Apartment | 1 bedrooms | sleeps 2
Il Cortile forms part of this impressive village property and combines the comfort of modern living with the charm of the past.
The building has been sympathetically restored and interior designed to retain much of its original character, including terracotta floors, beamed ceilings and antique chestnut doors. Furnishings have been carefully chosen to compliment the property. Earthy tones combine with simple white bedding, rustic pieces with some contemporary furniture. Bathrooms and kitchens have been custom designed with hand made mosaic tiles, granite surfaces and ceramic 'butlers' hand basins. Il Cortile is fitted with central heating. There are laundry facilities in the main building.
All towels and linens are included as are waffle robes from the White Company, and slippers.
Another property is available on request for larger groups.
Swimming pool is offered complimentary a few minutes drive away by a local holier. Their restaurant is certainly worth as visit, great food, atmosphere and price.
|Size||Sleeps up to 2, 1 bedrooms|
|Will consider||Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Nearest Amenities||8 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Pisa 1 hour 15 minutes 100 km, Nearest railway: Aulla 20 minutes 16 km|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|General||Central heating, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Washing machine|
|Rooms||1 bedroom, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Double beds (1), Dining seats for 4, Lounge seats for 4|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
The Tuscany region
The Tuscany region
Lunigiana is the most northern part of Tuscany bordering Liguria, with Pisa and Genova airports approximately one hour away. A quiet corner of Tuscany where traditions are strong, hospitality generous and the pace of life relaxed. The marble peaks of the Apuan and the Appenine mountain ranges encompass the region against which magical outlines of castles can be seen, many restored while others remain romantic ruins. Paths lead through narrow village streets with stone houses rendered beautiful with simplicity. Seasonal festivals are held in the villages throughout the year to celebrate the harvests, with simple recipes evolved through the centuries and gathered from the tastes of Tuscany, Liguria and Emilia Romagna. During the long summer nights the village streets are lit by candle light with live performances and cantinas are opened selling local handicrafts. Experience this beautiful landscape by foot or horseback and cool in the shady river pools of the valleys. Pontremoli is a principal town with its imposing Duomo and hilltop castle that house the stele statues dating from 2000BC, said to hold the mystery of an ancient civilisation.
In contrast to Lunigiana, the Ligurian coast is so very close in distance but in many ways a world apart. A short drive takes you to the Gulf of the Poets where you can wander the bustling, old streets of La Spezia with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, enjoy a drink in its many bars and of course explore the shops and the markets. Relax in one of the many seafood restaurants at Lerici and watch the sunset from the harbour. Regular ferries leave for Portovenere with its pastel coloured waterfront, and the award winning Cinque Terre, five fishing villages that cling to the side of this dramatic coastline. The last of these villages has a beautiful beach for sun and sea enthusiasts, with some of the clearest waters in Italy. Sarzana lies inland, an elegant town of piazzas and narrow lanes with a host of antique shops and small boutiques and opens its streets during the summer for the annual market selling antiquities and memorabilia.
Cultural centres such as Parma and Lucca are in easy reach. Florence can be visited by car in about an hour and 30 minutes or experience the superb scenery by train. Transport links are very good and inexpensive, however car hire is recommended to really appreciate the region. This is a holiday with an opportunity to explore not only this beautiful part of Tuscany but also Liguria. If you have a passion for Italy, its architecture, culture, fine food and wine then this experience is for you. It would be impossible to mention all the region has to offer, however we are sure that after your visit this will be a place you find difficult to forget.
Nestled into the hillside is the picturesque village of Taponecco. Cobbled pathways and arches connect the houses of this medieval settlement dating back to the 13th Century. Taponecco is served daily with groceries and there is a popular Trattoria close by where you can experience typical specialities and take in the breathtaking views from the terrace. The surrounding villages have facilities such as banks, grocery shops, cafes and bars.
A swimming pool in the neighbouring village is available during the summer months (subject to terms and conditions). Horse riding is provided by local stables or experience quad biking along the valley and hillside roads. Tourist information and advice is available daily.
Licciana Nardi In this region you can admire castles, parish churches, tower houses, hamlets and fortified control walls of the Malaspina family, all dating back to the same period. The old street is rich in decorated portals, picturesque facades decorated with window boxes overflowing with colour. An 11th Century fortified town with much of the ancient town wall still visible and narrow passageways running through immensely thick walls in to the village. In the Piazza del Municipo the imposing 16th Century castle dominates the square and is joined to the graceful baroque church by a small bridge spanning the entrance to the village. A autumn festival noteworthy of a mention is the chestnut fair held during October. The main street is decorated with chestnut branches, mock medieval shops fronts, old cantinas that open as rustic watering holes and the main piazzas feature large open fires for roasting this important ingredient. The local residents dress up in costume for the event to enhance the atmosphere. You may also see the odd donkey strolling through the village. Towering over Licciana Nardi is Bastia, a good base for walking, with high meadows and wonderful views out to the Ligurian coast. Bastia is built around the castle of which is now privately owned. Monti is another village near Licciana Nardi, again a fortified village with a charming castle. The castle has been well restored and today is used as a summer residence by a surviving member of the Malaspina family. Below the old village, the new part of the town is developing and although not particularly historic, offers a good selection of local amenities. The Comune of Licciana Nardi encompasses many medieval hillside hamlets, protected as historic centres and most of which are very much alive today. Tavernelle from the road may seem quite bland on the surface however it is necessary to stop and walk into the old centre to understand the charm of this settlement. Once an important trade route leading from Parma, Tavernelle was a popular stopping point, bustling with Locande and guest houses. Taponecco and Varano are picturesque examples of 'borgo' villages with narrow cobbled lanes and stone houses connected by arches and passageways. Villagers are very welcoming of new faces and go about their daily routine as if nothing has changed for centuries. Mostly these are farming communities however in recent years they have attracted buyers from Milan and other parts of Europe looking for a unique and unspoilt place to spend their holidays. Many houses have been restored to strict regulations to preserve the heritage of these villages.
