map: page 8, ref B 3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The wisteria and jasmine covered pergola outside the kitchen door provided the perfect place for meals at the table outside and there was lavender and roses everywhere. “ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 15 La Lirica Casole d’Elsa, Siena 3 charming aparments at the centre of village life LIRICA Swimming pool, tennis court and car parking just outside village. Lift from car park to top of village. Siena 40 min, San Gimignano, Volterra about 30 mins. each, Florence 1 hr. Coast under an hour's drive. 167 MUSICISTA Sleeps 4 - 5 2 double bedrooms, extra single bed, 2 shower rooms 168 POETA Sleeps 4 - 5 2 double bedrooms, sofa bed, extra single bed, 2 shower rooms 169 SCRITTORE Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin, 1 shower room Map: page 8, ref B 2 These are three spacious apartments in the centre of a Tuscan village. The front door on the main street opens to a staircase shared by all three apartments. Thick walls, heavy beamed ceilings, with terracotta and wood floors give beauty and quiet. The apartments are delightful- there are good quality fittings for bathrooms and kitchens, new, hand made terracotta floors in some rooms, hardwood in others. MUSICISTA SCRITTORE Musicista is on the first floor: the comfortable living room has a spacious kitchen section, separated from the rest of the room by a tiled worktop counter. One double bedroom has a shower room ensuite and a second shower room serves a large double or twin bedroom with an extra single bed. This is a spacious comfortable apartment in the heart of the village, allowing you to take part in the delights and festivities of real Tuscan village life. Scrittore is on the second ﬂoor: living room with built-in kitchen ﬁttings, microwave oven. A very tall window takes advantage of the country views. There is a twin bedroom on a mezzanine over the living room, and a double bedroom, and shower room. A few steps lead to a sitting area with sofa, writing desk and inspiring views. The views from the rear windows of this house display the glorious countryside for miles around, with castles and towns such as Volterra and San Gimignano in the distance, tempting you to explore. POETA Musicista WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “We were pleasantly surprised to find that the accommodations were even better than we could possibly have imagined“ Poeta is on the second ﬂoor: the small kitchen/ living room has a sofa bed, and an enchanting little terrace, with just enough room for a table and chairs, and a superb view. This is a wonderful place to sit with a glass of wine, looking over the forested hills towards Volterra. There is a balcony bedroom over the living room. The second double bedroom, with shower room ensuite, is very large, with a single divan with cushions, occasional tables and a TV. Poeta is a comfortable, welcoming place to stay, in one of the loveliest Tuscan hill towns. 16 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com Poeta Bellavista Radicondoli, Siena Endless views from this converted farmhouse In an inspiring panoramic position, facing across endless unspoilt countryside dotted with vineyards, forests and dramatic hills, Bellavista is a stone farmhouse below the Tuscan hill village of Radicondoli, 500 metres down a track from a country road. The present owners have restored olive groves and renewed vineyards, producing good wine and even better olive oil. The swimming pool is on a terrace with neverending views over the Tuscan countryside. The custodian lives nearby and is very conscientious and helpful. The roof is insulated and air-vented, walls are insulated for sound and floors are paved with old terracotta tiles on the ground floor, restored wood on the first floor. CAMELIA Each of the three apartments faces in a different direction: Camelia is on the eastern side, shaded by a conker tree, and has a furnished patio at its entrance. There is a comfortable living room with a small but well-equipped kitchen area, a twin bedroom and a shower room on the ground floor, and a double bedroom with shower en suite on the first floor. OLIVO All on the ground ﬂoor, Olivo has one entrance just above the gardens leading down to the pool, and another into the double bedroom at the far side of the house. This apartment, too, has a nicely furnished kitchen/living room, a double and a twin bedroom, each with its own shower room. ERICA On the ﬁrst ﬂoor, with its entrance through a small furnished loggia at the front of the house, Erica enjoys wonderful views of the panorama. Bigger than the other two, Erica has a large kitchen living room with a beautiful ﬁreplace. Bedroom ﬂoors are made from restored old wood. The double and twin bedrooms share a shower room. BELLAVISTA Home produced wine and olive oil, Swimming pool (7x15 m) Barbecue Radicondoli in walking distance, San Gimignano and Siena 45 mins, Pisa airport 1hr.30mins 202 CAMELIA Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin/double and 2 shower rooms 203 OLIVO Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, 2 shower rooms 204 ERICA Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, 1 shower room Map: page 8, ref C 3 Erica WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Olivo was a perfect retreat to re-charge much needed worn down batteries, “ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 17 Castagno Simignano, Pievescola, Italy A peaceful house with a pool in a lovely hamlet In the Montagnola hills between Siena and Casole, near the picturesque hamlet of Simignano, is a small group of ancient farm buildings, some now used as dwellings. The owners of Cristoforo, (ref.21), who themselves live in Siena, have a delightful house here, perfect for a relaxing holiday. Everything about the building and its furnishings displays a love for its inherent peaceful characteristics. 115 CASTAGNO Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, 1 bathroom, Swimming pool (9x5 m). Bar, small shop, restaurant in Pievescola 4 km, Sovicille all services 10 mins, Siena 25 mins, Florence 1 hr. Map: page 8, ref B 4 a single bed. The bathroom has a small tub and shower, and a washing machine. The large, light rooms have beamed ceilings and terracotta tiled floors.” A large, walled courtyard furnished with sunbeds, tables and chairs fronts Il Castagno. There is a delightful furnished loggia at the top of the external stairs. The front door opens into a long living room with a Tuscan fireplace and comfortable armchairs. A refectory dining table and chairs are at one end and a well-equipped kitchen section at the other. A corridor leads to a double bedroom and a bedroom with a double and Access to a large and pleasant garden with barbecue and swimming pool is at the rear of the house off the kitchen. The countryside here is particularly beautiful: woodlands of cypresses, oaks and chestnuts create wonderful colour effects as the Italian sun burns on the hills. The soil is a striking burnt sienna, which stains the stone of the houses so that they harmonise perfectly with the countryside. Meadows and woods are used for grazing sheep and free range, rustic saddle back pigs. If you come across these pigs when they have been rolling in the soil, they look as if they are made of terracotta. Riccio Simignano, Pievescola, Italy A peaceful house with a pool Riccio is the large version of Castagno, above, making it large enough for 8 to 9 people. The apartment of Castagno is joined to another via a staircase off the kitchen. The front door opens into a long living room with a Tuscan fireplace and comfortable armchairs. A refectory dining table and chairs are at one end and a well-equipped kitchen section at the other. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The house is in a beautiful part of the country and the garden is exceptional especially if you can bar-bque at night.” 272 RICCIO Sleeps 8 - 9 2 double, 2 twin bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 shower room, Swimming pool (9x5 m). Bar, small shop, restaurant in Pievescola 4 km, Sovicille all services 10 mins, Siena 25 mins, Florence 1 hr. Map: page 8, ref B 4 have antique Tuscan furniture and pretty fabrics. There is a modern shower room, and a kitchen with a table and good quality fittings. Stairs lead down from the upper floors into the rear garden. A corridor leads to a double bedroom and a bedroom with a double and a single bed. The bathroom has a small tub and shower, and a washing machine. Access to the upper floor is via a staircase off the kitchen area. Upstairs is a sitting dining room with sofas, dining furniture and large fireplace. Both the double bedroom and the second bedroom, with a single and a 3/4 bed, The large and pleasant furnished garden has both barbecue and swimming pool, and plenty of space for children to play. Less than twenty minutes drive from Siena along an ancient pilgrim route, this property is a wonderful base for a walking holiday, and is ideal for extensive visits in this remarkable area. There are Romanesque churches, medieval towers, hill villages and wild flowers to look at, chestnuts and mushrooms to collect in season, and restaurants and shops within a 5 minute drive. 18 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The property provided plenty of quiet corners for one to snuggle with a book, gaze across yellow fields dotted with curious saddle-back pigs, or even take a hand at sketching the landscape.“ Ragnana Radicondoli, Siena A charming old farmhouse on the edge of a village Just outside the village of Radicondoli, facing across rolling, open countryside, stands an attractive old farmhouse, full of charm and character and providing ample accommodation for eight people. The 12 x 6 metre swimming pool, with a lovely surround made from old terracotta tiles, is landscaped into a grassy lower terrace, screened from view from the outside by a steep bank and trees. Accommodation consists of a spacious kitchen / dining room with large Tuscan fireplace, sitting room, two shower rooms, one bathroom, two double bedrooms, two twin bedrooms. The whole house is characterised by small flights of steps and interesting details, and has been converted using traditional materials, retaining the original beamed ceilings and tiled floors. The furniture is a mixture of old Tuscan and kitsch, while fittings are modern and efficient. The owner, who lives in the village, is most hospitable and attentive to guests. Radicondoli is an ancient Tuscan hill village, population 1.000, with Etruscan origins, which today retains a medieval aspect, yet provides shopping and restaurants along with open air dancing on summery Saturday nights, which can be heard from Ragnana, and a sports centre with a tennis court. A renowned classical music programme is held in the summer. The approach to the house is marred by some new houses but the wide terrace offers complete privacy on the south and west sides of the house above the swimming pool. There are splendid, unspoilt views of the hills from the house, the terraces and the pool. 33 RAGNANA Sleeps 8 2 double, 2 twin, 2 shower rooms, 1 bathroom, Swimming pool. Shops, restaurants, bars in village 2km by car, 900 metres on foot, Tennis 3 kms, Siena 45 mins, Florence 90 mins. Map: page 8, ref C 2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œFolks, if you want a lovely home, steeped in Italian tradition with a world-class location/view and wonderful owners, this is it! The property, surrounded by Olive trees and vineyards is wonderfully relaxing and soulful. â€œ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 19 2 1 3 4 Viareggio Carnival Puccini Festival Campo dei Miracoli Stately houses of Lucca One of the most famous carnivals in Italy, and a delight for off-season visitors to the Tuscan coastline, the carnival will stretch from 5 February to 3 March 2012 and features spectacular paper maché floats that are satirical, fairy tale- like and just plain fun. The 56th annual Puccini Festival will feature La Boheme, Tosca, La Traviata and Madame Butterly in late July and in August 2012. Performed in an open-air theatre in a park in Torre del Lago near the home of the famous composer. See http://www.puccinifestival.it/ for ticket information. Everybody knows about the leaning tower, but in this ‘field of miracles’ there are also a splendid cathedral, its baptistery and the camposanto, perhaps the most beautiful cemetery in the world. And all of this is only steps away from the heart of Pisa. In the hills outside Lucca many villas, such as Villa Mansi, Villa Torrigiani and Villa Reale, are now open to the public. They have magnificient gardens, rococo facades and famous guest lists from an era when visitors like Paganini, John Singer Sargent and Metternich were richly received. 1 2 3 4 292 275 8 A 127 129 262 48 294 1 B 2 8 4 91 6 C 5 3 93 Casa Fiorentina 7 5 6 7 8 Luminara di San Ranieri Leonardo da Vinci Museum Truffle hunting and sampling Cycling the ramparts On 16 June, on the eve of the celebration of its patron saint, Pisa is illuminated in a festival of lights. With thousands of candles hung on bridges, river banks, the facades of its ancient buildings and fireworks exploding in the night sky, the atmosphere is simply magical. In the hometown of Leonardo, a small but fascinating museum in a 12th century castle is dedicated to the inventive genius of this Renaissance man of art and science. With drawings and models of his inventions, this collection illustrates the many facets of this incredible man. The white truffle is one of San Miniato’s claims to fame and if you visit in Oct-Dec you may be able to follow the dog or pig out in search of the highly-prized tuber. Though its Truffle Festival is in November, at any time of the year restaurants feature this delicacy in many dishes. The magnificent ramparts surrounding Lucca were designed to protect the city; happily they were never called on to do so. They are now wide tree-lined avenues for cyclists and walkers to circle the city. 20 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com LU C C A & P I SA Lucca is a graceful city with the elegant air of a long, comfortable and distinctive history. It is sheltered by thick late-Renaissance walls that were happily never used for defence and that now offer residents and visitors an exceptional place to stroll. Only half an hour from the beaches of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli, it is one of Italy's medieval treasures, with an unspoilt centre graced with palaces, towers and over 60 churches. Founded in 180 BC by the Romans, there remains more of the form than the substance of those origins. The amphitheater was dismantled over the centuries to provide building supplies for the churches and palaces that ﬁll the modern city, but in the Piazza dell'Anﬁteatro you can still trace the outline of the Roman construction in the walls of the medieval buildings and the low archways under which gladiators once entered. Much more is visible of the Late Middle Ages, especially in Lucca's elaborately decorated cathedral, San Martino. This houses the Volto Santo, a revered 13th cent. eﬃgy believed by medieval pilgrims to have been carved at the time of the cruciﬁxion, and the beautiful tomb of Ilaria del Carretto by Tuscan sculptor Jacopo della Quercia. Somewhat less spiritual is the elegant Palazzo Pfanner, with its formal garden populated by Baroque deities and a houseful of 18th-19th century Court costumes, often of the silk whose production made Lucca such a prosperous medieval city. The cuisine of Lucca is special for its almost total lack of animal fats. Why use it when the area produces some of Tuscany's best olive oil? It is lavished on stews and breads, and ﬂavours many of the city's specialities. such as roast pigeon, lamb with olives, mushrooms in oil and garlic, and the curious folaghe (coot) a là Puccini. Some of Lucca's classic dishes reﬂect its former wealth - "torta di erbe", a vegetable pie studded with pine nuts and raisins and "Il buccellato" a raisin and aniseed cake. Many of the red wines from nearby Carmignano are a blend of the indigenous Sangiovese and CabernetSauvignon grapes. For whites, the Colli Lucchesi, the area immediately around Lucca, is even more highly respected, particularly for its 'Monte Carlo'. PISA Known to the World for its famous leaning tower and Campo Santo, Pisa has very much to offer the traveller. Settled since at least 1000 BC. it was an important Etruscan town which expanded further under Roman rule, and is now a vibrant city with a university dating back to the 12th Cent. The city has masses of places to visit – historic churches and bridges over the Arno river. Some of the most important landmarks of Pisa is the Piazza dei Cavalieri, the Palazzo della Carovana and the Chiesa di Santo Stefano. SAN MINIATO Positioned in medieval times on the Via Francigena, the pilgrims’ road to Rome, San Miniato saw a constant ﬂow of friendly and hostile armies and traders of all types. It’s no wonder its historic centre is perched high on a hill overlooking the Valdarno, and includes many ﬁne palaces and churches built during the heydays of its various rulers. But as much for its medieval look, the town is known for its precious tuber, the white truﬄe, which grows in the area around the city. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com KEY INFORMATION RESTAURANTS CANULEIA A delightful restaurant with a small courtyard, here you find Tuscan cuisine with a delicate touch and an excellent. cellar. Via Canuleia 14 – Lucca Tel 0583 467470 PAPAVERI E PAOLO This restaurant combines Tradition for food that is authentic, Innovation in reinventing ancient dishes and respect for ingredients and customers alike. via Dalmazia 159/d – San Miniato Tel 0571-409422 BUCA DI SANT’ANTONIO Don’t be distracted by the copper pots and ancient instruments – concentrate on the Tuscan dishes that make this one a favorite. Via della Cervia 3 - Lucca Tel 0583-55881 EVENTS Viareggio Carnival 4 February-3 March 2012 Luminara di San Ranieri – Pisa 16 June Puccini Festival – Torre del Lago 20 July-25 August 2012 Murabilia Garden Show – Lucca Early September Festa di Santa Croce – Lucca 13 September Sagra del Tartufo Bianco – San Miniato. Last 3 weekends of November MARKET DAYS San Miniato & Fivizzano – Tuesday a.m. Lucca & Pisa – Wednesday & Saturday a.m. Camaiore – Friday a.m. 21 Villa Lucia San Miniato, Pisa An elegant villa in the Arno valley 93 VILLA LUCIA Sleeps 12 4 double bedrooms, 2 twin bedrooms, 6 ensuite shower rooms. WiFi internet. Bar and basic shops in La Scala 1 km and San Miniato 3 km., Supermarket and trains in Empoli 10 min., Palaia 26 km, Vinci 30 km, Pisa 47 km, Certaldo 55 km. Florence 56 km, Lucca 75 km. Map: page 20, ref C 4 Set in the midst of the countryside yet only minutes from the charming medieval village of San Miniato, this elegant villa, with its large garden sloping down to the swimming pool, offers a chance to relax and enjoy the silence of nature and the essence of Tuscany. The ground floor has two large living areas with arched terracotta ceilings separated by a central passageway. To one side are sofas in front of a fireplace; to the other side wide arched windows give views of the surrounding greenery. The dining area at the end of this room has a large table where the owner welcomes her guests with candles, fresh flowers and a tasting of Tuscan food on arrival night. The adjacent kitchen opens to the furnished terrace, perfect for breakfasts or summer dinners. On the first floor there are six large, bright and spacious en-suite bedrooms, which combine charm and elegant sobriety. The 22 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com villa has spacious and well-landscaped grounds, with a solar heated pool and separate Jacuzzi. Villa Lucia is part of the historic "Bonaparte knoll", given in 1701 to Maria Maddalena Bonaparte as part of her dowry. In 1805 the country house was passed to the family of the present owners, who have included in the villa's decor many period furnishings. Once off the grounds there are many things to do in the vicinity. San Miniato, perched on the nearby hill, is a pleasant village with a fascinating history and from the villa there is easy access to the main road leading to Florence, Pisa and Lucca. Casina Torre di Sotto, Lucca An idyllic stone barn and pool near Lucca Ten minutes drive from Lucca, on the road that leads towards the marble mountains of the Apuane and Camaiore, a small drive leads to an idyllic hidden valley, where Casina nestles snugly beneath its parent house. The views are wonderfully Tuscan: ancient farmhouses perch on hilltops and forested hillsides wrap around the valley. A swimming pool sits to the right of Casina, taking the place of the original threshing floor. While the owners of the main house travel frequently during the early summer, you may meet them on hot days at the pool's edge. There is a small independent apartment for 2 in the main house, which may be rented together with Casina, giving accommodation for 6 (Ref. 295). A large covered pergola with a roof of traditional chestnut beams provides a spacious living/dining room, with views of the valley below. The small kitchen does not have a full size oven but it does have a dishwasher and a coffee-maker. Wooden stairs lead up to a double bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe, a shower room and a twin bedroom. The area around Lucca is wonderful, one of the best examples of man-made landscape, where every change that has been wrought seems to have been for the best: vineyards and olive groves interweave with cypresses, unpaved roads and stone walls; occasionally one comes across islands of startling formality: a number of 16th and 17th century villas surround Lucca: Villa Marlia, Villa Reale, Villa Torrigiani are all worth a visit with their formal gardens and richly decorated interiors. For the more urbane amongst us, Lucca is a jewel of a city, studded with churches and good restaurants. It also has a healthy antiques market and good shops. 262 CASINA Sleeps 4 1 double bedroom, 1 twin/double bedroom, 2 shower rooms. Swimming pool, 14 x 7 m., sometimes shared with owners. 10 minutes from Lucca, 30 minutes from the beaches of Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi, 35 minutes from Pisa airport, 1 hour from Florence. Map: page 20, ref B 2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œWe had a wonderful time at "La casina". The location was stunning and incredibly beautiful, we loved taking walks in the surrounding hills, and at night we sat outside and enjoyed the starlit skies. â€œ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 23 Belcanto San Macario in Monte, Lucca A gracious country house in the fabled hills around Lucca 48 BELCANTO Sleeps 10 3 double, 2 twin bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 1 shower rooms, extra WC on ground ﬂoor. Shops and restaurants 5 mins drive. Lucca 15 mins, Torre del Lago 30 mins, Pisa and Viareggio seaside 30 mins, Florence 40 mins. Map: page 20, ref B 2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY A restored farmhouse in the hills between Lucca and the sea, Belcanto looks over a beautiful unspoilt valley with wonderful views, especially to be enjoyed on the terrace at sundown. Surrounded by seven hectares of terraced olive groves and woodland, the level, landscaped gardens of about 1 acre are planted with shrubs and flowers, with cypresses framing the house. The swimming pool is beautifully set in these gardens to benefit from the views of woodland and hills. The house, painted in attractive Lucchese colours, has a covered, furnished patio, which leads to a large sitting room with sofas, a Tuscan fireplace, piano, and TV/DVD. There is a large kitchen, and a dining room that seats twelve comfortably. There is a WC and washbasin on this floor, and a storeroom. Upstairs, a second sitting room has sofas and books and there are three double and two twin bedrooms, each with its own “We loved the villa, it was beautifully appointed and we appreciated the fact that each bedroom had an ensuite. Set in charming gardens, with lots of exploring for the children and the trampoline was very popular! “ 24 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com bath or shower room. The attractive and comfortable furniture is chosen with good taste and with a careful eye for Lucchese country architecture. There are simple shops a couple of kms away, and very good restaurants in the hills behind the house. Lucca, only 15 mins. drive away, has wonderful Romanesque architecture, medieval houses and noble villas and gardens. It is lovely to ride a bike or take a walk around the wide, tree-shaded walkway on top of the magniﬁcent 16th - 17th Century ramparts which enclose the old town. Villa Panorama San Macario in Monte, Lucca A stunning private house set in its own grounds above Lucca High above the valley of Lucca is a tiny hamlet, dominated by its church dedicated to San Macario; above this is a beautiful old farmhouse, lovingly restored into a luxurious family home. The large, generous spaces have been maintained, but the addition of modern luxuries make this a perfect holiday villa. On the hillside above the house a swimming-pool enjoys some of the best views in the region. At night, when the coast is lit up, one has the impression of looking out from a window in another age, high and protected on the hillside. The house is set in 32 hectares of its own land. One enters a large entrance hall/living room, with an ancient fireplace on the left wall. To the right are a dining room and a spacious dine-in kitchen. From the kitchen French doors lead to a covered pergola, the ideal place to dine outside. Turning left from the entrance there is another livingroom with a Satellite TV and Broadband, and French doors to the front of the house. A small bathroom and a studio with a desk complete the ground floor. Upstairs there are five generous bedrooms, all accessed from a corridor running along the back of the house, giving all bedrooms fantastic views. Two bedrooms have double beds, two have twins and one bedroom has twins/double. Every bedroom has its own shower room, and those in the double bedrooms also have baths. This house is ideally placed to explore the wonderful areas of Northern and Coastal Tuscany; the centre of Lucca is only 10 minutes away by car, and the beaches of Forte dei Marmi, with their exclusive resorts, restaurants and clubs a mere 25 minutes away. 294 VILLA PANORAMA Sleeps 10 2 double, 2 twin, 1 twin/double bedroom, All en suite 3 shower rooms and 2 bathrooms with separate shower. 1 extra WC on the ground floor. WiFi internet. Swimming pool (14x 7 m), air conditioning. Lucca 10 minutes, coast 25 minutes, Pisa 30 minutes, Florence 1 hr. Map: page 20, ref B 2 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 25 Villa Da Vinci Vinci, Florence A spacious villa near Leonardo's birthplace 92 & 91 VILLA DA VINCI Sleeps 8 - 9 or 10 - 12 Main villa: 3 double bedrooms, 1 with extra single, 1 twin bedroom, 2 ensuite shower rooms, 1 bathroom. Cottage: 1 double bed and extra single, ensuite shower room, air conditioning (extra). Swimming pool (12 x 6 m.). Owners request no more than 4 children under 12 yrs. Bar, restaurant, shopping in Vinci 4 km., Montelupo 10 min, San Miniato 20 km, Certaldo 38 km., Florence 50 km, Pisa 60 km and Lucca 55 km. Wine tasting and golf club nearby. Map: page 20, ref B4 Set high above olive groves and vineyards, Villa Da Vinci is in the heart of a wide park overlooking the castle of Vinci and a few steps from the small house where the genius Leonardo was born. The large golden porticoed villa faces a wide welcoming piazza that leads to a garden that wraps to the side and back of the villa. From the piazza, steps lead down to a large swimming pool with a stunning view of the landscape and the village of Vinci below. The generous area around the pool is delightfully suitable for dinners al fresco or festive celebrations. From the entry hall are doors to a large living area, with sofas facing a valley vista and an elegant pietra serena fireplace. A dining room with a table for 12 is next to a large kitchen with garden access. A stone staircase leads to the first floor bedrooms: two doubles with ensuite shower rooms, one of which also has an oval bath and two other doubles that share a large bathroom. Also on this floor is a large sitting 26 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com room with a beautiful XXVII century ceramic ceiling. For larger groups it is possible to also rent the guest cottage off the front piazza, which has a small kitchen, a shower room, a double bed and a single sofa bed. The villa is a 15 minute walk from the shops and restaurants of Vinci, where there is a fascinating museum dedicated to the inventions of the village's native son. Nearby are the famous ceramics of Montelupo, historic villages such as Cerreto Guidi, San Miniato and Certaldo, and easy connections to big city shopping in Florence, Pisa or Lucca. At Villa Da Vinci guests can enjoy it all and still be back for supper and a Tuscan sunset. Casa Fiorentina San Miniato Three large apartments in a hilltop wine-growing estate Midway between Florence and Pisa, Casa Fiorentina is an ancient farming estate, ideally placed on an open hilltop, with glorious views of the countryside. The main villa, with entrances on two sides, is divided into two large apartments that can also be rented as a whole. In the third building there is an apartment that the owner uses occasionally and another large apartment for guests. GIOTTO BOTTICELLI From the ivory facade side of the main villa a glass door leads into a large living and dining room, a spacious and comfortable room under a vaulted ceiling. From the hall, a corridor leads to three large double bedrooms, all with private bath or shower rooms. Large beds, colourful walls, antique tables and wardrobes, but most of all silence and breathtaking views from all windows, will envelop you in the calm and family atmosphere seemingly far from the frenetic rhythm of everyday life. The main entrance to this apartment leads into a comfortable living room with fireplace, a nice dining room with sunny beautiful green windows and a fully equipped kitchen that opens onto the back of the house where a private veranda, completely surrounded by shrubbery is the perfect setting for breakfasts, dinners or barbeques. On the ďŹ rst ďŹ‚oor three double bedrooms, each one with a small but comfortable shower room, are furnished with elegance and simplicity and a great care to tapestry and bed linens. In the same building there is an apartment that the owner uses occasionally at the weekend or in winter. CIMABUE One side of the main villa at Casa Fiorentina is made of bricks and a wide glass door is a welcoming entryway to the largest of the apartments. A stone staircase leads to the first floor living room, which is dominated by an enormous fireplace and a group of sofas and easy chairs near large windows. A large kitchen reminds you of ancient times, when large families used to eat all together at the end of a long day of work in the fields. Three of the bedrooms, each with private bath or shower room, are situated at the top of the staircase to the left, while the fourth bedroom is off the living room. CASA FIORENTINA Entire estate accommodates 20. Shared swimming pool (8 x 15 m), Wine tours available. Cooking available, Insect screens. USB internet key available. Village with bus stop, restaurant, church Nearest shop at Dogana 3 km Supermarkets, restaurants and train station in Castelfiorentino 8 km, San Miniato 6 km and Empoli 10 km. Pisa, Florence, and San Gimignano 40 min. 94 GIOTTO Sleeps 6 3 double bedrooms, 2 ensuite shower rooms and 1 ensuite bathroom. 