Peaceful and secluded farmhouse in hilly country with wonderful views of surrounding wooded hills. Around the house are the owner's terraced olive groves and pinewood, ensuring privacy (only other nearby building is owner's chestnut-dryer tower converted to 2 person house, 'Moscatino', which is also available to let - look under 'Tuscany, Pescia' on this website). This part of Tuscany is still relatively unaffected by tourism and in the village the rustic life goes on as it always has, with forestry and olive husbandry. The area is much more hilly than the more southerly parts of Tuscany - it is not so stiflingly hot as the plain and there is dramatic scenery all around, with direct access for walkers to pleasant hills and the Appennine mountains within easy reach. There is a spring near the house, though we are now on mains water.
|Size||Sleeps up to 9, 3 bedrooms|
|Rooms||3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 2 shower rooms|
|Nearest beach||Viareggio 35 km|
|Nearest Amenities||1 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Pisa 40 km, Nearest railway: Pescia 10 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||Some pets are welcome - please contact the owner, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Fireplace, Internet access, DVD player|
|Pool||Shared outdoor pool (unheated)|
|General||Central heating, CD player, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Furniture||Double Beds (1), Single Beds (7), Cots available (1), Dining seats for 10, Lounge seats for 10|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair available|
|Outdoors||Shared outdoor pool (unheated), Balcony or terrace, Private garden, BBQ|
|Access||Parking, Not suitable for wheelchair users|
|Further details indoors|
The house is light and airy and furnished for comfortable family holidays. The large bedroom is a magnificent room and easily accommodates up to 5 children. The master bedroom has a double bed and the third bedroom has two singles (which can be pushed together). There is sufficient garden furniture for whole days, including meals, to be spent outside in fine weather. There is a large open-hearth fire in the sitting/dining room & this + central heating make the house cosy and comfortable all the year round. Cooking, water heating & central heating by gas. Water used to come from the spring, but is now from the mains. Paved area in front of house may be used for (rather crude) badminton.
|Further details outdoors|
Immediately around the house is garden/orchard, and beyond that the owner's terraced olive groves. The lower part of the property is steep wooded hillside, not cultivated, at the foot of which is a stream with a picturesque chestnut-grinding mill (not part of the property). Above the house is a small pine-wood (also belonging to the owners) screening the house from the village. Below the house, on the south side, is a terra-cotta paved patio giving wonderful views over the valley.
San Moscato is looked after by a multi-generational family (grandparents, parents, grown-up daughters) in the village who are extremely helpful and obliging. The younger daughter speaks good English and cleans the house/changes linen weekly. Keys are generally to be collected from/returned to the family.
What can I say about Tuscany that has not been said already? Only that Tuscany north of the SS.435 Lucca-Pistoia-Florence road is very different from the south, with abrupt hills and deep well-watered valleys stretching north-east to the Appennines rising to 6000ft.+ at Abetone and elsewhere. San Moscato is still very much in the foothills (1500 ft), well within the area of olive + vine cultivation. The village, Pariana, is something of an 'eagles' nest' standing on a spur overlooking the valley which runs up from Collodi to the pass to Bagni di Lucca. Because of the plentiful water the valley bottom has long been used for paper-making and there are still some mills in operation there, though others are being converted into apartments. In the hills the traditional rural pursuits were, and still are, olive, vine and vegetable cultivation, honey, chestnuts, forestry and boar-hunting. As you might expect from such a list, the locals take their cuisine seriously and there are a couple of excellent country restaurants in the valley with a vast selection of eateries further afield between Pescia and Lucca. Wild boar (cinghiale) stewed with olives is a local delicacy, as are funghi, and figs with dried meats, and vin santo with cantucci biscuits - I could go on. In Pariana, a steep 10-minutes' walk from San Moscato, is a bakery which also sells staple foodstuffs, and there is a bigger shop at Biecina, at the junction with the main road (3 kms) and supermarkets, banks, speciality pasta shops, market etc at Collodi & Pescia, 20 mins drive away. Climate is normal Italian, with long hot sunny spells, and very pleasant in spring and autumn, but can be less settled than in the plain.
Collodi (10 kms south) is of some note, first as the place where Pinocchio was written, so it has its Parco di Pinocchio, and secondly for its recently restored Villa Garzoni with famous formal garden. The old village of Collodi is also very picturesque, as are the other villages on the flanks of the valley - Villa Basilica, Boveglio, Colognora, all 'eagles' nests' like Pariana itself. There are footpaths linking all these.
The road north up the valley goes over a pass with spectacular views to the Appennines and down to Bagni di Lucca, a nineteenth-century spa-town (still, of course, a spa with swimming etc) once home to the poet Shelley. This is also where the Linea Gotica passed in 1944 and there are memorials to the Italian resistance.
On the other side of the hills on which San Moscato stands, facing Lucca, are the Colline Lucchese doc vineyards and just the other side of the Lucca road are the Montecarlo doc vineyards.
I will not go into detail here over the cultural, shopping, promenading and other attractions of Lucca, our nearest substantial town, beyond saying that we never tire of visiting it. Its big festival is the Volto Santo, mid September. Pescia, which is closer, is smaller but has a lot to offer, as does the smart modern spa-town Montecatini Terme. Pisa, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano etc are within easy reach, some by rail.
There are coastal resorts all along the magnificent sandy beaches stretching north from Viareggio. Slightly further away there are dramatic rocky coasts starting at Bocca di Magra south of la Spezia which lead on to the Cinque Terre and Ligurian Riviera.
For dramatic scenery/mountain walking there is the Garfagnana valley, accessible via Bagni di Lucca, with Appennines and Apuan Alps (marble quarries): for sea views there are the Pisan hills between Lucca and Pisa and for coastal walking the Bocca di Magra peninsula and Cinque Terre. There are shady forest walks from the house and in the adjacent hills. On our website is a detailed guide to local walking.
Puccini came from Lucca and there is a Puccini festival in Viareggio in July/August but advisable to book on-line. Theatre and concerts at Lucca etc. Various village 'festas' especially the one in Pariana in early August when they dance in the piazza.
Otherwise just lie in the sun (or shade)!