Villa | 3 bedrooms | sleeps 6
Newly restored private villa set amongst stunning countryside. The views have to be seen to be believed with the marble peaks of the Apuan mountains clearly visible in the distance. The property can accommodate up to 7 guest comfortably. Spacious and bright living / dining room to the first floor opening onto a superb terrace equipped for dining. Newly fitted contemporary kitchen with dishwasher and microwave and everything you need to cook typical Italian meal. The master bedroom has a small terrace with open views of the countryside and furnished with a comfortable double bed. A second bedroom to the first floor has a double bed. A bathroom is fitted with bath, separate shower and twin hand basins. External stairs lead to the ground floor annex which is completely self contained if required. Ideal for groups of friends or 2 families. ‘All in one’ living room with small yet very functional kitchen, dining and contemporary sofa. Adjacent bedroom with one double and one single bed leading into a spacious bathroom with bath and separate shower. From the living room there is a covered terrace. The garden surrounds the house with the terrace and pool area to the side. There is ample space for lying around the pool and taking in the sun and forgetting about the rush of modern life. Plenty of space is provided for cars by the private gated driveway. This is a real hideaway, no neighbours and no noise . If you feel like a change of scenery then a 10—15 minute drive takes you to the medieval market town of Fivizzano with a good selections of amenities and a lively atmosphere. Equipment includes TV/DVD/CD. Washing machine.
|Size||Sleeps up to 6, 3 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Lerici ( 50 mins )|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Pisa ( 1 hour 30 mins ), Nearest railway: Aulla ( 35 mins )|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|General||Central heating, CD player|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Cooker, Fridge, Washing machine|
|Rooms||3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 2 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Single beds (1), Double beds (3), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 6|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Private garden|
The Tuscany region
The word Tuscany conjures images of olive groves and vineyards, fine food and wine, romantic farmhouses lined with cypress trees and of course the sun set over Florence. Tourists are drawn every year by these beautiful images they see in glossy magazines, travel guides and through film and TV. Many visitors can be forgiven for thinking that Chianti, Siena and Florence encompass all Tuscany has to offer, however this is not so, and although these areas are enchanting there is much more to discover. Lunigiana offers a truly unspoilt corner of Tuscany and an inspired destination for the Italian traveller. The most Northern tip which borders the colourful Gulf of the Poets. The nearby Versilia coast overflows with sea side charm and is within easy reach the impressive city of Lucca, rich with Italian architecture and culture. In order to really understand Tuscany it is essential to experience its many contrasts and only then will you discover its true spirit.
Lunigiana is a quiet corner of Tuscany where traditions are strong, hospitality generous and the pace of life relaxed. Defined by the Appenine mountain range to the east (often referred to as the ‘back bone of Italy’), the world famous Carrara marble Apuane mountains to the south and the Ligurian Riviera to the west. For city dwellers, an ideal place to relax and get away from the more widely travelled destinations and an escape from the rush of modern life. Often called the ‘land of the moon’ or ‘land of a hundred castles’. Wherever you look in Lunigiana, magical outlines of castles and fortified villages can be seen. Most of these were built by the Malaspina family to defend the strategic position of this ancient land. Today many have been restored to their former glory, while others remain romantic ruins. Relax, unwind and explore this breathtaking countryside. Scattered with enchanting hillside villages, lush green hillsides covered in olive groves, leading to the foothills of the mountains with hidden meadows in flower, chestnut woods and eventually shady pine forests. A meeting point for various types of plants of the Mediterranean and even alpine regions. Paths lead through narrow village streets with stone houses rendered beautiful with simplicity. For walkers this is a paradise offering some of the most dramatic landscape in Tuscany.
