La Piccola Torre
About the home
La Piccola Torre (the small tower) is a stone built detached tower style house in the beautiful mountain village of Benabbio in the North Tuscan hills. The house has been recently renovated by a highly regarded Italian architect using local materials and tradesmen. Furnished in a modern rustic style by an interior designer, this beautiful and unusual house provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy traditional Italian living in this welcoming Italian community.
The house is full of original features such as Cotto floors, chunky beams, wooden shutters and doors. Furnishings are designed to be both comfortable and pleasing to the eye.
The house is set on three floors, plus a very large and inviting roof terrace. Entering through the wooden front doors, downstairs to the right there is a large rustic kitchen with fridge, electric oven, gas hob and automated central heating system. There is a dining area in the kitchen which will seat 6/7 adults. Also downstairs there is a washing room with WC, sink, drying rack, washing machine and electric water boiler.
Straight ahead from the front door, up a few traditional stone stairs, is the cool and spacious lounge area with relaxed and comfortable seating, including a double sofa bed, a large day bed which converts to a large single bed, a working log fireplace and CD player and DVD player. This room provides the perfect place to sit and chill out away from the stresses of modern life.
Up the stairs on the first floor are the properties two bedrooms and the stylish modern bathroom with Rain Shower. The master bedroom has dual aspects and a King size bed. The second bedroom contains a double bed and views through to the valley.
The unusual and striking stairs then provide access to the large roof terrace with sun loungers, seating for al fresco dining, large stone BBQ and stunning panoramic views along the lush green valley and back over the village including the large Church with its traditional bell tower.
La Piccolo Torre is a Non-Smoking property (smoking allowed on roof terrace).
|Size:||Sleeps up to 7, 2 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach:||Viareggio, 50km|
|Will consider:||House swaps|
Nearest amenities: 100m
|Family friendly?||Suitable for over 5s only|
Unsuitable for people with restricted mobility
|Notes:||May take pets - please enquire|
No smoking at this property
|Luxuries:||Log fire, DVD player|
|General:||Central heating, TV, CD player|
|Standard:||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities:||Clothes dryer, Cooker, Fridge, Washing machine|
|Rooms:||2 Bedrooms, 1 family bathroom, Solarium / Roof terrace|
|Furniture:||Sofabeds (1), Single beds (1), Double beds (2), Dining seating for 7, Lounge seating for 7|
|Other:||Linen and towels provided|
Further details indoors:
The house has an interesting history, which we are starting to piece together from the village locals. So far it is our understanding that the house was built by/for an American sailor shortly after The First World War for his Italian girlfriend from the village. Unfortunately before he could complete the house, he was called back to his boat and left Italy, his girlfriend either couldn't afford to complete the house, or else was prevented from completing the build due to the fallout with the immediate neighbours as the American had built the house in the middle of one of the villages squares (blocking the views of surrounding properties). The house then remained empty until The Second World War.
During the Second World War the property was used as a safehouse for partisans and the Italian resistance as a stop off point for American, Canadian and English soldiers and spies escaping from Florence. They would spend up to 12 days in the house until being called to the West coast and their boat home. Indeed one of our neighbours has a letter from General Alexander thanking them for supporting British troops during the war as they provided food and clothing to the house. Following the war the house was again left empty, although the wartime occupants did leave a small number of hand grenades and pistols which were found and disarmed by the Italian bomb disposal team during the recent renovation. As such the property has never been permanently occupied, making it an 80yr old new build!
Further details outdoors:
Although the property has no allocated parking, there is plenty of public parking in the village, there is car parking by the two small shops which are a thirty second walk from the house through an arch, even if these spaces are taken on your arrival you can pull in to unload the car.
There are more spaces by the church which at the furthest are 50 metres (100 foot approx).
All parking areas are well lit, paved and relatively level.
New for rent August 2005.
PLEASE NOTE ALTHOUGH THE PROPERTY WILL SLEEP 7 MAXIMUM IT IS MORE SUITED TO FOUR PEOPLE AS THE 5-7th PERSONS WOULD BE ON A SOFA BED AND SINGLE BED IN THE LOUNGE AREA.