95 CIMABUE Sleeps 8 1 double bedroom and 3 twin bedrooms, all with ensuite bath or shower rooms. 96 BOTTICELLI Sleeps 6 3 double bedrooms, 3 shower rooms. Map: page 20, ref C 4 Cimabue For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 27 T H E M O U N TA I NS In the North of Tuscany there are two mountain ranges that run parallel with each other and form deep and beautiful valleys. They are a less well known and fascinating area with excellent walks, great restaurants and villages high up on the slopes. The two ranges are the Apuan Alps, formed nearly entirely of white Carrara marble, and the Apennines, a range that runs down Italy’s backbone, separating the west from the east. We have properties in the two main areas, the Garfagnana close to Lucca and the Lunigiana further north, and they are proving very popular. KEY INFORMATION RESTAURANTS AL VECCHIO TINO Splendid views and good food either in a large dining room or in the open air. And after dinner you can acquire their own olive oil or chestnut flour if you want to try a recipe yourself. Loc. Germalla, 1 - Monte dei Bianchi TEL: 0585 97733 LO SPINO FIORITO Lunch for €10 will give you no choice as to the menu, but with a good cook, who cares. And they have a swimming pool as well, you can eat lunch, digest a bit and have a swim. Via per Vedriano, 11 – Casola in Lunigiana. Tel: 0585 949 167 IL POSTO DI CONVERSAZIONE GARFAGNANA Mountainous and steep, this area and its early inhabitants gave the Romans a good run for their money over 2000 years ago; the Roman empire spent more on trying to conquer the area than they ever got back in revenues. Now it is an area growing in popularity as people discover the variety of landscapes and activities it offers; with mountains just shy of 2000 metres, the walking, climbing, birdwatching, caving and even skiing are excellent. The main valley is formed by the gap between the Apuan Alps and the Apennines, with the river Serchio running along the bottom. LUNIGIANA The Lunigiana is situated in the north of Tuscany, among the Appenine and Apuane mountains and the Ligurian Sea. Taking its name from the ancient Roman settlement of Luni, this is a land of passage where the charm of the Middle Ages is strongly felt in the castles belonging to the powerful Malaspina family that once hosted Dante, in the Romanesque country churches or the mighty walls of Medici Carpigliola and in the elegant tower built by the bishops of Luni. It is a borderland where different cultures have mixed and you can feel this in the landscape, in the languages and in the traditional food of the area. Throughout the centuries people crossed this land as pilgrims or soldiers or merchants, for it is the initial part of the Tuscan Via Francigena. Nowadays, old paths have become trekking ways that wind among castles, isolated towers and fortresses or green valleys and silent hills. 28 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com This very good restaurant in the historic center of Fivizzano offers local Lunigiana dishes with a special touch, and is sadly underused. Here you will have fresh pasta from local flour, mountain cheese, locally gathered mushrooms and vegetables from nearby gardens. Via Roma, 220 Fivizzano. Tel: 0585 92344 IL SELVATICO This decidedly out of the ordinary pizzeria/focacceria makes very good pizza, and set within a motorbike museum, makes great fun for those who like things with wheels. Via Fravizzola, 3 – Caniparola, Fosdinovo. Tel: 0187 673178 PIEVE SAN PAOLO Won’t make the Michelin guide, but well worth a stop, especially to see the carvings in the church across the road. Road to Cerreto, 5 min. from Fivizzano. Tel: 0585 949800 Casa Anna S. Anna di Stazzema, Camaiore A romantic hideaway in the Tuscan mountains Casa Anna is a converted cottage above the tiny hamlet of Sant'Anna di Stazzema, high in the Apuan Alps of Tuscany and above the coastline of Viareggio. It has a delightful terraced garden with a Jacuzzi, and a covered pergola with lovely views of the surrounding hills. The small village is a brief walk away and has a tiny cafe/restaurant with a few simple supplies. The owners have carefully converted and modernised their family retreat to make an excellent base for a holiday in these fascinating mountains. Approached up a steep drive, the house is terraced into the hillside: one can enter through the lower door to the sitting room, or more naturally from the covered terrace a ﬂoor higher, with its magniﬁcent views. The ground ﬂoor has a lovely kitchen/dining room. Upstairs there is a double bedroom with beautiful views over the local valley and a smaller bedroom with bunk beds and a shower room. Back down the stairs, a further ﬂight leads down to a comfortable sitting room, with sofas surrounding a central coffee table. This room also has a sofa that can easily become a double bed, and a second shower-room. The garden is to the left of the house, terraced cleverly into the hillside. The Jacuzzi is on the highest level, gazing out over the valley from its private position. 8 CASA ANNA Sleeps 4 1 double bedroom, 1 bunk bedroom, 2 shower-rooms. Jacuzzi, covered terrace. Small bar/shop Sant'Anna 300 metres away, Camaiore (shops, restaurants) and Pietrasanta (marble sculpture centre) 20 mins, Coast 25 mins, Lucca 50 mins, Pisa (closest airport) 50 mins. Map: page 20, ref A 2 The Apuan alps are a great undiscovered playground of walks, climbs, restaurants, and historical villages. Reaching as high as 1700 metres (over 5500 feet) these are the mountains from which Michelangelo carved the marble for the David, astoundingly white and still highly prized. The quarries may still be visited, and nearby Pietrasanta is a centre for sculptors, with a lively programme of exhibitions throughout the year. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 29 Argentone S. Anna di Stazzema An idyllic house perched high in the Apuan alps 275 ARGENTONE Sleeps 2-3 2 double bedrooms, 1 with king-size bed 1 with queen-size bed. 1 bathroom with en-suite W.C. and hand-basin, 1 showerroom. Jacuzzi. Small bar/shop Sant' Anna 1 km away, Camaiore (shops, restaurants) and Pietrasanta (marble sculpture centre) 20 mins, Coast 25 mins, Lucca 50 mins, Pisa (closest airport) 50 mins. Map: page 20, ref A 2 Argentone is set in a fold above the village of S.Anna di Stazzema. The house is part of a small group of buildings once used for the nearby medieval silver mines. Now many of the houses are no more than ivy clad ruins, but Argentone has been beautifully restored and is a stylish retreat, either as a base for invigorating mountain walks or as a restoring refuge from city life. Argentone may also be rented for 6 people, as Casa Argento (ref 277). Approached by a gravel path, steps lead down to a blue front door, which gives directly onto the light-ﬁlled living room, with a curved-front ﬁreplace, typical of the area. To the left is a well-equipped kitchen with another open ﬁreplace, and a dining room with a window to the view of the sea. Because of the slope the house is built upon, these ground ﬂoor windows are actually high above the slope, giving a wonderfully airy, high feeling to the rooms. A ﬂight of stairs leads to a large master bedroom with a curved-edge double-ended bath and a double bed. A small W.C. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Argentone was absolutely fantastic. I don't think that anyone could ever tire of waking up to that view in the mornings.“ 30 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com and basin is also off this main bedroom. There is also a further bedroom with a queen size bed and a shower room. Both bedrooms enjoy stunning views of the coastline and sea. To the right of the house a large wooden sun-terrace has a warmed Jacuzzi in its centre, with sun-loungers surrounding it, and a shower housed nearby in a small cave carved out of the silver bearing rock. The Apuan alps are a great undiscovered playground of walks, climbs, restaurants, and historical villages – but you may just prefer slipping into the warm Jacuzzi with a glass of Champagne to watch the sunset! Mulino Bagni di Lucca A restored millhouse in the fascinating Garfagnana A beautifully restored mill house in the Garfagnana valley woodlands, Mulino offers a comfortable base from which to explore an area of Tuscany that is unlike any other. Overlooking the Serchio river, between the Apuan Alps and the Appenines, the house is near the medieval Devil's Bridge, a landmark steeped in ancient legend and set in a wild rugged landscape. The owners live on the lowest of the mill's three ďŹ‚oors, available to assist when needed, but very respectful of guests' privacy, and each have independent entrance from a terrace garden. Entrance to the house is through a small furnished veranda into a large living room. Doorways cut through the stone walls lead into a wide kitchen with marble topped island and table for 6. Next to the kitchen, a dining room with table for 8 people is the perfect setting for convivial dinners and long evenings. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, two doubles and a twin, all with ensuite shower rooms. Furnishings feature iron bedsteads, cozy rugs, lovely fabrics and nice linens. The garden was created on different levels of the hillside that rises over the valley ďŹ‚oor, and the road leading up the valley can be heard but not seen. From the guests' veranda, a few steps lead to a wooden gazebo with table and benches and then to a sunbathing area with an above ground pool large enough to be refreshing and set to savour the view. Rich in history and culture, the Garfagnana also has an astonishing landscape, and there are interesting paths into the chesnut woods and unique natural treasures to discover like the Orrido di Botri, a breathtaking canyon cut in the mountains. For the adventuresome it is even possible to don a headlight and go night-trekking with a guide. This is also a thermal area and the spa in Bagni di Lucca is just a few minutes from the mill. While there are many charming villages within easy reach that offer good restaurants, the gracious walled city of Lucca with its beautiful churches and generous piazzas is only about 20 km from the house. Florence and Pisa are an hour away and the Versilian seaside or the Abetone mountain less than 45 minutes. 127 MULINO Sleeps 6 - 7 1 twin bedroom, 2 double bedrooms, all with ensuite shower rooms. Above ground swimming pool. WiFi internet. Market at Fornoli 3 min drive or 10 min walk., Restaurants, bar and Spa in Bagni di Lucca 2 km., Lucca 20 km, Seaside and Abetone mountain 50 min., Florence and Pisa 1 hr. Map: page 20, ref A 3 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 31 Tartufo Tereglio, Lucca A charming hideaway with beautiful terraces 292 TARTUFO Sleeps 4 - 5 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, 1 extra bed (not Double). 1 bathroom with separate shower and 1 shower room. Restaurant nearby, simple shop in village, Bagni di Lucca 25 mins, Lucca 40 minutes, Pisa 1 hour. Map: page 20, ref A3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œ Being in the village was excellent for coffee, bread and even dinner - very friendly locals. But we still felt very private sipping wine on our lofty roof terrace.â€œ In a charming village in the Tuscan Apennines, this delightful house opens out over magnificent views. Ideal for a romantic retreat, a family holiday or an energetic walking holiday, this is a great place to stay. Beautifully converted by its owner, the house has two terraces overlooking breathtaking views of the Apennines. The little village of Tereglio stretches along the ridge, with some beautiful architecture, and is the starting point for many walks into the nearby hills. There are restaurants and shops within easy walking distance. For swimming and relaxation the nearby Bagni di Lucca is a perfect spot - known since Roman times as a thermal town, it now has a genteel 19th century elegance, and there is a beautiful public thermal pool resort, housed in Villa Ada. One enters the house into a cosy living room with fireplace, with stairs on the left and the live-in kitchen straight ahead. Beyond the kitchen is a delightful summer living-room with a wall of 32 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com glass overlooking the stunning view. Upstairs there is a master bedroom with a large terrace overlooking the same fantastic view - the ideal spot for a glass of prosecco looking over the hills. There are also a bathroom and a half-landing that has a divan/possible extra bed. From the kitchen below, further stairs lead down to a large twin room, a further living-room and then through to an old cellar to a magnificent wooden terrace covered by a wooden trellis. From here the view takes in the rest of the village as it bends along the ridge, and spreads out over the nearby mountains in a never-ending delight. Ponte Romano Fivizzano, La Spezia A simple stone house and an ancient Roman bridge with fairy tale charm In a charming hidden corner of Tuscany, seemingly tucked away in time, and across an ancient stone bridge is the large gently restored stone house that is perfect for people seeking a country holiday, where they can savour a simple life, the sun, the trees and and walks in an area of Tuscany that is still quite undiscovered. The house can be taken either for four or six people. The grounds of the property rise on three easily reached levels towards the hillside through which an ancient stone path is nowadays used by the occasional hiker. There is a swimming pool close to the house, and, on a higher level, is a small patio, furnished for eating alfresco or relaxing with a good book. The owner has chosen to keep interiors simple, choosing details with care and this, accompanied by the solid walls and the glimpses of wilderness through the windows has translated into a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere for its visitors. On the first floor, situated along a corridor, are an eat-in kitchen, three bedrooms and a bathroom that serves them all. While two of the bedrooms are of modest size, a third is large and luminous. 170 & 171 PONTE ROMANO Sleeps 4 - 6 2 to 4 double bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 1 shower room. Markets and restaurants at Fivizzano 5 min drive or 15 min walk., Restaurants, bar and Spa in Equi Terme 16 km. Sarzana 35 km, La Spezia 40 km, Massa Carrara 50 km. Lucca and Pisa 100 km, Florence 185 km. Situated in the north of Tuscany, among the Appenines, the Lunigiana is a land where the charm of the Middle Ages is strongly felt - in the castles belonging to the powerful Malaspina family, in the Romanesque country churches and in the elegant tower built by the bishops of Luni. It is a borderland where different cultures have mixed and you can feel this in the landscape and in the traditional food of the area. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œIt's ideal for a quiet holiday with family and friends.â€œ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 33 2 1 Cinque Terre Walks With a good pair of walking shoes, you may like to try part or all of the 11 km that connect the five villages of the Cinque Terre. The Via dell’Amore between Riomaggiore and Manarola is the easiest part of the trail and there is even a train to hop aboard if you start to flag. Sagra dei Limoni In Monterosso al Mare, one of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre, there is a day in late May when the village is tinged with yellow and the streets are lined with stands featuring the honoured fruit. With a bit of limoncello you, too, may feel like dancing to the live music. 1 4 3 Bay of Poets Named for poets such as Byron, Shelley Dante and Petrarch, who were drawn to it and praised its beauty, towns such as Portovenere, Lerici and Montemarcello are key positions from which to appreciate the turquoise waters of the Gulf of La Spezia 2 Sarzana Only 15 km inland from La Spezia, residents love to fill their spacious Piazza Matteotti and ancient fortress with antiquarian markets the 4th weeked of each month and gastronomic festival “Sarzana a Tavola”in early August. Be sure to try the testaroli and scarpazza. 3 42 4 27 5 6 A 4 281 246 1 B 2 3 217 291 128 7 44 C 8 6 5 Massa Marittima One of the most beautiful cities in the Maremma, Massa Marittima hosts a medieval crossbow festival (Balestro del Girifalco) in May and August and turns its scenic Cathedral Square into an open air theatre for August opera performance Lirica in Piazza Necropoli di Baratti Steps away from the Bay of Baratti, where the water is calm even when the sea is rough, is one of the main Etruscan necropolises in Italy, while on the promontory overhead the medieval fortress of Populonia offers a charming place to stop for lunch. 34 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 8 7 Cowboys of the Maremma The Butteri, or Maremman cowboys, meet regularly to test their skills against one another – last century Buffalo Bill tested himself against them, and lost! See them handle the Tuscan long horn cattle in shows from June to September, www.cavallomaremmano.it or join them on a Tuscan cow drive. The Tuscan “island” Two isthmuses connect Orbetello with the almost circular promontory of Monte Aregentario. These offer long sandy beaches, ports to nearby islands and restuarants with great seafood. Grab a table at Il Moletto in Porto St. Stefano and eat right on the water’s edge. T H E C OA S T An area which poets such as Byron, Shelley and Keats visited and loved; the romantic, picturesque lure of the Bay of Poets still exerts its magic to-day. The pirate town of Portovenere forms part of the view across the sea. Hidden for many years, the fortified town of Montemarcello stands on the promontory guarding the entrance to the bay. From here one has glorious views of the Bay of Poets on one side and the Apuan Alps and the Valley of the Magra river on the other. KEY INFORMATION RESTAURANTS CAPANNINA CICCIO – Bocca di Magra - via Fabbricotti 71. Tel: 0187 65568. Closed Tuesdays. On the banks of the Magra river and a stone’s throw from the sea, this bright restaurant has delicious refined specialities where seafood rules. CICCIO MARINA– Marina di Carrara viale daVerrazzano.Tel: 0585 780286. Closed Mondays. Belonging to the owners Capannina Ciccio, there is guaranteed quality to the seafood, and the same pleasure at eating near the seaside. EVENTS La Spezia - Palio del Golfo First Sunday of August CINQUE TERRE The ﬁve lands referred to in the name of this world heritage site are ﬁve villages - Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore with breathtaking views over the Mediterranean. Hiking, diving and simple, delicious local delicacies make this area an increasingly sought after location. Steep manmade terraces of vineyards and olive groves, interspersed with paths and ancient ﬂights of steps, lead down to the sea and surround these villages, which until recently were only reachable by boat or on foot. Manarola and Riomaggiore, which seem to cling to the rock face, their houses piled up in a multi-coloured mosaic overlooking the sea, are the most typical and unspoilt villages of the ﬁve. The best way of seeing the colours and lovely places along this enchanted coast line is by boat, and frequent boat services leave from Lerici, with its beautiful bay and splendid 13th Century castle. Another spectacular way of seeing the Cinque Terre is by train - the Genova - La Spezia line makes frequent runs that stop in all the villages along the coast. Information on the walking itineraries, ferries and best diving places can be found on the following websites: www.cinqueterre.it, www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it, www.aptcinqueterre.sp.it Lerici, one of the prettiest towns on the Italian Riveria, is located 11 kms south of La Spezia and although now dependent on tourism, has a thriving cultural life of its own and visits off season are particularly recommended, when the busy beaches of Lerici and San Terenzo are much quieter. Visit the famous world heritage sites of the Cinque Terre and Portovenere: boats leaves the main square several times a day depending on the season. One of the main sights is the notorious Castle, now a museum of palaeontology and within 10 mins walk from the central square. Visit their website www.castellodilerici.it to see what is on. Children will love it! For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com Palio del Golfo Rowing Contest Lerici - Waterfront Festivities for Sant'Erasmo (July) MARKET DAYS Sarzana – Thursdays 8am to 7pm. Lerici - Saturdays. La Spezia – Tuesdays & Fridays. Ameglia – Monday a.m. 35 Luna Rossa Castelnuovo Magra A private cottage overlooking Sarzana and the sea In the charming Castelnuovo Magra that overlooks the plains of ancient Luni towards the Mediterranean. Luna Rossa is a little house tucked away on the side of a hill, looking out towards the sea. The owner's own house is higher up but not overlooking Luna Rossa and in between there is a small pool, only occasionally used by the owners. The area around Castlenuovo has a myriad of hidden treasures: the active amongst us can swim, windsurf, sail and fish on the sea; or walk, cycle, climb and hike in the mountains behind, which reach up to 1750 metres above sea level. For the more relaxed, Sarzana, on the plain, has wonderful churches and a historic core to its sprawling appearance. The little towns on the coast road from Bocca di Magra to Lerici have wonderful fish restaurants. Entrance is through the covered pergola into the living/dining area, with a corner kitchen. Also on this floor are a shower room and a double bedroom while a spiral staircase leads to a mezzanine floor and a double bed; as headspace is low, this is more suited to teenagers or passing friends. A path to the left of the house leads up to the pool, a small, bean shaped pool with a building housing a kitchen and dining area available for guests' use. Casa Fiori Fiascherino, La Spezia A delightful apartment just a few steps from a Ligurian beach Fiascherino is one of the most beautiful bays in the Italian Riviera. An area which many poets visited and loved, its picturesque lure still exerts its magic today. From the bay you can see the islands of Tino and Palmira and the old pirate town of Porto Venere. Sitting on Casa Fiori’s balcony with your first cup of coffee or an evening cocktail, this beauty becomes a daily meditation. 281 LUNA ROSSA Sleeps 2 - 4 1 double bedroom, 1 mezzanine double bedroom, 1 shower room. WiFi internet. Castelnuovo Magra with shops and restaurants within walking distance, 15 min., Sarzana, Bocca di Magra and coast - 20 mins. Genova and Pisa 1 hr. Map: page 34, ref B2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Luna Rossa is a beautiful stone barn that from the outside looks absolutely picturesque nestling in the edge of the hill but inside is modern and spacious. “ 217 CASA FIORI Sleeps 2 1 double bedroom, 1 shower room, terrace with sea view. Restaurant and sandy beaches within 100 m., Shops at Tellaro 1,5km, Lerici 5km, Sarzana 8km., Genova, Pisa and Lucca within an hour. Florence 90 min. Map: page 34, ref B1 dining area and a sitting area with a sofa. The windows are large and look onto the sea in the same way as the rest of the house does. Within easy walking distance of two golden beaches, Casa Fiori is a lovely apartment on the first floor, offering a beautiful view over the sea and the Bay of the Poets in Liguria. This apartment has a wonderful view of both bays, with a terrace, living room, double bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and two entrances. The small, separate kitchen has a cooker with oven and a fridge. The living room has a room divider giving a Open the gate at the side of the garden, walk down about 20 steps, and you are on the sandy beach. Guests reach the apartment and have access the to sea through the owner’s private garden. Eating is marvellous, especially the local fish, which you can enjoy at the "Il Senatore" beach restaurant, and your eyes and heart could feast forever on the views. Parking is possible along the side of the lane near the house. 36 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Fiascherino is one of the most beautiful bays in Italy, and this property is perched high enough to see it all but close enough to restaurants and the beach “ Murella Zanego, Montemarcello A beautiful house in a forested dell near the coast Murella is a beautifully restored house set in a national park crowning the hill of MonteMarcello, in a small dell surrounded by Holm oaks. Set in its own terraced garden, this house is in an ideal position for exploring the hill villages and coast of the Cinque Terre, Liguria and Northern Tuscany; it's also the perfect place to return to after your travels and relax under the pergola with a glass of local white wine. All ground ﬂoor rooms have French windows, making the outside pergola and garden part of the everyday use of the house and giving a very summery feel. An elegant living room leads to the kitchen, with a Smeg fridge and an antique glass cabinet. From the kitchen a door leads to a bathroom and to a high-ceilinged double bedroom, with French windows to the garden. Upstairs there are 2 twin bedrooms and two shower-rooms, one en-suite. In the garden a beautiful heated swimming pool is kept at a constant temperature of between 25 and 29 degrees centigrade from the 1st of May to the end of September. The area around MonteMarcello is the epitome of Mediterranean coastline - the smell of resin from the umbrella pines drifts around the limestone outcrops that hang high above the coast. Boats can take you round to secret coves at the bottom of the cliffs, and then on to little villages with wonderful fish restaurants. There are miles of walking paths on the craggy coastline, punctuated by villages clinging to the edge of the coast, from which one can swim in rocky outcrops or sandy coves, and eat in fish restaurants with local white wine. 291 MURELLA Sleeps 6 2 Double bedrooms (1 King size, 1 twin/ double) , 1 Twin bedroom, 1 bathrrom, 2 shower-rooms. WiFi internet. Heated Swimming pool. Montemarcello 10 minutes (shop, restaurant, bar), Tellaro, Lerici 15 minutes, Cinque Terre 45 minutes, Genova, Pisa, Lucca 1 hr, Florence 1hr 45 mins. Map: page 34, ref B1 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “we spent much of our holiday at our holiday home itself playing in the pool and the beautiful gardens, and walking nearby. Our children especially enjoyed the daily visits of a family of wild boar who cane down to the garden from the woods each afternoon.“ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 37 Casa Guelﬁ Ameglia, La Spezia A stone cottage for two with views of the marble mountains 128 CASA GUELFI Sleeps 2 1 double bedroom and 1 bathroom with separate shower. WiFi internet. Swimming pool. Simple shops and restaurant in Ameglia 5 mins walk, 5 mins from Bocca di Magra with restaurants, shops, swimming, sailing, and boats for cinque Terre and Portofino. Sarzana 15 mins, Genova, Pisa, Lucca all about 40 mins. Florence 90 mins. Map: page 34, ref B2 In a quiet hillside position, opposite the ancient hill village of Ameglia, this lovely cottage for two, with beautiful views both of the Magra estuary and of the Apuan marble mountains, has a swimming pool and furnished patio from which to survey it all. Approached up a narrow country lane, there is a delightful atmosphere of peace and quality here. This jewel of a retreat, dressed in stone and ivy, has just the right furnishings for a relaxing holiday. Steps away from the panoramic pool, French doors lead into a sitting room with white walls and warm hardwood ﬂoors, while a ﬁreplace and comfortable sofa add delightful welcoming touches. This room opens into a stylish wellequipped eat-in kitchen, which in turn leads out to a delightfully cool furnished pergola. Also on the ground ﬂoor is a bathroom with separate shower. Upstairs a double bedroom has a sweet upper terrace furnished with sunbeds and umbrella, just the place for that short afternoon snooze. While WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Casa Guelfi was all we had hoped and much more than we expected...so beautiful...the setting was almost surreal...