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Bellissimo -Piccolo Castello Tuscan home, stunning in views & swimming pool.

Bedrooms 4
Space 2,690 sq. ft.
Property type villa
Minimum Stay 7 nights


About the property

Sleeps 8 luxury Villa Tuscany, Italy - Tranquility Whilst the nearby Coastline Provides a Lively Cosmopolitan Contrast

Bellissimo Piccolo Castello "Castello on the Mound"

with private woodland offering stunning panoramic views of mountains and lush green countryside above the medieval village of Tavernelle. 'Castello on the Mound' an ideal setting for a peaceful and tranquil holiday with most amenities within easy access. Legend has it that this Villa has been very significant through the ages. Above the fireplace is a stone cross found within the walls during the reconstruction. It is belived the cross is the sign of 'Knights Templar'.The Villa was an 'old hostelry' where travellers could get food, drink and rest, on their travels through the

country. A safe haven for the 'Knights Templar,' the hostelry with crenelated tower sits on its own elevated mound with panoramic views. The people have long gone but just maybe you might catch a shadow or noise from times gone by!

A short dirve away visit the Famous five towns known as CINQUE TERRE on the nearby Liguria coast or the vibrant port city of La Spezia.

Sun n swim at Lerici and San Terenzo nestled in small bays with sandy beaches and elegant promenades. Not only was Lerici and San Terenzo a favourite of the English Poets Shelley and Bryon but the Villa Marigold was once owned by A Noble English Gentleman called Pearce. He was known for his entertaining in this beautiful Villa and gardens with fabulous sea views. He was even known to host Princess Victoria the daughter the then reining monarch of Great Britain, Queen Victoria.

Lerici and San Terenzo have an array of good seafood restaurants and bar's. The Castle towering above Lerici was originally a watch tower to guard against pirates around the year 1000 but the castle as it exists today was completed by Genoan Republic in 1555. This relaxed coastal resort was a favourite of 'Shelley and Bryon' and is fondly known as 'The Gulf of the Poets'.

Following the coast round to Tellaro, a village built on the rocky cliff overhanging the sea. It was a den of pirates of about 200 souls, the church is on the water's edge. Legend has it that one stormy night the church bells suddenly began ringing and would not stop. The townsmen woke terrorised to discover that the rope of the bells had fallen into the sea and an Octopus had attached itself around and was pulling it. Part fable part truth but the inhabitants awoke and saved them from an incursion of pirates.....

The Lunigiana 'Wine Route' that winds its way through unspoilt medieval village's. This is where you can enjoy traditional local dishes, local wines and join in the summer time festivals 'La Festa or Sagra'.

Close by on the Tuscan Riviera there is a town called Forte dei Marmi 'the strength of marble'. The sidewalks and pavements are made from the beautiful local white Carrara marble and are alined with designer boutiques,palm trees, chic cafes, bars and restaurants. For the shopaholics it is a must.. Forte Dei Marmi is a popular resort with the rich and famous, also a favourite of many Artisans in particular the wonderful popular Classic Singer Andre Bocelli.

Wining and Dining in this chic resort you can never tell who you will rub shoulders with...

The cities of Lucca, Pisa, Florence and Parma for the ultimate cultural experience are all within easy reach by road and rail from the villa.

More Details

Member since: 2010
Speaks: english, italian, Fluent English and conversational Italian
Calendar last updated:
August 25, 2017

About Martin

Ally and Martin, both ex business professionals from the UK purchased Montecastello as a ruin back in 2002 and completed a 3 year reconstruction programme from 2003 - 2006. Both aspiring cooks, they decided on a complete "lifestyle" change from their former highly charged and stressful professions of Fashion and High Security. They took on the challenge of reconstructing the ruins of Montecastello 'hands-on' in unison with local craftsmen. The best of Tuscan materials with distinct Italian styling have enhanced the complete design and layout of the inviting rich colours of the interior. Both are extremely proud of the outcome as indeed are the local village people of Tavernelle.