Property has stone staircases and floors, therefore children should be appropriately supervised to avoid injury. Local football pitch and ball play area in village 50m from house, outdoor and indoor swimming pool in Bagni di Lucca.
The Tuscany / Lucca Province region
The Italian region of Tuscany is amongst the most beautiful areas of Europe offering stunning Alpine hills to the North, the rolling hills of Siena to the south, sandy beaches and beautiful coast lines and some of the most historic cities and towns in Italy.
A holiday in North Tuscany is characterised by beautiful and lush scenery, hill and mountain roads to traditional, rural Italian villages and masses of history and art .
Tuscany was the region in which the Italian Renaissance produced its first results. The unique artistic patrimony of this region includes architecture, painting and sculpture, collected in dozens of famous museums like the Uffizi in Florence and in situ in even quite small cities.
Tuscany is also known for its wines (most famous of which are Chianti, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino) and has 120 protected regions (nature reserves). Notable tourist destinations in Tuscany include Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Maremma (in Grosseto province), Crete Senesi, and Siena.
The Bagni di Lucca area
La Piccola Torre sits nestled in a small square in the mountain village of Benabbio, at the foot of the Apuan Alps and 6km outside the historic spa town of Bagni di Lucca, the house is perfectly located for exploring the national park area of the Garfagnana, the cities of Lucca, Pisa, Livorno (Leghorn) and Firenze (Florence). The house is located just 50 minutes from Pisa airport, 50 minutes from the beaches of Viareggio and Forte Dei Marmi and 50 minutes from the local ski resort of Abetone. Further afield beautiful Porto Venere is 90 minutes away to the North West and the rolling hills of Sienna a couple of hours to the South East.
Benabbio - the village facilities
Situated along the road that climbs from Bagni di Lucca over the Pizzorne plateau and goes down to Pescia, this charming traditional working village stands on the hillside and on the top stands a Romanesque church and the few ruins of the castle of Lupo Luperi. Benabbio is a typical mountain Tuscan village with a wealth of history stretching from Medieval times, please note due to the location/altitude of the village walking to Bagni-di-lucca is only advised for the really fit, obviously downhill is fine but walking back is not for the faint hearted! But the village has two shops which between them should provide all the goods you need. Taxis are also available from the village. During the summer months the villagers open the small outdoor bar and dancing (ballroom not modern) area called 'la Lucciola' (the Firefly) the bar serves snacks and children /young people are very welcome, it is a three minute walk from the house. There are two restaurants in the village, a new restaurant opposite the church in the centre of the village offering traditional Tuscan dishes such as wild boar and a Pizza/pasta/ice cream restaurant just five minutes walk up the hill (on the left) by the side of the church, offering very reasonably priced food and is ideal for children, it also provides a take away pizza service. There is also a great western style riding centre which provides local trecks just outside the village - www.ruscelloranch.com
Just down the hill from the village Bagni di Lucca has a number of bars and restaurants to satisfy most appetites, with more gastronomic experiences further toward Lucca including the beautiful 'Butterfly' restaurant on the main road to Bagni di Lucca from Lucca, where you can experience the very best in high quality Italian gastronomy.
BAGNI-DI-LUCCA (5km) hosts an amazing period natural thermal spa offering many treatments and beauty products. The town also has a lovely large outdoor/indoor swimming pool providing sunbathing areas, snacks and drinks - great place for the children. An historic casino museum has also recently opened after national investment and refurbishment. (2010) - now non operational,it was apparently the first casino to open in Italy.
Bagni di Lucca was established in late roman times. Its health -giving springs have been used by the nobility of Europe for over 1000 years, and was known as "The Italian Switzerland". The magnificent and unique Ponte della Maddalena (The Devil's Bridge) was built in 1101 so the baths could be reached from Lucca. In the 18th and 19th centuries there were particularly strong ties with England and it was an essential stop on the "Grand Tour". It was frequented by Shelley, Byron, the Brownings, Strauss, Listz, Paganini, and Puccini and many other notables.