“ 38 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com the mountain village views from this upper terrace are charming, those from the wooden-decked pool are breathtaking, with the mountains changing their hue throughout the day. The owners, who live with two friendly labradors in the pink house below the pool, are out most of the time, but when they are at home they are charming hosts. A 5 minute walk will take you up to the village of Ameglia for a breakfast coffee or light meal in the restaurant. From Bocca di Magra you can also see what the local ﬁshing boats bring in or take boat trips to Lerici, Portovenere or the Cinque Terre. S O U T H E R N C OA S T The long Maremma coastline bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea has the natural and environmental resources that make it one of the cleanest and most fascinating destinations in Italy. Here ancient traditions have survived along with ancient architecture. Worth a visit: Campiglia Marittima and Scarlino, ancient towns perched hillside overlooking the Island of Elba. Directly on the coast, the Gulf of Baratti, where the water is calm even when the sea is rough, is situated a stroll away from one of the main Etruscan necropolises in Italy, while on the promontory overhead the medieval fortress of Populonia offers a charming place to stop for lunch. KEY INFORMATION INLAND FROM THE COAST Massa Marittima A city in the metal-rich hills, Colline Metallifere, over 20 km from the sea, which grew in prosperity when a 9th Cent. bishop had had enough of Saracen pirates, maintained it position thanks to its minerals, and then was brought down by the Black Plague in 1348. Event – Lirica in Piazza – Early August Restaurant – Osteria Da Tronca – Vicolo Porte, 5 Magliano in Toscana With origins back to the 6th Cent. B.C., and intact walls built by the Sienese that encircle the city centre (a rarity in the Maremma). Event – Vinellando Wine Festival – End of August Restaurant – Antica Trattoria Aurora – Via Chiasso Vavagnini, 12-14 Capalbio Farther south near the seaside town of Castiglione della Pescaia there are long sandy beaches buffered by shady umbrella pines. An ancient seaside town it has gorgeous views of the islands of Elba and Giglio, and of the promontory of Argentario. The modern city was built around a medieval fortress (Castello) and a large ﬁshery (Pescaia) from which it got its name. Worth seeing in the area are the ancient remains of Vetulonia once one of the most important Etruscan cities. Further south, the attractive town of Orbetello was an Etruscan colony until taken by Rome. Important in the Middle Ages, it became the capital of the Stato dei Presidi of Spanish domination after Spain helped Cosimo di Medici defeat Siena in 1557. The name Argentario probably refers to the well-known Roman banking family (silver dealers) who once owned it, or perhaps from the silver mines not far away at Massa Marittima, or, some say, because of the silver look of the olive trees and the precious sparkling sea. Incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1808, in 1842 Leopoldo II built the dyke connecting Orbetello with the promontory. Crossing the lagoon by the road from Orbetello one reaches Porto Santo Stefano, a lively, very attractive harbour and yachting marina. Very busy during July and August, there are excellent restaurants and an active nightlife as well as smart shops, regular ferries, and cruises to Giglio, Giannutri, MonteCristo and other lovely spots in the Mediterranean. A panoramic road, 39 kms long encircles the promontory from Porto Santo Stefano to the smaller Porto Ercole, above cliffs planted with olive groves, vineyards and orange and lemon trees. In between the ports are areas of quiet, peaceful beauty. There are vast uncultivated areas with watchtowers bearing testimony to pirates and past dominions, and the mild climate shelters numerous species of wild ﬂowers and herbs. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com A beautiful medieval town in the Southern Maremma sitting high enough to enjoy a sea view, Capalbio had a stellar early history, then fell prey to the ills of invading troops, bandits and malaria. There is lively activity throughout the year. Event – Wild Boar Festival – 2nd weekend of September (photo) Restaurant – Trattoria Da Maria – Via Nuova, 3 Scarlino A mere 25 km from the Grosseto plain, the small village of Scarlino sits atop its hill, hemmed in by medieval walls and looking out to Elba. Known in modern times for its large Marina offering harbour for 950 boats, the village is still a lively place for summer activities. La Rocca di Frasinello What happens when Domain Baron de Rothschild-Lafite meets Chianti Classico meets star architect Renzo Piano. A very modern terracotta red slice of excellence set in orderly grapevines. Turn off the Aurellia at Giuncarico, near Gavorrano to find your way to the vineyard. 39 Bernardino Campiglia Marittima, Livorno An ecologically sensitive hillside house with seaviews 42 BERNARDINO Sleeps 10 - 12 3 double bedrooms, 2 twin/double bedrooms, 2 double sofa beds. 3 shower rooms and 1 bathroom with separate shower. WiFi internet. Bar, shopping and restaurant at Campiglia Marittima 5 min. Bay of Baratti seacoast and Etruscan archeological site 15 min. Pisa and Lucca 1 hr. Map: page 34, ref A3 In a house that climbs the hillside it rests on, Bernardino is situated to savour the views of the wide Maremma plain that stretches below the medieval town of Campiglia Marittima and finishes on the horizon at the Mediterranean Sea. An excellent family house and certainly one to which to invite friends, it has terraces off each bedroom, which offer private retreat and spacious rooms and outdoor areas in which to gather. One enters a large country kitchen with terracotta counters, beamed ceilings, an open fireplace and a large table for 12 under a wide brick arch. To one side, steps lead down to a large living area; off the other, a stairway leads up to a shower room, a bathroom with separate shower, and three bedrooms, all with access to terraces. Also on this floor is a study with a sofa-bed and access to a covered terrace whose well-positioned hammock offers both slumber and a sea view. Stairs from the living room lead down to a second living area with kitchen equipment, a furnished terrace, a shower room and stairs leading up to WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œWe had a wonderful time at Bernardino. The location was great, the kitchen was well equipped, the herbs growing in the garden are great.â€œ 40 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com two bedrooms, both with terraces and one with an ensuite shower room. There are many things to discover in this area - a picturesque townclose by, a sandy beach with Etruscan ruins nearby and, of course, the island of Elba, an easy daytrip. Wineries, spas and golf courses are all nearby and Pisa's tower and the famed shops of Lucca are but an hour away. Naturally, the reward of all that effort is having a restful house on a hillside to return to where, with a glass of local red, you can consider it all from a distance. Casa dei Fichi Campiglia Marittima, Livorno A hillside family house with views of the Mediterranean Nestled in the hills above Campiglia Marittima, a charming well-preserved medieval town overlooking the Mediterranean, Casa dei Fichi has a wonderfully open air of freedom. The large patio and wide furnished terraces which surround the house all have French doors that ensure easy flow in and out, mirrored inside by the open plan layout. There as so many points of entry to the house that the concept of a 'front door' is happily discarded, yet one could easily choose to head down the outdoor stone steps to the large flagstone terrace and into the heart of any house, its kitchen. The kitchen looks through wide brick arches into the dining area and nearby living room. This room has comfortable sofas, an open fireplace, and doors to both the front and side terraces. Also on the ground floor, there are a shower room and a large area containing a woodstove and staircase to the bedrooms on the upper floor. Three double bedrooms and a twin bedroom with an additional child's bed are all steps away from a tiled bathroom. People might gather near the barbecue on the sunny patio or seek the shade near the pizza oven, but they could just as easily set a solitary chair and a glass of wine anywhere on the long panoramic terrace. The beach is only a 15 minute drive away at the lovely Gulf of Baratti, also home to one of the most fascinating Etruscan archeological sites in Italy. And with the ferry to Elba so close at hand you could even explore Napoleon's place of exile and still be back for supper. 27 CASA DEI FICHI Sleeps 8 3 double bedrooms, 1 twin bedroom, 1 sofa bed, 1 shower room, 1 bathroom. WiFi internet. Bar, shopping and restaurant at Campiglia Marittima 5 min. Bay of Baratti seacoast and Etruscan archeological site 15 min, Pisa and Lucca 1 hr. Map: page 34, ref A3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œThis was an amazing villa. The open floor plan made our evening meals even more enjoyable and the view from the back porch was unbeatable.â€œ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 41 Torrevecchia Orbetello, Grosseto A spacious family house and pool near the southern Tuscan coast 44 TORREVECCHIA Sleeps 8 3 double bedrooms, 1 twin bedroom, 1 single bedroom. 5 shower rooms, 4 of which ensuite. WiFi internet. Friday to Friday rental Bar, shopping, restaurants and train station at Orbetello Scalo 5 min. Sandy beaches 10 min., Sailing at Porto Ercole 10 km. Porto S. Stefano and ferry to island of Giglio 15 km. 8 hole golf club, sculpture park, horse riding within 20 min. Grosseto 40 km, Siena 115 km, Florence 190 km. Map: page 34, ref C4 Near the ancient Etruscan settlement of Orbetello, Torrevecchia is a dusky rose single storey home whose bright rooms and beautiful garden set a welcoming stage for family holidays, where the crowd gathers to eat out under the furnished vinecovered pergola or stretches out on the deck surrounding the pool. The main entrance is into a tall double living room with views toward the extensive garden. The dining area is conveniently near the kitchen and the master bedroom with ensuite and shower room. Across from the kitchen a smaller and more simply furnished bedroom includes a single bed and a shower room, while two additional bedrooms, a double with ensuite shower room and a twin bedroom that uses the adjacent shower room, are off the living room. All the double bedrooms have ceiling fans. One additional double bedroom with ensuite shower room is accessed only from a garden entrance. 42 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com As Torrevecchia is handy to the Via Aurelia, the ancient Roman road stretching from Rome to Pisa, guests are easily connected to the many fascinating spots worth exploring in this area. The ďŹ rst draw may be the seaside for 10 minutes away there are long pinewood-banked beaches where you can reserve an umbrella or wander at will to ďŹ nd the perfect spot to lay a towel. Somewhat lesstravelled, the Maremma is not less worthy to be considered one of Tuscany's treasures, for here uncontaminated parks, a spectacular coastline and rich Etruscan sites mingle with historic hill towns such as Massa Marittima and Pitigliano. The Lookout Tower Castiglione della Pescaia, Grosseto A 15th century watchtower overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea Centuries ago a lookout tower and garrison for soldiers with an eye out for Barbaresque pirates, this panoramically placed complex is now a unique residence for guests wishing to enjoy history in comfort and the timeless pleasure of gazing out to sea. Set on a rocky peninsula, the complex once consisted of barracks, oven house, watchtower, chapel, well and sentry box and was reached only by mule-track. Now you can drive (slowly) up a gravel road to its 21st century comforts. The barracks is now a spacious living/dining room with fireplace, sofas, a table for 8, a kitchen behind sliding doors and wonderful views out all of the side windows. Doors off the living area lead out to the former oven-house, now converted into separate bedroom suites, a twin bedroom with shower room and a double bedroom with bathroom. Up the original staircase and across the drawbridge of the dramatic cylindrical tower you come to a round living area with a fireplace, chairs and a wooden chest hiding kitchen facilities. Downstairs there is a small bedroom made up either as bunk beds for two children or as a single adult bedroom with ensuite shower room. Up the sweeping iron staircase is a wonderful top-of-the-tower double bedroom with outstanding views and an ensuite shower room. Just beyond the tower is a terrace whose views to the Tyrrhenian Sea and Tuscan archipelago are uninterrupted and inspiring; the perfect place to watch the sunset or fix your own seaside dinner, thanks to the convenient small kitchen in the old chapel off the terrace. And one last surprise; what looks like the nearby well is actually a Jacuzzi, whose mosaic tiles will sparkle in the light of the moon. 246 THE LOOKOUT TOWER Sleeps 7 - 8 1 twin, 2 double bedrooms, 1 bedroom with either adult single or bunk beds for children, all with ensuite shower or bathrooms. Beach, swimming pool, tennis court, mountain-bike rental and small grocery 1.5 km., Supermarket, restaurants, sailing in Castiglione 15 min, Shops, golf course, horse riding, at Punta Ala 20 min., Siena 1 hr, Pisa, Florence and Rome airport 2 hrs. Map: page 34, ref B3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œThis property has a very special feel to it. Views really are unforgettable â€œ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 43 2 1 Antique hunting You may not have room in your suitcase for a marble column or a wooden cherub, but chances are that something in this sprawling antiques market will tempt you. With over 500 stalls scattered around the historic centre of Arezzo, the fair is held on the first weekend of every month. Piero della Francesca If you only have time to take in one lovely painting of this famous early Renaissance painter, seek out the Modonna del Parto. Finished in only 7 days and painted with valuable lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, it is housed in its own museum in the charming village of Montechi. 1 4 3 Calcio Storico In the 3rd week of June Florence revives a 16th century form of football, known as Calcio Storico. The pitch is in Piazza Santa Croce and each team of 27 men kicks or carries the ball (or their opponents) with all the vigour and energy of a rough version of rugby. 2 Anghiari This medieval town, once immortalized for its battles, is now known for its artisans and lively marketplace. Famous for its art of weaving and Busatti textiles, the city also spreads a checkered tablecloth for visitors in the August “Tovaglia a Quadri” and dines in the Old Town square. 3 4 3 7 A 6 8 Boscaglia Poggio Capponi 301 123 287 Borgo Anghiari B 4 2 117 5 1 126 237 26 219 C 6 5 Giostra del Saracino An ancient game of chivalry dating back to the Middle Ages, Arezzo’s Joust is played out in its generous Piazza Grande on the penultimate Saturday of June and the first Sunday of September. Come watch competing ‘knights’ aim their lances at the armour-plated Saracen dummy. Montelupo ceramics The village of Montelupo Fiorentino, on the outskirts of Florence, has been an important center of the bright painted Tuscan ceramics since medieval times, thanks to the quality and quantity of clay in the area. Roaming from one shop to another, you will be dizzy with choice. 44 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 7 Treasures of Florence Don’t be like Stendahl, who suffered from stimulus overload when faced with the jewel box that is Florence. Sip this incredible city slowly: Remember to pre-book tickets for the Uffizi Gallery and know that Vivoli, our favourite gelateria is a guaranteed pick-me-up. 8 The retreat of St. Francis High in the forested mountains NE of Arezzo, Mount La Verna was given to St Francis to use as a place of peace and solitude, and it was here that he received his stigmata in 1224. The hermitage, perched on lofty heights, is a special place for pilgrims and those seeking natural beauty. FLORENCE & AREZZO Tuscany is like an exquisite woman: sensual, full of hidden surprises, endlessly tempting. It is an area adorned with all sorts of good things and, with its culture and refinement, Florence bejewels Tuscany, bringing its special beauty into full flower. Florence is also overlaid with extravagance: the visitor is easily overwhelmed with so many masterpieces in the galleries, so many wonderful buildings, so many splendid shops, so much noise and bustle... KEY INFORMATION BARS/RESTAURANTS CANTINETTA DI VERRAZZANO When touring the city an excellent place for a pause is in this wine bar which makes the most delicious focaccia around. Via deiTavolini,18-20r. – Florence Tel 055-268590 BORGO ALLEGRO At the foot of Vinci's castle, with an elegant yet informal atmosphere made of essential details and beautiful work of art. via Renato Fucini 20 – Vinci Tel 0571 567866 DA ALIGHIERO You can venture forth to wander around the beautiful museums and galleries, shop at the exclusive boutiques or ﬁnd a bargain in the street markets, drink in the history of the glorious Renaissance palaces, the famous Cathedral and innumerable churches. The easiest way to visit Florence is to travel to it by bus or train - the station is a short walk away from the Duomo and the centre of town. All the centre of town is closed to traﬃc and they have cameras to catch you. SAN MINIATO AL MONTE High above Florence close to Piazzale Michelangelo is a beautiful church and one of my all time favourites - it is has an archaic mystical feel, like many medieval churches, in which the mystery of the liturgy was paramount. It sits on one of the highest points around Florence, with a beautiful view towards the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, with the Fortezza Belvedere to the left. The facade is an intricate intarsia of black, green and white marble started in the 11th century. The interior is similarly decorated, with more marble, intricately painted roof beams and rafters and richly decorated walls. The columns are re-used from old Roman structures, as was common before the 13th century, and are all different heights and widths. The present church dates mainly from the 11th and 12th centuries – work is said to have started in 1013 - though there has been a shrine here since the middle of the 3rd century. ICE CREAM One of the pleasures of being in Florence is that ice cream is taken seriously here, and there are many 'Gelaterie' offering delicious and unusual ﬂavours. Look for the 'Produzione propria' sign, which means the ice cream is made on the premises. Three famous 'Gelaterie' are: Vivoli, via Isole delle Stinche 7, open since 1930; Carabè, Via Ricasoli 60r, and Perchè No, Via dei Tavolini 19r, close to the Duomo. AREZZO Though Arezzo’s early history was a glorious and prominent one – it was one of the 12 major Etruscan cities, the 3rd largest city in the Roman empire and an independent state for many centuries - by 1384 it had fallen say to Florence and was subsumed into the Medicean Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In part this resulted in its medieval centre remaining as you see it today. And that is, indeed, beautiful: the Piazza Grande, scene of the city’s medieval joust and monthly antiquarian fairs, the mullioned windowed bell tower of its Romanesque Santa Maria della Pieve, and the very famous frescos of native son Piero della Francesco, which adorn the Basilica of San Francesco. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com This restaurant has a great wine list and varied menu featuring typical ingredients with that little extra that makes them outstanding. via Garibaldi, 8 – Anghiari Tel 0575 788040 EVENTS Upper Tiber Artisans Market Anghiari. Week leading up the 1st of May. Calcio Storico - Firenze 24 June plus two other days in early July. Giostra del saracino - Arezzo 3rd Saturday in June & 1st Sunday in September. Palio della Balestra Sansepolcro 2nd Sunday of September. Festa dell’Uva Impruneta Last Sunday in September. MARKET DAYS Loro Ciuffenna – Monday a.m. Anghiari – Tuesday a.m. Sansepolcro – Tuesdays & Saturdays Impruneta & Pergine Valdarno Friday a.m. Arezzo - Saturday a.m. 45 Poggio Canale San Casciano, Florence An elegant country home overlooking Florentine wine estates 301 POGGIO CANALE Sleeps 6 - 8 3 double bedrooms, 2 sofa beds, 1 shower room, 1 ensuite bathroom, 1 extra WC & shower, WiFi internet. Swimming pool 4x6 m. Horse riding, wine-tasting and restaurants nearby. Bar, restaurant and nearest bus stop 1 km. Shops and restaurants at San Casciano 5 min. Florence 20 min., Siena 50 min. Map: page 44, ref A2 Set in a countryside dotted with large Florentine estates, Poggio Canale is a 500-yearold country house whose owners have taken its renovation to heart and, with obvious pleasure and good taste, sought out local artisans and antiquarians to make their home a thing of comfort and beauty. Only 20 min. from the Renaissance wonders and busy markets of Florence, this is perfect place to spend a Tuscan holiday. Sitting at the end of a country road, the house enjoys views like scenes from Renaissance paintings, best enjoyed from a small furnished pavilion to one side of a stone courtyard. In the house comfortable sofas and an elegant fireplace preside over a gracious living room that connects through a wide archway to a large country eat-in kitchen dressed with antique tiles and long marble counter tops. Stairs lead up to a second large living area with two single sofa beds, off of which are three double bedrooms, each furnished with a four-poster bed. One bedroom WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œI cannot recommend it enough...the best holiday home so far! â€œ 46 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com has an ensuite bathroom and the other two share a large shower room. Stairs from both the house and the courtyard lead down to a garden planted with lavender, rosemary, old roses and furnished with seating placed to enjoy the view. On an upper level of the garden is the laundry and shower room convenient for those who have used the above ground swimming pool below. Boscaglia Impruneta, Florence Two apartments in a Renaissance country villa in the outskirts of Florence In the idyllic hills outside Florence, Boscaglia and its extensive parklands are a study in gentle aging and open-armed hospitality, with the welcome addition of a large heated swimming pool in just the right spot to savour a timeless panorama. While the property can be rented as a whole as Villa Boscaglia (Ref. 130), the house itself has been divided into two apartments. CAMINO TORRETTA One enters through an arch into a long panoramic courtyard, past the furnished loggia and into the entry hall off of which is a living/dining room with fireplace and dining area for10. The kitchen nearby has a glass door leading onto a loggia, making it an ideal place for lunches out of the midday sun. On the first floor are two bedrooms, a large double and a twin/double, and a large bathroom. There is extra accommodation in an apartment on a different side of the villa, with an ensuite double bedroom. Entrance to Torretta is from a wide furnished terrace into a bright and stylish kitchen. Also on this ﬂoor is a WC and a cosy sitting room with a ﬁreplace. There are two bedrooms on the ﬁrst ﬂoor, a large double and a twin, as well as a shower room and a bathroom, which also serves guests staying in the studio/bedroom on the upper ﬂoor. From here there are stairs up to the 'torretta' or small tower which crowns the villa and offers an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. BOSCAGLIA Two spacious apartments, with private terrace or patio. The property may also be taken as a whole, accommodating 9 to 12. Shared heated swimming pool, 7x14 m. Rechargeable internet key available. Bar in walking distance in Mezzomonte Restaurants, shops, supermarket in the Impruneta 10 min., Florence Porta Romana & San Casciano 15 min., Greve 30 min, Castellina in Chianti 40 min, San Gimignano 50 min. 131 CAMINO Sleeps 4 - 6 1 double and 1 twin/double bedroom, 1 bathroom. Extra accommodation in independent studio apartment with 1 double bedroom and shower room. 132 TORRETTA Sleeps 5 - 6 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, 1 french double bed and 1 sofa bed, 1 ensuite bathroom, 1 shower room and an extra WC Map: page 44, ref A2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Well positioned for Florence, Siena and environs, this villa sits on a hill with a fantastic Tuscan vista below “ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 47 Poggio Capponi Montelupo, Montespertoli, Florence Apartments on a Chianti wine growing estate southwest of Florence POGGIO CAPPONI Sleeps 27 Entire estate accommodates 27., Shared swimming pool, 14 x 7 m, outdoor eating areas, WiFi internet and computer in estates ‘Internet Point’ Shops, restaurants within 10 min. Golf course and Montelupo ceramics museum 5 min. Florence 20 min, Pisa 1 hr., Siena 1 hr 20 min. 49 PINI Sleeps 6 1 double, 2 twin bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 shower room. 51 SPIGA Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom 1 shower room. 151 REGINA Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, shower room. The beautiful farm of Poggio Capponi dominates a hill in Chianti, south west of Florence. The 500-hectare estate, which specialises in very fine wines and extra virgin olive oil, enjoys very impressive hill views of vineyards, olives, cornfields, forests and castles. Two apartments are within the main farm villa, and four others are in a nearby hamlet on the same estate. Numerous marked walking and riding routes run through fabulous countryside. There are excellent main roads nearby, with Florence 20 minutes away and Pisa and other major towns within easy reach. A holiday here can be as relaxing or as energetic as you wish, and since this area is the playground for Florentines it follows that good restaurants abound. There are many mediaeval towns in the vicinity, such as 153 AUSILIA Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, shower room. 133 CAPPELLINA Sleeps 5 1 double, 1 twin, 1 single bedroom, shower room. 213 GIRASOLE Sleeps 3 - 4 1 double, 1 single bedroom with extra bed, shower room. Map: page 44, ref A1 48 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com Certaldo, Gambassi, San Gimignano, and San Pietro in Mercato. Lucardo, Monteriggioni and castle settlements crown the hills. Nearby Montespertoli, at the centre of a district intensely involved with wine growing, holds an important trade fair of Chianti wines every spring. This is film set countryside, and amonst many, “The Night of San Lorenzo” by the Taviani brothers was set here.. Poggio Landi Ambra, Arezzo 219 POGGIO LANDI Sleeps 2 - 4 A gracious apartment for two in a classic country house Near major Tuscan cities, this very special house was built around 1820 to celebrate the safe return of a soldier from Russia, whose family had feared him lost in the Napoleonic wars. The stone built house, on a hilltop 450 m above sea level, has wonderful views across the surrounding hills of the Casentino. It has a tennis court, a boules pitch and large swimming pool with diving board. Double bedroom, sofa bed, shower room., Swimming pool (6x15 m), shared with owners. Shops, bars and restaurants at Ambra 10 mins. Siena and Arezzo about 30 mins each. Florence about 1 hr. by car or 1⁄2 hr. by train from Bucine. Map: page 44, ref C3 kitchen equipment cleverly concealed behind large wooden doors, a shower room and a double bedroom. The hospitable, aristocratic owners have combined discretion with charm, and will provide ample information for travellers and even cook for guests on occasion. The whole property is surrounded by its own parkland with carefully tended rare roses, shrubs and trees, as well as irrigated lawns and fruit trees. Ambra, a 10 min. drive away, has excellent shops and restaurants, and access to Siena and Arezzo is now much improved in this area, with the Superstrada dual carriageway linking with the A1 Autostrada. From nearby Bucine or Montevarchi you can take a train to the historic center of Florence in just 1⁄2 hour. Local roads are very pretty, and this is a good place to be based for the Piero della Francesca trail. With access from the lawns on the east side of the house, just beyond its own shaded furnished patio, the apartment is reached through glazed doors and has a large comfortably furnished living room with a fireplace, a double sofa bed and full Casa Silvia Loro Ciuffenna, Arezzo WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The owners were a delight, warm & friendly, completely unobtrusive, but on hand if needed to answer any queries. Would recommend this villa to anyone wanting total peace & quiet. “ 287 CASA SILVIA Sleeps 4 - 5 A delightful house with never-ending panoramic views Looking out over the folds of the Chianti landscape, Casa Silvia is an enchantingly simple house, with terraces and gardens ranged around it allowing you to follow the sun or avoid it. This is a house designed for reading, sipping wine and setting the world to rights, relaxed in an armchair watching the sun change the colours of the hills as it sinks in the distance. 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, 1 single bedroom 1, bathroom with separate shower, WC. Loro Ciuffenna with shops, restaurants, bar 10 minutes., Public pools 7-12 km. Railway stations 20 minutes with connections to Rome, Milan, Bologna., Florence 45 mins, Arezzo, Siena 60 minutes Map: page 44, ref B3 burning stove, and a well-equipped kitchen which opens directly out onto a private garden with stunning views. Up the stairs there is a comfortable double bedroom, a twin bedroom, a small single bedroom and a very cosy study with a fireplace and access to a covered terrace. The furniture is simple and stylish, and the house retains its country charm. A path leads to the nearby Loro Ciuffenna - a 20 minute walk that avoids the roads and gets you in the mood for one of the good local restaurants remember to take a torch for your walk back amongst the fireflies. The front of the house has a large shaded pergola. One enters to find a living room with a wood- The house is set against the hillside of Pratomagno - a chain of hills rising to 1591 m. all within protected National Park status. There are beautiful walks, ancient monasteries set in chestnut woods, and cycling trails. Florence is very close by, and can easily be reached by train. Reached by a dirt road that can be narrow at times, the house is ideally positioned to explore Tuscany and makes a perfect peaceful retreat to return to when even the delights of Giotto or Piero della Francesca start to pall. