3 large bedrooms, great kitchen, among beautiful vineyards with views to the Ligurian Alps
Steven and Ruth Williams
- english, french, italian
About Steven and Ruth Williams
We think we've been very lucky in finding this unique old house in the Piemonte. The Geometra who worked with us on the restoration has a passion for these old buildings, and helped us every step of the way. The local people were genuinely pleased (and slightly astonished!) to find these Inglese so interested in what they saw as an isolated old dwelling on the hillside, and now that we speak Italian enough to make friends we find ourselves surrounded not only by magnificent unspoiled landscapes but also by welcoming Italians some of whom we can consider real friends. The whole experience since 2004 has been a pleasure and joy, and everyone who has come to stay responds in the same way as we did. This area is the real McCoy, Italy's hidden treasure, recently recognised by UNESCO.
Steven and Ruth Williams purchased this Farmhouse in 2004
Why Steven and Ruth Williams chose Montabone
40-odd photos of the house and surrounding views unfolded online in September 2004 and we were hooked. We tried to get interested in other places in nearby Liguria but it just didn't work. We saw it first in late October - staying in lovely medieval Acqui Terme the night before. Gazing across the valley at a patchwork of yellow, russet and green vineyards we fell in love with it. By August the work was done and we were in - everything efficiently done on budget and on time. Fantastic people. The village of Montabone is 10 mins walk across the valley: Signora Ines and her family run the local shop and fill us in with local news. It is quite remote on its hillside, yet 15 minutes takes us to Acqui or to Nizza Montferrato, and it's easy to reach 3 major airports
What makes this Farmhouse unique
From the moment we arrive (7 hours door to door from our house in London) we relax. It feels like we've escaped the madness of modern life and arrived in an oasis of beauty and peace. Life here goes on undisturbed by technology, unless you choose to bring a laptop with you. We wake to ever changing views of the glorious Monferrato hills, home to Barbera, Dolcetto and Gavi grapes: one moment marvellous white mist rolls down, the next fierce sun burns it off. The pool is unique, separate from the house and completely private, designed for hours of sitting by as well as swimming. Red-haired Franco cultivates the vineyard beside our house - there's always some agricultural activity going on to watch and some marvellous wine, cheese or sweet local amarretti biscuit to enjoy while doing so.
100% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 7 days before arrival date.
We loved this house!
We had a great holiday here! This place ticks all the boxes - a beautiful quiet rural setting with great views (especially of the sun rising over the distant hills) yet only a fifteen minute walk to the nearby village of Montabone. Not much seems to happen there but that was fine by us - there’s a well-stocked and friendly village stores and deli, plus a very good restaurant ‘La Sosta’.
Ruth had provided us with all the information we needed and we were met at the property by the very helpful Trevor and Jess - everything was ready for our arrival and the place was spotlessly clean.
The house itself has been beautifully restored and furnished, and - provided you keep the shutters closed in the day - stays nice and cool. We had all our meals under the portico overlooking the vines and the valley below. Night time entertainment was provided by the ghiri, heard but not seen except for a couple of distant glimpses early in the morning, and we were lucky to see one rather lonely firefly - not usually still around in August!
Apart from a couple of trips out, to Acqui Terme and Nizza Monferato, we were happy to do little but look at the view, dip in the pool, and have delicious meals - we really couldn’t have had a more relaxing holiday home and can highly recommend it to those looking for peace and quiet in a beautiful but under-rated part of Italy.
Wow - what a great job Ruth and Steven have done here. We enjoyed the most peaceful week ever and loved waking up looking at the beautiful vineyards in the valley everyday.
The house is wonderful - has everything you need and refreshingly no TV or Wifi (if you are addicted I got 4G all through the house so no problems with checking emails etc).
The bed was comfortable and the house has been renovated to a very high standard.
The pool is ultra private and very refreshing in the Italian summer sun. My 11 year old decided he wanted to have a career in pool cleaning after fishing out the bugs daily!
We literally cannot wait to come back here. It is wonderfully quiet. The local village is lovely - a lovely village shop and great views. We didn't eat in the village - we were very happy with the amazing produce from Bennett's super market and sitting and eating on the portico of the house every night.
