This was the village's great barn and granary, now converted into a three floor family home. It stands above the valley where from very early times, corn was sown and harvested. Even in an area of so much natural beauty the view is unrivalled, and the top floor has been designed with a roof terrace so that you can truly absorb its wonderful peace and tranquility. It is an observation post, an observatory even. There is a big reflector telescope at hand if you have some experience. At night you can dine al fresco under the stars; by day relax, sunbathe unseen, and enjoy a cooling roof-top shower. Honeymooners love the feeling of being in their own private world. In fact the barn is spacious.
From the hilltop on the NE side there are 6 steps to the entrance, but from the roof terrace on the SW elevation, where the hill slopes down to the valley, you look out from third floor level.
The Long Barn sleeps 4. There are two en suite bedrooms, a twin and a double which opens onto the roof terrace. They are situated at either end of the apartment and are separated by a large airy sitting room and a dining kitchen. .An additional double en suite bedroom for €25 a head per night, is on the floor below in a lovely suite with beams, ancient stone- work and huge fireplaces.
There is private parking outside. The villa is close to the road.and has beautiful terraced gardens with a sunken jacuzzi and the option of hydro massage therapy. Last but not least there is a wonderful, traditional cook in the next village who would be happy to make you a meal on request, and will show you how to make pasta just for the pleasure of it.
I spent my early childhood in Essex during WW2, later moving with my family to Leicestershire where I was educated and became a member of Leicestershire Youth Orchestra. Although my interests were centred in art and music I was directed towards teaching. Later I travelled, lived for 2 years in Bahrain, and eventually as a mature student realised my ambition to study Sculpture and Fine Arts .
In the early nineties I moved to Italy.My elderly mother came to live with me and I continued to carve stone and model clay for small bronzes - when I could find time from working on the house and garden. Life was busy.
For some years I had hopes of my children joining me but it was impracticable and now I am keen to use the villa as a place for activities and pursuits, like painting and music- making, walking and cycling. There is so much accommodation here it is starting to become a place where friends, guests and helpers meet - and talk in many different languages .
villa monte verdi purchased this farmhouse in 1987
When I first walked under the arch to find the barn I came upon a vast, forested hillside hidden from the top road. It took my breath away. Rather like walking into a cathedral, it awed me and gave me a feeling of great peace and serenity.
I was staying with friends in their Tuscan farmhouse, wanting to see something of Italy after finishing my sculpture course but still finding it difficult to come to terms with a personal grief. This was the moment of change.
My friends asked me if I would like to buy the barn (it only needed the roof repairing they said) At first I had no interest in the barn, but because I had fallen in love with the view, I was eventually unable to say no.
The long line of buildings across the hilltop with an archway leading to the old road through the hills, was a different world. I loved the clean air and the pure light - and views I never wanted to leave.There was the chance of a lifetime to make a really big sculpture.The barn, crumbling and condemned, needed to be restored in a way that would still be in harmony with the beauty of the landscape.
There was also a sense of living side by side with the past; close by the birthplace of Michelangelo; the wild mountain side where St. Francis had received the stigmata. The place still has a huge energy.
I measured up the barn, drew plans, made a collapsible model in card when I got home, and sent it off to the builder back in Tuscany.
After that things went slower and slower and slower..............
We discovered Simonicchi in 2011 and came back in 2015. Then and now it struck us as a place where one finds unspoilt nature, tranquility and comfortable accommodation in a beautifully restored old farmhouse looking out into a green and peaceful valley.
We enjoyed sitting in the mediterranean garden and discovering Jennys sculptures wich were carefully arranged in various parts of the garden.
We also enjoyed walking and hiking around Simonicchi and also visiting beautiful old villages and towns in that part of Tuscany.
Last but not least, Jenny our host, was most welcoming and helpful and Vittorio is a wonderful chef.
The apartment in the hamlet of Simonicchi - a collection of atmospheric houses and very welcoming people perched among the wooded hills. It is large, tastefully furnished, and has all one would want for a relaxing holiday. Jenny is an excellent host who went out of her way to make sure we enjoyed our stay. The roof terrace with its provides ever changing panoramic view over the wooded hills and neighbouring villages is a highlight of this property. Thank you for the hospitality everyone we had a lovely time.
I stayed here with my two children (11 and 14) as I really needed a get away from it all holiday with peace and quiet, great wine and good food. I chose wisely! Stunning place, my host was thoughtful and approachable, it is a place to experience the real Italy.
The warm welcome from Jenny was a lovely start to our holiday in Simonicchi. Sunglasses are a must when taking breakfast on the roof terrace, with stunning views across the valley to the tree covered mountains beyond. The Villa is clean, tidy, well equipped and with many books available to choose from. The beds are very comfortable and the shower is such a blessing in the heat! Excellent restaurants in Lama and Caprese a few minutes down the road in the car. There are wonderful walks nearby, so get the guide maps from the helpful lady in the Tourist Information in Chiusi. See Michelangelo's birthplace in Caprese and St Francis' sanctuary at La Verna. Beautiful old town of Anghiari is not too far and further afield make time to visit Poppi, Assisi and Arezzo. Florence is 2 hours away but suggest parking at Arezzo and taking the (fast) train on to Florence. We would recommend the Villa to friends and family, and hope to return ourselves. Thank you Jenny for a wonderful and relaxing honeymoon in this romantic and idyllic corner of Tuscany.