All the seasons of Lunigiana have their own special character. During spring the hillsides overflow with wild flowers, trees awaken in blossom and fields blaze with poppies. During summer the temperature rises offering a superb climate that remains comfortable where the cool air from the mountains and the warm fresh air from the sea meet. Towns and villages liven with the chatter from the piazza bars, whether it be elderly men playing cards, young people parading the latest Italian fashions or tourists enjoying an aperitivo. The season also hosts many medieval events where village streets are lit by candle light to enhance the atmosphere of live performances, street entertainers dress in costume and cantinas open selling local handicrafts. In the Autumn there is the important ritual of the chestnut harvest, together with the hunt for porcini - the most highly prized variety of Italian mushroom. Against the soft autumn light the hillsides turn from green to the most amazing colours of aubergine and amber. In Winter, whilst it would be difficult to sunbathe, the sun still shines and the skies are often blue despite the dip in temperature, and with the winter comes skiing. There are three locations for this: Prato Spila high above the Taverone valley, Zum-Zeri in the western part of the Lunigiana and the third centre at Cerreto. Whilst these areas could not be described as professional resorts they still offer an enjoyable days skiing for all levels of ability. Seasonal festivals are held in the villages throughout the year to celebrate the harvests, with simple recipes evolved through the centuries. Long tables are laid for locals and visitors to enjoy the local recipes made lovingly by the villagers. In reality every one helps out, a real traditional affair the sort of thing seen on advertisement for olive oil! The Lunigianese people offer a warm welcome to new faces whether it be in mere curiosity or in the joy that people choose to visit their valley. Each village has its own unique character and sounds. The bells of the cattle in the nearby meadows, the shout of the bread man arriving, the ladies catching up on the local gossip and of course the chime of the bell tower. People live in complete harmony where the simple things are important, content in the quiet knowledge that life is good here!
Influences from Liguria and Emilia Romagna combine with the traditions of Lunigiana and blend throughout the architecture, warm, generous hospitality and unique cuisine. The nearby ‘Gulf of the Poets’ sometimes referred to as the ‘Lunigianese Coast’ has attracted many writers, artists and film makers over the years. The quietly cosmopolitan coastline still retains its authenticity and charm. The lively and colourful waterfronts, picturesque fishing villages and hidden coves with turquoise waters are a delight to discover. Excellent road and rail links give easy access to many famous tourist centres. For those with a craving for the famous ham, Parma is approximately an hour north of the region or should you wish to visit Florence it can be reached within an hour and a half by car. If you prefer an escape from driving then the train service is a cost effective and efficient way to explore the region. The airports of Pisa and Genova are about an hours drive away with other more northern airports worthy of consideration, all emphasising the regions superb location. If you have a passion for Italy, and a desire to explore the less beaten tracks, then Lunigiana will not fail to impress. The only real way to appreciate all that Lunigiana has to offer is to see it with your own eyes. We are sure that after your visit , this will be a place you find difficult to forget.
Fivizzano, an aristocratic town in the east of Lunigiana that experienced a wealth of prosperity under the Medici family of Florence. After the domain of the Malaspina it became part of the Florentine Republic. Fivizzano is a bustling and attractive market town full of elegant Renaissance palaces and with a distinct air of pride in itself. The young people of Fivvizano are prominent in the movement to revive their folk traditions and they participate in colourful flag waving performances, dancing and mock duels. They travel all over Tuscany giving demonstrations. A notable mention is the Piazza Medicea, an elegant piazza with a central fountain. The principal cafè offers some of the best pastries available for those with a sweet tooth. The town also has a musical heritage attracting international performers during its annual folk music festival. The nearby enchanting castle of Verrucula, is a completely fortified settlement on the banks of the river which has been superbly restored. Little red roofed houses and narrow medieval streets cluster around the fortified square keep. Geraniums spill from window boxes and gardens are full of courgettes, beans and tomatoes planted right down to the river’s edge. The castle is thought to date back to the 11th century together with its peaceful church with arched loggia and can be visited at certain periods during the year. Travelling further up the valley, Cerreto offers a range of activities including biking, walking and fishing also operating as a small yet popular ski resort during the winter with a range of shops, bars and hotels.
Days out and places of interest
Internationally renowned for its marble quarries and still the most important source of marble in the world. Carrara’s almost white stone has been visited for centuries by famous sculptors from Michelangelo who carved the famous ’David’ from the precious stone, to the more recently acclaimed Henry Moore. Both of these great sculptors personally visited the site to select their blocks. This is one of the world’s oldest industrial sites still in continuous use today which has excavated here since Roman times decorating many reclaimed palaces, Italian medieval churches and homes of the rich and famous. The town itself offers little to the tourist operating mainly as a commercial centre, however of particular interest in Carrara itself are the marble ateliers. There are a number in the Piazza XXV 11 Aprile. Atelier Piccoli is full of marble craftsmen and sculptors passionately carving away at the incredible blocks to produce a marvellous range of marble statues and ornaments. Many of the workshops welcome visitors. Most travellers visit the fascinating caves nearby. You can either take a guided tour or drive up there yourself to experience the dramatic views down into the quarries where this precious stone has been quarried. Tours can be organised by the Carrara Tourist office. The spectacular quarry of Fantiscritti retains the bridges that were once the marble railroads and remains a good example of this seemingly lunar landscape. These magical mountains, seen from the coast of Versilia, and from many places within Lunigiana, dazzle in the sunshine at any time of the year. The light reflecting from the marble peaks is often mistaken during the summer for snow. The quarries of Colonnata and Fantiscritti are open for visitors weekday mornings with a range of souvenir shops.