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Italy is full of man made treasures, but Casa Silvia captures the natural beauty of Bella Toscana to its utmost. “ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 49 Casa Pretello Pieve a Presciano, Arezzo A wonderful Tuscan farmhouse, simply restored 237 CASA PRETELLO Sleeps 6 - 7 3 double bedrooms, 2 of which can be twin, and 1 with extra single, 2 bathrooms with separate showers. Owner requires children must be at least 8 years old Swimming pool, 12x6 m. Restaurants, bars and shops at Pieve a Presciano 5 min. Arezzo 20 min, Siena 30 min, Florence 45 min. Fast train from Montevarchi 18 km. with connections to Florence, Rome and Milan. Map: page 44, ref C3 Tucked away in an intimate valley close to Arezzo, Casa Pretello has the simple and unpretentious air of an ancient Tuscan farmhouse, with spacious airy rooms, an enormous fireplace and large chestnut beams. A swimming pool on the hillside close to the house shares its views of olive groves, cypress and holm oaks and helps make it a wonderful low-key place for a family to stretch out and relax. Stairs under a covered loggia bring you up to the ﬁrst ﬂoor and the room that would have been the heart of the working farmhouse. Now it is a wonderfully large kitchen-living-dining room, with a ﬁreplace and a table for 6. Off this room is a large double bedroom, which spans the width of the house and has comfortable country furniture and charming iron bedstead. Also off the kitchen is another double bedroom, a large blue-tiled bathroom with both tub and shower, and a spiral staircase leading downstairs to what were once the stables of the farmhouse but now provide a double bedroom with an extra single bed for a child and WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “A wonderful Tuscan farmhouse, simply restored” 50 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com another bath/shower room. Also on this ﬂoor is a living area with access to a spacious furnished terrace with wonderful views over the valley. Casa Pretello is ideally placed for visiting the artistic cities of Arezzo, Florence and Siena. Or you could follow the trail of Piero della Francesca and see one of the most beautiful paintings in the world (pace Leonardo), the fresco of the pregnant Madonna in Monterchi, only 20 minutes away. Even so, it will be diﬃcult to leave such a relaxing house, with its airy rooms, beautiful views and inviting swimming pool. Casa Allioni Pieve a Presciano, Arezzo A lovingly restored farmhouse overlooking the Arno river valley Coming up the drive past olive groves and grapevines to Casa Allioni, you immediately understand the delight of living here. Geraniums and flowering vines compliment the local stone and brick facade of this 17th cent. farmhouse and graceful arches and a generous loggia only hint at the many spaces that welcome quiet thought or joyous get-togethers. Entrance on the upper floor is into a spacious kitchen with an antique table for 14. To one end of the kitchen are a bathroom and a double bedroom; to the other, an open staircase leads down to the spacious living room, with high ceilings and french doors. On this floor there are a studio, a bedroom with a small double bed, a shower room and the master bedroom, with a door leading out to a wide vine-covered walkway that fronts the house. There is a further covered loggia outside the kitchen, from which stairs lead up to the swimming pool, with fantastic views of the valley below. The owner may be in residence in a studio apartment when guests visit, but as she is an excellent resource, this could well be an advantage. She has her own garden area and guests have exclusive use of the swimming pool. The house is within pleasant walking distance to the restaurant, bar and small shops in the nearby village. Its excellent access to major motorways and delightful country roads place the ancient cities of Siena, Arezzo and Florence within easy reach. 126 CASA ALLIONI Sleeps 5 - 6 3 double bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 shower room. Due to the open staircase, the owner welcomes infants under 1 yr. or children over 5 yrs. Swimming pool, 5x10 m, WiFi internet. Restaurants, bars and shops at Pieve a Presciano 800 m. Arezzo 20 min, Siena 30 min, Florence 45 min. Fast train from Montevarchi 18 km. with connections to Florence, Rome and Milan. Map: page 44, ref C3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œCan't fault the location as far as views go - absolutely stunning. Beautiful place to sit by the pool with a glass of Chianti and watch the sun set. â€œ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 51 Casa Cerfone Molin Nuovo, Arezzo A large stone villa with views Piero della Francesca made famous 117 CASA CERFONE Sleeps 12 - 14 4 double bedrooms, 1 of which with a sofa bed, 2 twin/double bedrooms, 6 ensuite shower rooms and 3. WCs. Fast internet. Small grocery in Molin Nuovo 2.5 km Restaurants, bars, supermarkets in Monterchi 12 km, Anghiari 18 km, Sansepolcro 21 km., Arezzo 30 km, Montevarchi, many Umbrian towns 1 hr Florence & Siena 90 mins. Map: page 44, ref B4 Set on a wooded hillside halfway between Arezzo and Sansepolcro, this large stone house enjoys a verdant panorama of the Val del Cerfone. Perfect for a reunion of family or friends, there is a marvelous sense of space, both in the ample areas you look forward to congregating in and in the more intimate areas you delight in retreating to. Entrance is off the furnished terrace into a reception area which leads to a large dining room with a ﬁreplace and tables for 16, off which are a small study, a professional kitchen and two sitting rooms with comfortable sofas, one with a television, another with French doors out to a wide grassy terrace overlooking the pool. Also on this ﬂoor is access to a furnished front terrace, a great place for a cocktail or after dinner espresso. All six bedrooms are on the upper ﬂoor and furnished with a nice mix of Tuscan country antiques and nice fabrics, and all have ensuite 52 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com shower rooms. One of the suites has a sitting room with ﬁreplace and a double bed on a mansard level. Several outdoor areas surround the house and by the pool there is even an honesty gelato bar - what could be more Italian than that? With all the surrounding greenery, it is surprising how close you are to lively markets and fascinating medieval cities. The walled city of Anghiari, stately Arezzo, and nearby Monterchi and Sansepolcro, are all graced by the serene frescoes of Piero della Francesca. For its more adventuresome visitors, Nature surrounds and offers great opportunity of all types. At Casa Cerfone there is room for everyone's Tuscan Dream. Eremo Ponticino, Arezzo A former convent now a luxurious stone villa in the hills between Florence and Arezzo In this large stone house, carefully restored and beautifully furnished, there is an air of protected peace and gentle retreat. Add the fact that a charming caretaker stands ready to help you realize all the excursions and in-house activities you may wish to build into your Tuscan holiday, and Eremo is just about perfect. Whether for large family reunions, festive events or a business retreat, this house can accommodate it all. From the entrance hall, you immediately notice some of its special features: the lovely inner courtyard at the heart of the house, the central stone pillar supporting four wide arches in the comfortable living room, the kitchen areas that would please any chef, both the spacious twostationed professional kitchen as well as the handy kitchen next to the dining room. Also on the ground ﬂoor is a double bedroom, with ensuite shower room and a furnished terrace, another living area perfect for younger guests, with access to a furnished terrace, and, a cosy study. On the upper ﬂoor there are two additional living areas and seven charming bedrooms, each distinctive in look. Most bedrooms have ensuite bath or shower rooms, though two share a nearby bathroom and one has a shower room across the large Hall. One ﬁnal suite remains; accessed off the wide enclosed loggia, it includes a sitting room with sofa bed, a shower room and a lovely bedroom under the eaves. Surrounding the house are a pizza oven, a vine-covered pergola for al fresco dining and, across the wide lawn, a large swimming pool and a shaded furnished pergola and poolhouse. Eremo is a great base for exploring local hills or reaching medieval city festivals and antique markets in less than half an hour. EREMO 26 & 46 Sleeps 10 or 18 For 18 - 5 double bedrooms, 1 with an extra single, another with double sofa bed, 1 twin bedroom, 3 twin/double bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (3 ensuite), 4 shower rooms (3 ensuite), Swimming pool, 8x16 m., Fast internet access. Restaurants, bars, shops in Ponticino 2.5 km and Pergine., Valdarno 4 km., Arezzo and Montevarchi 20 km., Siena 60 km, Florence 80 km. Map: page 44, ref C3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The villa was wonderful and the staff fantastic!!“ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 53 Casa Michelangelo Caprese Michelangelo, Sansepolcro A charming family house and pool with a panoramic view 123 CASA MICHELANGELO Sleeps 10 3 double bedrooms, 2 twin/double bedrooms, 1 shower room and 3 bathrooms, 2 of which ensuite. Fenced swimming pool, 5x12 m., Child friendly Bar/pizzeria, golf, spa, horse riding nearby Small grocery in Manzi 2.5 km. Restaurants, bars, supermarkets, tennis in Caprese Michelangelo 5 km, Anghiari 15 km, Sansepolcro 20 km, Monterchi 24 km., Arezzo 45 km, Perugia airport 1 hr., Florence & Siena 1 ¾ hr. Map: page 44, ref A4 Near the birthplace of Michelangelo this delightful farmhouse is positioned to take in the Tiber valley and Lake Montedoglio in one breathtaking panorama. The easy family atmosphere assures a restful holiday for guests of all generations, with a wide garden that offers wonderful places for children to play,. Passing the holiday home of the owners, the approach drive finishes on a level above the house where the fenced pool offers the property's best views. Steps lead down to a flagstone terrace facing the garden. From here the original staircase leads up to the sitting room, though quite likely most will enter into the heart of the house, its kitchen. To one side of the kitchen is a dining room with a table for 10 and access through French doors to the furnished pergola favoured for al fresco meals. Also off the kitchen is a double bedroom with ensuite bathroom and a door to the terrace. The internal staircase leads WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Casa Michelangelo is a beautiful Tuscan villa with a perfect view, a lush garden with daily visits from the warthogs, which was fantastic! “ 54 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com up to the first floor landing with a bathroom and a sitting room with a large fireplace. Off this room are two twin/double bedrooms and a large double bedroom that has direct access to the upper furnished patio and an ensuite bathroom. The last bedroom, has a four-poster double bed and windows overlooking the garden. While there will be many excursions of delight and discovery, one of the best parts of the day will be coming "home" to this comfortable hillside retreat to think back on it all. Borgo Anghiari Casole d’Elsa, Siena Five apartments on a welcoming farm estate near Sansepolcro Borgo Anghiari is a serene farm estate in a beautiful corner of eastern Tuscany overlooking the wide Tiber valley and could easily make for a wonderful family holiday. The vistas are glorious and the five comfortable apartments in a large 18th century country house and its former oil mill, share views of the vast olive groves, vineyards and forests that surround it. outdoors, and for walkers to explore trails through the private woods. Frantoio The present owners understand the healing magic of hospitality and express this in their attention to authentic Tuscan reconstruction and furnishings, as well as in care taken with the indoor and outdoor areas shared by guests. A large common room, where breakfast is offered, is equipped with games, a small library, and helpful tourist information, and the owners can help organize everything from meals to mountain bikes to excursions of all types. The outdoors offers a large swimming pool overlooking the valley and many areas for children to play, for families to barbecue and eat Wandering the streets of the nearby medieval walled town of Anghiari is a treat, for its artisans and antiquarians have made it famous and their work, as well as the bright checkered tablecloths that denote a place to stop and sample the locale cuisine, will easily fill the day with pleasurable "slow living". Also close at hand are Sansepolcro and Arezzo, towns immortalized by Piero della Francesca. BORGO ANGHIARI Entire estate accommodates 22. Shared laundry room and swimming pool, 7x18 m. Fireplaces, whirlpool showers, Heating included. Bar, restaurants and shops in Anghiari 4 km, Sansepolcro 10 min, Città di Castello 15 min, Arezzo 25 min, with trains to Rome. Florence and Siena 1 1⁄4 hr. 2 BUCCHERO Sleeps 2 - 4 Ground floor apartment with 1 double bedroom, double sofabed, 1 shower room, furnished garden. 3 ORCIO 4 ARETINO 5 SARACINO 6 FORESTERIA Sleeps 2 - 4 Ground floor apartment with 1 double bedroom, double sofabed, 1 shower room, furnished garden. Sleeps 4 - 6 First floor apartment with 2 double bedrooms, double sofabed, 1 shower room. Sleeps 6 Large second floor apartment with large living area, eat-in kitchen, 1 twin/double, 2 double bedrooms. 2 shower rooms, 1 of which ensuite, and 1 bathroom. Sleeps 6 - 8 First and second floor apartment in the old oil mill, with living/eatin kitchen, 1 twin/double, 2 double bedrooms, double sofa-bed, 2 shower rooms, 1 of which ensuite. Map: page 44, ref B4 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 55 2 1 World-famous butcher Featured in Heat as the excellent butcher and showman that he is, Dario Cecchini runs a meat-lover’s idea of heaven in his butcher shop and Solo Ciccia restaurant across the road that features six meat courses and the occasional vegetable at a communal table for a reasonable price. Badia a Passignano Still occupied by Benedictine monks, the abbey in the village that bears its name, is sometimes the setting for concerts that also provide a rare glimpse of the treasures within its walls. The good restaurants in the village complete a wonderful night out. 1 4 3 L’Eroica bike race This bike race, which takes place in October, is open to amateur cyclists of any age. Rent a bike and join the event, which departs and arrives in Gaiole in Chianti. Or simply watch them whiz by and cheer a favourite competitor. 2 Vendemmia wine harvest When autumn comes to Tuscany vineyard owners and friends grab a pair of secateurs and head to the grape laden vines. When you stay in one of the apartments in wine estates, you, too, can wield a pair of shears and contribute to what will eventually fill a glass. 3 4 286 307 Casolare 6 A 47 2 43 238 1 135 144 4 274 B 306 3 Lornano C 7 38 5 195 Stommennano 6 5 Medieval festival On the 1st and 2nd weekends of July, the Festa Medievale in Monteriggioni is one of the best costume festivals in Italy, with performers and artisans, food stands and open-air theatre filling the piazzas of this tiny fortified village which sits like a crown on its low hillside. 8 Greve in Chianti A lively market town since the middle ages, Greve in Chianti’s spacious central piazza is lined with arcaded shops featuring its wine, olive oil, truffles, and the local Cinta Senese pig. From the Giovanni da Verrazzano restaurant terrace you can sample them all from on high. 56 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 8 7 Lornano’s wine cellars In the cellars of this aristocratic winery in the village of Lornano, award-winning wines slowly mature in their oak casks. Stay in one of their estate apartments or simply stop by to sample and choose a bottle for dinner. One of our favourites is their excellent Vin Santo. Brolio Castle This impressive castle, which has been producing wine since the mid 12th century, was once the home of the “Iron Baron” Bettino Ricasoli who formulated the recipe for the modern-day Chianti. Stop by the trattoria in San Regolo “Il Carlino d’Oro” for a bite pre- or post-tasting. CHIANTI KEY INFORMATION RESTAURANTS Chianti is an area of about 300 square kilometres of pure Tuscany, right in the centre between Siena and Florence. Entirely hilly, it varies in aspect from the severe and harsh to the sweet and soft, covered in serried rows of vines, green forests or stony meadowland with olive groves and sparse oak trees. The light is astounding - no view ever seems to be the same from one hour to the next. On clear days you can seemingly see forever; on misty days the light filters the colours and the objects as though through a smoky silk veil, and one seems to be living in a Renaissance painting. RISTORANTE BADIA A COLTIBUONO In the former stables of a Benedictine Abbey, the organic ingredients, homemade pasta and an excellent wine make dining here a meditation. Gaiole in Chianti. Tel 0577 749031 CANTINETTA DEL NONNO An authentic trattoria with delicious favourites within the walls of the old town. Via IV Novembre, 18 – San Casciano Val di Pesa. Tel 055 820570 C’ERA UNA VOLTA Really excellent food and wines and superb views of the Florence end of Chianti, with some tables outside on a terrace as well. Via Certaldese 9/11 – Lucardo, Montespertoli. Tel 0571 669162 The countryside is dotted with castles: some are still occupied by the noble families whose ancestors built them in the feudal middle ages; others - ruined, perhaps in battle centuries ago, and abandoned - still dominate their hilltops with proud arrogance. There are numerous hill towns and hamlets, villas and farmhouses, guarded by sentinel cypresses, by people who may make their living tending the vineyards, or by those who have retired to beautiful old houses. DRIVING THROUGH CHIANTI The pleasure of roaming the Chianti is discovering great wineries or crenellated castles; you can explore them on this meandering circuit that heads northwest out of Siena on the Chiantigiana (SS 222). Many of these villages merit a stop and almost everywhere you will ﬁnd a good place to sample the wine or have a bite to go with it. Drive towards Quercegrossa, home town of the great Sienese sculptor Jacopo della Quercia and San Leonino in Conio, with its beautiful Romanesque parish church. You will eventually come to Castellina in Chianti; its Etruscan origins and aristocratic medieval history can still seen in the patrician homes and ancient Rocca fortress commissioned by Lorenzo de’ Medici to protect the city. Head towards Poggibonsi and then north past the fortiﬁed walls of Barberino Val d’Elsa and San Casciano in Val di Pesa. East will take you towards Greve, and then Radda in Chianti, a village of vineyards and the unoﬃcial capital of the Chianti. The wealth of Radda is seen in its many 15th & 16th century palaces that rise amid the medieval buildings. Among the many castles be sure to visit the impressive Castello di Brolio. This was the home of the “Iron Baron” Bettino Ricasoli, who formulated the recipe for modern-day Chianti, now somewhat modiﬁed to ﬁt the criteria that the DOC label guarantees. Continuing to wind through the woodlands surrounding the castle, you will come to the very sweet village of San Gusmè, which looks on to an amphitheatre of vineyards, and then to Castelnuovo Beradenga, at the edge of Chianti Classico territory. Of note is the elegant Villa Chigi Saracini, with its harmonious Italian garden, commissioned by the Count who founded Siena’s Accedemia Chigiana, one of Italy’s foremost musical institutions. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com ANTICA OSTERIA LA LEGGENDA DEI FRATI Excellent food in a delightful atmosphere, with a large pergola for eating outside. Abbadia a Isola Monteriggioni Tel 0577 301222 EVENTS Festa Medievale - Monteriggioni 1st and 2nd weekends of July Festa del Nocciolo - Panzano in Chianti. 14 August Chianti Classico Wine Festival Greve in Chianti. 6-9 September 2012 FIA Historic car Hill Climb Championship - Molino di Quercegrossa. 28–30 Sept 2012 MARKET DAYS S. Casciano val di Pesa – Monday a.m. Gaiole in Chianti – 2nd Monday of each month Radda in Chianti –4th Monday of every month p.m. Greve, Castellina in Chianti & Barberino Val D'Elsa: Saturday a.m. 57 Casolare Greve, Chianti Rambling 16th century Chianti farmhouse CASOLARE Entire estate accommodates 22 in three stylish apartments. Shared swimming pool, 6x15 m., Private eating areas. Bar, restaurants, shopping and bus stop Greve 4.5km., Chianti villages Panzano 10km, San Casciano 15km., Florence 24km, San Gimignano 30km, Siena 39 km. 302 GIALLA Sleeps 6 2 double, 1 twin bedroom, 2 bathrooms, 1 ensuite shower room. 303 AZZURRA Sleeps 8 3 double, 1 twin bedroom, 2 bathrooms, 1 ensuite shower room. 304 ARANCIO Sleeps 8 1 double, 1 twin, 2 twin or double bedrooms, 1 ensuite shower room, 2 bathrooms, 1 of which is ensuite. Though the area and the wine known as Chianti is much beloved by the modern traveler, this is a land that has been producing for centuries. Casolare is one of the ancient farm buildings that, like Topsy, just grew, and grew until it became the sprawling farmhouse whose contours extend long and jut up and outward. Its present owners took it in gentle hand and with a joyful sense of color and generous hospitality have transformed it into three large houses, all under the same roof, but individual in style and each with its own view of the ancient landscape that surrounds it. Country living in these houses is not rustic. The owners have preserved the terracotta floors and chestnut beamed ceilings and let an ancient layout rule the day, yet they have successfully mixed the antique furniture with bold warm colors, attractive fabrics and all the good-quality Map: page 56, ref A3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œThe house was stunning, had everything we could possibly need and was incredibly clean. The family all want to return! â€? 58 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com appliances a modern cook would want. Individual houses take their names from the colors that grace the walls - the golden yellow of Gialla, the patrician blue of Azzurra and the soft glowing orange of Arancio. All of the houses have their own outdoor eating areas, furnished with tables, umbrellas, and divans and located in separate parts of the property, but they share the large pool behind the house with its wide furnished surround and lovely views of the olive groves and wooded hillside opposite. While the houses themselves make you feel well looked GIALLA AZZURRA ARANCIO A wide archway at the end of the long facade leads to a large well-equipped country kitchen with a dining table for 12 and French doors opening onto a wide furnished terrace that looks onto the olive and cypress trees on the opposite hillside. The terrace is also accessed from the living room, whose bright comfortable furniture and wall-to-wall windows make it a wonderful place to gather. A hallway off the living room leads to two large double bedrooms, one with access to the front garden, two bathrooms and, at the end of the hall a twin bedroom with an ensuite shower room. The entrance to the large rear wing of the farmhouse is from the back garden into a cosy living room with bright sofas, wide armchairs and a corner fireplace. This is a house of steps - a few lead up to a kitchen with a table for 8 and the door (normally locked) that connects to Gialla when required. A short staircase leads off the living room and up various levels to the sleeping quarters, three large bedrooms that share two bathrooms and a twin bedroom with an ensuite shower room. Guests of this house have a private outdoor eating area in the back garden and divans and hammocks under the pine trees that become their open-air sitting room The largest of the houses has two entrances one from the charming front terrace with bright tile-covered tables overlooking the nearby vineyard and with handy access to the deceptively small, but well-equipped kitchen, and another directly into the large living room, whose warm colors and comfortable furnishings make your feel instantly at home. To one side of the living area is a dining room with a table for 8; to another, a wide staircase leading upstairs. On this floor is another large sitting room with a fireplace and doors off to the bedrooms - one twin bedroom with an ensuite shower room, a large double with ensuite bathroom that also has a shower, and two twin or double bedrooms that share a bathroom. after, a charming caretaker, who lives in a small building on the property, is also on hand to help with any special requests. Although the three houses function very well as private accommodation, Gialla and Azzurra can be rented together and interconnected, and should the whole property be taken by a group there is plenty of space for everyone to be together. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 59 Lornano Chianti Classico Three houses on renowned Chianti wine estate, with wonderful views LORNANO Three houses can be booked together, accommodating a total of 15 Shared swimming pool, 9x18 m., Private outdoor eating areas. Computer with fast internet available in clubhouse. Village with bus stop, restaurant, church Bar, supermarket and trattoria at Badesse 1km, Monteriggioni 10 mins, Siena 12 kms. Castellina-in-Chianti 11kms, Florence 40 mins. 146 SANGIOVESE Sleeps 6 1 double with en suite shower room, 2 twin bedrooms, 1 bathroom, ceiling fans. 147 CANAIOLO Sleeps 5 1 double, 1 twin, 1 single bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 shower room. 148 MALVASIA Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, 2 shower rooms. The ancient, aristocratic winery in the little village of Lornano is on an historic crossroads of ancient lanes leading to the most wonderful parts of Chianti, to Monteriggioni and to Siena, alongside centuries of history. With an excellent restaurant on one side, and a IX century Romanic church across the road, Lornano wears its antiquity with quiet confidence. The Chianti Classico produced here is one of the very best wines in Tuscany, and the same might be claimed of the whole estate where the same dedication to quality has been given to the restoration of three houses. The houses are arranged round the old threshing floor, like the piazza of an old hamlet and all have loads of space and good quality Tuscan furniture. The large pool, about 50 metres beyond the houses, has a wide, furnished surround and shares in the beautiful views of the Chianti countryside, framed with flowers, herbs and shrubs attracting a myriad of butterflies. The Map: page 56, ref C2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œIf you want to completely chill out and relax the villa is situated in the idyllic hamlet of Lornano set in some of the most stunning countryside Tuscany has to offer â€œ 60 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com owners at the villa have their own, private parts of the grounds and parklands, and may occasionally use the pool. Guests have their own parking space and entrance, separate from the owners' villa. While you enjoy your holiday, 100 meters away exquisite wines are slowly moving and maturing in oak casks in the ancient cellars below the villa, lovingly tended just as they have been for centuries past. A visit to the cellars is a wonderful way of cooling off, for the natural temperature there varies between 12 degrees in winter and 18 SANGIOVESE CANAIOLO MALVASIA Sangiovese has its own private, furnished lawned area beyond and just below the side of the piazza, with a pergola for shade. The accommodation is on the first floor, reached by an external, stone staircase. The large, very tall ceilinged sitting room has a Tuscan fireplace and comfortable sofa. There is a farmhouse kitchen with a marble table and old recipes framed round the corner seating. The double bedroom has a shower room en suite and the two spacious twin bedrooms share a large bathroom. On the ground floor are storerooms. Tall front doors open from the piazza into a lovely, high ceilinged entry. Three steps up to the right is the dining/kitchen with an open fireplace, an expandable table, a door to the courtyard and stairs leading to the first floor, which has a bathroom, a twin bedroom, and a double bedroom with a private, small terrace looking onto the owners' garden. From the main entrance hall stairs go down to a sitting room off of which are a shower room and a simple single bedroom. From both the bedroom and the sitting room there are doors to a private furnished patio and lawn. The big entrance doors of this ex-barn open onto a large living room with a fireplace, sofa and comfortable furniture. Huge glazed panels front the lovely brick pattern barn windows. Metal supports and a metal staircase compliment the ancient brick and stone work. Wide steel stairs lead to the top floor, with a shower room, a twin bedroom, and a bedroom with an antique, double bed. Wide, travertine stairs lead down from the sitting room to a passageway with the kitchen on one side, and a door to wide, furnished patio, and on the other side a store room and shower room. degrees in the high summer, all brought about by the construction of the ancient cellars themselves. Touring from Lornano is a constant delight along picturesque roads. These three houses are sufficiently private for separate renting, while if taken by a group, there is plenty of space for everyone to meet together. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 61 Gatto Monteriggioni A large apartment in a country house near Monteriggioni Sitting easily in the beautiful countryside not far from Siena, Gatto is a large ground floor apartment in a classic stone farmhouse that has been lovingly restored, conserving all the features that give it its special character. The apartment is part of the permanent home of a Sienese doctor and his family and has received the same care and attention to quality that they have given to their own home. 38 GATTO Sleeps 4 2 double bedrooms, sofa bed, 1 bathroom, 1 shower room., Swimming pool, 8x15 m., shared, Private furnished terrace. Shops at Badesse 1.5km., Restaurants at Monteriggioni 5 mins & Badia a Isola 7 kms., Siena 15 mins, Florence 45 mins. Map: page 56, ref C2 furnished terrace. There is another small apartment for 2 on the grounds (Porcile, Ref. 37), which can be rented with Gatto when required. Surrounded by venerable oaks, this hilly, fertile countryside is a wonderful background for a holiday in Tuscany. The swimming pool, set a little way below the house, has an infinity edge seeming to run into the woods. The main entrance, from the farmhouse courtyard, leads into the large living room. Two huge, ancient brick arches span this room, which has a large fireplace, comfortable Tuscan furniture and a kitchen/dining area. A door off one end of the sitting room leads to a double bedroom with ensuite shower room. At the other end is another double bedroom with a travertineclad bathroom. From here a door leads to a private The house is under 2 kms from the Via Cassia for easy access to Siena and Florence, or you could follow the old Francigena route for 20 kms or so over the hills to Siena on foot, bicycle or horseback. Or sample the restaurants in Monteriggioni, the tiny, circular hill town, famous for the fourteen towers that rise from its walls. The resident owners of this lovely farmhouse, with their two young children and pets, are helpful and friendly and take great care in looking after their guests. Nicolò Barberino Val d'Elsa, Chianti A charming apartment in a Chianti hill village This elegant house is located in the charming hill village of Barberino, equidistant from Siena and Florence and famous for its Chianti wine and cold-pressed olive oil, but most of all for the beautifully preserved mediaeval centre approached through an ancient gate. Nicolo, just inside the gate, is full of fascinating character, and its fine antique furniture and paintings bestow an air of bygone elegance. