Siena Country Estate - Castle Farmhouse Cottages 2
Castle | 1 bedrooms | sleeps 2
A pretty country property, Castello di Formignano nestles in the heart of the prestigious, aristocratic country estate Tenuta Della Selva just on the outskirts of Siena. A country hideaway, Formignano offers total relax, peace and natural beauty in the context of an historical borgo.
Just 15 minutes from Siena and 45 minutes from Montalcino along the famous Strada del Brunello, a superb location, the landscape boasts an intact rural countryside with gently ondulating hills, extensive vineyards, olive groves and woodlands.
The estate of Tenuta della Selva is still a private country home and the Masi de Vargas family open their doors and welcome guests to enjoy one of the few remaining pearls of Siena that are becoming so hard to find in these fast developing times.
Exceptionally restored using original foundations, Formignano is an example of an accurate, historical restoration and has been left true to the original. Sculpted into the landscape there is no trace of a new build or modern transformation. Formignano allows you the luxury of simply living and breathing a tiny slice of history.
On the west side of the estate, leave the main road and enter through an old set of gates onto a private winding, woodland road which leads down into the valley to Formignano. The castle was originally built on 3 terraces and occupied a whole hillside. The top terrace Formignano di Poggio is still an archeological ruin of great value and has not been touched since at least 1878 and the beautiful, tiny church of San Michele Arcangelo lies hidden just beneath it. The middle terrace Formignano di Mezzo is a beautiful sunlit spot with a small cluster of 2 restored buildings including the original castle tower. On the lower terrace of the Castle, at Formignano di Fondo, are the old alms houses and a large farmhouse Castellaccio Lake, which has splendid views over the lake itself and 150 acres of meadows that stretch as far as the eye can see, towards the old neighbouring castle of Frontignano
Castello di Formignano is intimate and very tranquil offering in total just 10 prettily restored castle cottages for 2, 3, 4 and 6/7 guests. Formignano di Mezzo offers 8 suites which are all self-contained with small country kitchens and private garden or terrace areas.
The castle offers 4 suites to sleep 2 guests all at Formignano di Mezzo.
Within the Castle Tower there are 2 apartment suites for 2 guests - one with rooftop access to a private lookout terrace with outstanding views:
The jewel in the crown has to be La Torre di Sopra. With rampart access, the apartment suite is light and airy and is on two floors. An open plan living/dining room is on the ground floor with pretty kitchen corner, and upstairs there is a large comfortable double bedroom upstairs with ensuite shower room. From the upstairs landing there is the tower door leading to the rooftop terrace offering its breathtaking views and sunsets.
La Torre di Sotto is a spacious shady suite on 2 levels with large living/dining area and pretty, simple kitchen corner. Go up 2 steps to the bedroom level which is a double room with ensuite shower room. Large private outdoor dining area.
In the top farmhouse cottage, Castellaccio di Sopra offers a further 2 pretty apartment suites for 2 guests both with living/dining areas and pretty, simple kitchen corners, double bedroom and 1 shower room. Both have private outside dining areas,
Details of accommodation for 3,4,and 6/7 guests are available on request.
A strategically placed, highly inviting, furnished country pool looks out over the valley on the middle terrace at Formignano di Mezzo. A poolside gazebo offers shade, as do leafy trees that create natural seating areas, and a cool drinks fridge is poolside.
The interior décor is in light pastels, solids and florals with comfortable country furniture and a mixture of some contemporary and some antique pieces. The suites are spacious and airy with big, old-fashioned, shuttered windows allowing for both shade and sunshine, keeping rooms cool high Summer and warm during the Autumn months. Extensive, flowering, scented gardens surround the buildings and flowering vines cover facades.
Great for activities, with acres of private woodland and meadow lands, guests are welcome to walk, trek and cycle. It is truly an unspoilt spot. This is haven for those of you looking for total relax in a truly hidden location, for nature lovers, and for painting and photography enthusiasts. It is an area that is abundant with wildlife and is especially interesting for bird watchers as the countryside is totally intact.
For those interested in a little history, the Masi de Vargas family are delighted to welcome guests to their home and on request it is possible to take a private tour of the historical villa. Guests are also invited during the season to informal evening drinks in the grounds of the villa, to try a little of the estates' wine, oil and other wonderful local produce.
On a sporting note, the estate is home to a very well known American Quarter Horse Breeding and Riding Centre. The family are in fact well known equestrians and National Reining and Performance team coaches. Run by Filippo Masi de Vargas his wife Paola Donarini Masi and their two adult sons Dido and Michi, it is possible to book riding lessons, English or Western style, also for children, and trekking for expert adults. Horse riding holidays are also offered.
An excellent sporting location therefore, and in addition to the equestrian facility onsite, the estate is located next to a superb 18 hole golf course with beauty spa for fantastic days out. And at less than half an hour's drive there is also a natural thermal spa offering a range of wonderful treatments. For true golf enthusiasts a Tuscan Golf Programme is available to take in some wonderful Tuscan country courses and this may be combined with a Spa programme.
