A traditional stone villa at the heart of a small friendly village in northern Tuscany, Al Palazz ('the big house' in dialect) has wonderful views of the valleys and mountains beyond. The villa is architect-restored , with stone walls, terracotta floors, and beamed ceilings.
It's stylishly furnished with beds, sofas, and garden furniture chosen for comfort. Relax in the second floor sitting room gazing at the view, or in the private gardens and pool (11m x 1.4m) where there's everything you need for lazy days at home.
Sleeping up to six in great comfort, the villa is spacious for sharing with friends/family, and a romantic retreat for two (reduced prices for 2 or 4 guests). Kitchen, dining area, snug on first floor; two double bedrooms & bathrooms, large sitting room on second floor. Option to add ground floor cantina (never let separately) with shower-room, galley kitchen, sitting & bedroom areas. The main entrance is on the first floor, with the cantina (originally a storeroom) on the ground floor, and separate grounds. The gate to the gardens & pool just round the corner (see photos).
Our private pool & changing rooms are set in extensive south-facing landscaped gardens. Cross the public path from the square, go through our gate, and down the first stairs to reach our top terrace, next to the farm's kitchen garden. Laze on the swing seat or lunch at a shaded table for six. Down the next stairs you reach the main gardens. A terrace shaded by a grape vine leads through rose arches overlooking flowerbeds and a small lawn to a large covered terrace overlooking the pool, with dining table and chairs, table tennis, outdoor kitchen bar and gas barbeque. The pool on the lower level is solar heated (late May to late Sep). It's 11m x 4m x 1.4m, with steps. Changing rooms, showers, WC, comfortable loungers. Gardens can be lit at night, or sit by candlelight and watch the fireflies. From the pool, a path through an orchard in the making leads to our off-road parking space. There is also parking on-road and in the square by the house.
In summer, sunbathe and swim, sit and read, laze and gaze at the view, barbeque and watch the stars, take a dip in local hillside streams. There are lots of local fairs and food festivals to enjoy, with concerts under the stars. Head up to the mountain lakes or down to the seaside if you want a change of scene ... though many guests simply relax thoroughly in the gardens and by the pool.
In Apr/May and Sep/Oct there's wonderful weather for walking in the woods and hills, and pottering around enchanting little towns and castles. We've reduced prices and are flexible about start/end dates in Low season, to encourage visitors to get to know the area at these times. Enjoy spring flowers, autumn leaves, winter sunsets; dine by candelight and relax by woodburning stoves.
All year round, you can sample superb local food and wine in numerous excellent restaurants, and buy great ingredients for cooking at home from local suppliers. The Italian Riviera and the Cinque Terre are an hour away, and Lucca, Parma, Genoa, Pisa, Florence are all easy day trips. Our detailed House Books covering the property, the area, and eating out are rated highly by guests.
Staying here offers a real taste of rural Italian life. We think the villa is most suitable for people who are looking for a peaceful holiday in a family home, who will enjoy the chance to live in a village and explore an unspoilt part of Tuscany with deep-rooted values and many local traditions.
VIDEOS OF THE HOUSE & GARDENS and lots more information on the house website www.palazz.it
|Size||Sleeps up to 6, 3 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Lerici and the Cinque Terre (45 minutes) 20 km|
|Will consider||Long term lets (over 1 month)|
|Nearest Amenities||1.5 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Pisa or Genoa or Parma (75 minutes drive) 100 km, Nearest railway: Villafranca-Bagnone (10 minutes) 4 km|
|Family friendly||Suitable for children over 5|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Private outdoor pool (heated), Log fire, Internet access, DVD player|
|Pool||Private outdoor pool (heated)|
|General||Central heating, TV, Video player, CD player, Telephone, Table tennis, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Dishwasher, Cooker, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms and 2 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||Double beds (3), Cots (1), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 8|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Outdoors||Private outdoor pool (heated), Balcony or terrace, Private garden, BBQ|
|Further details indoors|
• Bedrooms 1 & 2 each have luxury super-kingsize beds which can be split to make two singles
• Bedroom 3 in the cantina has a luxury kingsize bed
• Linen changed and house cleaned weekly
• Duvets and bed covers for all seasons
• All bathrooms have shower, washbasin, bidet, WC, heated towel rail, hairdryer
• Main bathroom also has a whirlpool bath
• Separate comfortable sitting areas on the first and second floors
• Lots of cooking equipment, basic ingredients, cookbooks, all cleaning materials provided
• Wi-fi, iPod docking station and CD players (bring your own music)
• English and Italian books and DVDs
• Cards, games, maps, guidebooks
• Satellite TV shows Italian channels, CNN BBC World
• Internet radio preset to BBC channels
• Traditional Italian furnishings – wood and marble in the main house
• Cantina in modern Italian style
• Large rooms, high ceilings, tiled floors, and window shutters, keep the house cool in summer
• Gas central heating and two wood burning stoves make it a cosy retreat in spring and autumn
• Cot and strap-on high chair seats available on request for infants
|Further details outdoors|
• Small two-seat terrace overlooking the piazza outside the kitchen
• Acre of south-facing private gardens on three levels
• Top terrace with shaded table for 6 – perfect for meals outdoors – and a swing seat to snooze on
• Middle level with flower beds and an English lawn; rose arches lead from a small terrace shaded by a grape vine to a large covered terrace overlooking the pool, with big gas barbeque, dining table and chairs, table tennis
• Pool and changing rooms on lower level
• Pool (11m x 4m) is solar heated and has steps for easy access
• Two poolside changing rooms, two showers, and WC
• Gardens can be lit at night
• Comfortable La Fuma pool loungers and garden chairs
• Garden kitchen bar overlooking the pool with fridge, sink and outdoor tableware to make eating in the garden easy
• Cornilleau table tennis table, bats and balls
• Newly planted orchard with path from the pool to our car parking space
• Parking also available in square outside the house, and on the roadside
• We ask guests to leave the house tidy and replace any item they finish.