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The pool has to be one of the nicest I have ever enjoyed spending time lazing next to! “ 43 NICOLÒ Sleeps 4 - 5 2 twin and 1 single bedroom, 3 bathrooms., Balcony, spiral staircase to furnished garden. Friday to Friday rental. teps from restaurants & owner's enoteca in village., Swimming and Tennis at Sambuca 15 mins., San Gimignano 15 km, Florence & Siena, 35 km, with frequent bus service to both. Map: page 56, ref A2 The owners' personal enoteca in the village offers a fascinating and informative opportunity to taste and purchase wines and olive oils from the family's estates in Chianti and other prestigious wine producing areas in Italy. Laid out on three floors, entrance is from the street into the reception hall and then into the elegant sitting room with a fireplace and comfortable sofas. A glazed door opens onto a furnished balcony with a spiral staircase down to the garden. There is a drawing room with a single bed, a dining room, a kitchen and a small bathroom on this floor. The upper floors have two twin bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom. Local village people are friendly and hospitable and living here one can enjoy taking part, even as a spectator, in the active life of a small hill village. There is a market on Saturdays and there are shops, a restaurant, a bank and several bars. Except for a welcome increase in prosperity, nothing seems to have changed over the centuries. That group of pensioners must have stayed gossiping there for ever in the same way and the passeggiata in the evening sunlight can never conceivably have been interrupted. 62 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Having a balcony patio above tree level was a wonderful experience, especially in the evening when we'd have a drink and relax before going out. “ Brogino Passignano, Chianti A particularly lovely country house in a lyrical setting in Chianti Brogino is a large country house in Chianti, its already lyrical setting enhanced by the spectacular medieval Abbey - Badia di Passignano - which faces it across vine and olive clothed hills. A large rectangular building made of Chianti stone, even its little details in its large and airy rooms are a pleasure to look at. The English owners, a painter and a writer, restored much of the house themselves and their care shows in the beautiful furnishings. Nothing has been over-restored, so that, while having every modern comfort, it feels as if little has changed over the centuries. Beyond the entrance hall on the ground floor are a study with fireplace, a shower room, a large farmhouse kitchen/ dining-room with fireplace, and a large reception room with Steinway B 7-foot grand piano. From this room doors lead outside to a covered furnished terrace offering an extremely picturesque outside dining area. On the first floor: a comfortable sitting-room with fireplace, one shower room and two bathrooms, one double bedroom, and three twin/double bedrooms. The sensitively planted garden merges imperceptibly into the olive groves beyond; nearby, the swimming pool with a big diving rock is landscaped into the olive grove below. Brogino is a very special house, exuding an atmosphere of idyllic days in an exceptionally beautiful setting. Surrounded by flowers and peace it is a perfect retreat to relax into and enjoy the heady pleasures of Chianti after exploring the unending delights of Tuscany. 47 BROGINO Sleeps 8 - 10 1 double, 3 twin, 2 shower rooms, 3 bathrooms. Swimming pool, 6 x 12 m., WiFi internet, Grand piano. Friday to Friday rental. Tennis, restaurant and shops at Sambuca 5 mins, Florence 30 mins, Siena 45 mins. Riding nearby. Map: page 56, ref A2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œFrom the moment we arrived, Brogino felt like a relaxing and comfortable home in which we were welcome guests â€œ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 63 Borgo di Stomennano Monteriggioni, Siena A sumptuous, historic villa and two very special farmhouses in a private estate BORGO DI STOMENNANO Private Hamlet accommodating up to 36. Extensive private gardens in a 200 hectare estate. Ideal wedding venue. Monteriggioni, walled castle with bars, restaurants 1 km., Tennis and riding nearby, 3 golf courses under an hour. Siena 10 mins, San Gimignano 35 mins, Florence 45 mins. 177 VILLA STOMENNANO Sleeps 6 - 8 3 double, 1 twin, 2 bathrooms, 2 shower rooms, 2 WCs. Billiard room, library, ballroom, several sitting rooms, frescoed dining r oom. 16th and 17th century furniture and piano. WiFi internet A stunning avenue of cypresses leads to the summit of a Chianti hill and the impressive entrance to Borgo di Stomennano, a 200 hectare estate of vineyards, olive groves and woodlands which has been owned by the same family for over 200 years. The exceptionally beautiful Villa, which sleeps 8 but can dine 22, is connected to an equally attractive building that houses the family's wine cellars. This enormous granary whose arched rooms can host a wedding banquet or corporate function for 300. The charming and knowledgeable owners who speak excellent English live in an independent apartment on the second floor of the villa, They are very welcoming and helpful, doing all possible to ensure that your stay is a once in a lifetime experience. 178 TINAIONE VILLA STOMENNANO 179 & 180 VOLTA A & B Staying in this elegant villa is something that dreams are made of. From the garden, entrance is into a formal foyer, billiard room, kitchen, Sleeps 12 3 double, 3 twin bedrooms, 3 shower rooms. Sleeps 8 & 4 Volta A: 1 twin and 3 double bedrooms, 3 shower rooms, Living room, dining room for 12, large kitchen. Volta B: 1 twin, 1 four-poster double, 1 bathroom, kitchenliving room. 182 CORTILE Sleeps 4 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, 1 bathroom. Map: page 56, ref C2 Villa Stomennano 64 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com Volta A frescoed drawing room and salon decorated with golden Sienese marble. A grand staircase leads to the upper floor with its formal dining room with sumptuous chandelier and to the resplendent bedrooms suites, each dressed with luxurious fabrics and a history all its own. On the same floor are a library and a final simpler twin bedroom. VOLTA A & B Outside the walls of the borgo, the upper story of a large stone farmhouse provides two apartments; the apartments have private dining areas and barbecues, yet share the beautiful loggia, which makes the two Volta apartments ideal for groups of friends. Guests in this farmhouse share the large pool across the lawn and generous terrace with visitors in Tinaione. Tinaione TINAIONE This spacious home is in the former cantina of the estate and has been gently converted to include a large living area, a separate dining room, a large country-style kitchen, and ﬁve spacious bedrooms on the upper ﬂoor as well as a twin bedroom under the eaves. Villa Stomennano bedroom WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY Villa Stomennano pool CORTILE Cortile On the ground ﬂoor of the farmhouse that hosts the Volta apartments, accommodation includes a kitchen/dining room whose warm colour speaks of hospitality and Tuscan tradition, two bedrooms dressed with lovely fabrics, a charming bathroom and a living area that opens to the private furnished courtyard form which Cortile gets its name. “We were able to treat this beautiful old and magnificent house as our home for the week . The owners were delightful, no wish was too much “ A Tuscan Wedding If you have been dreaming of a Tuscan wedding, we have some wonderful locations you might like to consider, properties with sweet chapels, large lawns and plenty of room for your guests. Whether you prefer an ancient castle, a gracious villa, or a charming country home, we can help you organize everything from food to flowers, from music to hairdos. Have a look at some of the properties we’ve indicated in the index and begin to dream. Then call your local agent and find out how we can help you turn your dream into reality. Eremo Montestigliano Stommennano Villa Corsano Banquet Stomennano Ceremony Montestigliano Villa Strega Chapel For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 65 Pievina Greve in Chianti A former country church now a comfortable home in the Chianti 307 PIEVINA Sleeps 8 4 double bedrooms, 3 shower rooms, Swimming pool, 7x15 m. Bar, restaurants, shopping, bike rental in Greve 3 km, Panzano 10 km, San Casciano 15 km, Florence 22 km, San Gimignano 30 km, Siena 39 km. Map: page 56, ref A3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The home was in a beautiful location with 360° Tuscan hill views.” What now is a comfortable house just minutes from the Chianti town of Greve was once a medieval country church, traces of which can still be seen in the small niche over the entry and in the wide base that no doubt supported a much taller structure than what you see today. The present owners have converted what the centuries carried forward into a cheerful home set in a large garden that is perfect for a family of friends who wish to go exploring. The main entrance leads into the oldest part of the house: a comfortable living room whose french doors look out to the furnished pergola overlooking the large oval pool. A dining area between the living room and the kitchen also has doors to a furnished terrace and a nearby barbecue. In the kitchen, in addition to the modern appliances, is the original bread oven used centuries ago by the parish priest and still standing ready to serve. One staircase beyond the kitchen leads down to a double bedroom with a large ensuite shower room and independent access to the outdoors; another set of stairs leads 66 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com up to three double bedrooms and two shower rooms. All rooms are furnished with good beds and simple country furniture. With its central position between Florence and Siena, Greve was historically an important market town, and even today its large triangular Piazza del Mercato is an active gathering place for tourist and local alike. What better starting place for wine touring than from this heart of the Chianti region, knowing all the while that you are not that far from the poolside pleasures of home. Mora Radda in Chianti A lovingly restored farmhouse in the Chianti hills just right for a family This authentic Tuscan stone farmhouse set in the middle of 45 acres of olive groves and Holm oak woods is now a wonderful place for any family to relax and enjoy its panoramic views. It does have a certain age to it - the kitchen dates back to the 13th century - yet having been restored with comfort in mind, it is now quite ready to welcome the modern traveler. Entrance is into the large kitchen with a fireplace and a dining table for 8; walnut cupboards and a long granite countertop house a well equipped kitchen. Doors off both ends of the kitchen lead to a double bedroom, with a corner staircase down to a large en-suite bathroom and, up a short staircase, to a large twin bedroom. Up another few steps from the kitchen is a hallway off which is a double bedroom, a large shower room and the sitting room that has a door leading to the side garden and the gazebo overlooking the pool. All rooms have comfortable country furniture, beamed ceilings and the thick stone walls that do a great job of keeping the house cool in the summer. One senses the obvious joy and thought the owners put into what the house and the land had to offer. They placed the gazebo and the pool, in the perfect place to enjoy the view, and built paths down to the fresh natural spring pond and up to the furnished shepherd's hut that crowns the highest olive grove. And they discovered all the best places in nearby Chianti villages and have left notes so that you might discover them as well. Occasionally they may be in residence in a separate cottage that does not overlook the house. 306 MORA Sleeps 6 1 double, 2 twin bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 shower room. Swimming pool, 6x12 m. At owners' request: No smoking please in the house. Bar, restaurants, shopping, bike rental in Radda 4.5 km. Chianti villages: Vagliagli 7 km, Castellina 14 km, Panzano 19 km, Greve 21 km. Siena 18 km. Florence 50 km. Map: page 56, ref B3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œIf you want a peaceful, private, comfortable retreat that is still close to town, this is it.â€œ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 67 Villa Oliveto San Casciano Val di Pesa, Chianti A villa set in a Chianti olive grove 286 VILLA OLIVETO Sleeps 14 Shared pool, 5x10 m., private outdoor eating areas. Bar and basic shop S. Cristina in Salivolpe 200 m., Restaurants and supermarkets in Tavernelle and San Casciano within 10 km., Florence 30 km, Siena 56 km. Map: page 56, ref A2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY A former 12th century monastery, this large hilltop property is now a beautiful place to stay in the hills of Chianti. Surrounded by carefully tended gardens and extensive olive groves, the house is coloured a Tuscan deep ochre that contrasts beautifully with the green of the landscape. Villa Oliveto consists of two apartments taken together, on the ground and first floors. The ground floor of the Villa is accessed from a small open courtyard; the living area, with a corner fireplace and doors to an outdoor covered eating area, is adjacent to the dining area and handy kitchen. Four bedrooms provide accommodation off the hallway that opens to the front piazza The 1st floor of Villa Oliveto has a living/dining area looking out to the pool. Off the living room is a kitchen with a country fireplace handy for indoor grilling, and on the same floor, three double/twin bedrooms, all with lovely views. “The place was absolutely wonderful. It looked better than in the photos. The position of the pool was perfect. “ 68 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com Having two separate living rooms and kitchens makes this property ideal for families who wish to holiday together but might need to also have some private space. The ground floor will be the main living area for all, with its beautiful outdoor eating space and great living area. That it is only 30 km. from Florence makes this property an ideal location for Tuscan exploration – you are surrounded by the hills and vineyards of Chianti, Siena is under an hour away, as are San Gimignano, Florence and Greve in Chianti. Castellaccio San Donato in Poggio, Chianti A beautifully renovated stone house in the heart of the Chianti Nestled in one of nature's amphitheatres in the Chianti, Castellaccio is surrounded by gently rising hills of green. Inspired perhaps by the lay of the land and certainly assisted by gifted gardeners, its owners have created a property that stretches languidly over many levels. With accommodation in the main house, a spacious barn and a charming lemon house overlooking the pool, this is an excellent place for a group of friends or a multi-generational family to ﬁnd space for joyous gathering or tranquil retreat. Entrance from the ﬂagstone terrace is, as is natural in this part of the world, into its eat-in kitchen. Nearby is a dining room with a table for 10, off which is a small oﬃce with a single bed and a corridor, providing access to the upper ﬂoor bedrooms, a shower room and a large living room. The furnished inner courtyard, has an external staircase to three bedrooms and two bathrooms. In the entryway of the stone barn across the terrace is an Arabian-style double bed and a shower room, while a few steps down is an enormous sitting room with a tall stone ﬁreplace and generous sofas. Wide French doors lead out to a patio whose travertine table and nearby barbecue suggest an ideal place for a summer meal. Steps away is a gate to a long arboured walkway whose sides and hanging vines spill over with seasonal colour and perfume, and which leads to a tennis court. In the summer months further accommodation is available in the curtained limonaia, which overlooks the pool. 144 CASTELLACCIO Sleeps 8 - 9 2 double, 2 double/twin bedrooms, 1 single, 2 bathrooms with separate showers, 2 shower rooms., WiFi internet. Swimming pool, 5x15 m. Friday to Friday rental. Bar, restaurants, shopping San Donato in Poggio 5km., Chianti villages Panzano 8km, Greve in Chianti 15km, San Casciano and Radda in Chianti 20km., Florence 42km, San Gimignano 32km, Siena 50 km. Map: page 56, ref B3 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 69 Roseto Panzano in Chianti Beautiful stone farmhouse and barn in the heart of Chianti 238 & 239 ROSETO Sleeps 12 or 14 Main house: 1 twin, 5 double bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 shower rooms, 2 kitchens, 3 living rooms. Barn: 1 living room/double bedroom, 1 shower room, kitchen. Swimming pool 12 x 6 m, Computer and WiFi. Panzano village with all services 2.5 km., Greve 15 mins, Siena 30 mins, Florence 40 mins. Map: page 56, ref A3 Roseto is a 13th century farmhouse with a small tower and a barn, in the middle of the Chianti Classico area, mid-way between Florence and Siena. On a hill in 15 hectares of its own fenced land, there are beautiful panoramic views of vineyards and olive groves with forest-clad hills in the background. Lovingly restored and with beautifully kept gardens, this is very much a family home, tastefully decorated and furnished with family antiques. An outer staircase leads up to a sitting room off which are two double bedrooms and a bathroom and through an archway, a large kitchen. Also on this floor are two further sitting rooms off which are a two double bedrooms, one with a bathroom, the other with a shower room. An open tread wooden staircase from the middle sitting room leads to the tower with a twin bedroom and a shower room ensuite. On the lower level of the large farmhouse are a double bedroom with a large bathroom with shower, another kitchen with open fireplace, a large dining are and a sitting room with fireplace. For larger groups WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œThe villa was lovely and the staff so very kind and helpful.â€œ 70 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com there is also converted barn with a 50sq m. living room with a double four-poster bed hidden by a low wall, a kitchen and a shower room. There are ample, well furnished places for eating and sunbathing, both around the house and around the swimming pool. The local village of Panzano is noted for its wines, olive oil, and a famous butcher. The multi-lingual custodians not only look after the house and grounds, but can provide extra cleaning and cooking and organise tours, taxis and many other useful extras to make your holiday extra special. Dimora Barberino Val d'Elsa, Chianti, Florence An ecologically-sensitive house in an olive grove in the Chianti In this sprawling ground-level house, whose every room opens onto the outside, you will never doubt that you are in the heart of Tuscany. Terracotta bricks and chestnut ceiling beams mix well with stylish colors and attractive fabrics of modern Italy and from every window there is the classic panorama of an ancient countryside. Created to conserve energy without sacrificing comfort, this is an excellent place for family or friends to gather. An inner corner entry leads to a hallway to the left off which is access to a bathroom, a shower room and two front bedrooms, a twin and a double, whose arched French doors lead out to the patio. To the right of the entry is a large sitting room, whose comfortable sofas make it a natural place to gather. The sitting room opens to beautiful views off the furnished back terrace and quite handily to the excellent kitchen, with a dining table for 12. A hallway off the sitting room leads to a double bedroom with ensuite bathroom with extra shower and a twin bedroom, with ensuite shower room. Both of these rooms have doors to the side garden and the swimming pool beyond. Two other bedrooms, each with ensuite shower or bath/shower rooms, have independent access from the front of the house. The design of the house and its gardens ensure that one can easily find a quiet space, be it on one of the terraces, under the shade looking onto the swimming pool, or near the barbecue when outdoor dining is the plan for the evening. Yet a short drive will bring you to good restaurants, ancient churches, and easy access to roads to leading to the medieval and renaissance towns that make this region famous. 274 DIMORA Sleeps 10 3 twin and 3 double bedrooms, 3 shower rooms (2 ensuite), 3 bathrooms with tub and shower (2 ensuite)., Swimming pool, 6x12 m, with children’s pool/Jacuzzi, WiFi. Restaurant in walking distance at Sant Appiano., Shops and restaurants in Barberino 5 minutes., Poggibonsi 10 min, San Gimignano 20 min, Siena and Florence 1⁄2 hr, Pisa 1 hr. Owner's own enoteca in village for wine and oil tasting. Map: page 56, ref B2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “We had a wonderful time and everyone loved the villa. The immediate area is stunning.“ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 71 Piaggione Monteriggioni, Siena A modernist architect-designed house set in the Tuscan hills 195 PIAGGIONE Sleeps 10 - 11 1 twin, 3 double bedrooms, 1 double bedroom suite with extra single bed, 4 Bathrooms, 3 with bath & separate shower. Extra WC. Shops and restaurants 10 mins drive, Colle Val d'Elsa 8 kms. Monteriggioni 10 mins, Siena 20 mins, Florence 45 mins. Map: page 56, ref C2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY This prestigious modernist house was designed in a manner reminiscent of Richard Neutra for the Italian-American owner 40 years ago. The house faces west and enjoys unforgettable sunsets. The impression one has of the house from the outside, with its sharp long shapes intersected with stone columns, and glass, belies the comfort and pleasure of the interior, which is furnished with Tuscan antiques. On two floors of about 600 m2, the house has huge floor to ceiling sliding windows. The ground floor has a large, open plan entrance, living room, dining room and study. There is a separate breakfast room, a kitchen, a WC, a pantry and laundry room. An open staircase leads to a sitting room/library, with the bedrooms leading off a horseshoe shaped corridor. The master double bedroom suite has a single bed in the dressing room and a bathroom with separate shower stall. This suite has a wide terrace also leading to a twin bedroom with en suite bathroom and separate shower stall. A third double bedroom shares a We were there 2 weeks and it went way too fast. We would love to go back!!â€œ 72 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com bathroom with a twin bedroom. The fifth double/twin bedroom has its own bathroom. The caretakers live in a separate flat next to the garage, which connects to the house. The swimming pool has beautiful views over vineyards. The bi-lingual owners are very helpful and knowledgeable and can organise tours and excursions, cook exquisite meals and arrange innumerable things to make your holiday an unforgettable pleasure. Colombaia Barberino Val d’Elsa, Florence A classic Tuscan farmhouse set amongst vineyards A beautiful, typical Tuscan farmhouse, in 300 hectares of vineyards and olive groves, Colombaia is a few yards from a country road near the medieval hill town of Barberino Val d'Elsa in classic Chianti. The proportions of this solid stone house display that innate aesthetic sensibility which has fascinated generations of worshipers of Tuscany and give ample space to multi-generational family reunions. Downstairs this beautiful villa has a double length salon, an eat-in kitchen and a formal dining room; there is also a twin bedroom with shower room. Upstairs there are two sitting rooms, six bedrooms, one shower room and three bathrooms, with a Jacuzzi in the Master suite. Views from here range over the Chianti hills towards San Gimignano. A steep wooden ladder staircase leads from the sitting room to the dovecote, with a double bed and an ensuite shower room. An additional suite of rooms is accessed from the side of the main house and includes a sitting room with a large Tuscan fireplace and a double and a single bedroom upstairs which share a large bathroom. Beyond the old threshing floor patio is a pool with wonderful views, a barbecue and furnished pergola, all suited to relaxed outdoor entertainment. This lovely house, which has belonged to the same aristocratic family for generations, is furnished with beautiful heirloom antiques, and has all the ingredients for both relaxed family fun and formal entertaining. 135 COLOMBAIA Sleeps 17 5 double bedrooms, 3 twin bedrooms, 1 single bedroom, 4 bathrooms, 1 of which with separate shower + 3 shower rooms. Extra kitchen and dining facilities. WiFi internet. Shops and restaurants in Barberino 1 km, Florence, San Gimignano & Siena 30 min each, Pisa 1 hr. Frequent bus service to Florence. Map: page 56, ref B1 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The views were spectacular, you could see for miles and miles in all directions... true Tuscany!” For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 73 2 1 San Galgano Nights The San Galgano Abbey, after a 400 yr run of medieval importance, became the splendid ruin it is today. Though roofs and frescos are missing, its elegant structure is wondrous and its acoustics are such that concerts and opera performances are held there through the summer. An unforgettable venue. Ponte della Pia This graceful medieval bridge is named after the Sienese noblewoman Pia de’Tolomei who was killed unjustly by her husband and who, according to legend, still walks in white on the bridge in moonless nights. Modern travelers who cross the bridge will arrive at the ruins of the hermitage of Santa Lucia. 1 Treno Natura One way to see the incredible Crete Senese, the rolling clay hills outside Siena, is to take the round trip Treno Natura from Siena, following the 19th century line. Aboard an old-fashioned passenger or a steam train venture out to the country at a slower place. 2 Olive Harvest Every place in Italy thinks their olive oil is the best. At the Montestigliano farm estate the same holds true, but in November you can participate in the harvest and can arrange oil tastings at any time of the year. Nothing like a bruschetta drizzled with golden-green oil. 3 4 54 A 4 3 86 15 Toiano 34 185 7 5 6 11 8 3 B 2 53 Poggiarello 4 Montestigliano C 247 85 Campalfi 1 6 5 Piazza Strolling Recognized as one of Italy’s most beautiful piazzas, its clamshell form both captures the eyes and makes one loathe to leave. But with restaurants and gelaterias at hand why would one want to. It is here, on a tufo-laid track around its brick center, that the famous Palio is run. Battle of Montaperti Not all Palio visitors know that one reason for the celebration dates back to 1260 and Siena’s victory over their rival Florence. On a small hill southeast of the city, a small pyramid commemorates a battle that “made the Arbia River run red” (Dante), but that ensured Siena’s prominence for yet a few years. 