Martin purchased this villa in 2002

Why Martin chose Massa Carrara

Ally, whilst working for a world renowned Italian fashion house in the UK visited the northern region of Italy on many occasions as part of her profession and looked upon the Lunigiana region of Tuscany as the perfect unspoiled "Italian secret". Within a three hour drive there are four International airports, the closest Pisa 1hr 15mins. The beaches of Liguria and Tuscan Riviera are a maximum of 40-50 mins drive. Whilst reasonably well known to tourism, Lunigiana is 'Jewel in the crown' of Italy where the villages have not changed in centuries. There are reported to be over 100 castles amongst the sweeping green hills and mountains. The delicious menu's are regional from the many fish dishes along the coast to the meat & vegetable dishes of the countryside.

What makes this villa unique

Montecastello provides a tranquil and calm atmosphere situated on it's own hill above the village of Tavernelle. Guests staying here find that they can relax thoroughly through the privacy of their woodland surroundings. Devoid of the hustle and bustle of 21st century living, it provides a welcome return from a 'packed day' out visiting the many historic towns in the area or simply the coastal resorts. What better way to return, to have a cooling dip in the private pool before a delicious localy produced dinner cooked and served on the covered terrace by the local 'Mama' cook from the village. In June the fireflies dance beautifully under the Tuscan moonlight

In June and September the famed wild Porcini mushrooms are 'hunted' in the woodland grounds of Montecastello.

Guestbook comments from the owner


Monte Castello is set in the most amazing Tuscan scenery. We four adults and two teenagers found 5 star luxury incorporated with real Italian history. The house has been amazingly restored with plenty of room for everyone. The coolness of the house out of the summer heat if you need it but to be sat around the pool with only goat bells clinking is a wonderful destress from a busy lifestyle. The terrace of an evening overlooking the lit pool chatting and drinking the wonderful wines on offer from the village of Tavernelle. La Torre is an breathtaking restaurant set in the mountain scenery and the food is amazing. Being not far from the coast Cinque Le Terre is a must you can catch the boat in Lerici and the seafood is some of the best on the coast.......A visit to Forte Di Marmi is a mixture of modern with old well worth a visit. I kid you not AMAZING is the only word for Monte Castello........
Nov 2010
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Nearest Airport
90 Kilometres
Pisa Airport
Nearest Barpub
1 Kilometres
Bar Capriola Tavernelle
Nearest Ferry
20 Kilometres
La Spezia Liguria
Nearest Golf
24 Kilometres
Lerici Golf Club Marigola
Nearest Train
18 Kilometres
Aulla Lunigiana
Nearest Motorway
18 Kilometres
Aulla Autostrada
Nearest Restaurant
1 Kilometres
Bar & Ristorante Il Capriola Tavernell
Nearest Ski
12 Kilometres
Prato Spilla Mount Bocca Apeninne
Nearest Beach
22 Kilometres
Lerici Golf of Poets
Car: recommended

Special interest holidays:

The list is endless with a wide variety of special interests in this heavenly area. It could possibly tick every box for most holiday makers and their list of things to do. The endless festivals during the summer months spoil you for choice of were to go and what to experience. They offer entertainment, local dishes, wine, story

telling, music, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere of street parties from a bygone era. Of course Italy wouldn't be Italy without the gorgeous food and this locality definitely offers simple no fuss delicious delights. If you would like a more personal experience we can arrange the 'Italian Mama cook' to create and serve a mouth watering menu in the comfort of Montecastello on the covered terrace overlooking the swimming pool and mountain views. To accompany the dinner, an earlier trip through the Lunigiana wine route could prove to be an interesting experience. We are surrounded by Appenine Mountain beauty and most towns offer natural spa water fountains.


The nearest coastal resort of Lerici is a 40min drive away. There are a multitude of resorts between Lerici to Pisa along the Tuscan Riviera and all are sandy. From Lerici towards the famous La Cinque Terre along the Ligurian Riviera are many bays and coves all with classic Italian villages and towns. Cinque Terre can be seen by boat or train, hopping between the various quaint fishing villages to stroll and sample the catch of the day. Portofino is only 50 mins drive from the property.


Pisa International airport just 1hr 15mins door to door by car. Genoa 1hr 30min. Parma 1hr 30, Bologna 2hrs. We recommend car hire to experience the many beautiful areas to visit in the locality. Most hire companies operate from all Italian airports.

For rail links, ideal for day trips to the various tourist destinations. Aulla has a main line station connecting to major routes throughout Italy.


