La Casa Padronale del Poggiolo......or, Master's House... 215 sqm./2,300 sqf.... sleeps 6 persons is an 800 year old farm-house & vineyard built against the old perimeter walls of the Medieval Castle of Codiponte in the Lunigiana, the northwestern corner of Tuscany. The farm-house is a village onto itself. The heart is the Aia... or, Courtyard. Its centerpiece is the twenty-five foot high arched walls of the old castle graced on one side by the chain of stone buildings which make up La Casa Padronale and on the other a stone building used once-upon-a-time for roasting chestnuts plus a working oven.The original living quarters of Il Poggiolo were on the top most floor, today, called L'Appartamento Azzurro. The name comes from the soft-blue wall color. This apartment is the sleeping quarters for La Casa Padronale and is reached by taking a grassy ramp up from the Courtyard to its front door. The open-space has a loft with 2 single-beds reached by a ladder and down a short corridor is the Master Bedroom with a double-bed. Off the corridor is also the Bathroom. The main room has a small sitting area in front of an enclosed wood-burning fire-place, a six-pace dining table beside a basic service kitchen. Off the Master Bedroom is a terrace with lovely views of the village below and the olive & chestnut groves on the surrounding hills beyond.The current living quarters of La Casa Padronale are on the ground floor a few steps above the Courtyard and past the dining Loggia. There, the principal entrance door leads directly into a large high-ceiling Living Room with 2 single-beds/sofas. Through an archway leads to a similarly large & high ceiling Dining Room, and then, a complete Kitchen. A low door leads back out to the dining Loggia. Below the Kitchen and past the huge wine-making barrels is a bathroom & laundry. La Casa Padronale is decorated in an eclectic mix of period antiques, flea-market finds and the new, whether in the furniture, furnishings or artwork. The house was created to be a sophisticated yet charming & entertaining retreat.Above the Courtyard and surrounding La Casa Padronale is 2,000 square meter garden of grassy terraces planted with fruit & olive tress. There is even a fish pond! There are plenty of chaises, chairs, rugs and cushion to sunbathe or nap under a shade tree.A little something about Codiponte & the Lunigiana...Codiponte is the home to 150 year-round residents. The population swells in the summer months to over 300. The village supports two convenience stores for basic food & cleaning items, a bar... The Social Center of the community... a green-grocer, an excellent butcher shop, "Macelleria da Massimo", and a few other shops for household & clothing items. Casola in Lunigiana, the next town above Codiponte, has a post-office, bank, the Carabinieri & similar food & retail shops. Gragnola, the next town below, has a grocery-store, bank, an assortment of shops like the other two towns and the train station for service to Aulla & Lucca. The nearest hospital is in Fivizzano, a 25 min. drive away. The beauty of the Lunigiana is its convenient position on the Italian peninsula. The nearest beaches are a 40 minute drive away from Codiponte at Marinella. The resort town of Lerici on the Bay of the Poets is just as close. The Cinque Terre can be reached easily by train from Aulla or by ferry-boat from Porte Venere or La Spezia, about 45 minutes by car. Pisa and its airport, Parma & Lucca are all a little over an hour's drive away. Genoa & Florence are close enough for day-trips. The Apuane & Apennine Mountains are laced with stunning hiking & bike trails. And, for history buffs, there are over 120 castles & towers and innumerable Romanesque churches to visit & explore. The Lunigiana is also noted for its cucina locale... or, local cuisine, of sgabei, a fried bread served with salami e formaggi... panigacci, a rough flour crepe topped with various sauces from pesto, parmigiano & olive oil to a hearty meat sauce, the local pasta of testaroli and una tagliata of seared beef with rucola. And, as they say here... Buon appetito! We look forward to seeing you soon!
Casola in Lunigiana and its sister town of Codiponte are situated in the valley of the Aulella River as it descends to Aulla to join the Magra River before the waters flow into the Mediterranean Sea. Near to this mouth once stood the Roman city of Lunae for which the Lunigiana is named. Codiponte, which in the local dialect means "at the head of the bridge", was until the middle of the last century the only spot to ford the Aulella River. The village was a capital of this part of the Lunigiana because of its singular bridge and the Church of Codiponte was a key way-station for the piigrimage route to Rome from France, the via Francigena. There are several other lovely churches to visit before the road climbs past the Carpaneilli Pass to enter the mountainous region of Tuscany, the Garfagnana, and on down to Lucca and Rome beyond.The valley and hills are dotted with pristine stone villages often surrounded by expanses of olive & chestnut groves, with the stunning backdrop of the Apuane Mountains behind. The climate is mild and is ideal for olives to thrive since, the Mediterranean Sea is just on the other side of a line of low mountains. The hills around Codiponte are laced with dirt road through acres & acres of groves for a wonderful hike or tour on a mountain bike. The area is perfect for day excursions... the beaches of the Versilia coast are about 40 minutes away, as is the Italian Riviera resort of Lerici on the Bay of the Poets and the Cinque Terre and its famous via del Amore walking path. PIsa and its airport, Lucca and Parma are all a little over an hour's drive. Florence & Genoa are near enough for easy day-trips.And then, there is the local food! The most famous dish is testeroli... a kind of crepe... cut, boiled like pasta and traditionally served with a pesto sauce. Panegacci, in various renditions, is a flat bread eaten with a creamy white cheese & salami. Then, there is the white lasagna made with several different kinds of cheeses. And all, naturally, can be enjoyed with the local white & red wines.