La Stalla at Villa Bonicelli is a recently completed barn conversion that sleeps two people in style. It is situated in Villa Bonicelli, a picturesque and peaceful hamlet in the heart of the Appennini mountains of Emilia Romagna. The property is well equipped, comfortably furnished and boasts absolutely stunning views of the mountains and the river Dolo. It's an ideal spot for couples looking for a romantic hideaway, but could also be rented in conjunction with one or both of our other properties: Casa Vigneto, a three-bedroom house, and/or L'Antico Palazzo, which can sleep up to 10. (Please see our other entries for more information on these properties.)
An outdoor swimming pool with mountain view is located just a few paces from the front door of La Stalla and is shared between the three properties. Wifi is available in the house and by the swimming pool; however, due to the thick stone walls, we can't guarantee a connection in every corner of the house!
Although a modern conversion, the barn retains much of its original charm, with exposed beams and stonework throughout. The open-plan ground floor has a sitting and dining area with wood pellet-burning stove, television and DVD library; a well-equipped kitchen corner with gas hob, fridge-freezer and washing machine; and a bathroom with charming small wooden bath tub imported from Thailand and separate shower cubicle.
Stairs lead up to a mezzanine floor, where you will find a spacious double bedroom with cosy seating area and large picture windows (with remote-control-operated electronic blinds) that look out onto the beautiful mountain landscape. There is also a day bed that can be used as a single bed to sleep a third person, but please note that the barn is NOT suitable for children under the age of 5.
La Stalla has a private east-facing terrace that looks onto the Appennini mountains and the river Dolo. What better spot to enjoy an alfresco meal (there's a fantastic large stone/marble barbecue) or a glass of vino as the sun goes down?
Please note that La Stalla is accessed via a short downhill path (about 10m) that is quite steep. It is paved and lit, and there is a handrail.
Whether you're simply looking to relax and recharge your batteries, or whether you are looking for a more active holiday of outdoor pursuits and sight-seeing, our property will provide the perfect base for you to enjoy and explore this unspoilt corner of Italy. We can also accommodate larger groups across our three properties - please contact us for more details.
|Size||Sleeps up to 3, 1 bedrooms|
|Check in time:||16:00|
|Check out time:||11:00|
|Nearest beach||La Spezia/Cinque Terre 110 km|
|Will consider||Long term lets (over 1 month)|
|Nearest Amenities||3 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Bologna, Parma 95 km, Nearest railway: Modena 62 km|
|Family friendly||Suitable for children over 5|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
|Pool||Shared outdoor pool (unheated)|
|General||TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Cooker, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||1 bedroom, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Double beds (1), Dining seats for 4, Lounge seats for 5|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Shared outdoor pool (unheated), Balcony or terrace, BBQ|
|Access||Parking, Not suitable for wheelchair users|
Emilia Romagna is one of Italy's most prosperous regions and is famed for its culinary delights, making it an ideal destination for food lovers. Among other things, it is home to fresh pasta (tortellini, tortelloni...), ragù sauce, Parma ham, Parmesan cheese and traditional balsamic vinegar as well as Lambrusco, which is a sparkling red that is very different from the Lambrusco you may have had the misfortune to try in the UK!
La Stalla @ Villa Bonicelli is extremely well placed for a day trip to any of the four main cities in Emilia Romagna, all of which are worth a visit. The ancient Roman town of Reggio Emilia is 50km away. Modena (60km) is a thriving city whose Duomo is considered one of the greatest examples of European Romanesque architecture and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parma, one of the most affluent towns in Italy, is 70km away. Bologna (c. 100km), the region's capital city, is a real delight, with its characteristic red-brick buildings and its over 40km of covered porticos (useful in bad weather). It is also home to the oldest university in Europe, founded in 1088, earning it one of its nicknames, La Dotta (The Learned). Also known as La Grassa (The Fat), Bologna takes its food very seriously; in fact, it is considered by many to be the food capital of Italy.
This area is a car and motorbike enthusiast's dream come true - Lamborghini (Dosso, nr Ferrara), Ferrari (Maranello), Maserati and Ducati (near Bologna) all have their factories and museums in the region.
For day-trips slightly further afield, a day at the seaside can be enjoyed at La Spezia or Lerici, both about two hours away – and don't miss the Cinque Terre, five beautiful cliff-top villages dotted along the rugged Ligurian coastline that can only be reached by foot or by train. They're charming and surprisingly unspoilt, thanks to their UNESCO status. Alternatively, head to the Adriatic coast to the legendary resort of Rimini, with its 15km of sandy beaches (2.5hrs approx).