For our family guests who are looking to spend quality time together, high season there is also a children's club two mornings per week on the estate. This is a fun yet educational club for parents and children, offering an Animal Farm Activity to see cows and calves, horses and foals and a variety other small farmyard animals. A second morning is dedicated to an educational tour of the historical villa and chapel, complete with hidden passages (and maybe the castle ghost will put in an appearance!), and then a visit to the old winery, olive oil mill and country cellars to learn how wine and oil are produced. For accompanying adults a little wine and olive oil tasting rounds off the morning very nicely! Sometimes an additional visit to a local pecorino cheese maker is also possible.
Castello di Formignano is also a wonderful location during the Autumn. New wine, oil, truffles and some wonderful porcini mushrooms are absolute delights. Short mid-week and weekend breaks are possible during this period.
The Castello may also be rented in exclusive for larger parties of 16 – 30 guests and together with the historical Villa La Selva
courtyards and grounds it is a highly exclusive and perfect, celebration, weddings and events location. On special request the chapel which is still consecrated may be used for religious ceremonies and on exceptional occasions the ground floor reception rooms of the villa may be opened and visited.
On a services note, the estate offices offer all business centre facilities to meet guests needs.
Guests can enjoy satellite wifi outdoor hotspots, and dvd facilities. Books and games are gladly lent. Housekeeping may be requested extra when booking and a laundry facility with irons and boards is available for guest use. Air conditioned accommodation on request at time of booking.
Full concierge services are offered to our guests. Siena, San Gimignano and Florence walking tours are great favourites and can be organized, help with museum bookings is also available. Exclusive Chianti and Brunello wine and gastronomic tours can be organized to Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano. The estate itself provides wonderful trekking and nature trails as does the Nature Reserve of the Merse Valley. Trekking with professional guides along the Via Francigena can also be arranged and the area is a well-known cycling terrain with many famous races being held throughout the year in the area. An absolute must for bird watching, animal lovers and nature trail enthusiasts.
During the famous Siena Palio, the celebrated horse race, which is held twice each Summer on 2 July and 16 August, private guides and private viewing balcony reservations can be made as can private dinner reservations to the Contrada evening celebrations. This is an absolutely unique show and represents the deeply rooted pride of the population of Siena – for some it is quite simply their raison d'ètre. Something not to be missed if you are in the area.
For those wishing to spend a little time near the sea, the nearest beaches of Follonica and Marina di Grosseto are just 1 hr 15 minutes away for some great day trips and just a little further on to Porto Ercole and Monte Argentario where superb sea sports including windsurf, kitesurf, surf and scuba diving all available. Exclusive skippered yacht rentals can be organized as can pleasure boat trips to the neighbouring islands of Il Giglio and Giannutri and around the Argentario coast.
The local village at 5 minutes drive has a bar and restaurant, bakery, post office, minimarket and chemist. Large supermarkets shops and train stations at 15 - 20 minutes drive either in Siena or Monteroni D'Arbia.
The property is very well located for airport access being 1hr 15 mins from Florence airport, 1 hour 50 minutes from Pisa airport and 2 hours 30 minutes from Rome airport.
English speaking management offers excellent service and staff at this quiet country property, activities are however abundant and the estate itself is synonymous of an exceptional and unforgettable Tuscan experience.
|Size||Sleeps up to 2, 1 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Follonica, Marina di Grosseto, Porto Ercole, L|
|Will consider||Corporate bookings, Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Nearest Amenities||3.5 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Florence 90 km, Nearest railway: Siena 20 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||DVD player, Staffed property|
|Pool||Shared outdoor pool (unheated)|
|General||Central heating, Air conditioning, Fax machine, Table tennis, Games room, Wi-Fi available|
|Utilities||Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer|
|Rooms||1 bedroom, 1 bathrooms of which 1 En suites, Solarium or roof terrace|
|Furniture||Dining seats for 4, Lounge seats for 4|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Outdoors||Shared outdoor pool (unheated), Balcony or terrace, Shared garden, BBQ, Bicycles available, Private fishing lake or river|
The Tuscany region
The province of Siena in contrast to Florence is much more rural. Small villages and hilltowns intersperse a gently rolling countryside that is mostly arable land, vineyards and olive groves. There is far less light industry and so towns and villages have been left in tact and uncontaminated. The soil is rich and dark orange in colour, and very fertile. And these Siena landscapes are among the most popular we see of Tuscany and are extremely attractive. The city of Siena itself is an historical wonder. With its wonderful orange and rust coloured brickwork, black and white striped Church and Cathedral facades, and monuments that rise up out of a higgledy piggledy array of roof tops, it has to be one of the most fascinating cities that Tuscany has to offer. Visit the Duomo - it is breathtaking and you will remain astounded at the work that has gone into the production of this beautiful work of art. Steeped in history, Siena is the most wonderful location for art and history lovers and you can simply lose yourselves in it's myriad of narrow, sloping, stone lined streets. Tiny shop fronts with wonderful goods tempt you at every turn, whether it be local produce, wines, oils and gastronomic specialities, or brightly coloured leather goods, old fashioned Tuscan linens or wonderfully coloured and beautifully scrolled stationery to write home on or to present as gifts on your return. It is a shoppers' paradise - and there is no mall in sight! Sit in the Piazza del Campo with a drink in hand and watch the world go by. As the sun starts to go down and the sky starts to turn dark blue there is nothing more exilarating than seeing first hand the dark orange brickwork of the bell tower lean infront of you against a fast turning midnight backdrop. And then there is of course the Palio. A way of life for the people of Siena, babies are born into contrada's and loyalties are tested! One of the most famous horse races in the world and a fabulous festival, you should enjoy the atmosphere of the Palio if you can. Held twice a year on 2 July and 16 August with rehearsal days on the eve of the race, if you are in the area at this time then you must take the time to experience this unique atmosphere. Siena and its province offer you a slower pace of Tuscan life that you will most certainly not regret getting to know.
