The property is the Mulino (mill) set in beautiful gardens, against a backdrop of an unspoilt natural valley with wild flowers, birds and animals - all within close reach of the Stretti di Giaredo for gorge walking. There is access to the private swimming pool situated in terraced gardens overlooking meadows and fruit trees.
The Gordana valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty, protected by Italian law as a Site of Regional Interest, home of several protected species of birds, fish, frogs, bats and insects. The hills are covered with chestnut trees. Further upstream are the Stretti di Giaredo, a spectacular 500m long gorge that is famous throughout Italy for walking holidays – it has 50m high rock walls and in places is only a few metres wide.
Pontremoli is a lively market town with an enchanting historic quarter, and a market twice a week. The old town inhabits an elongated stone island surrounded on both sides by the River Magra. Many beautiful historic bridges cross the river on both sides of the town. There are cafés, restaurants and shops, the Duomo and Campanile, the Castello del Piagnaro and two very beautiful piazzas. There is a theatre (the horseshoe-shaped Teatro della Rosa, early 18th Century) and a cinema (Cinema Manzoni). There is the national book festival at the end of July (Premio Bancarella).
Cavezzana is a unique and magical property. Everyone who comes to the house falls in love with it, and several families return year after year. We like to feel that the Mulino is really suited to the people who go there – it is not ideal for toddlers or the very elderly, as parts of the garden have terracing, and the millpond is situated outside the kitchen door, with a bridge across the water to the outside eating area.
It is a great place for outside eating with lots of different places to eat, drink and picnic in the lovely gardens. With the well-equipped kitchen it is great for groups. The home cinema (in the building that was the original village school) is always popular, and there is a very good collection of DVDs.
The house is part of a complex of stone buildings including:
• the 'Casa Padronale' - the main house,
• the 'Casa Colonica’ - the house for the miller, which at one time housed an 'osteria' (an inn) for the village.
• the 'Scuola' - the former village school. There are local people who were taught there in their youth
• there are stables, haylofts and mill buildings.
The oldest parts of the main house date from the 14th century and it was occupied for many years by officials associated with the diocese of Pontremoli - the building has a chapel on the upper ground floor. In the 1850s, while Garibaldi was travelling through northern Italy between Genova and Ravenna, he stayed in this house for 8 nights - the largest bedroom on the first floor is still called 'the Garibaldi Room' by locals.
The house is built of local sandstone from the river and most of the rooms have vaulted ceilings, many of them decorated with late nineteenth century murals that have been carefully restored.
The stone structure keeps the house cool during the summer.
The lower floor is given over to the mills and stables and the original mill equipment can still be seen. There is a millstream that flows past the house to the millpond outside the kitchen and water flows in a cascade to the lower stream in the field. There are two corn mills, two chestnut mills and a 'frantoio' (olive mill). To complete the agricultural activities were a lime kiln 'calcinaia' (next to the swimming pool) and a chestnut drying house ('essicatoio per le castagne'), where chestnuts were dried following the harvest. There is still agricultural activity on the estate and a local farmer grazes cattle and horses in the main meadow in front of the house.
The terrace is wonderful for relaxing, sunbathing, having cocktails or dancing at midnight. Cavezzana is a very special Italian experience.
Not suitable for young children. No smoking. No pets.