Today Bagni di Lucca is a beautiful little spa town with a variety of shops, bars and restaurants, The town nestles in the lush valley of the Lima River which flows right through the middle of the town (you can swim in many places)) in the foothills of the Apennines surrounded by picturesque medieval hilltop villages, many of which are worth a day's visit especially Barga.
The house is also on the doorstep of two National Parks offering mountains, forests, gorges, rivers, lakes and caves (La Grottto Vente is not to be missed it is known as the wind cave, its very large and has amazing formations inside - tours are available in English and run approx every half an hour- further info at house).
The skiing in Abetone is fantastic with runs to suit beginners as well as experienced, the resort has 60km of stunning piste and a modern lift system (apart from one chairlift - a bit old and slow!). Lessons are available in English and prices for lessons, lift passes and eqipment hire are about the cheapest in Europe as the resort is not advertised. There are NEVER any queue's and skiing is possible from Dec right through to April - the resort has an excellent snow record due to its own mirco climate and it has never experienced an avalanche!
The nearest beach resort is Viareggio,, it has miles of sandy shoreline and is ideal for children and sunbathers, in summer the resort gets busy with the rich and famous italians who often arrive on their own private yachts - very entertaining!
How to get there
Click map icons for more information
The village of Benabbio is easily accessible by road or by train. Low cost flights to Pisa (50 minutes drive) are available from the following UK airports:
- London (Stansted)
Alternatively low cost flights to Florence (75 minutes drive) are available from London Gatwick.
The drive from the airport is a simple run North from Pisa (or West from Florence) on the motorway to the beautiful walled city of Lucca, from there a short drive North along the beautiful Serchio Valley takes you past the historic towns of Ponte a Moriano and Borgo a Mozzano (with the famous Devil's Bridge or Ponte del Diavolo) to the Spa town of Bagni di Lucca with its thermal spa, restaurants and bars along the river Lima. Just a couple of hundred metres past Bagni di Lucca on the road out to Abetone (the local ski resort, known as the training ground for the Italian olympic skiing team) on the right hand side the road to Benabbio climbs up the side of the valley providing stunning views along the river and across to the Apuan Alps.
Whilst we recommend hiring a car from the airport, to allow you to best explore this beautiful area, it is also possible to take a train from Pisa airport to Bagni di Lucca, with a couple of changes in Pisa and Lucca. It is then a simple task to pick up a taxi or take the bus from Bagni di Lucca up to Benabbio where you can spend a relaxing time in the village.
Activities near Bagni di Lucca
Tennis in town
Rural / countryside retreats
11 Dec 2012
My wife and I stayed at La Piccola Torre in October 2012. The house was beautiful with lots of attention to detail, the house has a really rustic charm but was well equipped. We were able to use the... more
13 Nov 2012
We booked this house after seeing the photographs on the website. The house was lovely set in a beautiful village.With a great little supermarket and a local resturant. Just the peaceful holiday that we were looking forward too.
The house was as described. However, during the evening a local fiesa was held in the village so from about 10pm to 1am there was very loud music and local people singing and having a good time. The weather was SO hot but we had too close the windows there was no fans and it was just unbearable.This was a holiday and we had to try and settle our child while all this was going on. You knew that this was going to last all week.
The owners knew this too as several families had had the same problems - this was written in the guest book!!! I was not happy with the owners they knew that this fiesta takes place every year. It would have been good to have the knowledge that this was happening, and been able to book another week. I contacted the owner and she said she would pay £100 to us. Never heard from them since!!!!!!
This is an review from a customer who stayed in our house in 2010 so we are a little confused as to why the review has only just been received!! The house now has fans in each room to allow windows to be shut when it is hot.
We were not aware of any festival in the village and we presume the noise is from the August open air bar which is clearly described in the details of the property. Guests have commented in the guest book how much they enjoyed going to the bar with their children and being welcomed by the locals and being part of the dancing, it is tradition in Italy for children to attend these social events with their families during school holidays and to go to bed later than normal and to lie in longer in the mornings. The description is clear that the house is in the centre of this lovely village and you will experience 'real' Italian life. It is a very small village but the one thing that is consistently noted in the guest book is how friendly the villagers are and how much they enjoy it when the people staying at our house mingle within their community.