Castello di Formignano is just a 20 minute drive from the centre of Siena along the Sp46 towards Ville di Corsano. A part of the noble country estate of Tenuta della Selva, historically also known as the Garden of Siena for its vast fertile lands, Formignano is just that, an extensive natural private garden, at a stone's throw from some of the most wonderful treasures that the province of Siena has to offer. Just 2km from the pretty little local village of Ville di Corsano where you must definitely visit Larissa's II Ristoro, a fantastic little osteria that does a some wonderful local dishes and to die for deserts, and the Panificio di Ville where you can experience some wonderful Tuscan bread and Pastries! And then just 3km in a westerly direction the winding road will take you to Casciano di Murlo, another pretty little village with the characteristic little country restaurant La Taverna di Casciano in its centre. The neighbouring estate to the north Formignano is Tenuta della Bagnaia with its Royal Golf Bagnaia where you can take advantage of a fantastic 18 hole golf course and spa and from Formignano di Fondo you can look out over the extensive meadow lands to the old castle of Frontignano.
On a daytrip, go into Ville and take the road towards Radi and Monteroni and you will find some of the most incredible landscapes that will make your photo album seem like a professional art collection! Superb to photograph after a storm and at sunset when this area it exceptionally lit and the play on light and shadow is unique. Still going south, at just a 40 minute drive you can indulge in a wonderful day out in Montalcino, Montepulciano or Pienza. Immersed in excellent wine country these pretty little hill towns are a must on your agenda if you are in the area.
Travel north direction Florence either on the Cassia SS2 or on the Firenze - Siena dual carriageway (4 corsie) and exit at Monteriggioni. A tiny borgo on the top of the hill with nothing much more than its village square, church, 2 or 3 restaurants and an antique shop. To be visited either early morning or late afternoon, early evening to enjoy it at its best.
From Monteriggioni go a little further north and you will come to Casole d'Elsa, another pretty hill town and then the larger Colle Val D'Elsa with it's famous glass and crystal production. And then on to San Gimignano. San Gimignano, famed for it's towers is another mandatory stop while you are in the area. Sit in the Piazza della Cisterna and admire the facades in front of you that tell a thousand stories. A hotch potch of brickwork and stones, laid by different owners over decades if not centuries, it is just so calming and refreshing to enjoy and reflect upon the history and how the city has become what it is today. On the corner of the square there is of course the most famous Gelateria in the World! You should also visit the cathedral of San Gimignano or Il Duomo Collegiata, with its breathtaking art treasures and the most wonderful story of frescoes that evolves before your very eyes. Take an audio guide and immerse yourself for 45 minutes in some real culture. A little stop at the museum shop for some pretty paper and cards. And then of course on towards Florence, passing through Certaldo maybe where the 13th C Borgo of Certaldo Alto awaits you. Birthplace of the writer Giovanni Boccaccio, Certaldo Alto is a delight to visit and if you should happen to be there at the end of July then the street theatre and music festival Mercantia is a real treat. And then you will finally arrive in Florence of course. A day is not enough to appreciate it, but a short walking tour will allow you to discover hidden corners that you might not otherwise have seen. A visit to the Duomo and a climb to the top of the tower will give you your personal souvenir of Florentine roof tops and other wonderful views, and a visit to the main museums of La Galleria degli Uffizi and L'Accademia will give you just a hint of the art and culture hidden within these city walls. Walk along Ponte Vecchio and admire the views from Piazza Michelangelo and you will have taken with you some of the richest memories ever possible. So much to do and so little time to do it in - Tuscany is just culturally exhausting! All the more reason why you should sit down in the evenings with us at Castello di Formignano, with a very good glass of Tuscan Wine in hand and just savour the day's events!
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Calendar last updated:08 Aug 2014
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