The Versilia Coast
Forte dei Marmi
Derives its name from the old fortress that still remains in the main piazza and the pier that was once used for loading marble. This gem of Versilia became a highly fashionable resort in the 1970’s attracting many international and some ’would be’ celebrities and has in recent years undergone a facelift to become popular again as a chic destination. Grand old villas of the late 19th Century provide the perfect facade of this luxury town with important families of Italian industry and design owning villas here. For those seeking retail therapy Italian style the town will not fail to impress with some of the most famous brands in the world. Even if many of the shops sell some of the most expensive items money can buy, it has managed to retain a strangely relaxed and somewhat unpretentious atmosphere. Stylish boutiques and cafes line the streets, ideal for a drink while you ponder over a purchase. Maybe you will catch a glimpse of a famous face hidden behind the compulsory sunglasses. Before you reach for your credit cards, visit the weekly market on Wednesdays and during the summer on Sunday where often you can find some designer bargains. When you have had enough of shopping you can always escape to one of the beach clubs for some sun, sea and relaxation.
Is the oldest of the coastal towns on the Versilia. Its origins are Roman and in the middle ages it was an important sea landing. In the 19th century it was reputed to have built some of the best boats ever to sail on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the boatyards are very much alive still today. Viareggio reached its hey day at the turn of the century with a number of the original buildings remaining in the town. Along the palmed fringed boulevards Art Nouveau style of architecture can be seen in the grand hotels, villas and cafes built in the 1920s. The finest example is the Gran Caffe Margherita at the end of the Passeggiata Margherita, designed by the father of Italian Art Nouveau, Galileo Chini. Viareggio is known best for its extravagant carnival held in January and early February second only to the more famous festival of Venice. Today this is the most popular resort on the Versilia coast. During the summer months there is a lively atmosphere and any train bound here on a summers morning is likely to be full of people heading for an easily organised day at the beach. Forget tiny coves with hidden beaches where you can throw down a towel as Viareggio is commercialised with private stretches of beaches that charge for entry. All are equipped with towels, changing rooms and sun loungers for the convenience of the beach enthusiast. Many find the resort a bit too commercial however a few things are for certain, several miles long of excellent beach, clean and groomed sand and a relaxed beach atmosphere. Seafood restaurants are plentiful even if the prices are quite high but they are some of the best on the coast. If you don’t mind sitting in organised rows on the beach with everything at hand, then Viareggio provides an ideal resort.
Torre del Lago
A splendid avenue of lime trees, the Via dei Tigli, connects Viareggio with Torre del Lago, once the home of the opera composer Giacomo Puccini. He and his wife are buried in the grounds of their former home, now the Museo Villa Puccini, a small homage that features the piano on which the maestro composed many of his best known works. You can take a pleasant boat trip around the lagoon and wetlands of Lago Massaciuccoli, an important nature reserve for rare and migrant birds. The lake provides a pretty backdrop for open air performances of Puccini’s works, held during August in his memory. A stage is built on the lake near his house and provides an atmospheric setting to enjoy some of his famous creations. For opera enthusiasts it is advised to reserve tickets in advance as this is a popular attraction. The other face of Torre del Lago with more modern musical connections, offers a lively nightlife with a variety of trendy clubs, bars and restaurants situated along the lake side. A relaxed sea side town during the day, however by nightfall, a party atmosphere is guaranteed during the summer.
Some may say Sarzana is Lunigiana’s most elegant town, however, it is sadly missed by many people visiting the area. Although not actually in Tuscany but Liguria, it lies slightly inland from the Gulf of the Poets and only 15 minutes from Aulla. The Ligurian architecture is apparent in colour combining the many styles of the region and the historic centre has become a fashionable place to spend an afternoon or evening with an excellent selection of small boutiques, trendy bars and restaurants. The town is particularly famous for its annual antique market held during August when the streets are filled with stalls selling everything from furniture, arts and crafts to memorabilia. Traffic is restricted to residents only in the centre so it is an ideal place to wander its narrow cobbled lanes that lead from the main piazza to the castle and the theatre. There is also a colourful weekly market every Thursday morning so get there early if you want to find a convenient parking space.
For more information on the nearby Gulf of the Poets please enquire.