74 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 7 Palio di Siena On 2 July and 16 August Siena’s neighbourhoods, or contradas, show their colours. With their own flags, churches and museums full of Palio banners won, contrada members talk only of the coming race. Visitors can also attend in the open-air dinners held throughout the city the eve of the race. 8 Country churches One of the delights of wandering the back roads around Siena is coming across country churches such as the beautiful Romanesque Pieve di San Giovanni Battista a Ponte allo Spino. With barrel vaults, carved capitals and bifora pierced bell tower, happily many such churches are often open for summer concerts. SIENA KEY INFORMATION Although relatively small with 62.000 inhabitants, Siena is architecturally and artistically one of Italy's richest cities. There is something particularly enchanting about its planning; almost intact walls enclose narrow streets which climb up and down its hills and curve unexpectedly into lively piazzas. VECCHIO TINAIO A pizzeria and restaurant offering great variety, including fresh fish. Generous antipasto buffet on the weekends almost makes a meal in itself. Via del Ambulatorio, 1 - Brenna Tel: 0577 3422121 Despite its medieval austerity Siena has a softness all its own, perhaps due to the particular colour of its bricks made from the red-brown clay of the surrounding hills. Siena shows to perfection the dual nature of medieval times: the unreachable heavenliness of the Cathedral dwarfs humanity, while the civic planning is in perfect human scale. Never as crowded or as noisy as Florence, it has a relaxed, courteous atmosphere and you can walk around perfectly safely at midnight. During the day you can admire the museums and churches, overflowing with works by such masters as Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers, Il Vecchietta, Simone Martini and Sassetta. Siena is very much a living city, and its proud inhabitants are artistic and musical. The world-renowned Chigiana music college organizes master-classes, and numerous concerts are held throughout the year at which you can hear international performers in beautiful settings such as San Galgano. Perhaps Siena is most famous for the Palio, a bareback horse race run around the beautiful shellshaped square, the Campo. But this is more that a horse race: it is the culmination of year-round preparations for a tradition which has never faded, and which the Sienese take very seriously. A series of colourful and breathtaking medieval spectacles start four days before each race, and visitors often find their way to the banquets held in all the contradas the night before the race. The event is still heartfelt by the Sienese and it is not advisable to take small children to see the event from the centre of the Piazza. The special harmony of architecture, colour and BARS/RESTAURANTS the character of the people, placed in such wonderful countryside, makes Siena many peoples' favourite city. AROUND SIENA Torri, Stigliano, Brenna and Orgia form a line of villages on the edge of a large forested area, cut by the meandering river Merse. These Montagnola hills are covered with the Mediterranean mix of chestnuts, oak trees, and pines that make the woods a wonderful place to hunt porcini mushrooms or gather chestnuts for the fire. To the north Siena is surrounded by a semi-circle of forested hills offering beautiful walks and bike rides, as well as hidden castles, old mills and small villages. A visit to the Museo del Bosco in Orgia is well worthwhile. This small museum with charcoal makers, old tools and great photos, shows how the woods were once used. The museum is linked to a network of walks through the forest, with information points along the way to indicate former sites of charcoal burning, pig farming, sustainable wood cutting and even iron mining. If you have worked up an appetite, Orgia has a very good restaurant "Da Cateni" with a large terrace, good wine and plenty of wild-boar pasta sauce! OSTERIA BOCCON DEL PRETE Near the Cathedral and Art Museum, this lunch venue offers Sienese and Tuscan specialties with excellent meat and inventive pastas. Via S. Pietro, 17 – Siena Tel: 0577-280388 DA CATENI From the terrace you can enjoy the evening lights of Siena and food the family owners cook, serve, and often gather themselves. Via dei Pratini, 25 - Orgia Tel: 0577-342028 OSTERIA LE LOGGE Just off the Piazza del Campo, this elegant restaurant offers Tuscan cooking with a special flair. Via del Porrione, 33 – Siena Tel: 0577-48013 EVENTS Palio - Siena 2 July and 16 August Siena Jazz Festival June & July Settimana Musicale Senese – Siena 9-16 July Fiera di Santa Lucia - Siena 13 December MARKET DAYS Sovicille: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month. Siena: Wednesday a.m. San Rocco a Pilli – 1st & 3rd Thursday of each month Rosia – 1st and 3rd Friday of each month For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 75 Montestigliano Rosia, Siena A distinguished villa and charming farmhouses on an historic Tuscan estate near Siena MONTESTIGLIANO The entire estate accommodates 59 in a large villa and nine farmhouses, all of which share two swimming pools, but each having private barbecues and outdoor eating areas. WiFi internet. Shops, bars, restaurants in Rosia 5 km, Siena 15 km, Florence 80 km. 55 VILLA DONATI Sleeps 14 6 twin or double bedrooms, 2 single bedrooms. 3 shower rooms, 1 bathroom, extra WC. 58 & 59 CASA VIRGINIA Sleeps 4 in each apartment Virginia A and Virginia B each have 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, 1 shower-room . 60 CASA MARTA Sleeps 6 2 double bedrooms, 1 twin bedroom, 1 shower room, 1 bathroom. 61 MASSIMO Sleeps 4 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 shower room. 62 ADRIANA Sleeps 4 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 shower room. 63 & 64 CASA ROPOLI Situated in exceptionally picturesque countryside, Montestigliano has all the characteristics of the classic Tuscan Great Estate: avenues of cypresses, vineyards, olive groves, woodlands and neat, cultivated fields. The estate buildings form a small complex with some farmhouses, the villa and agricultural buildings in a beautiful position on top of a hill, with extensive views of the surrounding countryside. Wide, sandy floored cypress lined avenues traverse the forested hills of the estate, often terminating in belvederes at the most impressive viewpoints. Through the tangled woodlands, across the cultivated plain below, one can see Siena and the Chianti hills in the distance, and there is a rare abundance of wild flowers and animals. Some of the farmhouses and agricultural buildings on the vast Montestigliano estate have been very carefully converted into pleasing, comfortable houses and apartments. Guests on Sleeps 4 & 6 Ropoli Sopra: 1 double, 1 twin bedroom and 1 bathroom. Ropoli Sotto: 1 double bedroom, 2 twin bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. 65 DAMIANO Sleeps 3 1 double bedroom, 1 single bedroom, 1 bathroom. Living room with Tuscan fireplace. 261 LUISA Sleeps 10 2 double and 3 twin bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 shower rooms. Map: page 74, ref C2 76 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com the estate share two swimming pools, one reserved for those who want peace and quiet, the other, further from the houses, for allowing free rein to summer holiday fun. Guests at all the properties may wander at will all over the estate. Part of the lands front the River Merse, which has excellent swimming and is protected for bathers by the Sienese authorities. The tiny village of Torri, with its famous monastery and striped cloisters is two minutes away by car, while there are pizzerie and restaurants within a few minutes' drive. A very important extra here is provided by the charming owners who will VILLA DONATI MASSIMO DAMIANO The nobly proportioned rooms of this villa include a vast entrance/dining hall, a kitchen with a huge fireplace, a small breakfast room, an elegant sitting room, eight bedrooms, and a tall, elegantly furnished drawing room. Behind the villa is a secluded garden with wonderful views. A former dovecote, this detached house, with upper floor accommodation, has retained its most charming features, including the delightful dovecote window. It has a large living room with fireplace, a kitchen, and a double and a twin bedroom sharing a shower room. There is a front garden and a furnished shaded patio at the far side of the house; it is one of the ‘quieter’ houses on the estate. This house, opposite Casa Ropoli, is at the side of the main drive leading up to Montestigliano. Accommodation is on one floor and includes a living/dining area with a fireplace, a kitchen area, a single and a double bedroom that share a bathroom. There is a furnished, shaded patio and private garden below. CASA VIRGINIA Virginia is a classic Tuscan farmhouse with an external staircase leading up to a small furnished loggia. Virginia A has a sitting room with open fireplace and a large archway leading to and eat-in kitchen, while Virginia B has a living/dining area with adjacent kitchen. As the apartments share the loggia and garden, this house is an excellent choice for two families or groups of friends, but can easily be let as separate units. CASA MARTA This spacious upper floor apartment near the heart of the estate has tall rooms with Victorian proportions and is approached from an open fronted courtyard. It has a living room with wood-burning stove, a large eat-in kitchen, three bedrooms and a garden and furnished pergola with beautiful views of the estate. ADRIANA This ground floor poolside apartment has the added advantage of being suitable for disabled visitors. It has a light, airy atmosphere and is attractively furnished. From a covered furnished patio, glazed front doors into a living room with a kitchen section including a washing machine. There are one double bedroom with ensuite shower and one twin bedroom with adjacent bathroom. LUISA A fine example of a traditional “Casa Colonica” with open arched balcony perfect for dining and a partly covered terrace to the rear, which faces the countryside and the skyline of Siena, Luisa has a large open-plan kitchen with original hearth, a dining/living room, and five spacious bedrooms, all on the upper floor. CASA ROPOLI Enjoying perhaps the best views on the estate, Casa Ropoli has two apartments with independent entrances and either a private garden or loggia. The upper apartment has a large kitchen/living room with a Tuscan fireplace, a double and a twin bedroom, while the lower apartment has a living/dining room, an eat-in kitchen, and three bedrooms. unobtrusively keep out of your way or happily go out of their way to help you, providing endless extra services if you require them, from sending faxes, arranging balloon trips, providing touring information, to translating at the doctor's. During the summer concerts and exhibitions are often organised in the ancient granary, an extraordinary lofty space (14 X 28 m.) spanned by great arches laced with tie bars. This barn is also very suitable as studio space for art courses or conferences, and the rooms below, next to the estate offices, include a games room with billiards, TV, ping pong, a dining room, a catering kitchen and a small gift shop. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 77 CampalďŹ Stigliano, Siena Three apartments in farm buildings by the river Merse CAMPALFI We feature three of seven apartments available on the estate. Entire estate accommodates 28. Dinners in estate restaurant available on alternate evenings. River swimming 200m., Shops, bar and tennis in Rosia 5km., Siena 20 minutes. Florence just over an hour. 74 NIDO Sleeps 2 - 4 1 double bedroom, sofa bed, shower room. 75 ARCHI Sleeps 4 - 5 1 double & 1 triple bedroom, 1 shower room. 76 GRANAIO Sleeps 2 - 4 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, shower room. Map: page 74, ref C2 Campalfi, set back from the river Merse by about 200 metres, is a group of ancient farm buildings converted to provide seven spacious dwellings. There is a central open-sided courtyard entered through an archway, around which are arranged the apartments, and to one side of this is a large dining-room. The English-speaking owner, a renowned chef, serves wonderful meals every Saturday night and on alternate evenings. NIDO On the ground floor below the old tower, Nido is a light and airy apartment for two people. Glazed doors lead into the large kitchen/ living room that has a sofa bed for occasional extra guests and a kitchen area. Off a short hallway is a double bedroom and shower room. ARCHI On the ground ďŹ‚oor, this spacious apartment is characterised by the arches which give it its name. It has a light, airy atmosphere and simple furniture. Archi 78 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com There is a large kitchen/living-room, a shower room and a bedroom with three single beds. GRANAIO With a covered, furnished patio at the entrance, and a bread oven in the wall, this cottage has a particularly charming atmosphere. The front door leads to a kitchen/living-room. There is a sitting room at the top of the stairs, and off this a shower room and double bedroom. Fienile Siena A comfortable family home in the panoramic outskirts of Siena Set in the green outskirts of the medieval city of Siena, Fienile is wonderfully located to take in the countryside, an expanse that carries over to the property, thanks to the furnished poolside terrace stretching the width of the house. Fienile is the perfect house for family reunions - not too elegant to feel stifled by, yet equipped with all the elements that ensure a relaxed comfortable holiday with space enough for everyone. If the formal entrance is into a front hallway, the life of the house happens at the side. Here from a wide terrace two French doors lead either into the living/dining room with an open fireplace and a dining table for 10 or else into the bright eat-in kitchen. There are two large double bedrooms and a small single bedroom on this floor, as well as a bathroom and a shower room. On the upper floor are two double bedrooms, one with ensuite shower room, a single bedroom and an additional shower room. When you step out to enjoy the Tuscan sun you will find ample space for activity or relaxation. In the well-tended grounds there is a terracotta solarium with views of the Chianti countryside and the spacious terrace with sunbeds and a furnished gazebo that overlooks the pool. Outdoor lighting around the property and in the pool mean you can linger over al fresco dinners. 15 FIENILE Sleeps 10 2 double bedrooms, 2 twin/double bedrooms, 2 single bedrooms, 3 shower rooms, 1 of which ensuite and 1 bathroom Swimming pool, 6x12 m, WiFi internet, Air conditioning (extra). Bar, shopping San Miniato 2 km., Historic centre of Siena 10 min., Castellina in Chianti 30 min, San Gimignano 42 km., Florence, Pienza and Montalcino 1 hr. Map: page 74, ref A4 For all of its country feel, Fienile is about ten minutes from the heart of Siena; whether you spend hours exploring the city centre, follow the Chiantigiana out to the wine hills, or simply linger by the pool, this corner of Tuscany is guaranteed to please. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Il Fienile is a wonderful villa! […] The property, although not far from Siena and other villas, is secluded on a hillside from which the views are fabulous. “ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 79 Poggiarello Stigliano, Siena A medieval tower and 3 village houses with gardens in an historic hamlet POGGIARELLO The entire estate accommodates 23 to 33. Shared swimming pool, 6x12 m. and laundry room. Private and shared gardens. River swimming less than 2 km., Meals, cooking courses available at Montestigliano 5 mins., Shops in Rosia 5 mins., Siena 15 mins, Florence just over an hour. 77 CAPANNA Sleeps 3 - 5 1 double, 1 small double, 1 sofabed, 1 shower room, furnished patio 78 LOGGIA Sleeps 4 - 5 2 double, 1 sofa-bed, 1 shower room, furnished loggia. 79 CASA MARIO Sleeps 6 - 8 3 double bedrooms, 2 single divans, 1 shower room, 1 bathroom, private furnished patio. 216 TORRE DI POGGIARELLO Sleeps 10 - 15 Taken as a whole: 1 twin and 4 double bedrooms, 6 sofa beds, 3 bathrooms, 1 shower room. Large kitchen/dining room for all tower residents in Torre 1. Poggiarello offers three village houses and a Medieval tower with gardens in an historic group of houses above the village of Stigliano, only 15 kms from Siena. One senses the long history all around in this quiet, peaceful hamlet. There is good shopping in Rosia, 3 kms away, and Florence is easily reached in an hour by motorway link road from Siena. The medieval tower at Poggiarello, Stigliano, is one of the most authentic and beautiful still extant in the Siena area. Built in the 12th. C., it served originally to protect the flourishing commercial development of the area. Down out of this exciting tower with their feet on the ground, guests have individual and shared furnished garden areas and there is a separate car parking area. This is an exciting place to stay; a wonderful opportunity to inhabit a part of history. The little village is charming, and the countryside entices you to explore: the nearby river Merse, 4 km. by road or nearer on foot, along an ancient track, has excellent, clean swimming. From the village of Stigliano good roads take you easily to all the cultural delights of Tuscany, with Siena only 15 minutes drive away. Map: page 74, ref C2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œIt was a glorious holiday exploring Siena and other hillside towns, getting up early to photograph the wonderful sunset over fields of corn and sunflowers and just chilling by the pool. â€œ The Tower 80 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com Loggia TORRE DI POGGIARELLO This beautiful authentic tower has been converted under the auspices of the historical buildings authorities and has terracotta tiled floors, colour-washed walls, and massive chestnut beam ceilings. While the tower is normally rented as one unit, the four apartments on each floor can be taken separately. Please see the website for details regarding each floor (Ref. 80-83). Capanna Casa Mario CAPANNA CASA MARIO Converted from a large barn and with a picturesque view of Siena in the distance, this charming house has its own private garden and patio in front of the house. Arched double glass doors lead to a sitting room with fireplace, an eat-in kitchen and stairs to two small first floor double bedrooms sharing a shower room. The most elegant of the delightful houses in Stigliano, this house has an enormous fireplace, handy to the dining table and nearby kitchen with access to the private furnished patio. From the living room, whose two divans means it also adapts well as a twin bedroom, a spiral staircase leads up to three bedrooms, a shower room and a large bathroom with a separate shower. LOGGIA This first floor apartment is in a house across a grassy courtyard from the tower. Off the sitting/dining-room with large Tuscan fireplace an open wooden staircase leads to a large mansard room furnished as a double bedroom/studio. Also off the sitting room is a double bedroom and a kitchen with access to the loggia and its small bistro table facing ancient buildings in the hamlet. The Tower Casa Mario The Tower Capanna Loggia For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 81 Toiano Sovicille, Siena Four apartments on an historic private wine estate TOIANO Entire estate accommodates 13 to 14., Shared swimming pool, 6x14 m., Wi-ﬁ fast internet. Restaurant/Bar /Pizzeria nearby. Sovicille 3 km., Siena 11 km., Florence km. 72 VIGNA Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin, 1 shower room and 1 bathroom. 73 GRAPPOLO Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin, 1 shower room. 248 UVETTA Sleeps 2 1 double bedroom and 1 shower room., Private terrace. 19 TINOZZA Sleeps 3 - 4 1 double bedroom and 1 small double /single, 2 shower rooms Private terrace. Map: page 74, ref A2 One of the most splendid private landmarks in the Montagnola hills west of Siena is the estate of Poggiarello at Toiano. An avenue of cypresses leads to a tall medieval tower, a smaller tower and a villa in a walled enclosure; with an exquisite little Peruzzi chapel these form a harmonious whole on a small plateau in the hills near Sovicille. The houses are traditional Tuscan farmhouses providing comfortable, simple accommodation in a very special setting. VIGNA Reached by its own external staircase, this apartment has a sitting room, eat-in kitchen and two bedrooms, all with terracotta floors, beamed ceilings and carefully chosen traditional furniture. Quite close is a large lawn with canopied pergola and shared pool, hidden from view by a dense hedge. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “Vigna was everything we had hoped for in terms of location, setting, attractive apartment tastefully furnished and good sized pool. “ 82 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com GRAPPOLO Entry into this ﬁrst ﬂoor apartment is directly into the heart of the house, a very large kitchen with high brick arches, terracotta ﬂoors and good quality country antiques. Off this room are the sitting room and two charming bedrooms. There is a shaded lawn opposite and it is but a short walk to the pool. UVETTA Entrance is into a living room with a ﬁreplace, comfortable furniture and parquet ﬂoors. Both the large kitchen and a bedroom with queen-sized bed and ensuite shower room have French doors leading to the furnished terrace. TINOZZA Just across from the main buildings, this large ground-floor apartment has an comfortable living room with fireplace, dining area and wellequipped kitchen, with easy access to the enclosed garden and private terrace. There is a double bedroom and a small double, which may be preferred as a single. Gelso Orgia, Siena 85 GELSO Sleeps 2 A romantic cottage for two in a medieval hamlet A charming, medieval cottage with an unaffectedly rustic, natural character, furnished with delightful good taste, Gelso is just down the lane from the bar/ restaurant at the end of Orgia, a tiny, picturesque hamlet in the hills west of Siena. The entrance is into a comfortable kitchen/livingroom with a beamed ceiling and Tuscan fireplace, a shower room and a romantic double bedroom with a cosy, welcoming atmosphere. Across the lane, a large, walled, vegetable garden has sun beds, and a shady grape arbour makes a perfect spot for al fresco meals. At the end of the garden there is an additional furnished patio, with barbeque. The English speaking owner lives on the floor below, and is a most courteous hostess. Close to 1 double bedroom, 1 shower room., Large furnished garden, River swimming nearby. Simple shop/restaurant/pizzeria 100 metres., Shops, bank, restaurants at Rosia 10 mins., Siena less than 15 mins. drive, Florence 80 kms. Excellent walking and riding country. Map: page 74, ref C2 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The apartment was charming, the garden and its loggia was beautifully relaxing “ Siena, the surronding hills join the wild Maremma and the cultured Montagnola districts of the countryside of western Tuscany. This is an exceptionally beautiful area, with rare flora and fauna and a fascinating historical past. There is even a Museum of the Woods in the small village that speaks of bygone times. There is good swimming in the river Merse and marked paths for walks, riding and biking. Siena is less than 15 minutes away and good major roads make it easy to tour the whole of Tuscany. Podere Fulvia Montalbuccio, Siena A spacious apartment with a romantic garden close to Siena Tucked in the gentle hills outlying Siena, Podere Fulvia is a spacious ground floor apartment whose floral gardens and wisteria-shaded pergola make it an excellent retreat from a busier life and a comfortable place to stopover in the Tuscan countryside. al fresco. A door from the dining area leads first to a small study and a corridor off of which are a shower room, a large double bedroom with access to the terrace, and a twin bedroom with an ensuite sink and WC. Entrance to the apartment is from the large furnished patio and pergola through any of three sets of glass doors leading either to the living room, the kitchen or the double bedroom. The large living room extends to a dining area with a trestle dining table and a piano that stands well tuned for those who know how to play. The country kitchen has a table perfect for meal preparation or a quick breakfast, but the table just outside the doors is likely to draw guests to dinner 34 PODERE FULVIA Sleeps 4 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom with ensuite WC, 1 shower room., Children under 1 yr. and over 6 yrs. are welcome., Laptop computer with internet key available. Restaurant/pizzeria in walking distance., Shopping and restaurants in Siena 4 km., Public pool & tennis courts 10 min., Horse riding 20 min., Florence, Arezzo, Pienza, Montalcino all within 1 hr. Map: page 74, ref A3 The charming owner is a member of Siena's Garden Club, and you can see in Fulvia's garden the things she has learned. There is a wide terrace with gazebo in the lower gardens with views of the surrounding hills and the convents and castle that nestle among them. Residents in the upper ﬂoors of the large farmhouse have their own entrances, and the gardens around Fulvia are for its guests' private use. The country road leading to the house is actually part of the famous Francigena, an ancient pilgrim's road to Rome; a short drive along it and you are quickly off to the many suggestive places that local guidebooks are made of. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 83 Leccio Ancaiano, Sovicille A gracious country house and cottage in one of the loveliest setting in Tuscany 185 LECCIO Sleeps 8 - 10 2 double bedroons, 3 twin bedrooms, 3 shower rooms, 2 of which ensuite and 3 bathrooms, 2 of which ensuite., Swimming pool, 7x12 m., Tennis court, WiFi internet. Rechargeable internet key available. Village with shops and restaurants 4 kms., Siena 15 min., Castellina in Chianti 30 min., San Gimignano 45 min., Horse riding and golf driving range within 10 km., Florence, Pienza and Montalcino 1 hr. Map: page 74, ref B2 Leccio is in a beautifully romantic area in the Montagnola hills, which merge into the finely kept country garden. Gnarled olive trees are embellished with climbing, scented roses in wild flower lawns. The landscaping follows the contours of the hills, giving individual private spots, taking full advantage of the superb views. On the main entrance level, the comfortable sitting room has sofas and a Bechstein piano on one side, and a fireplace on the other; stairs lead to the first floor sitting room off which are two twin bedrooms, one with a shower room ensuite, a separate bathroom, a double bedroom with a four-poster bed and ensuite bathroom. From the ground floor farmhouse kitchen, stairs lead down to a large formal dining room and drawing room. French doors open into a loggia with flowers framing the views. This is as perfect a spot for lunch as it is for convivial candle lit suppers. Nearby the cottage for extra guests offers on one 84 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com floor a double bedroom and shower-room, and on the other a twin bedroom and bathroom. Sloping lawns lead to a furnished, vine-shaded patio next to the swimming pool at the rear, while oaks, olives and cypresses frame the hard tennis court higher up. Softly cocooned in the beauty of characteristic Tuscan countryside, Leccio happily adapts for family holidays as easily as it provides prestigious accommodation for formal occasions. A holiday here will leave you with indelible memories of subtle luxury and peace. Costafabbri Siena A beautifully appointed apartment in a Art Nouveau villa near Siena In a secluded group of Art Nouveau houses, Costafabbri is a beautifully appointed 1st floor apartment in a stylish villa overlooking a wooded valley bordering Siena. The clean lines of the villa and the charm of the wrought-iron well in the wide brick piazza immediately hint at the modern comfort and touch of whimsy that guests will find inside. Entrance is off a ﬂagstone patio used exclusively by Costafabbri guests, and up a short staircase shared by the Italian resident of the back apartment. The recent renovation of the apartment was at the hands of the talented owner-architect and her eye for detail is seen everywhere. Fine bleached timber ﬂoors, travertine stairs, and lovely antique furniture complement a modern simplicity that gives the apartment an immediate sense of peace the moment you walk through the door and into the welcoming living room. Off the adjacent dining room are a large eat-in kitchen and a double bedroom. As in all bedrooms, there is sturdy antique furniture and plump pillows dressed in ﬁne linens. A few steps up from the dining room are a second double bedroom under a low white beamed ceiling, a shower room and a large bathroom . A staircase in the dining room leads up to the largest bedroom located in the former dovecote. With high arched windows on all sides, a towering beamed ceiling and its beautifully worn terracotta ﬂoor, this room will be a delight to wake up in. The owners, who occupy the lower ﬂoors of the family villa, are discreet and very knowledgeable of the area, and can be of great help suggesting activities to round out a memorable Tuscan holiday. 11 COSTAFABBRI Sleeps 6 3 double bedrooms, 1 bath/shower room, 1 shower room., Air-conditioning, WiFi internet., By owner's request, this is a nosmoking environment. Bar, deli shopping and restaurant at Costafabbri ¼ km., Siena 5 min, Riding and tennis courts nearby., Castellina in Chianti 30 min., San Gimignano 45 min., Florence, Pienza and Montalcino 1 hr. Map: page 74, ref B3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “When we woke in the morning, we looked across to Siena on the hill opposite - just perfect!“ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 85 Pipistrelli Rosia, Siena A magnificent 17th century farmhouse set in the beautiful woodlands outside Siena 247 PIPISTRELLI Sleeps 14 Main house: 2 double and 3 twin bedrooms (1 with disabled access), All with ensuite shower rooms, of which two have bathtubs as well. Barn: 1 double and 1 twin bedroom, each with ensuite shower room., Swimming pool, 4.5x13 m., WiFi internet. Restaurants, bars, shops at Rosia 10 min., Full treatment spa at Linari 10 min, horse riding /tennis nearby Siena 20 min, Florence 80 km. Map: page 74, ref C2 On a wooded crest of the hills outside Siena, this beautifully restored farmhouse gives the immediate impression of protected peace. The surrounding rural landscape is a composite of holm oaks that foster porcini mushrooms, olives groves that produce the owners' distinctive oil, and meadows where deer graze in peace. At the end of a cypress-lined drive, the house is enclosed at the front by large walled courtyard that lead into a hall and a large country kitchen with an open fireplace. An open archway leads to the dining room and further into the living room with its spectacular fireplace built on natural rock formation and french doors onto a Zen terrace, perfect for enjoying cocktails and the evening light. Also on this floor are two twin bedrooms with en suite shower rooms. Upstairs a covered loggia overlooks the courtyard. On this floor there is a large living room with open fireplace and one twin and two double bedrooms, WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œA truly beautiful house in a stunning setting (with) elegantly furnished rooms that will break your heart when you have to leaveâ€œ 86 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com all with en suite shower rooms. Further accommodation is available in the converted barn. Light and airy thanks to its open plan design, on the upper level it has a double and a twin bedroom, each with an en suite shower room. Below are a dining room/kitchen and a living area with a fireplace and large doors onto a furnished terrace. Behind the main house there is a travertine terrace, with umbrellas and sunbeds and a pool whose infinity edge looks out over the low Montagnola hills and whose fountain provides refreshing massage. Pastine di Sotto Santa Colomba, Siena A large country house and pool in the Montagnola hills Close to Siena in the beautiful Montagnola hills, Pastine is approached by an old track through flower-filled woodlands. Tall iron gates open to a small courtyard adjacent with the arched entrance leading to a marvelous place for family gatherings. The main door opens to a large dining room whose elegant black marble table highlights the white Carrara floor. Continuing through the middle of the adjacent kitchen, a pathway of old terracotta tiles brings the eye to the formal garden behind the house. A few steps up from the dining room, is a large, double bed room with ensuite bathroom On the first floor are a comfortable sitting room with the original Tuscan fireplace and the other bedrooms and bathrooms. At the far end of the kitchen, a door leads to a herb garden and a formal Italian garden with fountain. There are two outdoor dining areas near the kitchen both with glorious views of the valley. 