I would highly recommend the Piedmont Food and Wine Tour which is recommended in the house welcome book. We had an amazing day visiting 3 vineyards and tasting amazing wine. Was a fantastic day.
But on the whole we were just happy staying at Ca' Giona.
You will not be disappointed with this lovely house, the amazing views and the local area.
We came for two weeks in 2014, having been for one week in 2013 and fallen in love with both the house and the region. The owners and local (English) managers were very helpful.
The conversion has been done beautifully and sensitively. The house was presented immaculately and with everything we needed, including some very interesting books. There are great views across the hills of the region, covered in vines and nut trees, so the lack of TV and WiFi is not a problem – in fact it is a real pleasure.
The house and pool lose the sun by about 17:30 in the summer, which cools the house down for comfortable nights, but does limit time for sunbathing. Young children would need careful supervision in the garden and by the pool. And the third bedroom is accessed along an external balcony.
The nearby village of Montabone is lovely, but very small and quiet. Fifteen minutes by car gets you to Nizza which has a great historic centre - good markets, restaurants, churches and ice-cream. Real Italy with few tourists. We did day trips to Turin, Milan and Genoa. We suggest you use the excellent park and ride systems on the Turin and Milan metro systems.
We would thoroughly recommend Piemonte and this house. Have a change from Tuscany or Provence.
A really wonderful place to stay
We've now stayed at Ca’ Giona twice and have booked it again this year. Ideal for families with a car, this is a really beautiful and well-maintained house. The pool is gorgeous (surrounded by rosemary and a tranquil spot in the afternoon) and the veranda is a really beautiful place to sit in the shade and eat meals looking over the valley - especially when the fireflies come out.
The rest of the house is comfortable, pretty and clean and I'm particularly fond of the room separated by the balcony - it's perfect for couples travelling with others. The surrounding area is also really beautiful - there is a great restaurant in Montabone which is 15 minutes slow walk back across the valley and the nearby towns of Asti, Acqui Terme and Nizza Monferrato are all filled with lovely deli, cantinas and places to stroll round. It's the perfect getaway.
Ca' Giona is an hour and a half from the Italian Riviera, so it's very easy to take day trips to resorts such as Spotorno and Finale Ligure. Our favourite is Noli, which is a winding, perfect little medieval town with its own castle on the cliff, and a lovely beach with the usual range of well run bathing establishments. Trains from Acqui Terme go to stylish Genoa; Lakes Maggiore and Orta can be reached in an hour and a half; Val d'Aosta is only two hours away and Aosta itself a hidden gem.
Fly to Genoa or Turin, approximately one and half hours away, or Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate and Milan Bergamo, approximately two hours away. During the winter there is a service to Cuneo, approximately one and a half hours away. If you wish to drive to take full advantage of HMRC wine allowances, Acqui Terme is about 700 miles from the main channel ports.
Montabone is about 1½ hours from Turin and an hour from Genoa. Turin is one of the great cities of baroque architecture. Genoa's 18th century palazzi are unique; the port area is a major tourist attraction. Locally medieval, elegant Acqui Terme is about 15 minutes away; the bustling market town of Nizza Montferrato and the wine centre of Canelli form the two other points of the triangle, each about 20 minutes drive
Montabone has its own restaurant, town hall, general store and post office. The small town of Castelboglione on the way to Nizza has an excellent butcher. On the way into Acqui Terme there is an enormous supermarket while the town centre has very stylish shopping, wonderful cafes and some outstanding restaurants. Other small villages can all be found within a few miles/ kms radius of the house, each with its own specific history and charm - including Mombaruzzo, home to amaretti biscuits, and Fontanile, which boasts a Duomo of Florentine status. Many create their own specialities like 'plin' pasta and fresh, soft salamis. Every village has wine producing families and you can buy from them and from the excellent cooperatives.
There are food and goods markets throughout the week: we tend to use Nizza on Fridays. Acqui Terme market is held on both Tuesday and Friday. Walking on the quiet roads leading out of Montabone, sometimes all the way to Rochetta Palafea (an hour's gentle strolling each way) where we end with coffee or aperitifs in the local cafe remains an enormous pleasure as well as good exercise, since views to both sides of the road are simply stunning. Local people are friendly and helpful, delighted if you can speak some Italian and the area though famous for wines is completely unspoiled, having bypassed the package tourism of other places.