Villa Monteverdi is indeed surrounded by green hills which gives one the impression of being in Umbria instead of Tuscany. From the windows and the balcony one has an uninterrupted view of these hills. When we were there in the beginning of June one could hear the sounds of the birds such as the cuckoo but also the sound of the deer challenging each other in the valley below. At night, if you are lucky, you can see dozens of fireflies. The owner Jennifer Barnard is very hospitable and she will do anything to make you feel at home. She is a sculptress and inside as well as outside you can find proof of her work which adds to the attractiveness of the place. If you play a musical instrument don't hesitate to bring it along. Jennifer plays the flute herself and she would love to play with other people!
Simonicchi, which is a hamlet of only a couple of houses at a cul-de-sac, is situated at about half an hour's drive from San Sepolchro. Città di Castello and Arezzo are also within easy reach. You can also visit the sanctuary of La Verna where Saint Francis received the stigmata. The little town of Anghiari near San Sepolchro is considered to be among the 10 most beautiful medieval places in Italy. It is even possible to visit Perugia or Florence.
It is very challenging countryside for cyclists and the are various opportunities for making long walks. As for restaurants we could recommend 'Il Refugio' in Lama (only 4 km away) and for a good pizza you should go to 'Il Bosschetto' in Caprese Michelangelo, the birthplace of the great painter (only 6 km away).
All in all our stay in Villa Monte Verdi was an unforgettable experience!
The house is delightful, beautifully restored while maintaining its historical character. The views are fantastic, stretching across the valley to the wooded mountains. A painter is spoiled for choice, but probably, like me, won't need to go beyond the terraced garden to find inspiration. The owner is happy to advise visitors about venues and is always ready to help solve any problems that arise.
A wonderful break in a tranquil and relaxing part of Italy with the perfect
hostess. The views are stunning from Simonicchi inspiring us to walk down
the valley, fording a rustic wooden bridge to climb up through the chestnut
trees to Fragiola where we bought freshly made Easter cake to eat in the
sun. After a cold beer in Lama, Jenny kindly picked us up and took us back
for lunch al fresco. Wonderful memories of the space, light and freedom of
the place. A joy not to hear the sound of traffic or planes, just birdsong.
This is an area that allows you to explore city and countryside alike; from a central base in Caprese Michelangelo, known from Florence to Rome for its restaurants and delicious traditional cuisine. Porcini mushrooms and truffles feature high on the menu at Mario's - just a few minutes away..
Truffles and funghi are found in the woods fields and along the network of tracks, running through the hills.
Across the valley from the villa the slopes are covered with groves of sweet chestnuts, cultivated and marketed by the local people. This is a lovely place to walk or ride a mountain bike. It is full of wild fruits, berry fruits, cyclamen, crocus and primroses. in season. Caprese holds a Chestnut Festival on two weekends in mid October.
It was on this network of paths that St. Francis walked from village to village, preaching and begging alms. The dramatic mountain sanctuary where he received the stigmata is only a few kilometres up the road. It is full of lovely blue and white Della Robbia reliefs, and surrounded by a forest of soaring beeches. It is a centre of world pilgrimage, a landmark in the story of spiritual faith, and needs to be seen.
The sanctuary is on the edge of the mountain basin of the Casentino National Park- place of strange medieval landscapes like those in the paintings of Piero della Francesca, who was born in nearby Sansepolcro. Be sure to visit the museum there and go to on to Arezzo and Monterchi where much of his work is housed.
As the birthplace of Michelangelo Buonarotti, the famous sculptor, and painter of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Caprese Michelangelo's name is known worldwide. You can see the ceiling in the Vatican Museum in Rome, or, if you go to Florence which is nearer,you will find his great statue of 'David' looking out over the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo.There is much more of his work in the Accademia Galleria but don't miss the little museum at Caprese Castle with many other sculptors represented and with videos to fill you in on his background.
There are many captivating places to walk, straight from the house which is on the marked route 'Escurzione Apennine,'The mountain region attracted many religiosi and the hills are full of fascinating chapels, hermitages and abbeys to call at.
The winding mountain roads offer fantastic road bike training. You can hire seasoned Gran Fondo competitor Nick to take you out. He will train and enter you for races if you wish, or you can just hire a bike and go it alone.These are superb roads for racing of any kind and nearby Pieve santo Stefano hosts car races, veteran and classic on the Chiusi della Verna road circuit.
Music festivals with international performers, choral and instrumental, and Master classes at Anghiari, Monterchi etc.Look up London Symphonia on internet to see their programme.
There are also organ recitals at La Verna Sanctuary free of charge
Pageants - the Palio at Siena, others at Arezzo and Sansepolcro and in towns and villages all over Tuscany.
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My Standard Rate
1 night minimum stay
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* Approximate monthly rate. Actual rate will depend on the days of the month you stay.