54 PASTINE DI SOTTO Sleeps 12 3 double, 1 double with extra twin beds, 2 twin bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (2 ensuite), 1 shower room, extra WC, showers and WC in changing rooms.Swimming pool, 7x14 m., WiFi internet. Simple shop/bar at Santa Colomba 2 km. Siena 15 mins, Florence 1 hr, Seaside 1 hr 20 mins, Pisa airport 90 mins. Map: page 74, ref A2 A path leads to an old barn with shower room, WC, fridge, and changing rooms for the large swimming pool. The property is skirted by rough grass and olive trees, which blend naturally into the neighbouring fields and woods. This enticing property shares the tranquility of the Montagnola with proximity to major Tuscan sites. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œWatching Tuscan sunsets from the lavender terrace, will be difficult to better as a holiday memory â€œ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 87 Villa Strega Siena An elegant villa with an enchanting view of Siena 86 VILLA STREGA Sleeps 10 - 11 2 twin, 2 double, 1 small double, 1 single, 4 bath / shower-rooms. Swimming pool, 9x5 m., WiFi internet., Large lemon house available for class or conference use. Railway station, tennis, shops and restaurants within 3 km., Siena centre 2 km, shops less than a km away., Florence, Arezzo and Perugia each within an hour. Map: page 74, ref A3 Driving past vineyards and olive trees on the lane approaching Villa Strega, , it is hard to believe how very close this prestigious villa is to Siena, and yet, when you arrive and step out onto its broad terrace, there is Siena across the valley - you can almost reach out and touch its evocative silhouettes! In an airy position on the edge of Chianti countryside and with possibly the best view of Siena, Villa Strega is a large elegant villa in ample grounds, including a pretty, walled, rose garden and spacious lemon house and a private chapel. The ground floor includes an entrance hall, drawing room, large eat-in kitchen, study/single bedroom, shower room, separate WC and wash basin, and laundry. The gracious dining-room on this floor has glazed doors leading to a terrace where one can dine outside, overlooking the walled rose garden and a lemon house at the rear. A marble staircase leads to a sitting room on the WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œThe view of Siena was magnificent. Sitting outside on the patio, we enjoyed wine and cheese and watched hot air balloons float over the valley between Villa Strega and Siena.â€? 88 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com first floor, off which are two twin bedrooms, two double bedrooms, and a bedroom with a small double bed. There are three bathrooms and a dressing room on this floor. Villa Strega combines by-gone elegance with contemporary furnishings. The pool, set in the olive grove below the house, is simple and unadorned, but has a wonderful view of Siena. A lane nearby leads into the Chianti, while the roads from Siena, less than a km. away, allow easy access to Florence and San Gimignano, all Siena's wonderful museums, art treasures and fascinating streets and shops to explore. Villa Vilia Corsano Ville di Corsano, Siena A superb 16th century Tuscan villa near Siena Villa Corsano is situated in one of the most picturesque areas of Tuscany, at the start of the Sienese "Crete", that surreal landscape of wide, clay hills just South of Siena. Used on several occasions already by artists, photographers, and cooks for specialist courses, this wonderful villa and its caring, professional owners are internationally renowned. The villa itself dates from the 16th Century and the brother and sister, whose family bought it in the nineteenth Century, share the estate. The villa has luminous rooms recalling a splendid past, with the addition of high quality kitchens and bathrooms. There are extensive gardens and beyond the front lawn, the large swimming pool with beautiful views through olive groves and gardens across to Siena. On three floors, there are two entrances to the spacious accommodation. Adjacent to the professional kitchen, the enormous dining room has reputably the largest fireplace in Tuscany and comfortably seats 25/30 people. There is an elegant drawing room with "Trompe l'oeil" paintings of exotic plant and bird life and access to a colonnaded furnished courtyard, part of which may be used by guests. While there is a shower room on the ground floor, all bedrooms are on the floors above, with all but two having their own bath or shower room. Another section of the villa and portions of the grounds belong to the owner’s brother. Guests in those parts of the property use different parts of the gardens and a part of the courtyard but do not have use of the swimming pool. 53 VILLA CORSANO Sleeps 20 10 double or twin bedrooms, 9 bath or shower rooms. Private swimming pool, 14x7 m., WiFi internet. Bar/restaurant at Ville di Corsano 5 mins, Tennis 10 mins., Siena 15 km, Buonconvento, 20 min. Florence 1 hr. Map: page 74, ref C3 WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY “The wonderful family memories we created were priceless. Beautiful Villa, beautiful grounds and so much to do in and around the surrounding area. “ For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 89 2 1 St. Antimo Built in the 12th century on foundations centuries older, the abbey is once again an active monastery for a small group of French monks known as the White Canons. While the church is always open, a Sunday afternoon mass includes beautifully haunting Gregorian chanting. 1 4 3 Saturnia – Nature’s spa The Terme of Saturnia have sulphurous water cascading over calciferous rocks at a temperature of 37°C., where you can immerse yourself, free, and cure your liver after indulging in the notable local wines or just relax to the sound of rushing water. 2 Brunello Country The striking geometry of vineyards in the countryside around Montalcino reminds you that you are in serious wine country, for here Brunello is king. Our favourite tasting places are the Fortress enoteca that crowns Montalcino or in the Caffé Fiaschetteria in the central piazza. The Etruscan ‘cowboy’ Don’t be fooled by what looks like a Stetson – This 6th Cent. B.C. terracotta figure, which once capped an Etruscan dwelling, was just as likely a revered town leader, and is amongst the fine collection in the Etruscan Museum of walled village of Murlo. 3 4 5 198 140 4 A 6 3 1 Pieve di Caminino B C 8 6 5 Drive the Crete Senese Head out from Siena towards Asciano and you will find yourself wanting to stop around every curve of this winding road, for this is quintessential Tuscany. Flocks of sheep on rolling hills and cypresses that ride the receeding skylines are part of what make this the most photographed stretch in Tuscany. Bagno Vignoni What may look like very centrally located village pool is actually the renowned16th Cent. “Square of Sources, i.e., the source of the underground acquifer that has made Bagno Vignoni the spa of choice for popes, saints and even Lorenzo the Magnificent. 90 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 134 2 7 Pitigliano The first glimpse of this stunning town, which rides the volcanic ridge from which it imposed its Etruscan and medieval presence, is always a surprise. Inside its walls is one of the oldest Jewish ghettos in Italy and good restaurants, e.g., Hostaria del Ceccottino. 7 8 Tarot Park The Parco dei Tarocchi, Niki de Saint Phalle’s colourful collection of Tarot card figures set among the low Maremma woods, is a must for anyone heading south along the coast. Open from April to October, you will see it glittering from the highway near Pescia Fiorentina. S O U T H O F S I E NA KEY INFORMATION The Via Cassia running South of Siena towards Rome opens up a wonderful area of Tuscany, with the strong strange landscape evoking, just as do the towns and individual buildings, a sense of the extraordinary political and artistic importance of this area. The "Crete", eroded clay hills, are embroidered with hill towns and monasteries testifying to food production and power struggles. Through the centuries commercial travellers and pilgrims used these road and the rivers Arbia and Ombrone. LA PIEVINA Decide as to ‘Fish’ or ‘Meat’, and then relax in the creative hands of the women who run this rustic culinary jewel. Loc. Pievina, Asciano, Tel: 0577-718093 RESTAURANTS LOCANDA NEL CASSERO This sweet osteria with an outdoor terrace tucked inside a hill town on the way to the coast is worth a stopover. Via del Cassero, 29/31 -Civitella Marittima. Tel: 0564 900680. OSTERIA SETTE DI VINO This area holds some of the most beautiful towns, villages and countryside in Tuscany. They are within easy reach of one another and make for extremely enjoyable day trips from around Siena, taking you from the Etruscan civilisation of Murlo through the Medieval and Renaissance cities of Montalcino, Montepulciano and Pienza, before returning to Siena through a beautifully time and wind eroded landscape which is still easily recognisable in Sienese medieval paintings. MURLO The small walled village of Murlo is on the site of an ancient Etruscan settlement and has a very interesting Museo Etrusco, particularly the top ﬂoor which has an exhibit of the fascinating terracotta roof decorations the Etruscans used. There is a little cafe in one of the side streets that does good pizza in the evening and has a lovely terrace looking out over the hills. SANT' ANTIMO After coming to Montalcino to sample the worldrenowned Brunello wine and maybe buying some pottery or some of the delicious local honey, follow the sign posts to Sant' Antimo, a beautiful local abbey built in the 12th cent. on foundations dating from 781, when Charlemagne and his army stopped here on the way back from Rome. If you go there on a Sunday afternoon you may be lucky and see Mass celebrated in Gregorian chant by French monks in white robes, a mystical experience not to be missed! The Franco-Romanesque style of this church, with its beautiful carvings and frescoes (a good example is the capital depicting Daniel in the lions' den, or the two-bodied beast outside, next to the main door), make this church an outstanding example of harmony, beauty and simplicity. Open from 10.30 - 12.30 and 3 - 6 pm. (Summer). MONTE OLIVETO MAGGIORE Seven km. from Buonconvento, Monte Oliveto Maggiore is Tuscany’s grandest monastery, founded in 1313 by Giovanni Tolomei, a Sienese nobleman who was struck blind by a vision of the Virgin Mary and renounced worldly life to become a hermit. He then founded the order of Olivetan or White Benedictines. Much of the abbey is not open to visitors, but you can visit the large cloister to see some beautiful 15th W. frescos by Signorelli and Antonio Bazzi (“Il Sodoma”) depicting the life of St. Bernard. There is a good retaurant, La Torre, and a bar just outside the gate of the monastery. A meal of wonderful hot and cold appetizers with all the flavors of Tuscany and Pienza’s famous pecorino cheese. Piazza di Spagna,1 - Pienza Tel: 0578-749092 Closed Wednesdays EVENTS La Trebbiatura (Threshing Days)Buonconvento - Late July Etruscan Week Murlo Last week of August Festa dell’Uva - Scansano Last weekend in September Harvest Festival Asciano 2 October Sagra del Tartufo (Truffle festival)- Asciano 6 November MARKET DAYS Buonconvento – Antiques market – last Sunday of each month Massa Marittima – Wednesdays Montepulciano – Thursday a.m. Montalcino , Pienza & Scansano – Friday a.m. Asciano - Saturdays a.m. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 91 Poderuccio Asciano, Siena A gracious stone house in the picturesque clay hills outside Siena 140 PODERUCCIO Sleeps 8 - 10 2 double, 2 twin/double bedrooms, 1 double sofa bed, 1 shower room, 3 bathrooms, 2 of which with separate shower., Salt-treated swimming pool, 6.75x4.25 m, shared with owners., WiFi internet. Markets, bar, restaurants, railway station at Asciano 3 km., Spas at Rapolano Terme 10 km., Pienza, Montalcino & Montepulciano 45 mins., Siena 30 mins, Florence 90 mins. Map: page 90, ref A4 Set on a hillside in the picturesque Crete Senese, Poderuccio enjoys breathtaking panoramas, yet is encircled with olive trees, flowering shrubs and the reassuring hum of agricultural life. In the large restored farmhouse, where rooms have remained generous and laced with light, the owners have created an ideal setting for family gatherings of all generations. One entrance is through the study into a comfortable living room with adjacent shower room or a large art-filled dining room with a table for 10 and a corner fireplace. The kitchen under the wide arch has a wooden cabinet island, perfect for a cooking demonstration. On this floor there is a large bathroom and a charming twin/double bedroom. A staircase leads up to a wide landing off which is the master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom with whirlpool tub. Across the landing a second living/dining room stretches the width of the house. The large stone fireplace is the focal point of the room, and a WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œThe villa itself is beautiful, stunning views etc, but Albert and Roxanna were wonderful hosts/neighbours, managing to be both warmly welcoming while giving us a huge amount of space .â€œ 92 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com well-equipped kitchen is off the dining area. Two additional bedrooms, a double and a twin, are located off the living area. These bedrooms share a bathroom, and both have views of the rolling landscape surrounding the farmhouse. Speak to your agent about additional accommodation for two in a separate part of the building when necessary. The owners, when present, live in a converted barn next door and have their own outdoor areas; they can help arrange tours or dinners when requested. Casa del Pittore Scansano, Grosseto A stylish family home and joyous garden in the high Maremma In the high Maremma, an English artist and his family have created a spacious home that offers both comfort and a multitude of places to gather. There are pergolas for meals with a view, a balcony from which to gaze at the distant slice of the Mediterranean sea, and chairs set to savour whatever the countryside is up to. Surrounded in a palette of greens, the owners have added hues of their own and the result is a delight. Entry into the golden stone farmhouse is via a spacious dining room adjacent to a brightly tiled galley kitchen. Off the kitchen is a homely sitting room with armchairs drawn up to an open ﬁreplace, and then a stylish living room with comfortable sofas. Doors to the 'front' of the house lead to the wide pergola, furnished with a table for 10 and a sofa and wicker armchairs. There is a double bedroom on each ﬂoor, both with an antechamber and adjacent shower room. The larger of the two has a small, furnished balcony from which to appreciate the splendid vista that on a clear day has the island of Giglio resting on the horizon. In an ivy-covered building on a lower level of the garden there is a double bedroom suite with a shower and access to a furnished pergola. Flagstone paths from the house and cottage meander past wide hedges of rosemary and ﬂowerbeds and down to the pool below, positioned to enjoy the view and equipped with sunbeds under the rose-covered pergola. 134 CASA DEL PITTORE Sleeps 6 3 double bedrooms, each with a single bed ensuite, 1 bathroom with separate shower, 2 shower rooms., Swimming pool, 9x5 m. , WiFi internet. Friday-toFriday rental. Supermarket, shops, restaurants in Scansano 3 km., Seaside at Gianella beach & ferry to Giglio island 40 min., Etruscan/Medieval towns Sovana, Sorano, Pitigliano 50-55 km. Map: page 90, ref C3 Nearby are Scansano and its respected wine, the beautiful beaches of Monte Argentario, the spa of Saturnia and the dramatic sites of Pitigliano and Sorano. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 93 Pozzo Castello di Murlo, Siena A village house immersed in Etruscan history 198 POZZO Sleeps 4 1 double, 1 twin bedroom, 1 bathroom, extra WC and washbasin. Not suitable for small children. Shops, services and swimming pool in Vescovado di Murlo 1 km., Etruscan museum, restaurant/pizzeria in the village. Buonconvento 10 mins, Siena 25 mins, Firenze and seaside 1 hr. Map: page 90, ref A3 The peaceful, historic hamlet of Castello di Murlo is right in the middle of Etruscan territory. Most of the dwellings, including Pozzo, form part of the walls, which enclose two squares, one with an important Etruscan museum, the other, with a huge well in the middle. The views are stunning, with cultivated hills of the Crete reaching as far as Asciano and Siena on one side, and the Maremma countryside on the other. On the ground floor is an old stable-storeroom with, at its far end, a table, a fridge, and a barbeque, making it easy to enjoy eating and relaxing outside on the terrace. Another door from the piazza leads to the first floor, with a sitting room with a fireplace, a dining kitchen and a bathroom. On the second floor are a double bedroom, and a twin bedroom with WC and washbasin. Below the terrace is a tiny patch of green and below that a path leads in about 900 metres across the valley to Vescovado di Murlo, where there is a wide variety of shops and services. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œWhat a fabulous place to stay and explore Siena and Southern Tuscany! It was as though we had been transported back in time staying at Castello di Murlo.â€? 94 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com A minor centre in Etruscan times and a medieval feud effectively cut off from surrounding developments, today Murlo is an intact, medieval hamlet set in extraordinarily beautiful countryside. Its tiny population looks so like the figures and faces on Etruscan portraits that the people were recently the subject of French genetic research, comparing their DNA with the Etruscan-and found to match. There are numerous tracks and roads crossing the village making Pozzo a particularly good base for walking, riding and exploring. Pieve di Caminino Roccatederighi, Maremma Ten Cottages in an historic hamlet PIEVE DI CAMININO The entire estate accommodates 22 in 10 cottage apartments, all sharing the 7x14 m pool and laundry room, but each having a private eating area. Shops and restaurants within 5-10 mins., Massa Marittima and the coast each under 30 minutes., Siena 40 mins, Florence 90 mins, Rome 2 hours. 29 BELVEDERE Sleeps 2 An apartment with a large panoramic terrace. 108 SCUOLA Sleeps 2 A sweet apartment with a terrace for two. 109 CASA DELLA MAESTRA Sleeps 2 Once the school teacher’s house, now a pretty cottage with balcony. 110 BIFORA Sleeps 2 A romantic apartment with a private roof. 111 SAN ROMITO Sleeps 4 A cosy apartment named for Caminino’s 16th Cent. saint. 112 SACRESTIA Sleeps 2 A ground ﬂoor apartment overlooking an expanse of olive groves. 113 SAN GENZIANO Pieve di Caminino, a little hamlet in the beautiful Maremma countryside between Roccastrada and Massa Marittima, is set in a natural, verdant amphitheatre, with enormous olive groves extending down from the wooded, rocky background towards the coast – a modern landscape unchanged since its appearance in Gothic frescos. Far away on the horizon, you can sometimes see the sea, 30 km. away. The charming and knowledgeable owners have converted the little hamlet into characteristic apartments and cottages for visitors. Arriving at Caminino one senses the peaceful, well-loved atmosphere. Trees, climbing plants and flowers complement the beautifully proportioned layout of the buildings. The very stones here breathe history. There are numerous fascinating details, and the houses have large Tuscan fireplaces, beamed ceilings, family antiques and paintings. Gardens are conceived as extensions of the houses, and hedges, terraces and pergolas provide numerous individual furnished areas, arranged to accentuate the panoramic views or provide privacy. There are over 500 ha. of woodlands to explore, and an ornamental lake has lawns furnished for sunbathing. The site for the swimming pool has been carefully chosen to protect the peace and architectural integrity of the hamlet: the natural coloured pool is sheltered on one side by the forest's edge. One side opens to a classic view, unchanged for centuries, over an olive grove, to the high outcrop of Monte Massa, its jagged ruin shimmering on the skyline. Sleeps 2 An open-plan suite with a charming private terrace. 114 CASA DEL GUARDIA Sleeps 2 A bed with a view and a garden gazebo. 157 SCUDERIA Sleeps 2 An open-plan apartment and large furnished loggia. 308 LIBRERIA Sleeps 2 A large loft apartment with seven panoramic windows. Map: page 90, ref B2 Sacrestia terrace Scuderia For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 95 2 1 Chocolate kisses Every year in mid-October Perugia hosts the Eurochocolate Festival, a gourmet’s delight. Balls and bon-bons, carvings and hot drinks – all to celebrate the far from humble cacao bean. And naturally, there will be Baci (kisses) for all.. Trasimeno – the inland sea Lake Trasimeno, with a circumference of 45 kms, provides not only excellent fish dinners, but also good swimming, water sports and sailing. Among towns with easy access to the lake: Tuoro sul Trasimeno and Vernazzano, whose tower leans much more than Pisa’s ever did. 1 4 3 Deruta ceramics Many visitors find room in their luggage for a bit of colourful ceramics and in Deruta the choice is dizzying. Sought after even by Renaissance noblemen, the charming little town has enjoyed 300 years of undisputed fame. Chances are good they might have something to catch your eye. 2 St. Francis of Assissi Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone, better known as St. Francis, was the founder of the Franciscan Order and one of the patron saints of Italy. Giotto’s famous frescos tell his story on the walls of a Basilica far from Franciscan in grandeur. 3 4 8 273 A 1 2 3 4 B 7 C 230 119 231 118 6 6 5 Spoleto From the last week of June to the middle of July Spoleto is stage and striking background for the Festival dei Due Mondi, Festival of the Two Worlds. With a full programme of music, theatre, performing arts and cinema, America meets Europe and art is in the air. Pozzo di San Patrizio In the majestic town of Orvieto, not far from one of the greatest gothic cathedrals in Italy, is a fascinating well, designed by Antonio da Sangallo, whose double helix staircase allowed donkeys carrying water to travel without ever crossing paths. The same works for tourists. 96 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 5 7 Todi festivals In July the picturesque medieval hill town of Todi hosts the Todi Art Festival with art, drama and ethnic and classical music in their spacious central piazza. But with their own saint and pope Martin I, festivals may take a religious bend as well. 8 Gubbio’s Festa dei Ceri The ‘Race of the Candles’ celebrated in Gubbio on 15 May is an amazing tour de force of strength and crowd control. The ‘candles’ are huge wooden constructions of up to 280 kg. that are hefted by competing townsmen up the mountain to the Basilica of the patron saint. UMBRIA KEY INFORMATION RESTAURANTS Once the home of St. Francis, Umbria is not only blessed with a gentle landscape of lakes and rivers but also marked by once-powerful cities that still command respect from their high volcanic cliffs. Haughty Perugia, ancient Orvieto, and the lovely hill town of Todi. The surrounding green valleys and pastures contrast with the town's stark stone external structures. LA CRUCCOLA A stop in this very small trattoria is worth it due to the fresh local ingredients that are the basis of their home-cooking. Piazza G. Bernardi 8 - Acqualoreto Tel: 0744-958397 TRATTORIA LEA For surprisingly little you can enjoy the wonderful range of dishes that bring the locals in droves Via S. Floreido, 38 – Città di Castello Tel: 075 8521678 TRIPPINI This is a place for a special occasion where you will definitely need to make a reservation. Via Italia, 14 - Civitella del Lago Tel: 0744-950316. PERUGIA AND NORTHERN UMBRIA Perugia looks over the Lake Trasimeno and is a University city with a medieval heart. Park close to the station and take the unusual outdoor escalator that leads into town: the mobile staircase takes you into an underground medieval town, part of the city that was buried when the Pope Paul III built the Rocca Paolina over the old palaces of the Baglioni family, after stepping in to quell the continuous ﬁghting within the city. The Rocca is no longer there, but the buried towers still are, and it is a strange feeling to walk through a medieval city that has a vaulted brick sky. Going north from Perugia you will ﬁnd Città di Castello, which has a charming centre. The Pinacoteca Communale art gallery is worth seeing for its works by Signorelli and Raffaello. The town also has a very friendly and helpful tourist oﬃce in the main square. Alberto Burri’s “arte povera” collection can be seen in the Seccatoi dei Tobacco – large buildings previously used to dry tobacco, and worth seeing for their own sake. GUBBIO Gubbio is the most medieval of the Umbrian towns and is charming to visit – try to go for the Corsa dei Ceri, on May the 15th. The candles consist of three huge wooden constructions, octagonal in shape, ﬁxed to a handbarrow, and up to 7 metres in height, each surmounted by the statue of a Saint: St. Ubaldo, protector of masons; St. Giorgio, protector of merchants; St. Anthony, protector of farm workers. ORVIETO AND TODI This southern area of Umbria has steeper hills and a more surprising aspect – Orvieto, like many other local towns, is built on a steep-sided tufa outcrop, giving it an impregnable look. Its Duomo is one of the greatest gothic close course between genius and gaudiness – it is a riot of colours and of decoration, the best part of which is probably the Cappella di S. Brizio, with frescoes by Signorelli, Fra’ Angelico and Benozzo Gozzoli. The strange Pozzo di San Patrizio is also worthy of a visit: the well is 10 metres wide with an ingenious double helix staircase, allowing donkeys carrying water to travel along the staircase without ever crossing paths. Todi is a pleasant town with what has been described as the most perfect medieval piazza in Italy. The Museo- Pinacoteca is worth visiting, even just for the building itself, and the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione has been described as one of the best Renaissance churches in Italy. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com EVENTS Calendimaggio - Assisi Thur–Sat after 1st of May Palio della Balestra - Gubbio Last Sunday of May Palio dell’Oca - Orvieto 30 May Infiorate di Spello - Spello Ninth Sunday after Easter Festival dei due Mondi - Spoleto June and July Umbria Jazz - Perugia 6-15 July Ferragosto Torreggiano - Tuoro sul Trasimeno. 1 to 17 August MARKET DAYS Perugia – Every day at different city locations Deruta – Tuesday Orvieto - Thursday and Saturday a.m. Todi & Passignano – Saturday Spoleto - Second Sunday of each month 97 Castelonchio Tuoro sul Trasimeno, Perugia A honey coloured farmhouse overlooking the "inland sea" of Trasimeno 273 CASTELONCHIO Sleeps 6 1 double and 2 twin bedrooms, 2 shower rooms (one with small bath). Swimming pool (12x6 m), shared with owners, WiFi internet. Village with shops, all services and railway station 1.2kms., Fewer than 2km from lakeside with clean sandy beach, sailing, water sports, ferries to islands. Chiusi 10 km, Cortona 15 km, Perugia 32 km, Siena 1 hr. Map: page 97, ref A2 A large, honey-coloured stone farmhouse in a beautiful position overlooking Italy's "inland sea" of Lake Trasimeno, Castelonchio is the realisation of an English couple's dream. These charming owners live in an independent part of the house and share their large pool and extensive grounds with discretion and friendly hospitality. On the ground floor of the spacious apartment a covered portico, furnished for eating outside, opens into a modern kitchen. There is a large dining-sitting room with fireplace and, on the same floor a twin bedroom and a shower room. Upstairs, a double and a twin bedroom share a further shower room with a small bath. All the bedrooms have lovely brass beds and pretty linens. An external staircase, reached by a door from the double bedroom forms another pretty place to sit out with an early morning coffee or late drink to celebrate the breathtaking views of the lake. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY "The panoramic view of the lake was fantastic from Castelonchio.My favourite thing was the swimming pool, surrounded by lavender bushes." 