Close to the famous Spa Fonteverde, in San Casciano dei Bagni , Tuscany, a villa for aesthetes who love the peace of the countryside, unspoilt distant views (including Monte Amiata), and total comfort. The 15m pool is just out of sight from the house but shares its magnidicent views. Situated on a hilltop where Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio meet, decorated by the owners with their own collection of works of art, very recently refurbished using only traditional materials, high ceilings, double glazing and ‘Persiana’ shutters make it chillingly cool in summer; fires and big radiators keep you warm in winter, it is within a day’s outing of at least fifteen famous cities and towns.
If you like spas then one of the best in Europe is only six kilometres away. The resort was built by the Grand Duke Ferdinand I de Medici in the seventeenth century around thermal springs famous for their healing properties. It now comprises seven pools, hot and cold, inside and outdoor.
Things to do: Apart from visting the nearby world famous Fonteverde spa?
Southern Tuscany is looser, less well groomed you may say, than the North of the county – it appeals to country lovers who prefer the company of vertiginous views and gem-like smaller towns to the manicured vineyards and jostling cities of the North. It also appeals to the touring aesthete, who wants a base from which to visit the extraordinary assembly of local towns. Our part of Italy, the Val di Chiana, has comparatively few tourists, Italian is still spoken in the restaurants and bars, menus are not bilingual, and prices are modest. Yet we are within a day’s trip of a plethora of beautiful places to visit. Our shortlist includes:
Abbadia S. Salvatore,
Castiglione del Lago,
Citta della Pieve,
Lago di Bolsena,
Lago di Trasimeno,
S. Quirico d’Orcia,
Guests comments: ‘What an amazing week of enjoyment and contrasts: heat, sun, pelting rain, frescoes in Arezzo, blackberry picking, Etruscan baths, cows grazing in the dusk next to your very beautiful house. It has been a memorable holiday.’ 27 August 2007
‘Words are not enough to express our happiness whilst we have been here. We have explored so many charming villages, learn' t so much of Italian history, and enjoyed living amongst the beautiful scenery that captures you every time you look out of the windows of Felceto. We were lucky enough to see deer most days, and we were so pleased to see the spring flowers emerging in the wood before we left.’ 3 March 2008
‘The house and Tuscany pulled out all the stops for us. New amazing views at every turn, the weather - a forecaster’s nightmare – hot sun to snow, frost and gales to blow one over. The wildlife joined in and we’ve seen deer, hares, and even a wild boar’. 14 March 2008
Val D'Orcia: Villa Felceto lies in the renowned Val D’Orcia. To quote from Wikipedia ‘The Val d’Orcia, or Valdorcia, is a region of Tuscany, central Italy, which extends from the hills south of Siena to Monte Amiata. It is characterised by gentle, carefully-cultivated hills occasionally broken by gullies and by picturesque towns and villages such as Pienza (rebuilt as an “ideal town” in the 15th century under the patronage of Pope Pius II), Radicofani (home to the notorious brigand-hero Ghino di Tacco) and Montalcino (the Brunello di Montalcino is counted among the most prestigious of Italian wines). It is a landscape which has become familiar through its depiction in works of art from the Renaissance painting to the modern photograph.
In 2004 the Val d’Orcia was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.