|Property type||chateau / country house|
|Minimum Stay||3 nights|
From the humble hermitage at the first Millennium, Romiti grew to become one of the earliest monasteries of the Tuscan Hermits in the turbulent 1200's. A spiritual retreat became a commercial hub with the monks involvement in iron forging in the valley below and the chapel and buildings underwent many transformations over three centuries of use. With the sale to a local family in the 16th century Romiti became a private dwelling,the chapel maintained for the local population.Still a chapel in 1683, the fabric was collapsing. Restored and extended in 1735- as recorded by the mason's mark on the East wall of the chapel, little is known thereafter.
In 2006 the spectacle was an overgrown and lost hamlet ,home to goats and chickens and the hawks that circled hopefully overhead.
The eight year eco based restoration project -Romiti runs almost exclusively on renewables -returns it to its historic position and creates a retreat for those seeking something rather different .
There is a working pottery and glass studio on site and workshops can be organised for most age groups.
Romiti stands at the end of a private road within its own grounds , largely chestnut forest , accessible by most cars but not recommended for low clearance models- there is a large private car park just below us at the beginning of the road.
500 sq metres habitable space on five offset levels
Entrance through Ingresso- open stone fireplace and seating.
Full height chestnut beamed ceiling, the original 15th century stone flagged floor, a magnificent room 18 meters long by 7 meters wide for banquets and events. Four hundred year old Chestnut slab table cut from the surrounding forest ; to seat 16 . Upright Baby Grand . Seating around the walls and further seating for concerts /cinema screenings .The chapel houses the glass work of the owner Steven Newell and the new cast glass doors were made in collaboration with his partner Lindsay.
Upstairs to the mezzanine level and a well equipped library (art books, fiction and non fiction , local guides and antiquarian books) and wifi enabled reading and study area. There is a double sofa bed. A long throw Projector for cinema screenings and a dvd library - classic Italian/French/Spanish/ English .
stairs down to
crypt - toilet ( disabled) and boot room/storage.
Ingresso -stairs up to
Professional kitchen- housed in the 18th century Cantina with the original 13th century cloister arches and stone elements from the Roman period .
Large 6 burner gas range /electric oven , separate steam oven, 4 ring induction hob, double bowl traditional sink and separate prep sink, two dishwashers , double steel counter fridge and under counter fridge , Large inglenook raised fire place for open fire cooking . Steel prep counter and ample work surfaces ( chestnut)
Small Appliances- including professional ice cream maker , deep fat tempura fryer, microwave, mixers and blenders .
Long Tuscan Dining table seats 12 with views through large arched doors to garden and outside eating area .
The bedrooms- 8 in total-
beautifully restored with oak floors,handmade chestnut windows and doors , simple furnishings in a minimalist style to capture the historical aesthetic of the spaces .
Stairwell 1-bedroom1: large double matrimonial (pool view) ensuite
shower /wc ;this room accommodates a cot.
bedroom 2 :double matrimonial ( front terraces view)
bedroom 3: double matrimonial - (front terraces view )
stairs to mezzanine sleeping platform above
with further sofabed (dbl) below
Large roof terrace with pool views off the stairwell .
Stairwell 2- level 1
bedroom 4: twin (front terraces view) with ensuite bath/
bedroom 5 :can be adjoining bedroom 4 or independent
with its own access from front and back- large
double matrimonial , ensuite shower/wc . This
room accommodates a cot.
bedroom 6:double matrimonial ( front terraces view)
bedroom 7: large twin ( front and back views) ensuite
bath/wc . This room accommodates a
Independent mini flat - bedroom 8/shower room downstairs, kitchen sitting room upstairs and up to private roof top terrace
Outside - East side
Dedicated laundry house with two large capacity machines and solar plant and tank for hot water .
Downstairs a wood burning caldaia for heating .
A series of monumental walls support wide sun drenched terraces for eating with spectacular valley views. On the main level accessible from the kitchen is a large breakfast/lunch terrace and a barbecue and fire pit for evening eating .Directors chairs and tables for communal or individual dining .
Below this a further terrace flanked by Olive trees and lemons .
Outside -West side
Shady eating area
The gardens are simply landscaped with kitchen herbs, Lavender , Bay and Olive trees . An imposing dressed stone wall frames the back , probably part of the original fortified boundary when the site was a watch post for the Roman road which crosses above.
There is a restored stone bread and pizza oven and outside eating areas on the wide stone steps and beyond on the lawns.
Onward to the salt water infinity pool filled with mineral water from our own mountain source- the Acqua benedotto which once filled the monumental stone font which rests outside the chapel.Plenty of pool side seating , and further seating on raised terraces for those who just want to read or sunbathe. The backdrop,a great rocky outcrop ,is thought to house the original hermits caves . Open views across the valley to the South and upwards to the next ridge where deer will often make their way down to the river bed below.
I have been a glass blower all my life and have always had a great love for Italy. I love history, of places and people, which makes me beyond inquisitive at times .
