House | 2 bedrooms | sleeps 7
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 50 km|
|Will consider||House swap, Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Nearest Amenities||100 m|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Pisa 66 km, Nearest railway: Bagni di Lucca 8 km|
|Family friendly||Suitable for children over 5|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|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 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms, Solarium or roof terrace|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Single beds (1), Double beds (2), Dining seats for 7, Lounge seats for 7|
|Other||Linen provided, 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.
The Tuscany 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.
Bagni di Lucca
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.
The village also has an annual festival in August which includes outdoor cinema show on the church wall, literacy and poetry reading, outdoor dining and a candlelit procession up to the highest church in the village.
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!