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Here are the things we loved:
• Gemma, the owner, is a delight – always happy to help and offer advice. She speaks good English and is a mine of information including fascinating facts about the property and its history. She visits daily to make sure her guests are ok. We miss her.
• Beautiful rural surroundings
• Gorgeous country walks – bring walking boots
• Peace and tranquility – away from it all – not any immediate neighbours
• Safe and secure – electric gates lead to a long avenue flanked by trees
• The house is spectacularly historic – built around1512 . It is unspoilt, with wonderful original Italian features and furnishings.
• The house is vast –with access only to most of the ground floor and the large basement kitchen (this is not the everyday kitchen), but even this amounts to probably about 5-6,000 sq feet, and with high ceilings. Upstairs remains un renovated
• Large private swimming pool
• Deliveries of organic produce grown by the owner
• Fresh figs from the tree
• The house has its own water supply from a mountain spring
• Dining in the large walled courtyard by the light of the fine candelabra – there’s a BBQ there too (as well as one down by the pool)
• Sitting under the chestnut tree where there is always some shade and a beautiful view.
• Fabulous pizza evenings – Antonio fires up the ancient pizza oven, prepares the dough and then we all make pizza together.
• The basement kitchen used for the pizza evenings.
• Snooker/Pool table
• Table tennis table
• Good supermarket 5 minutes’ drive away.
• Strongly recommend Riva Sud restaurant on the lake – about 10 minutes away
• 5 minutes from A1
• About half an hour from Florence and from the airport . 90 mins to Siena.
Things some may not like, but we didn’t find them a problem:
• The bathrooms are basic, but they were originally done to a high standard. Everything works really well, there is plenty of very hot water and shower pressure is good
• The kitchen is dated and small, but has everything you need. There is also a laundry room off one of the bedrooms.
• One of the bedrooms is only accessible through another.
• The pool is not so close to the house and there is a bit of a trek back up the hill after a swim.
• There are a lot of biting insects
If you want to stay in a fascinating, historic house, full of Tuscan culture, look no further! We were sad to leave– it was an emotional parting from Gemma and her ancestral home.
The villa was great, very spacious, and with every comfort and convenience. The view from the property is also amazing, with the valley of the Arno stretching for miles in front of you. You can see the Duomo of Florence in the distance. There is a pleasant terrace garden which looks over this view, with shady spots under trees, and herbs for cooking. Gabriele, the owner, must be the best villa owner in Italy, he was so helpful to us. We arrived (very slowly) from the UK in our historic Land Rover, and with some engine problems. Gabriele helped us with talking to the Car Garage at the bottom of the driveway (I can also reccommend this garage to anyone, Autofficina Autosoccorso, run by Allesio, they work on everything from 1925 Bugattis! 1950s Fiat 500s, Lancia Deltas, modern vehicles, and ancient Land Rovers!). Gabriele lent us his car! Arranged for our extended stay while the repair was done. He could not have been nicer or more helpful to us. Alastair Binnie