Fanghetto is a small rustic picturesque thousand-year-old Italian stone village, perched on the side of a mountain just 15 minutes above the Riviera and 45 minutes from the Nice Airport. Built like a Pueblo honeycomb over the ages, Fanghetto beckons you to explore her charming restaurant and two cobbled footpath 'streets' just above the parking lot. With her tiny square (a summer concert is held there), curving arches and stairways, an ancient bread oven and a huge stone olive press, the village gives you a magical glimpse into Roman and medieval times even as you luxuriate in your own private intimate Villa with modern amenities and comfort.
Near the French-Italian border, everyone speaks Italian and French, and a few, English. In summer the population swells form 10 villagers to over 100 people, many from Holland, Belgium and France, a few from the US, and some in the arts. It is not unusual to hear a violin or an aria nearby.
The restaurant, when and if open on the weekends, is one of the watering spots for everyone, the other being the river. Our intimate villa is reached by climbing the Via Corridoio stairs past the church, turning right down the mysterious Via Oscura, up some steep angular stairs to our tiny entrance courtyard.
Take the path from your Villa down to the Roya River to a small sand and pebble beach, providing a cool dip and sunbathing. If your supplies run low or you want the best Cappuccino around, walk 15 minutes down to Marisa's (where you turned off up to Fanghetto). Walking and hiking trails abound. A Roman footpath runs right outside your door on the Via Corridoio, leading up and down the valley, connecting with a wonderful labyrinth of well-marked and maintained hiking trials throughout the mountains.
The living room of your cozy Villa, with its fireplace (nice in the late spring and early fall) offers a view of the church, and room for reading, conversation and rest, or listening to music from the CD collection. The convertible couch provides a spot for a fifth person or kids to sleep (for safety reasons children should be in arms or at least 5). Just a few steps away from your table is a separate, fully equipped kitchen. On Sundays you can look down on the priest greeting his small flock. Just a step above the kitchen are a bathroom and bedroom, with a small alcove table for writing, looking out over a great mountain view.
A stairway up from the living room leads to a spacious roof terrace, with a charcoal grill, chairs and cocktail table, a larger table with umbrella for al fresco dining, and lounge chairs for sunning and naps. As you look out over the beautiful Roya valley and mountains, you will be amazed by the extensive centuries-old terracing by monks and peasants for growing olive trees.
Spectacular views up or down the Roya valley await you, as do the soothing sounds of the river from below. Soon the swallows come out, and then the stars—a perfect setting for good food and wine great conversations and unforgettable memories.
But your biggest surprise still awaits you. Step through the archway under the stairs, down into a stunning master bedroom, with its luxurious queen sized bed, spacious armoire and large bureau; enjoy a relaxing 'rain' shower in the large second bathroom. There is also separate toilet, and hidden washing machine. This bedroom is a place for deep sleep and wonderful dreams. One of the pleasures of this room is looking up at the white barrel-vaulted ceiling with all its amazing curves and niches. The walls are three feet thick keeping you cool in summer, and warm in spring or fall (helped by an electric heater if need be).
Kent is a retired Washington child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, sculptor, and author of a novel, Body Sharing, and two nonfiction books, Les Liaisons Delicieuses: Breaking the French Culinary Code, and Disaster Psychiatry in Haiti. He is an associate clinical professor in psychiatry at both Georgetown and George Washington medical schools. He lives in Paris with his wife, Patti; spending May and October in Fanghetto, and summers in Martha's Vineyard. Patti is founder and President of Les Liaisons Delicieuses: Gastronomic Adventures in France, Italy, Morocco and Vietnam, recently receiving the coveted l'Ordre de Merite Agricole from the French Government for her promotion of French artisans, food, and restaurants. They have two children: Christopher, a graduate of L'Academie de Cuisine, working as a chef, and Julia, graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, working at Louis Vuitton in New York.
I have always loved France and Italy ever since high school. I found the French and Italian Rivieras breath-taking, with spectacular mountains plunging into the azure Mediterranean. I loved the great French and Italian restaurants and museums, hiking and snorkeling, history and culture. And my wife loved it even more But how did I discover Fanghetto? In 1972 I was invited to visit a friend there. At the time, there was only a footpath to the village going across the old Roman bridge, and a wire pulley from Marisa's to the square to haul your bags up. Because the Americans bombed the railroad bridges as they chased the Germans out during WWII, the Italian government promised the villagers if they helped rebuild those bridges, they would eventually construct bridges and roads up to each village. Two years after I bought my set of rooms (my original living room, kitchen, bath, and bed room), the bridge and road were built. But because of the war, most of the young men were dead or moved to the cities, and Fanghetto shrank from 300 to 10, leaving many rooms vacant and dilapidated. When a 'For Sale' sign went up in his courtyard, my friend urged me to buy not wanting a stranger in his midst. It was one of the best things I have ever did. The region around Fanghetto is one of the richest and most interesting places I have ever seen, combining spectacular mountains, hiking, trout fishing, nature, history, culture, French and Italian hill towns and fascinating people and restaurants. Antonio Trucchi did my first renovation, giving me my original living room, bed room, bathroom and kitchen. Then, with Patti, we put in the stairs and skylight giving us the wonderful terrace. This year, with the help of Architect Antoine Van Straaten, we obtained an adjacent room for a new bedroom. Stone mason, Livio Cinelli, renovated it giving us our great second bedroom, with modern shower, separate toilet, and washing machine. Voila, we have our villa.
Fanghetto, just off of SR20, is 15-20 minutes. from Ventimiglia, 30 from Menton, 45 Nice.
|Rate Period||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly||Event|
4 night minimum stay
|Discounts: 14 nights or more: $170 Nightly|
|We attach a lease to an email or send you a lease to sign. Half the total fee by check is due with the signed lease; The other half plus the cleaning fee of $150 is due as a check 60 days before rental date. The security deposit is sent at this time also, and will be held.|