House | 5 bedrooms | sleeps 10
L'Antico Palazzo is a deceptively large, rustic stone house situated in Villa Bonicelli, a picturesque and peaceful hamlet in the beautiful Emilia-Romagnan countryside. It sleeps up to 10 people comfortably, making it ideal for families or groups of friends. It can be rented as a stand-alone property or in conjunction with one or both of our other properties: La Stalla, a barn conversion located next door to L'Antico Palazzo and which sleeps two people; and Casa Vigneto, a three-bedroom house just a couple of minutes' walk away, across a small vineyard. An outdoor swimming pool with stunning mountain views is located behind L'Antico Palazzo and is shared between the three properties.
L'Antico Palazzo is a historically interesting building, being part of the original 'casa padronale' (manor house) of the hamlet. It has been furnished partly with antiques and quirky one-off pieces that reflect its history. It really is an original holiday home from which to explore this stunning and little-known area of Italy.
The beautiful arched doorway (clearly dated 1824, although the building itself dates back to the late 16th/early 17th century) opens onto a warren of rooms! First is a large and atmospheric sitting room that seats up to 10. This opens onto another large room, furnished as a 'day room' / twin room. Off this are two separate double rooms with beautiful views of the valley, and a shower room. Please note that one must go through the twin room to reach the double bedrooms.
There is a second shower room at the foot of the stairs that lead up to the first floor. Here, another 'day room' / twin room leads onto a double + en suite with over-bath shower. Please note that these two bedrooms are interconnecting.
At the bottom of the house is a large kitchen, a separate dining room, and a downstairs loo/utility room. There is also the owners' private wine cellar. This will be locked, but for an additional security deposit they are happy to provide access. The kitchen door opens onto a large terraced area for al fresco dining. Guests have use of a large outdoor table and chairs, sun loungers and a barbecue.
On request we can arrange for a chef from a local restaurant to come to L'Antico Palazzo and hold a private cooking lesson or, alternatively, cook a three- or four-course meal for you! Please contact us if you would like more information on this service. Booking in advance is essential and depends on availability.
|Size||Sleeps up to 10, 5 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||La Spezia/Cinque Terre 110 km|
|Will consider||Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Nearest Amenities||3 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Bologna, Parma 95 km, Nearest railway: Modena 62 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|General||TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms of which 1 En suites and 2 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||Single beds (4), Double beds (3), Cots (1), Dining seats for 10, Lounge seats for 10|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, BBQ|
The Emilia Romagna region
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 light, sparkling red (often served chilled) that is very different from the Lambrusco you may have tried in the 70s!
L'Antico Palazzo 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 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, 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 this area.
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).
Also within easy reach (if you're prepared for an early start!) are Lucca (2hrs), Florence (2.5hrs) and even Venice (3hrs).
Skiing: For those looking for a winter break, there are several excellent ski resorts (Abetone, Cimone-Sestola, Cerreto Laghi) that can be reached from Villa Bonicelli in little over an hour, depending of course on driving conditions.
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, 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, relax by the pool 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, 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 subject 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.
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