98 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com Trasimeno lake provides not only fish, but good swimming, water sports, sailing and ferries to its islands. At nearby Tuoro swimming is good from the clean, sandy beach and there are good restaurants and shops. This whole district caters well for hikers and bikers and you can hire horses and mountain bikes with which to follow the trails. Straddling Umbria and Tuscany, a stay in Castelonchio allows easy access to Florence and Rome by rail, and a myriad of fascinating places in between. Or you can simply relax and enjoy the climate, the music, food, and views from this comfortable, hospitable country house. Castell’Orlando Baschi, Todi, Umbria A beautifully renovated castle in the hills of Umbria The district around Todi and Orvieto was once subject to much turbulence and the numerous castles bear witness to the need for defense. One such castle, Castell’ Orlando, dating from 1250, is now one of the most beautiful and best conserved private castles in Umbria. While its owner is occasionally in residence in a completely separate part of the impressive castle, guests enjoy accommodation on three levels, where architects have maintained the original, stone structure befitting a castle yet provided comfortable contemporary furnishings. From the long furnished pergola there is direct access to a well-equipped kitchen and a spacious drawing room with a fireplace and the dining room for 14. On the first floor are a double bedroom and a twin bedroom, each with a sitting area and bathroom. On the second floor there is a twin bedroom and a double bedroom, each with a bathroom. Larger groups also have access to the West Wing, with a comfortable sitting room with fireplace, a kitchenette, a twin bedroom, a single bedroom and a bathroom. Outside there are furnished terraces, sloping green lawns, and panoramic views. The excellent swimming pool, covered terrace and changing rooms are set just below the side of the main wing. Not far away is the beautiful hill town of Todi, and the striking Orvieto, built on sharpsided tufo hill and famed for its late RomanesqueGothic cathedral. CASTELL’ORLANDO 118 & 139 Sleeps 8 or 11 North wing: 2 double bedrooms, 2 twin bedrooms, 4 bathrooms. West wing: 1 twin bedroom, 1 single bedroom, 1 bathroom, kitchenette. Swimming pool, 5x14 m., WiFi internet. Not advisable for small children. Basic supplies at Morre and Collelungo, under 2 kms, Spa & Outdoor restaurant nearby Todi 15 km, Orvieto 35km, Perugia 50 km, Florence and Rome airports 90 mins. Map: page 97, ref C3 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 99 Casa Umbra Morre, Todi, Umbria A stone farmhouse overlooking a wooded Umbrian valley 230 CASA UMBRA Sleeps 6 1 double 2 twinbedrooms, 3 ensuite shower rooms, extra shower room. Swimming pool, 12x5 m., WiFi internet. Basic supplies at Morre and Collelungo, under 2 kms, Spa & Outdoor restaurant nearby, Todi 15 km, Orvieto 35km, Perugia 50 km, Florence and Rome airports 90 mins. Map: page 97, ref C3 Casa Umbra is a restored stone house set on the hillside of a fertile valley where locals once brought their olives to mill. The steep approach to the villa requires a bit of 1st gear driving, but the reward is well worth it; the view over olive groves, oak woods and distant villages allows you to feel that the world is as it should be and you are on top of it. Restored in golden local stone, the house retains the feel of its Umbrian country heritage. The many entrances to the house all have inviting reasons to choose them. The covered patio, furnished for outside dining, leads either into a sitting room with a fireplace and comfortable sofas or into a dining room with a refectory table for 12. Off the sitting room are a shower room and a double bedroom with ensuite bathroom. Beyond the dining room is a fully equipped eat-in kitchen with doors out to a patio and pizza oven. The two twin bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms on the upper floor can be reached by the internal staircase or by doors off the poolside patio, WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY "...the truffle tour arranged for us was a absolute unique experience. We enjoyed ourselves going to Rome, Perugia, Assisi and of course Todi and enjoyed the surroundings of the villa." 100 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com furnished for outdoor dining or watching the children at play in the large pool nearby. Great attention has been paid to materials and furnishings, with modern fittings and country antiques finding easy harmony. Behind the house there is a BBQ, which makes gathering poolside for an evening meal and a view of sunset all the more natural. Though very private, this villa, like the other two on the castle estate, benefits from the full range of services offered to make your stay more enjoyable. San Fortunato Morre, Todi, Umbria A classic Umbrian villa with a contemporary feel This wonderful Umbrian villa reveals its great beauty the closer you draw near. For what seems at first like a simple stone house set nicely near an olive grove, turns out to be a large open-plan house on three levels with an inner courtyard, furnished patios and views of Apennine Mountains on one side and villages atop the Umbrian hills on the other. Though there is a formal front entry, the more natural entrance is into the spacious eat-in kitchen through a wonderful covered patio, furnished both for outdoor dining and dreaming on the sofa in front of the large outdoor ďŹ replace. Off the nearby living room are stairs leading either up to a shower room and a double bedroom with panoramic views or down to a twin bedroom and nearby shower room. French doors between the living room and kitchen lead to another furnished terrace under a pergola facing out towards the pool. A second living area in the center of the house has an open fireplace and access to an inner courtyard and two twin bedrooms with ensuite shower rooms. Beautiful beamed ceilings and terracotta floors blend well with charming furnishings and make this house a relaxing place to come home to after a day exploring the hilltop beauties of Umbria. 231 SAN FORTUNATO Sleeps 8 2 double, 2 twin bedrooms, convertible if necessary. 4 ensuite shower rooms. Swimming pool, 14x6 m., WiFi internet. Basic supplies at Morre and Collelungo, under 2 kms, Spa & Outdoor restaurant nearby Todi 15 km, Orvieto 35km, Perugia 50 km, Florence and Rome airports 90 mins. Map: page 97, ref C3 A large pool is the right length for laps and has a sweet baby pool for those who prefer to splash and paddle. A spacious furnished patio sides the pool and makes it a tempting place to linger and store up your share of the Umbrian sun. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY "San Fortunato is a fabulous place to stay. Mario and Sabrina were most gracious hosts and very helpful." For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 101 Villa dei Priori Baschi, Todi, Umbria A lovely 17th C stone farmhouse on a round hilltop 119 VILLA DEI PRIORI Sleeps 10 3 double, 2 twin bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 shower rooms. Swimming pool 15x5 m. , WiFi internet. Basic supplies at Morre and Collelungo, under 2 kms, Spa & Outdoor restaurant nearby Todi 15 km, Orvieto 35km, Perugia 50 km, Florence and Rome airports 90 mins. Map: page 97, ref C3 Villa dei Priori is a 17th C. farmhouse, built in honey coloured local stone, which sits undisturbed on a hilltop in the unspoilt countryside between Todi and Orvieto and enjoys stunning views of rolling hills embroidered with olive groves, vineyards and cypresses. The house has been restored yet retains its original farmhouse feel. A paved, covered loggia runs the length of the house and is furnished for unforgettable meals. The three doors from the patio lead into a twin bedroom, a living room with fireplace, and an entrance hall accessing the large, well-equipped farmhouse kitchen and second living area with a fireplace and a large dining table. Beyond the living room are two double bedrooms with ensuite shower rooms. Upstairs is another big sitting- room, with a fireplace. There are one twin and one double bedroom and two bathrooms on this floor, one of which is ensuite. The rooms are large, and the house is comfortably and WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY â€œWe had a lovely week in this farmhouse and still dream of the views. â€œ 102 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com attractively furnished. On the other side of the house the beautiful swimming pool and its covered loggia are reminiscent of the Roman spa pool at Bagno Vignoni. On important trade and pilgrim routes towards Rome, this area excels in important sculpture, architecture and paintings, including the "Golden Lily of Cathedrals" in Orvieto. It is also famous for its food and wine, which makes Villa dei Priori a wonderful place to indulge yourself in a surfeit of views, art, food, wine and, above all, peace. For shorter stays, or for rounding out a longer one SPECIAL BED AND BREAKFAST HOTELS VILLA POGGIALE This prestigious 14th century villa, in the heart of Chianti, once an important, private renaissance residence, has been carefully restored to combine its proud history with the facilities expected in a modern hotel. Features: Air conditioning, Sat. TV, Swimming pool (20 x 6 m.), spa and massage treatments, WiFi internet. For those who fancy a short get-away or those who may like to linger a bit longer than a weekly period, we have a selection of special Bed and Breakfast hotels that can be taken for any period that suits your schedule. Let yourself be pampered while you gaze out to the island of Elba, return from Chianti driving to the pool that awaits you, or put up your sightseeing-weary feet and relax on a terrace with a view of historic Florence. Check with your agent about arranging your stays at: VEDETTA Sitting high on a 15-hectare wooded hill overlooking the Gulf of Follonica, La Vedetta's bold cinnabar facade looks forever out to sea. This is a place to come to to be pampered in any of its seven individual suites. Varying in Features: Air-conditioning, WiFi internet, iPod and reader provided, Sat. TV, swimming pool with panoramic views, some suites with sea-view balconies or terraces. STREGONE A large farmhouse with a stunning view of Siena has been transformed into a wonderfully spacious B&B, offering comfort and relaxing elegance in 6 double and 2 twin bedroom suites. Features: Air-conditioning, Sat. TV, Swimming pool (6 x 14 m.), WiFi internet. TORRE DEI SERVITI In the medieval village of Casole dâ€™Elsa, the Torre dei Serviti is a delightful small hotel, built partly into the city wall and one of its towers. Features: Air conditioning, Sat. TV, Internet access on request. RESIDENZA JOHANNA & JOHLEA Since its inception several years ago, our customers have enjoyed Residenza Johanna and Residenza Johlea in the centre of Florence. Features: WiFi internet, laptop use available, car park, museum booking. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 103 Booking Conditions 1. Accommodation 1.1 The descriptions in our brochure and on our website of the properties to let are made very carefully and in good faith. We visit properties to ensure the accuracy of descriptions of properties. We also rely upon information given to us by the owners. However, we shall not be liable for any modifications introduced by the property owners without our knowledge. Should we be notified of any significant modifications, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible. Please see also condition no. 15. 1.2 Properties are let fully furnished and equipped, including crockery, cutlery, bed and bath linen sufficient for the number of people indicated in the Booking Form, but usually excluding beach towels. Fresh linens and towels are provided weekly. Fuel for lighting, cooking, refrigeration and hot water is included in the rental price, but not, except in some houses identified in the price list, fuel for air conditioning, heating or Jacuzzis, the cost of which must be paid directly to the owner or his representative during the holiday. 2. Number of Persons 2.1 The number of persons who can be accommodated in each property is clearly indicated in each description and further clarified in the text. This number may not be exceeded in any circumstances except by prior consent of the owner, either directly or through our representatives. Often local bylaws or water supplies etc. preclude the possibility of any increase in accommodation. Tents are NOT allowed without the owner's permission. 3. Minimum Period of Rent The minimum period of rent is normally one week (in some properties two weeks), and renting starts and finishes on a Saturday, unless otherwise specified in the description of each property. Rentals start at 5 p.m. on the first day and end at 10 a.m. on the last day of the holiday. Guests are asked to arrive between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., and to leave before 10 a.m. in order to allow the property to be prepared for the next guests. The owner has the right to refuse arrivals outside the above times if he or she finds the alternatives inconvenient. Some owners may charge for late arrivals. If you find your journey taking longer than you expected, please contact the owner or ITT's representatives in Tuscany and they will contact the owner. This is a very personal business and we do worry about the possibility of accidents! 4. Bookings Bookings can be made through our head office, agents or directly through the website. Reservations will be confirmed upon receipt of the fully completed and signed Booking Form (or acceptance on website by ticking), the deposit or full payment of the rental charge according to the schedule set out in Paragraph 5 and the details of a credit/debit card to be provided as security. Until that time no contract or agreement will be considered to exist between us. If significant changes need to be made in the Booking Form after the reservation has been confirmed, an amended set of forms must be completed and signed. 5. Booking & Payment Upon confirmation of availability we will require 30% of the holiday cost and a completed booking form. If the holiday is less than 10 weeks away the full amount will be required. We will send you a receipt and invoice by post or email. These constitute confirmation of the booking which is confirmation of the contract between you and the property owner. The balance is due no later than ten weeks before the first day of stay at the property; if full payment is not received by this time we reserve the right to cancel your booking. You may pay by cheque, credit card or bank transfer. Cheques must be made payable to Invitation To Tuscany Ltd. We reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled if the balance of the price remains unpaid ten weeks before the first day of the stay at the villa and cancellation terms may apply. Receipts will be sent upon receipt of the total Invoice Price. The Invoice Price reflects the rental charges as set out in relation to your particular property or properties in our current Price List and as confirmed on our Booking Form and invoice. 6. The Party Leader The Party Leader is the person or agency who holds the booking, to whom all correspondence and invoices are addressed and who is responsible for the rental. 7. Cautionary Deposit A credit/debit card (the Security Card) in the name of the Party Leader must be given as security for the rental and related charges. The security card details will be held for that purpose and debits will only be applied under the following circumstances (administration charges may apply):a. To settle an outstanding balance, invalid or unpaid cheques, or payments not received according to the Payment Schedule; b. To settle amendment or cancellation fees; to settle cancellation fees for extra services. c. To settle the Final Bill if payment cannot be made in local currency or Travellers' cheques. d. To settle any invoiced amounts that you specifically indicate should be debited against the card. e. Should you wish to alter the name of the Property Leader or substitute a different credit/debit card for the one provided in the Booking Form an amended set of forms must be completed and signed. f. The security card must have a validity that extends a minimum of 15 days beyond the end of the rental period. If the Security card provided expires before that time, a Credit/Debit card Form with the details of the replacement card and signed prior to the expiry date must be provided, failing which the Accommodation documents will not be released. 8. Prices Payments are accepted in both English Pounds Sterling (GBP) and in Euro (EUR). A booking must be assigned to a currency and may not then change. Prices in GBP are based on the rate of exchange with EUR at the time of going to press. If on the day the balance becomes due the value of the GBP has dropped below €1.05 = £1:00 we may impose a surcharge to a maximum of 10% of the total Rental Invoice. We accept Visa, Access, Visa Delta, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards. We do not accept Diners Cards. Payments may be made with a different credit card/debit card from the one provided as security. There is a surcharge for payments made with American Express cards. The Final Bill, which is presented by the owner/ caretaker of the rental property at the end of the rental period, should be paid directly to him/her in Euro or Euro-denominated Travellers' cheques. Credit card payments by non-British residents will be debited by the credit card authorities to customers' accounts at the exchange rate on the day of the debit. Payments made directly to our bankers MUST bear your Booking Reference number and be transferred stating 'without charge to the recipient'. GBP Account: Nº 40539023 sort code 20 74 09 EUR Account: Nº 52492966 sort code 20 74 09 Our bankers are Barclays Bank plc, West Herts Business Team PO Box 87 St Albans AL1 3HJ 104 For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com 9. Advance Bookings for the Following Year Many of the owners will confirm early bookings at this year's prices - in this case the booking is treated as normal, with a 30% deposit necessary with the booking form. If the owner wishes to retain the right to change the prices, we will inform you and the booking will be PROVISIONAL until the owner has confirmed his/her prices. If the price varies by over 10% you may cancel and your deposit will be returned to you. 10. Final Accommodation Documents Directions to the property together with any relevant vouchers and documents will be sent no later than three weeks before the start of the holiday, by post or email, provided the invoice has been settled in full. The accommodation package also contains the Final Bill which is to be completed and left with the property owner/caretaker at the conclusion of the rental period. 11. Property Inspection On arrival guests should inspect the property with the owner/ caretaker and ensure that they understand the use of any appliances, equipment and utilities. Please read House Notes carefully before using appliances as frequently Italian appliances are different from those you may be used to at home. Washing machines and dishwashers have a timed safety catch on doors, for instance, which, if forced, may break the door. The owner/caretaker will usually arrive at the property at 9 am on the day of departure in order to inspect the property and present you with the Final Bill if there are any damage or charges due. If you intend leaving before 10 am on the last day of your rental period, please notify the owner/caretaker at the beginning of your rental period in order to arrange an alternative time for the property inspection. If you choose not to be present at the inspection you will not be entitled to query the Final Bill and we will automatically debit your security card for any outstanding amount indicated plus the £20.00 administration fee. 12. Tidiness and Cleanliness Properties will be assigned clean and in good order and should be left upon departure in the same condition. Please note that especially during a dry summer, dust collects quickly in old country houses. While guests are not expected to scrub floors, a general sweep and tidy-up is expected. Many owners will arrange for a cleaner if you ask. If the property has not been left in an acceptable state, the owner/ caretaker at his/her discretion may add up to €20,00 per person to be added to the Final Bill for the extra cleaning and tidying required beyond that normally expected between a change of guests. The Party Leader is responsible for the civilised behaviour of his party. Should the party behave in a manner that is not acceptable the owner/caretaker has the right to ask you to vacate the premises. 13. Substantial Amendments or Cancellation by You Substantial amendments to bookings, such as a change of dates or properties, or cancellations must be conveyed in writing and are subject to penalty charges as follows: Such amendments requested more than ten weeks (70 days) before the first day of the rental period are subject to an administration charge of £20.00 to be debited against the security card together with any difference in the cost of the revised arrangements. Notices of cancellation or of substantial amendments received within ten weeks (70 days) or less of the first day of the rental period are subject to a penalty of 100% of the Invoice Price. a. Notices of cancellation received ten weeks (70 days) or more prior to the first day of the rental period, for bookings in the current year or for bookings in the following year made after December 15th, are subject to a penalty of 30% of the Invoice Price. b. Bookings for the following year made and cancelled prior to December 15th are subject to a penalty of 10% of the Invoice Price, provided the notice of cancellation is received at least ten weeks (70 days) before the first day of the rental period. c. Bookings may not be deferred to the following year. 14. Alterations to Your Booking If, after your booking has been confirmed, you wish to transfer it to another person, we will make every effort to accommodate you but cannot guarantee that such transfer will be possible. In order that we may try and accommodate a change, you must advise us as soon as possible in writing of your intention to transfer. If such a change is made, an amendment fee of £20 will be payable which is non-refundable in the event of cancellation. Should you wish to change the date of your booking, then we will endeavour to arrange this but should it not be possible and you wish to cancel your holiday then the cancellation charges in paragraph 17 will be applicable. We must be advised of any proposed amendments as soon as possible in order to see whether they can be accommodated. If you move independently to other accommodation or alter the duration of your stay without informing the property owner/caretaker or us of the situation or allowing reasonable time for rectification, then no refunds will be made except at the discretion of the property owner. 15. Insurance It is a condition of booking that you take out Travel Insurance. For non-European citizens we highly recommend that you obtain coverage for medical and personal liability, as well as loss of luggage, monies and repatriation. 16. Swimming Pools Most private swimming pools are not heated and most are open from mid May until mid September, depending upon the weather and the owner's discretion. Some public pools are open only for June, July and August. Use of the Swimming Pool is strictly at the clients' own risk and children must be supervised at all times. 17. Breakdown of Equipment In the event of breakdown of mechanical equipment such as pumps, boilers, swimming pool equipment etc, please contact the property owner and inform him of the problem. Should the property owner be unable to be contacted, then you should contact the ITT representative or, as a last resort, the ITT office to inform us of the problem. We shall try to get the fault corrected as soon as possible, but you are asked to bear in mind that it may take some time particularly if it occurs on a Sunday or public holiday. Whilst we will endeavour to assist if the property owner is not available, Invitation To Tuscany cannot be held responsible for such breakdowns as it acts only as agent for the property owner. You should be aware that in Italy, occasional problems in relation to public utilities such as electricity and water can be experienced. 18. Force Majeure The property owner can accept no liability whatsoever in respect of any alteration, delay or cancellation or any other loss or damage of any kind caused by wars, revolutions, terrorist activities, riots, civil commotions, strikes, lockouts, industrial disputes, natural disaster, fire, floods, storms, failure of public utilities, mechanical breakdown, acts of any Government or Public Authority, changes imposed by rescheduling or cancellation of ferries, railways, airlines which are beyond its control or any other circumstances or events amounting to 'Force Majeure' and/or acts of God. 19. Complaints The property owners ensure that their property is in a reasonable condition at the beginning of the season and that they will take all reasonable care to maintain them in such condition throughout the season. If there are any problems, it is the client's responsibility to notify the owner/caretaker of the property promptly so that he/she can take the action required. If the problem is not or cannot be resolved satisfactorily within a reasonable time, the client should contact Invitation To Tuscany and ensure that they can be reached while the problem is being handled. 23. Access Roads Isolated country properties are often reached by rough and bumpy roads. If you intend driving your low slung or sports car to the rental property, please ask about the access roads to your chosen property. The owners must have an opportunity to put right any issues as soon as they arise. Should the owner not be available, please contact our representatives and they will endeavour to contact the owner. 24. Other Suppliers' Terms & Conditions We do not arrange air travel, ferry travel or rail travel We can assist you in respect of car hire and we have an arrangement with EuropCar whereby customers booking properties through us can also arrange car hire at the same time. We act as the booking agent for the car rental broker that supply the vehicle(s) you rent, and as such, bookings for these services will form a direct contract between you and the car rental broker, and will be subject to the car rental broker's terms and conditions. In the event you are dissatisfied you must in the first instance contact the owner or the keyholder of the property. If, after doing so, you still feel that the problem has not been resolved to your satisfaction, then you must contact Invitation to Tuscany. Vacating the property without speaking directly to the property owner or an Invitation To Tuscany staff member will void the client's right to claim compensation or refund for costs or rental charges. Invitation To Tuscany will not offer a remedy for any issue, problem or complaint raised after the rental period and cannot be held liable for any dissatisfaction with the holiday. 20. Breakage & Damage The Party Leader is liable for any damages caused to the property, its contents or the grounds by any member of his party. Guests are asked to tell the owner, custodian, or our representatives, about any damage or breakdown AS SOON AS IT OCCURS, so that replacements or repairs can be effected as soon as possible. It is your responsibility to leave the property rented with all its furniture and effects clean and in good condition, and you must undertake to inform the property owner/caretaker of any damage to accommodation or its contents. You may be required to pay for any damage or missing items or for any extra cleaning made necessary by the property being left in a dirty condition. These are private homes. Please respect the trust which the property owners have afforded to you: look after the property while you are there as you would your own home, and please do not remove books or any other private items. Any damage or breakages should be paid to the owner or caretaker directly. If they are to be calculated later or were discovered subsequently, they will be deducted from your credit card and a £20 administration charge levied. Some owners prefer to handle the cautionary deposit themselves and in this case you should hand a cheque or cash to the owner on arrival. Your agent will advise you if this applies to your chosen property. We also require your credit card details and authorization so that in the event that the cautionary deposit does not cover the cost of any breakages or damage, the cost may be paid by credit card. 21. Pets No pets are allowed without the express permission of the owner of the property concerned. There may be a charge for pets and this should be paid directly to the owner of the property concerned with the Final Bill. 22. Noise Almost all our properties are in quiet, peaceful country situations. However, in the country you are likely to hear birds, nightingales, owls, dogs, sheep bells, poultry, insects, frogs, tractors etc. all making sounds which are different from those in the city and which may disturb unaccustomed ears. We suggest that you take earplugs if you feel that these country sounds may disturb your sleep. Villages regularly hold festivals during the summer, which can be very noisy until late at night. The best way to support this is to join in and enjoy the festivities. ITT accepts no liability for noise or disturbance experienced whilst at the property. Should we make any arrangements on your behalf with third parties for services, we will do so on the basis that it is an agent to the contract and any contract is between you and the supplier. As such, we will have no liability to you unless it refers to personal injury or death which is caused by our negligence. 25. Liability Given that ITT acts only as agents for the property owners, we can accept no liability whatsoever for any death, personal injury, loss or damage of any kind, unless caused by our own negligence. Insofar as we have any liability to you, then proceedings in respect of any such liability shall be governed by English law and the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. Service of any such proceedings as referred to in the paragraph above should be sent to Invitation to Tuscany Ltd. Holland house, 35A Bedford Road, London N2 9DB. 26. Acceptance of Booking Conditions and Choice of Law and Jurisdiction Invitation to Tuscany acts as the booking agent for the named owners of the properties featured in this brochure and on our website and as such your rental contract is with the relevant property owner. The contract between you and the property owner comes into existence when the confirmation invoice is dispatched by ITT and is subject to these booking conditions. The signing of the booking form implies acceptance of the property owner's booking conditions for the property. 27. Copyright All content available through www.invitationtotuscany.com and in this brochure is provided by Invitation to Tuscany Limited. The contents of both are copyright © Invitation to Tuscany Limited. All rights reserved. The contents of this brochure may not be reproduced, modified, transferred, distributed, republished, downloaded, posted or transmitted in any form or by any means including but not limited to electronic, recording or mechanical photocopying without the prior written permission of Invitation to Tuscany Limited. You agree that the material and content contained within or provided by invitation to tuscany is for your own personal use only and may not be used for commercial purposes or distributed commercially. All drawings by Daniel Wrightson Photos by Jane Baker, Ela Bialkowska, Sally Fee, Hamish Niven, JoAnn Warren, Susan Wrightson, et al. Text by Susan Wrightson, Daniel Wrightson and JoAnn Warren Edited by Daniel Wrightson and JoAnn Warren The Invitation to Tuscany logo by Sally Fee Designed by Sutherland-Hawes Mc Lean Produced and printed by Travelprint Limited Copyright © 2011 Invitation to Tuscany Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright holders. For full details see www.invitationtotuscany.com