Within 1km the local bar, restaurant, post office and butchers are in Tavernelle. La Torre of Montagna Verdi viewable from the property is 1km & is an award winning agriturismo. A great place to experience local Lunigiana cuisine whilst seating on the outside terrace surrounded by breathtaking views. Licciana Nardi is Montecastello's local community within a 8 min drive. Licciana Nardi services most amenities, ATM & bank, Post office, Doctor, Bar, restaurant, Deli, mini supermarket, bakery.

Further Details:

Montecastello is ideally positioned for a wide variety of local amenities, either shopping for produce within the local comunity or venturing a little further for the daily market of fresh fruit/veg/cheese/salami/ham/bread and fish in the centre of the local port of La Spezia. The Lunigiana wine route cuts through an extraordinary variety of landscapes looking out on the sea or up to the marble peaks of the Apuans whilst generally meandering through rolling countryside.

We recommend LVNAE(LUNI) winery as a definite "must do". Situated just outside the nearby fortified town of Sarzana. Lvnae wines specialize in the local are wines and famous for their vermentino whites. The winery is very interesting with museum, tastings,tours and bookable wine appreciation classes.

Also close by in the historic castello town of Pontremoli is a shop that buys and sells all local funghi (mushrooms) such as the famed Porcini. They provide expert advice on all edible varieties. This town has many interesting shops and restaurants.

Day walking through the local hills and mountains is very popular here with stunning views and a wide variety of flora and forna to see. Above Montecastello are natural lakes, ideal for a picnic on a hot summer's day where here the temperature is a little cooler. There is also a childrens (supervised) adventure centre operating through the summer months at the local ski resort of Prato Spilla. The ski lift also operates for those who wish to trek along the Apuan peaks where the views are astounding.

For the energetic, bicycle hire operates from our nearest town of Licciana Nardi just 6 kilometers away.

Boat/yacht hire operates from the costal towns of La Spezia and Bocca di Magra some 40mins away.We can also hire a boat on your behalf for an unforgettable day out.

Ferries to the famous ligurian Cinque Terre operate from La Spezia and Lerici just 40 mins away. Alternatively, there is a train service running hourly from Aulla 20 mins from Montecastello.


