A crossroad and meeting place in the heart of Tuscany for all those who delight in nature, literature, the arts, and history in a setting of perfect harmony.
VILLA LA FOCE is the Origo family house. It was originally built at the end of the XVth century as a wayside tavern, but soon became the centre of an estate belonging to the great Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. In 1924 it was bought by Antonio and Iris Origo and turned into their comfortable home, from where they farmed and developed the land.
The VILLA is built on three levels, following the lie of the hill, and is surrounded by the now famous garden created by Iris Origo and the English architect Cecil Pinsent – a ‘labour of love’ lasting many years. The house is full of old-world charm, not showy, but with beautiful antique furniture, comfortable beds, and lots of lovely rooms which offer both both privacy and opportunities for family gatherings. Books can be found all over the house, and of course, in the delightful and cozy library. The downstairs ''salone'' has a Steinway piano.
Three gardeners look after the premises.
There is a lovely swimming pool opposite the '‘limonaia’' (orangerie), with a fridge for cool pool-side drinks or snacks and a changing-room with bathroom.
In the unused cellar of the villa, close to the pool, there is a ping-pong table.
Two full-time maids (including a local cook) and an extra help care for the house and its inhabitants (see below for details).
Meals are often held under the pergola in the garden, where guests relax in the shade of roses and wisteria, lulled by the sound of water from the fountain nearby.
The Villa includes an independent apartment on the second floor, with its own kitchen and living-room: a perfect retreat for children and nannies, or younger guests.
The VILLA consists in:
6 double bedrooms
2 twin bedrooms
3 single bedrooms
1 guest cloakroom with WC.
-a delightful library with fireplace and sofas
-a sunlit living room with satellite TV
-a children's play-room with TV
-a central frescoed and balconied dining room for special evenings
-a second dining room closer to the kitchen
-a breakfast room with double glass doors facing the inner ‘fountain’ garden
-a large music and living room with fireplace and many comfortable sofas and armchairs, offering great opportunities for entertaining friends and family gatherings.
Upstairs: besides several bedrooms, there is a lovely separate sitting room and a second kitchen.
All rooms have stunning views over the garden and valley.
-free Wi-Fi access
-washing machine and dryer, and an ironing table, are available for guests in the upstairs ‘linen room’.
EXTRAS, to be organized directly with the staff:
- use of the house telephone and mobile phone
- personal laundry can be obtained from the maid
- extra meals
GARDEN: The garden at La Foce is completely at the disposal of La Foce guests, except for Wednesday afternoons, when it is open to the public from 3 to 7 pm (this is a requisite for most ‘Heritage’ houses and gardens in Italy). The visitors are not free to wander, but are taken on strictly guided tours.
RENT: it includes:
- electricity, water, heating if necessary, firewood
- 2 fulltime maids/cook and an extra help for the house
- gardeners, pool maintenance
- toiletries and hair dryers in every bathroom
- cooking and shopping for meals, which include breakfast, lunch, and 2 dinners per week (Wednesday is the maids' off day)
- bi-weekly change of bed-linen, bath and pool towels
- free use of Wi-Fi
The rent does not include:
telephone - food and wines – personal laundry and ironing
Advice on any activity that might be desired can be had from the La Foce office, such as:
-riding, biking, trekking, golf etc
-wine and/or olive oil tastings
-museums and Etruscan tombs
I have inherited the villa of La Foce from my parents, who bought the estate when they married in 1924. This is where I grew up (though I was actually born in Rome during WW2), and this is my home. I run the agricultural estate from the ''fattoria'', the centre of the farming activities, and I look after the gardens which are visited by many horticultural fans. The picture above is of myself surrounded by my family celebrating my 70th birthday at La Foce (I have 10 grandchildren). My eldest daughter Katia helps me here and runs the restaurant Dopolavoro La Foce which we have recently re-opened. Antonio, my son, is a concert 'cellist and professor at UCLA; he and I founded the now world-famous music festival Incontri in Terra di Siena here, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013. Another daughter lives and works in Poland, and the youngest is a sculptor in Florence. It is always a pleasure for us to meet families and guests who rent the Villa!