If you do prefer isolation then this is probably not the holiday property for you.
We did offer to compensate the customer with £100 as a goodwill gesture but unfortunately my computer 'died' due to having a pint of water dropped onto it and I lost all details necessary to continue communication, we then bought a new laptop but changed accounts to a yahoo address (was a mail address previously) this email address has been clearly visible on the holiday lettings website for 2 years and we received no communication from the guest who supplied this review so we were unable to return the £100.
Ann and Pete (owners)
28 Mar 2012
Absolutely loved our stay at La Piccola Torre. We found both the property and its location enchanting. The hillside village setting is breathtaking and provides an authentic Tuscan experience. I actually loved waking to the peal of the church bells. The house is warm and charming, exquisitely furnished in chic rustic style. We enjoyed breakfasting on the roof terrace taking in the ambiance of village life and then spending evenings with a glass of wine chilling out by a roaring log fire. Excellent location for visiting hotspots like Florence and Lucca but also lovely for walking around the village area and Bagni-di-Lucca. Good restaurants locally in Bagni-di-Lucca. Would love to come and stay again.
|Rental prices originally quoted in: British £||Convert to:|
|Prices for group size 7|
|Period||From||To||Weekly||Nightly rate|| Minimum |
|Early winter||20 Oct 12||23 Dec 12||£ 299||-||-||3 Nights|
|Xmas/New Year||23 Dec 12||2 Jan 13||£ 399||-||-||3 Nights|
|Skiing||2 Jan 13||1 Apr 13||£ 289||-||-||3 Nights|
|Spring/Easter||1 Apr 13||19 May 13||£ 349||-||-||3 Nights|
|Early Summer||19 May 13||30 Jun 13||£ 389||-||-||3 Nights|
|High Season||30 Jun 13||1 Sep 13||£ 489||-||-||4 Nights|
|Late Season||1 Sep 13||20 Oct 13||£ 389||-||-||3 Nights|
|Early.Winter||20 Oct 13||23 Dec 13||£ 299||-||-||3 Nights|
|Xmas/New Year||23 Dec 13||2 Jan 14||£ 429||-||-||3 Nights|
The property's weekend rates apply to: Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights
NB: Prices may be subject to change at the advertiser's discretion.
LATE DEALS ARE LISTED WHERE AVAILABLE ON THE WEBSITE BUT PLEASE ENQUIRE IF LESS THAN FOUR WEEKS BEFORE DEPARTURE DATE<BR>Prices include all electric, water, oil, gas and logs, often these are hidden extras!<BR><BR>PRICES QUOTED IN TARIFF ARE BASED ON TWO PEOPLE SHARING THE PROPERTY, A CHARGE OF Â£15 PER ADDITIONAL PERSON WILL BE REQUIRED TO COVER EXTRA CLEANING AND LINEN COSTS.<BR><BR>A Â£75 DEPOSIT IS REQUIRED ON BOOKING (NON-REFUNDABLE)<BR><BR>BALANCE IS DUE SIX WEEKS BEFORE DEPARTURE PLUS A REFUNDABLE BREAKAGES/SECURITY FEE.<BR><BR>IF HOLIDAY IS CANCELLED AFTER FINAL BALANCE HAS BEEN RECEIVED WE WILL RE ADVERTISE THE PROPERTY AND IF WE ARE ABLE TO LET THE PROPERTY ON THE DATES CANCELLED WE WILL REIMBURSE YOU ANY PAYMENT RECEIVED, IF WE ARE UNABLE TO RE LET THE PROPERTY WE WILL BE UNABLE TO REIMBURSE ANY MONIES TO YOU.<BR>WE WILL OF COURSE RETURN THE SECURITY DAMAGES FEE TO YOU WHETHER WE RE LET THE PROPERTY OR NOT.<BR><BR>WE THEREFORE ADVISE YOU HAVE HOLIDAY CANCELLATION INSURANCE IN PLACE ONCE YOU HACE CONFIRMED YOUR BOOKING.Enquire now
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The owner is based in the United Kingdom and has advertised with Holiday Lettings since 2005. This house has received 6 reviews from previous guests.
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