Tavernelle Villa Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • villa
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 2690 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 8
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome ...
  • smoking allowed ...
Location Type:
  • Mountain
  • Rural
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Fireplace ...
  • Fitness Room / Equipment ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine
  • Wood Stove ...
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Freezer
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 8 people
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , combination tub/shower , shower , bidet
    Shower room 1 - toilet , shower
    Shower room 2 - toilet , shower
  • Master bedroom en-suite bathroom with Large sink, wc, bidet, bath and large shower. Tower bedroom with en-suite shower room. Double and a twin room with interlocking shower room in the style of A Jack and Jill. Downstair's toilet & Marble soap sink, decorated in a Roman style..
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 baby crib
  • Sleeps 8 (4 Bedrooms) Master bedroom with king size antique iron bed gorgeous Italian Linen. Vaulted Chestnut beamed ceiling with remote fan. Patio doors leading to small terrace. Windows with bug screen's. Tower double bedroom transports you back in time complete with Florentine style fresco. Italian Linen medieval wardrobe in Double bedroom with Padded Headboard of Mimosa the beautiful bright bright yellow flower given to Woman all over Italy on the Day to 'Celebrate & Honour Woman', again beautiful crisp white Italian linen to slip into bed for that perfect night sleep. The en-suite Jack & Jill shower room leads to the 4th bedroom, a fun room, light in decor with twin beds lite by trailing coloured wall lights. A home form home for the kiddies.. Not forgetting the babies, we can offer a child's cot with mattress and linen to sleep up to a 2 year old child. Baby's bath, potty, and child step to reach the sink. Downstairs there are two high chairs, traditional and modern.
  • Books
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Music Library
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • Toys
  • Video Library
  • Boat ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Golf ...
  • Lawn / Garden
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Porch / Veranda
  • Ski & Snowboard ...
  • Tennis ...
  • Water Sports Gear
Pool / Spa:
  • Private Pool ...
Onsite Services:
  • Private Chef
  • autumn foliage
  • churches
  • forests
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • horseback riding
  • outlet shopping
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • laundromat
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • golf
  • golf privileges optional
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • ski lift privileges
  • ski privileges optional
  • skiing
  • swimming
  • tennis
Accommodation. The 'Castle on the Mound' was in a state of ruin when purchased in 2003 and has been restored with much consideration to traditional detail with the help of modern day techniques. In the locality this well known unique Tuscan stone house with castello crenellated tower sits at home in its wood land estate. However, the interior have been created to represent Tuscan style with modern day creature comforts. The sumptuous fabrics and soft furnishings give that true feeling of Italy and Italian style. The warm earth colours of the decor give a sense of tradition yet well being, an instant generous welcome as soon as you walk through the medieval stone arched doorway. Each room has been carefully thought through to offer all essentials for the perfect home from home holiday. One quote comes to mind written in our guest book 'an exquisite home, everyday we discover something new in the house for our use, you have taken so much care providing everything one would need for their comfort'. Brian & Jacky Outside: Located in the pool area of the villa is a covered outside dining area with Tuscan stone built-in-BBQ and prep area. A few short steps to the left is a Jasmine lined elevated chestnut wooden deck overlooking the woodlands, perfect for that after lunch snooze. The swimming pool is 12m x 5m with Roman stepped end and an equal depth of 1.4m. Generally open from end of May to October, weather permitting. The pool area provides a head and foot shower for the guests comfort and convenience. The sun-loungers have integrated head sun canopies and there is a free standing sun umbrella and two alternate seating areas with sun-umbrellas. Pool towels are provided. The property's grounds are to 6 acres of woodland, ideal for the mushroom hunter. There is formal planting of flowers and herbs to borders and terracotta pots nearby and around the house. A variety of short and long country walks can be taken directly from the property along a pathway believed to be part of the ancient 'Pilgrims way'. Utility Room: For the domestic goddess there is a washing machine/clothes airer/iron and ironing board, vacuum cleaner, dust-pan and brush/ mop and bucket and cleaning equipment. Cleaning / Towels / Linen / Maid service: Saturday change-over and full cleaning service for more than one week occupation with bedlinen and towels changed including Pool towels. Maid service can be provided on a Wednesday morning @15euros per hour paid locally. Formal dining room with banqueting table and seating for 10. An ornate ceramic wood burner sits against the medieval stone wall which gives warmth and atmosphere for a magical venue for Christmas and New Year after a day on the local ski slop


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(12 traveler reviews)

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Bellissimo -Piccolo Castello Tuscan home, stunning in views & swimming pool.
average rating of 5.0 based on 13 reviews

Fabulous Holiday

  • 5 of 5

Montecastello has been beautifully renovated, with much attention to detail. The setting is amazing with stunning views. The villa is spacious and we particularly liked the mesh on the windows which let the air in, but kept the flies out! The terrace room is lovely, a real feeling of being outside, whilst being inside. We bbq'd a couple of nights and the butcher in the village provided us with superb quality meat which was cooked over wood generously provided by Martin. We ate at the table by the pool watching the fire flies, truly magical.

One evening Ally with a local chef cooked and served us a magnificent meal, in fact it was more like a banquet - scrumptious! We had a great day out with Martin on a boat trip around the Gulf of Poets, which we all enjoyed tremendously. Nothing was ever too much trouble for Ally & Martin, who were always on hand to answer questions and offer advise. We were a party of 7 adults and would have no hesitation in recommending Montecasello.

  • Submitted: Jun 28, 2017
  • Stayed: Jun 2017
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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Bliss at Montecastello

  • 5 of 5

Stunningly beautiful and tranquil, with majestic views.

Montecastello is a lovingly renovated castle. Martin and Ally's attention to detail has kept the character from an Italian idle with all the convenience of a modern villa. Couldn't keep the children out of the pool, they would have given a 10 stars out of 5! As adults we loved the garden room, alfresco dinning and grounds to wander around in. The property is well maintained, clean and Ally and Martins, local knowledge and advise was invaluable. We stayed a week which didn't do all the local area justice, we hope to be back again.

Thank you.

  • Submitted: Jun 4, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Rachel, David, Jack, Juliet, Alan & Isabella, Martin and I have put a lot of love, passion & hardwork into Montecastello and it is so rewarding when our guests have a lovely holiday.. Its is so lovely to recieve such a wonderful review and very much appreciated to have such great feed back.. Thank you again for booking Montecastello & hopefully see you again.. Grazie mille ciao ciao Ally & Martin
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A wonderful stay!