I think it is important to restore structures when they have meaning for a community
Whilst loving solitude, an open sky and a good pile of logs to chop , I like to open the door to the traveller and sit them down and hear a story .
steven newell purchased this chateau / country house in 2006
Having left my East Coast US childhood home in my 20s to pursue a career in glass, I have long searched for what would be a spiritual home - the imperatives of good company, a love of food, wine ,the arts - a roof of ancient proportions over my head and a view to survey which reminded me of those deep rooted landscapes which make a memory .
Having lived under a London skyline for too many years ,I was ready for the walk up to a ruined hamlet , even on a grim January day a spectacle as these places often are to the romantic dreaming of his mountain retreat .Never intended to be that defining moment, a challenge of overpowering proportions ,but a course had been set and a mere mortal was not going to upset it.
The support of great friends,partner Lindsay and family carried the project to its conclusion , a work of eight years.
The restoration of Romiti has taken a very long time;it has been a joint enterprise with some of the best Craftsmen and artisans in the region , it has excited the interest of so many who played among the ruins as children , those who spirited away what could be carried , then silently brought it back when the doors were opened once more. So,great friends have been made rogues rehabiitated , a place of spirituality and majestic endeavour returned to use for a few centuries more . Romiti has always felt like a place that many people share , past ,present and future -I would like to see that continue .
Romiti has been developed on sound eco principles in order to have minimal environmental impact . Wherever possible ,building materials - stone and wood in the main -were recovered from the ruins of the houses, restored and re-used . A system of walls were built and bio-engineering techniques employed to support the slopes and avoid interventions such as industrial underpinning .
All water is from our own Spring, heating comes from solar energy and wood from the grounds .We have a state of the art water purification system which returns waste water to the environment without the use of any chemical agents.
And we still haven't found the fabled monk's treasure stash - so for the curious with a metal detector , all is still to play for.
Perfect property. Peaceful and spacious. Charming and helpful hosts. Couldn't ask for anything more.
Sensitively and stylishly restored group of buildings in a stunning mountainside location surrounded by forest. Great hosts who are excellent cooks and provide a very relaxing and friendly environment in which to stay. Simply furnished comfortable accommodation. Lovely swimming pool and garden. Will certainly go back!
Had a great time when I visited with friends. The Monastery has been beautifully restored and the rooms are beautifully restored throughout. This is a great place for a get-away, the food is stunning and the locations is very peaceful.
Wow, this really is a 5 star venue, set in the most beautiful countryside, nothing can prepare you for the beauty of its landscape. The photos do not do the house, the interior or the countryside justice. Our room was large and exquisitely furnished, with very subtle pretty touches, and a lovely large bathroom, just what you need in the winter. Lindsay and Stephen, the owners, are the most gracious hosts, offering wonderful food and helpful advice about how to spend your day. And surprisingly in the middle of the countryside there is much to occupy you. There are lovely walks up into the mountains, where the views are even more spectacular. A skiing resort is only an hour away, Barga the nearest city, a beautiful medieval one at that, steeped in history, is fifteen minutes drive away, and of course Lucca and all its splendours is only forty minutes drive. Even though Stephen's cooking is worth visiting romiti for alone, we did venture into the pretty village of Fabricche, ten minutes walk from the house, and try its restaurant one night. This was also a highlight. We sampled wonderful rustic italian cooking at its best. So all in all this was a wonderful holiday, one that I would heartily recommend to anyone wanting a relaxing, comfortable but also on chosen days, active holiday.
Wonderful views, each room is unique and really comfortable. The infinity swimming pool was super I could stay there all day. Great walks near by and an fantastic local resturant with walking distance. The food in Romiti is amazing and we were looked after very well. I would and have recommended this place to all my friends!
It was a huge privilege to spend a week relaxing and reviving at the beautiful i Romiti. Located above the village of Fabbriche du Vallico in the hills north of Lucca, it is wonderfully secluded with glorious views across the valley, yet easily accessed from Pisa Airport where we hired a car.
I Romiti is a lovingly restored monastery complete with Chapel and Roman wall. It offers very spacious accommodation, housing our party of 14 (3 families) with ease. The restoration skillfully blends faithful 13th century authenticity with a twist of modern luxury. Each bedroom is simple and elegant, with a view and an ensuite bathroom. The kitchen is the heart of the house, fully equipped for proper Italian cooking and lots of space for sitting, eating and drinking too. There are several outdoor eating areas, a fantastic pizza oven and a lovely large infinity pool. Star-gazing around the pool at night was a highlight, with no ambient light to pollute the night sky.
There is a restaurant a short walk from the end of the drive where we ate on several occasions - fantastic pasta, great wine and really good value. Having spent a fortune eating out in Europe in recent years, we were very pleasantly surprised at how reasonable prices were in the region as a whole and this restaurant especially! The village of Fabricche di Vallico is gorgeous - very friendly with several well-stocked shops, cafes and
bars, and the most beautiful stone bridge.