• Please bring your own beach and swimming towels (house towels provided).
• Flexible starts and minimum 3-night stays available in Spring/Autumn.
THE VILLAGE: Houses in Mochignano Chiesa, as in all hillside hamlets, were built close together on flat outcrops, with gardens on surrounding slopes. You'll have Italian neighbours - Al Palazz fronts onto the village square and shares walls with the church tower (chimes midday, early evening, and for Mass), a little B&B, and a neighbour's house. The farm is a small 'agriturismo', giving you the option to pop across the square for lunch or dinner in the beautifully restored vaulted cantina of the farmhouse, eating what's in season on the farm. This is a truly authentic experience – you won't get closer to dining with Italian neighbours than this!
ACCESSIBILITY: There are two flights of stairs in the villa and three flights in the hillside gardens, where some drops are unfenced to preserve the views. There are handrails on the staircases and low safety rails for the second floor sitting room windows. We do not recommend the property for children under-eight, or for people who are infirm or who might have difficulty on old stone staircases. Note also: the cantina bed is a double, so the villa is only suitable for families with up to three children.
Al Palazz is near the pretty little market town of Bagnone in the Apennine National Park. It's at the heart of the Lunigiana area - ‘undiscovered Tuscany’. It is very rural, authentic, with little tourism (and relatively little English). It's the land of a million stars and a hundred castles, of small towns and villages in valleys which lead from the Apennine mountains to the sea. Here you are still close to the rhythm of the year - what's on, what's available to eat, depends on the weather and the season. It’s a great place to relax on your own, or with friends or family.
The towns and villages of Lunigiana are small gems - wander old cobbled streets and squares, historic castles, churches, houses, museums. Go north up the Magra valley to Mulazzo, which has a wonderful castle and main square, or further to Zeri where there’s an old stone 'sheep village'. Go east and the Taverone valley takes you to the lovely little villages of Licciana Nardi and Tavernelle, and up into the hills and the national park with dozens of lakes. Or take the hill road to Fivizzano, a walled town at the head of a golden valley, with botanical gardens at Frignoli, and a thermal spa and caves at Equi Terme.
Go south to Fosdinovo, with its medieval castle and modern Resistance Museum, to ancient Roman Luni, or elegant Sarzana near the coast. Go west and the picturesque port and beaches of Lerici are just 45 mins/40km away. Portovenere and the Cinque Terre, five tiny villages clinging to a rocky coastline, are 60 mins/50km away and can also be reached by train or boat. The full Italian beach experience (umbrellas and all facilities!) can be found at Marina di Massa (about an hour) and beyond.
Pisa, Lucca, Parma are 75 mins away, Genoa 90 mins along the coast, Florence 2 hours away, all by easy motorway routes. There’s outdoor opera (Puccini) at Torre del Lago in the summer, and a Verdi festival in Parma in the autumn.
A short drive (1.5km), or a 20-minute walk down the hill on a track through the woods, takes you to Bagnone, an enchanting small town with bars, restaurants, all shops, doctors, pharmacy, post office, banks/ATMs, play park. Locally there are lots of local hill and mountain paths for walking, and crystal-clear streams for paddling, dam-building and swimming.
Drives of 15-30 minutes will take you to many pretty villages, historic Villafranca and Pontremoli, and modern Aulla. There are many good restaurants and excellent markets and small food shops. Drives of under an hour will let you explore the whole fascinating Lunigiana Wherever you go, we can signpost you to good local food and wine - Parma ham, Parmesan, pecorino, chestnuts, porcini mushrooms, lamb and wild boar are specialties. Our ‘Out & About’ Book gives suggestions for days out and eating/drinking.
Spring brings the first visitors and the valleys bloom with flowers. This is a good time for walking in the valleys and up on the moorland meadows. There are local food festivals in May and June. In high summer Bagnone bustles with Italian families coming back to the area. There's a sagra (food festival), dance or concert at every turn and a festival in August. On the night of San Lorenzo you can see shooting stars. In the autumn, it's time for winemaking in late September and chestnut festivals throughout October. There’s swimming till late September and wonderful walking as the woods turn golden. Winters are mild. Persimmon and pomegranates are in the shops. There are beautiful crisp days for walking and days by warm fires. New Year is celebrated with fireworks ringing round the valleys.