Was it an ancient wayside inn, a convent, or refuge from the turbulence of the 16 century? Built into the hillside on the edge of a village, this ancient house has looked out over the green wooded landscape for 400 years or more, untroubled by the outside world. Few tourists have strayed into this part of Tuscany since the days when pilgrims passed close by, and (we dream) lodged under our roof for a night or so. Thanks to skilled local craftsmen the property has been sensitively restored to combine historic features such as vaulted ceilings, an inglenook fireplace, a centuries-old stone staircase and terracotta floors with modern bathrooms, two fully equipped kitchens and well-designed comfortable furniture. The long, low building is divided at ground floor level by a medieval galleria which runs from the ancient borgo into the large sunny garden where you can swim in a crystal clear pool against a background of green wooded hills and distant mountain peaks.
The house and village : A quiet road snakes through chestnut woods to the hilltop hamlet of Caugliano. According to born and bred Caugliano neighbours, our house is the oldest building in the village, dating from the late Middle Ages. It is listed by the Belle Arte as a protected building, but its history is lost in time. Maybe it was once an inn used by pilgrims on the route from Canterbury to Rome, perhaps the uniform-sized bedrooms once housed monks or nuns, or was it merely a farmhouse sheltering a family with delusions of grandeur at one end, peasants at the other, animals below? Some rooms were certainly used (or abused!) to roast chestnuts (chestnut flour ranks alongside porcini as local specialities in this part of Tuscany). Whatever its age or purpose, the house , the garden and the pool represent a peaceful haven - the perfect escape from today's manic world.
Places to go, things to do nearby: Five minutes away ancient Fivizzano has shops, bars, restaurants, a weekly market and during the summer a 'manifestazione' ranging from a festa of locally grown food and wine to a car rally, medieval flag throwing to a fashion show almost every week. Eating out is an everyday delight. Most local restaurants serve beautifully cooked antipasti (a bewildering number of traditional appetisers), freshly made pasta, locally produced meat, fish and seafood fresh from the nearby coast, seasonal vegetables that taste 'just-picked', the 'best ice-cream in Tuscany’, and a bill that's usually a pleasant surprise. Riding/trekking nearby, castles on our doorstep the coast 40 minutes away, ski slopes, an hour away.. With its heart-stopping views, and peaceful atmosphere it is an area you will return to again and again.
Lunigiana and Liguria: Lunigiana is Tuscany's best kept secret - a land of rivers and castles, vineyards and forests, steep wooded valleys and walled hilltop towns silhouetted against a background of mountain peaks piercing the sky. Here life still follows the seasons. Yet the sandy coves, stylish marinas and cliff top walks of the stunning Ligurian Coast are only 40 minutes away. This breathtaking coast may be relatively busy in the summer, but amazingly it remains unspoilt. Colour washed houses stacked close together appear to tumble down the cliffs to the sea, much as they did when Byron, Shelley and later DH Lawrence lived and worked here on a stretch of coast that became known as the Bay of Poets.
And for culture lovers and shoppers? The great Tuscan cities of Florence, Pistoia, Piacenza and the less known medieval jewel of Lucca are all easy to reach by train from our local station. Parma, Pisa and Genoa are all about 1.5 hours via the motorway.
Like many other villages in the Lunigiana, Caugliano is perched on a hilltop, with panoramic views of the countryside below. It has neither shop nor bar, but what it does offer is the antidote to stressful, modern living - peace, tranquility and a warm welcome from the people who live here. You will hear cow bells by day, owls or the bark of a deer at night. And yet you are not cut off. Within 8 minutes you can be sipping a beer or enjoying 'the best ice cream in Tuscany' in the Piazza Medicea, Fivizzano. This ancient walled town has bakers, butchers, alimentari, a fishmonger, a brand new supermarket, banks, pharmacies, hairdressers, restaurants and bars. There are castles and riding stables on the doorstep, a thermal spa half an hour away. It's 45 minutes to The Bay of Poets, and the Cinque Terre on the beautiful Ligurian coast. Lucca, a little known gem and Puccini's birthplace is an hour away. Florence 2 hours. and Parma 1.5 hours. Pisa airport 1.5 hrs. Genoa 1.75 hrs
Other Activities: Trekking on horseback or on foot, river walking, wine trails, country markets and festas. Castles to explore, land-and-seascapes to die for.
Payment is usually accepted in the quoted currency () unless the currency and the amount is specifically agreed in advance with the owner / advertiser.