Best of all was the crystal clear river that runs through the valley a short walk down the hill from the house. We spent many hours river swimming and jumping from rocks. Completely invigorating and wonderfully cooling on hot days.
The area itself was a real discovery for us. A short drive further into the hills takes you to the start of well-marked alpine mountain treks. The routes varied from easy to advanced and the views were outstanding, stretching to the majestic Alps to the North and the Coast to the West. We walked with kids ranging from aged 6 to 14 and it was enjoyed by all. We would love to have explored more and we'll definitely be back.
Out hosts, Steven and Lindsay, were very welcoming and helpful. Having lived in the region for years they are experts on where to visit, explore and source ingredients. So many thanks to them for their vision and welcome. A unique place and a wonderful holiday.
I Romiti sits at the entrance to the Parco Regionale delle Alpi Apuane with some stunning walks and hikes on the paths maintained by the Club Alpino Italiano . Known for its unusual variety of microclimates you will move from olive groves and citrus to chestnut and beech forest , juniper and a view of the sea. Tectonic windows, karst caverns , a landscape described as 'an instantly petrified stormy sea' has some of the most intriguing geological formations .Neolithic caves and the famed Grotta del Vento , the largest cavern in Tuscany lie just above us .
Wildlife is abundant and the very lucky might catch site of the wolves which have moved into the Parco del Orrechiale.
A rich history of some 50,000 years of human habitation has left numerous intriguing sites to visit . Plentiful water and south facing slopes made it a challenging but rewarding landscape for cultivation. In post Roman times the region skirted the pilgrim route from Luni to the South and sanctuaries and hermitages - among which Romiti numbers-gave shelter and safe passage on an arduous and perilous journey . Trassilico village and Fort and the hermitage at Calomini are close by . Scattered Medieval hilltop settlements created around the extraction of iron ore and precious metals and other remnants of the later mining and stone industries provide a wonderful visual social history :from the wide clearings of the high pasture for livestock rearing to the rigours of marble extraction,traces still visible of the old sled runs or lizzatura for dragging or lowering the massive marble blocks from the high quarries to transport routes in the valley , the landscape speaks of a hardworking and resilient population. Barga, the largest centre after Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is just across the valley -it has a beautiful 10th century cathedral with eccentric internal architectural detailing ,a well preserved old town with an abundance of cafes and restaurants and patisseries.
Leaving the relative tranquility and majesty of the mountains ,it is a short journey to Lucca by road, bus, or train on the historic Lucca Aulla railway line- worth doing the round trip
Passing through the Medieval town of Borgo a Mozzano and the Ponte del Maddalena ,the Devil's Bridge . Onwards to Bagni di Lucca , an old spa town where you can still take the waters
and Ponte Moriano, the location of important Etruscan finds now housed in the Museo Nazionale di Villa Guinigi
Lucca has been described as the most graceful of Tuscany's provincial capitals.Encircled by its well preserved 15th century walls ,the much older Centro Storico is explored on foot or on rented bicycles . The Roman grid layout still apparent , it is an architectural feast of elegant palazzi, torre, Romanesque churches and squares accessed through winding streets of noble proportions . Some excellent galleries, Botanic Gardens and a great selection of restaurants and bars which run through the night for that post club patisserie.
Florence is a day trip , with Montecatini Terme en route .
Almost impossible to have a conversation in the Garfagnana which doesn't revolve around the subject of food .Home to at least one of the founders of the Slow Food Movement. Within a short walk of Romiti , The Vecchio Molino,the lovely Ramona's and Da Sandra's deliver fine local cooking with the best ingredients- Ramona's famed Cacciucco, a Livornese spicy fish soup ,is a must . Cheese, salamis and sausage are produced locally and tastings are hosted , the closest at the organic stone ground flour mill in Fabbriche . Grain beers are brewed in nearby Piazza del Serchio . There are countless food festivals and market days throughout the region to celebrate harvest time for grapes,chestnut, porcini, truffles and more.
There is lively arts and music scene all year round. Barga Jazz; the young and dynamic Lucca Opera Festival organising innovative performance in some of the loveliest local venues including our own chapel!
Theatres in Castelnuovo de Garfagnana and Barga. A good independent cinema in Barga, and the open air cinema screenings in the Orto Botanico in Lucca . Lucca summer festival brings in some big names - Stevie Wonder playing to a mere 10,000 in a packed Piazza Napoleone .Awesome.
For the winter traveller, day skiing at Abetone , winter and Christmas markets , the famous Comics and Games Festival ( end October)
Fairs, circuses, Christmas pageants and living nativities .
With some of the most spectacular scenery in Tuscany , a rich historic tradition based on thousands of years of human occupation , a vast array of country and city pursuits , this is the gateway to paradise .
|Refundable damage deposit||$537|
Romiti is a spectacular wedding and event location - the owners are happy to discuss your plans .
For Deposit and Cancellation terms, contact the owner.