In contrast to Lunigiana, the Ligurian coast is so very close in distance but in many ways a world apart.
La Spezia , Lerici, Tellaro and Fiascherino
A short drive from Lungiana takes you to the Gulf of the Poets where you can wander the bustling old streets of La Spezia with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, enjoy a drink in its many bars and of course explore the extensive range of shops. Relax in one of the many seafood restaurants at Lerici and watch the sunset from the harbour. Once a small fishing village and now a popular resort, sitting on the edge of a bay, with the beach overlooked by pastel coloured houses. The castle was built by the Pisans and then passed to the Genovese and was apparently carved out of the cliff face. It now houses the museum of Geopalaeontology created after the discovery of prehistoric remains in the area. The museum includes a virtual reality section and an earthquake simulation room. Lerici is a town that offers the natural beauty of its architecture, picturesque bays, historical monuments and a variety of tourist services. Today, it is alive as an exclusive tourist destination and retains much of its historic past, so loved by many famous poets and writers of contemporary literature. Regular ferries operate from Lerici to Portovenere and the Cinque Terre (an option worth considering as parking in La Spezia and Portovenere can be difficult in the summer). From Lerici the surrounding countryside is characterised by green hills and lush vegetation, rocky coves small sandy inlets. A little further south along the coast you will come across the charming villages of Fiascherino and Tellaro, the later being an ancient and evocative village presumably of Etruscan origin, with its picturesque houses, streets and particularly its harbour that has inspired many painters and poets. Often missed but well worth a visit. The coast features some superb seafood restaurants making this an excellent choice for a special evening.
Le Cinque Terre
Over centuries, through constant work, man has managed to create this landscape, the only one of its kind in the world. Represented by the steep terraces sloping down to the sea, supported by dry stone walling, cleverly built without any kind of cement, they are cultivated as vineyards that almost touch the waves. The Cinque Terre, recognised by Unesco Mankind's World Heritage are today a National Park and protected Marine Area with the aim of protecting this great cultural heritage. Without doubt, the best way to discover and enjoy the Cinque Terre is to visit on foot and walk the paths and the centuries old flights of steps, which up to a short time ago were the only connections between these five villages. The most famous path is the 'Via dell'Amore' or the 'lovers lane' that links Manorola to Riomaggiore which is cut out of the step cliffs overlooking the sea (15 min walk). High cliffs reaching down to the sea hide minute shingle beaches at Riomaggiore and Vernazza or tiny ports like that at Manarola where in the summer sunbathers mix with fishermen. Between Vernazza and Corniglia there is the romantic beach of Guvano, to be reached on foot. A larger sandy beach with facilities can be found at Monterosso.
Vernazza, located at the mouth of the river, is naturally protected from the threat of the sea by a rocky cove and for centuries had been the only safe landing point in the Cinque Terre. Corniglia, the only village not on the sea, nestled on a hill surrounded by vineyards has a more 'country' appeal. Manarola and Riomaggiore cling to the rock face with their houses piled up in a multi coloured mosaic overlooking the sea and are the most typical and unspoilt villages of the five. The Cinque Terre, apart from its landscape, is also famous for the DOC rated wines produced here. Only selected grapes, after drying in airy attics away from the damp and the sunlight, will be ready for the production of this famous sweet wine. The cuisine is handed down from ancient recipes with the herbs grown wild to enhance the basic flavours. The sea plays the major role with a wide range of fish, with the speciality being the anchovies of Monterosso. Although the Cinque Terre are becoming more attractive to tourists the area remains unspoilt and a visit should be included in the travellers itinerary for those visiting the region.
Named after Venus, Portovenere is one of the most romantic villages on the Ligurian coast with a cluster of narrow streets lined with pastel-coloured houses and is full of coastal charm. Today, recognised by UNESCO as part of the world cultural heritage, it has been said that Portovenere is the less 'flash' version of Portofino and yes, in many ways it is. The moorings lend themselves to small fishing boats rather than luxury yachts and the drinks are less expensive however this is not to say you won't catch a glimpse of a famous face. The front is lined with a host of seafood restaurants and bars while the narrow cobbled lanes behind comprise a multitude of small boutiques and shops selling local produce and gifts. In the upper part of the village is the 12th Century church of San Lorenzo which preserves some remarkable works of art and on the hill facing out to the sea stands the small, black and white 13th Century church of San Pietro. From here, or from the 16th Century castle on the top of the cliffs, there are glorious views of the Cinque Terre and the small island of Palmaria which can be visited by boat from the harbour. The island is a splendid nature reserve, hosting many beaches and coastal rocks. A network of paths running across the island makes this a ramblers paradise. If this isn't your thing then simply catch the boat to the island to enjoy a lovely romantic meal overlooking the port.
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.
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