For those looking for a winter break, there are several excellent ski resorts that can be reached from Villa Bonicelli in little over an hour, depending of course on driving conditions:
Cerreto Laghi, which surrounds a glacial lake at the foot of Mount Nuda, is in the heart of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines in the beautiful Parco Nazionale. It is a small, very popular family resort. It is well equipped, with 25 km of downhill skiing, four chairlifts and a ski lift. There are also a number of cross-country trails and a large indoor ice rink. There is a ski school for children and beginners, and a good selection of restaurants and shops.
Cimone (Sestola) is the biggest winter resort in the Tuscan-Emilian Appennines, with 50km of interconnected slopes and 22 lift systems. It is excellent for families, with courses and specifically designed routes for young skiers. There is also a Snow Park that has hosted national competitions.
The Abetone Pass, with an altitude of 1388 mt, is on the border between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany and hosts one of the most important ski resorts in the Appenines. The resort is made up of four interconnected valleys with a total of 54 lifts, giving access to an extensive network of mixed-ability pistes. The highest point, Monte Gomito, is 1940m.
Golf: There are several good golf courses within an hour's drive of the house, including the 18-hole San Valentino Golf Club in Castellarano (approx 45 min), which is surrounded by over 130 hectares of woodland and green pastures and boasts 4 lakes; and the Matilde di Canossa golf club near the town of Reggio Emilia.
For those looking to take it easy, why not simply sit back with a glass of vino and take in the gorgeous views from your terrace, relax by the pool (due for completion in mid-July 2013) or head out to one of the lovely local restaurants to be treated to some delicious Emilian cuisine? The river Dolo, which is in places deep enough to bathe (if you like a very 'refreshing' dip!), is just a few minutes' walk away and there are some spectacular walks that can be enjoyed directly from your front door. There's also a wealth of wildlife to observe – sharp-eyed guests might very well spot woodpeckers in the forest, deer in the fields and birds of prey circling over the mountains. The beautiful scenery also makes Villa Bonicelli an ideal location for painting holidays.
The area has many restaurants and pizzerias that offer fantastic value for money, including one approx 10 mins' drive away in Farneta. It is a friendly family-run restaurant with a lovely terrace on which to enjoy your homemade pasta. We have established a partnership with this restaurant and can offer cooking courses there on request. The courses can be tailored to your requirements but a typical day would involve making two types of fresh pasta, two different sauces and a dessert (or two!); you can then enjoy what you have made (and more) in the restaurant. It's a fantastic experience that comes highly recommended - our guests have said that it was one of the highlights of their holiday. For an alternative foodie experience, look no further than our local Parmesan producer in Quara to learn all about - and taste - the best Parmesan around! Get there early for a tour of the dairy and to see the artisans at work.
Throughout summer and autumn there are 'feste' being held most weekends in one or other of the local villages, with the focus of the celebrations ranging from wine and beer to chestnuts, mushrooms and truffles – not to mention various obscure saints!
The nearby town of Toano (approx 7km) has a decent selection of bars, pizzerie, shops etc and is also home to one of the best preserved Roman churches in the Appenines. It also has a lovely outdoor swimming pool, which is open during the school holidays (early June to early September, see pic).
For guests looking for something a little more 'physical', the area is extremely popular with walkers, cyclists and bikers due to the stunning mountainous scenery. There are many marked walking routes that can be picked up from Villa Bonicelli, from the river or from the nearby hamlet of Castagnola, including one that takes you across a Tibetan-style rope bridge (see photo). There is also an excellent Via Ferrata that enables less experienced climbers to access some of the more dramatic routes usually only accessible to the expert mountaineer! About 30 min away is the Pietra di Bismantova, a magnificent sandstone plateau over 1,000m high. It is a climbers' paradise, with about fifty routes and climbing variants. Guided treks, canyoning, half-day climbing lessons etc at Bismantova can be arranged – please contact us for more information. The Parco del Gigante, one of the largest parks in Emilia, is great for walking and horseriding.
Other places of interest include Carpineti, with its impressive hilltop castle (see photo), about 30 min away, and Cerwood, an adventure park suitable for children and adults alike, set in the National Park about 50 min from Villa Bonicelli.