Our well appointed two bedroom apartment sits within the walls of an ancient fortress town midway between Florence and Siena. Striving to keep the property’s old world charm, we, the owners (an American and Italian), restored the property in the 90’s And to our joy, with its eclectic mix of Tuscan furniture and Asian art, our home was featured in the magazine Casa di Campagna.
The apartment comfortably sleeps 4 but can accommodate 5. The master bedroom, with its cozy, private, rooftop terrace and two arched windows graces guests with a 360° view over Tuscany; truly a bedroom with a view - the perfect honeymoon retreat. The second bedroom also offers enchanting views of Tuscany’s silver olive groves and patchwork vineyards. This bedroom has two twin beds (which can also be put together to make another queen size bed) and a chair that makes into a comfortable single bed. Thus, this room can accommodate 3 persons. The master bedroom, on the other hand, is appointed with a queen size bed and comfortable couch for reading and relaxing. There is also a t.v. in the master bedroom with satellite disk for receiving CNN and the BBC for English speaking guests.
The main room is an open space where the well-equipped kitchen alcove is located along with an antique marble top dining table and two comfortable sofas for relaxing after a day of sightseeing. Being that I, the owner, am a Tuscan cooking instructor and cookbook author, one will surely find everything one needs to prepare a savory Tuscan meal in the small but very efficient kitchen, complete with dishwasher and microwave.
The Italian tiled bathroom, with its large built-in shower stall, is adjacent the downstairs twin bedroom. There is a washing machine in the apartment. A drying rack is found in the upstairs master bedroom’s closet.
There is wifi throughout the apartment with 24 hour free access. There is also a CD player in the living room area with a handful of Italian CDs... Pavorotti anyone?
The hamlet, a typical medieval fortress town enclosed in stone walls with two entrances through archways built around 1202, is very quaint. Our property is located on the main cobblestone street within the walls. Also within the walls one will find two excellent restaurants, two wine bars, a butcher and a few other establishments. My hairdresser being one of the two. Just outside the walls of the fortress there is everything one needs within a 2 minute stroll (two banks with ATM machines, two coffee bars, a bakery, two grocery stores, a pharmacy, a post office and more). There are buses running to and from Florence and Siena (55 minutes in either direction) from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. These buses also run on the weekends with a slightly different schedule.
The neighboring towns of Certaldo Alto (another famous hilltop fortress town) and San Gimignano (The Manhattan of Tuscany) are within a 20 minute drive. There are numerous hilltop towns scattered around this enchanting region of Tuscany (known as Chiantshire to the English). Thus, I truly recommend having a car to explore this hidden treasures.
The nearest town to the hamlet is Tavarnelle Val Di Pesa. There is a lovely footpath connecting this more modern village to Barberino Val D'Elsa. The path is approximately 2 kms and takes walkers through olive groves on its way to the neighboring village. Point of interest: Tavarnelle has a lovely outdoor market on Thursday mornings from 8a.m. to 1 p.m.- worth a visit to mingle with the locals while picking up organic veggies.
So, if mingling with the locals in a small fortress town in Tuscany is on your wishlist then look no further. Barberino and our flat is the perfect place to do just that.
I, the owner, am always happy to supply additional information about the area to travelling guests (i.e. festivals, fairs, wineries to visit, art shows etc). I can also arrange cooking workshops in the property or in Florence for those ‘foodies’ out there and/or private meals in Florentine homes. Also, for those who do not wish to give up the creature comfort of a swim during the summer months, I am happy to direct guests to two lovely outdoor pools in garden settings where, for a nominal fee, one can pass a relaxing afternoon poolside.