A charming private home, nestled in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, Il Vallone is a mere 4 km. from the medieval village of Lucignano. A glassed-in loggia overlooks the distant fields, the garden and small pond, teeming with goldfish. The house is cozy enough for two but can sleep up to 5. From my point of view, for comfort, 4 to 5 is the ideal number. Almost all rooms have high ceilings, exposed beams and tile floors. Though we remodeled after purchasing the house, we have respected the original architecture of this 600-year old farmhouse that boasts a windmill and solar panels, as well as high speed internet.
The house has a lower floor with king size bed, small bathroom with shower, living room dining room with piano, fireplace, original travertine sink and manger used for our large collection of books.
There is a small room on the mezzanine with a half bath, and upstairs two bedrooms [one with a double 4 poster bed, the other with an antique 3/4 bed for one person]. The upstairs living room runs the entire length of the house and is divided by a wide arch. The round travertine topped dining table is at one end of the living room. Books cases filled with an eclectic choice give a homey feel to all rooms.
Elisa and Rina are excellent cooks and are willing to share their secrets for the perfect lasagna or tiramisu upon request. They treats all guests as family. [They take turns cooking and cleaning the house].
Though no other houses are in sight, Il Vallone is centrally located and the perfect pied-a'-terre for avid sightseers, as well as the ideal refuge for musicians, writers, artists. Rental period: from April 15 through October 15th, one week minimum stay. I prorate for longer rentals, even if less than two weeks, but there is additional charge for this. I am flexible in terms of day of arrival as it costs less to fly on a week day.
Fun fact: In the summer of 2009, Juliette Binoche (best actress at Cannes Festival, 2010), starred in 'Certified Copy,' mostly shot in Lucignano.
Keywords: House, 600-year-old renovated Farmhouse, Private Country Home
Brought up in Italy, I taught Italian literature and film in Boston area universities for 30 years. Since retiring from teaching, I have turned to writing and social activism. I am working on two memoirs and serve on several boards, including Polaris Project, leading anti-human trafficking NGO in the US, co-founded by my son, and Chinese Adoptees Links International.
I spend two months a year at Il Vallone, one in the spring and one in the fall both because I adore being there, and to check on upkeep.
When my mother bought Il Vallone in 1970 she lived there year round. After many years in Florence, she was seeking the peace and quiet of the countryside, yet a location that was within easy driving distance of the hilltop villages and major cities. Due to my professional commitments I cannot live in Italy full time, much as I would like to.
Delectable food, great wines and cheeses, beauty both within the house and surrounding area, privacy without being too isolated. and the invaluable service of Elisa and Rina.
Shelves upon shelves of books, a gorgeous piano and a boom box with small collection of CDs (classical) offer entertainment for those who wish to just spend a day or two relaxing.
The last 2 Sundays in May, Lucignano puts on the Maggiolata to welcome summer, a unique festival with floats decorated with thousands of carnations. The last weekend in September, the village steps back into the past (19th century), adopting costumes of the time and opening up workshops for the numerous artisans who represent a whole variety of trades. Both celebrations are colorful and culturally fascinating.
Il Vallone and Lucignano itself are ideally situated for sightseeing, both to famed Tuscan hilltop towns, renowned wineries, outlet shopping, as well as to Florence, Perugia, Assisi, Rome. Plenty of activities including hot air ballooning, hiking, golf [30-60min. away], museums, churches, the Palio in Siena, wine tours, spas, and of course any number of restaurants.
From July 19-28 there is a series of gorgeous concerts offered by the Origo family at their castle near Pienza. [click on translation for details]
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