Though La Foce has been my home throughout my childhood, I spent most of my young adult life abroad, having married an Argentinian violinist who travelled internationally playing concerts. We lived in London and Italy, and loved to appear at La Foce for our holidays, with our children. Later I lived in Rome and worked as a publisher of art books. My parents were still living, and they ran the property, so it was only when they died that I came to live here and take the estate into my hands. I live at La Foce all year round, and miss it and its extraordinary beauty when I am away, either visiting my large family or taking short visits to other parts of the world.
I do not want to spoil the pleasure of discovery for visitors to La Foce by describing in too much detail the qualities and beauty of the place. Perhaps it is enough to say that there is a magical aura surrounding the region -- not only La Foce itself, but the unspoilt Orcia valley below and the Amiata mountain beyond. Come and discover it for yourself - we will welcome you.
La Foce is ideally situated: half way between Florence and Rome, with Arezzo, Siena, Perugia, Orvieto, Assisi and countless charming hill towns within a day's sightseeing. My favorites, where I will always take my friends, are Pienza, Montepulciano, and tiny jewels like Sant'Anna in Camprena or Montisi.
Be sure to book a visit (from the Sarteano archaeological museum) to the mysterious Etruscan tomb where a red-haired devil drives his chariot pulled by strange monsters across the river Lethes - only visible by appointment on Saturday mornings): a perfect visit for children too, especially if you combine it with a visit to the underground catacombs of Chiusi nearby.
Walking or biking in our surrounding hills is wonderfully exciting, with so much to take in: an ancient beech wood, a lake to plunge into after a hot ride, hot water baths used since Roman times, Etruscan tombs to visit, and above all, our ''crete senesi'', the hill-sized mounds of pure clay that so distinguish this region, where wild boar and porcupines and hares live.
The Baths of San Filippo are half-way up the Monte Amiata, an extinct volcano where you can ski, or walk for miles without ever meeting a soul, and then relax under the sulphuric waterfall or swim in the pool.
Bagno Vignoni too has a fabulous pool of natural hot waters, where even in winter you can swim outside (the medieval pool, used by travelers and pilgrims on their way to Rome, is one of the most extraordinary sights to be seen - a protected monument now, not for swimming).
But above all, you have come to La Foce to enjoy La Foce itself: the gardens, the Villa, its history, the utter peace and magic of the place.
La Foce (meaning an opening, a meeting-place) was built at the end of the 15th century as an inn at the summit of the road between two valleys - a very ancient road, already used in Etruscan times. It was also the central farm of a large property belonging to the great Hospital in Siena. But wars and mismanagement in later centuries brought extreme poverty and the land was mostly abandoned. Until in the 1920s a young, newly-married couple called Antonio and Iris Origo bought the estate of over 7500 acres and decided to devote their lives to bringing prosperity back to the valley.
Iris Origo, an Anglo-American brought up in Florence, has written several books which deal with Italian history. One of these, War in Val d'Orcia, now a classic, is a day-to-day diary of the events that WW2 brought to this part of Tuscany, and describes with poignant words and great humanity the people and the country they lived in.
There are many activities that enliven La Foce at any time of year.
Above all, the well-known music festival Incontri in Terra di Siena, now celebrating its 25th anniversary: concert are held in courtyards, castles, hill towns, monasteries, and gardens during the second half of July , by international musicians of the highest calibre.
Other events -- cooking courses, garden tours, mountain bike, winery tours and tastings, olive oil tasting, children's activities - are organized according to our clients' wishes.
The bar/restaurant Dopolavoro la Foce, at a walking distance through a private path from the Villa, offers traditional Tuscan dishes, flavored with the delicious La Foce extra-virgin olive oil and created with the best seasonal local produce. The restaurant boasts its own vegetable garden across the road, guaranteeing a genuine farm-to plate process. Catering for events at the Villa can also be requested
The Villa has its own cook and maid, and you can dine under the pergola or by the swimming pool while sipping wine and recounting your day's adventures. Children find the enormous garden a wonderful place to play in - nobody gets bored at La Foce.
By the way, there is free WiFi all over the house too (should you wish to get back to earth).
|Rate Period||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly *||Event||Minimum Stay|
|50% on confirmed booking, 50% one month prior to arrival|
|Fees And Taxes||a tax of Euro 0,50 per visitor is required by the local township|
* Approximate monthly rate. Actual rate will depend on the days of the month you stay. Payment is usually accepted in the quoted currency (EUR) unless the currency and the amount is specifically agreed in advance with the owner / advertiser.