  • 5 of 5

It was such a treat to stay at the 'Castello!' It's so beautifully and tastefully furnished throughout - such comfy beds and loved the Italian linen sheets! It really was everything we hoped for and the setting is truly idyllic- peace and tranquility pervade.

Ally and Martin are great hosts and it was fantastic to have them on hand so we could really get an insight in to the area and make the most of our holiday. The boat trip around the gulf of poets will be a lasting memory for us all- thank you Martin!

Also lots of lovely places locally to explore and the bustling riviera is within easy reach so the property has the best of both worlds. Another highlight for us was having the Montagne Verde Restaurant so close - such a stunning setting to sit and enjoy local, seasonal and scrumptious food.

Montecastello is top notch and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

  • Submitted: Sep 28, 2016
  • Stayed: Sep 2016
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: It was a pleasure to receive your review as it was to host your family at Montecastello. It is always our goal to endeavour to give all our guests the chance of a happy and thought - lasting holiday ranging from simple relaxation at the Castello to the many varied excursions that abound just a short distance away. Martin & Ally.
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  • 5 of 5

Martin and Ally were more than terrific hosts, providing lots of information and support when needed, but never intrusive. The house and location are just magical. Beautifully relaxing and peaceful, but at the same time close enough to Lucca, Pisa and La Spezia ... and of course the day on the boat was just wonderful. We hope very much that you will have us back next year!

  • Submitted: Aug 14, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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  • 5 of 5

We had a fabulous 2 week stay at Montecastello in July. The little castle and surrounds are beautiful. It’s reconstruction a credit to Ally and Martin. The bedrooms and bathrooms are large and comfortable and there was ample other room for 7 of us to find our own space or to enjoy a boisterous gathering. The house is carefully decorated, fully equipped and beautifully maintained. The pool is a wonderful place to while away the hours.

A highlight of our stay was a wonderful day exploring by boat the Gulf of Poets with Martin as our Captain. Definitely book this one for your visit.

From Montecastello it is easy to access by car or train from Aulla a multitude of tourist locations and busy major cities and towns. There is so much to see or do in the region but it was always a joy to return to our peaceful quiet villa after a long day.

Ally and Martin were the perfect hosts and we thank them for allowing us to experience their little bit of Italy.

  • Submitted: Aug 9, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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Beautiful house, secluded setting, lovely views.

  • 5 of 5

We stayed at Montecastello for 2 weeks - 3 adults and 2 teenagers. We loved the ample space within the house: 4 beautiful bedrooms, 3 gorgeous bathrooms, and a variety of different living rooms and seating areas for relaxing, reading, dining, watching DVDs. Our favourite was the 'indoor' terrace - a lovely terrace with wonderful views, with the option to close the screen curtain in the evening while still admiring the views. Another great feature is that all the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen have bug screens on the windows which is fantastic - you can leave your windows open and enjoy the cool evening air without worrying that you are letting in moths and bugs.

We are keen cooks and appreciated the well-equipped kitchen (plenty of pans and baking trays, kitchen scales, all the necessities). The house was clean and beautifully presented, especially the bedrooms and bathrooms which are of a really high standard. It was particularly nice that all towels, linens, poolside towels and lovely bathrobes were provided.

The pool is excellent and, like the rest of the house, has been thoughtfully designed to look charming in a beautiful setting. You are not over-looked at all. Everything is kept clean and in very good order. Ally and Martin live nearby so it's nice to know that you can ask for info if needed.

The website is very informative and accurate - have a look at the virtual tours.

  • Submitted: Aug 23, 2015
  • Stayed: Aug 2015
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Fees No additional mandatory fees
Refundable damage deposit $464.93

Booking Notes:
25% of the total price of the rental period within 5 working days of the booking, held provisionally and confirmed on receipt of payment. Guests are asked to read carefully and accept in writing the Terms and Conditions at the point of confimation of booking. The balance of the contract price is to be paid 60days from the rental date. The guests will be contacted pre the 60 days by email. Security and damage deposit of 300 euros is required to be paid locally on the day of arrival.

Changeover Day:
Saturday is the changeover day from April to October. Arrivals after 4pm departures no later than 10am.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the owner or check their rental agreement when booking the property.