WELCOME to our big, rustic farmhouse in the hills between Ravenna, Bologna and Florence. With comfy rooms, a massive loft, huge terrace, big lawn and vegetable garden, this is a perfect place to retreat and recharge with a group of friends.
THE HOUSE was built as a luxury farmhouse ('podere') in the 40's and tends to bring out the primitive side in guests. Chop wood, build a fire, cook some delicious food and stare at the world in the distance. The fresh air and absolute silence makes for deep sleeps at night and peaceful slumber during the day. We bought the place in 2010 and have been renovating until 2015. The result is a simple, but very comfortable, home that works well for groups of up to 20 people. Expect no exquisite decoration or fancy linens here: it's a farmhouse. Its luxury lies in the abundance of privacy and space: great rooms, big terrace, huge studio and lots of nooks and crannies to discover. And a night sky you rarely see. The house consists of 6 big bedrooms which easily fit 20 guests. Four bathrooms, a living room with a dinner table the size of an Italian family, an indoor fireplace, a well-equipped kitchen, a massive loft, an herb garden, a lawn to play on, all situated within the 3000 acre Parco Oriani: your private Forest Farmhouse Retreat. You'll have the whole house for yourself which means that, apart from the occasional mountain-biker who passes by, your privacy is guaranteed.
THE ENVIRONMENT. Vidovina lies on top of a cliff that gives you great vistas over the valley and nearby ridges. Truly beautiful. You'll see that the Parco Oriani - in which the farmhouse lies - is situated within the larger Parco National del Vena di Gesso (Gypsum Vein Park), which is perfect for hiking, mountain-biking and gypsum cave excursions. But even a short stroll through the woods or vineyards behind the house is great. There's probably a pheasant or deer or porcupine behind the next corner... Two kilometres away lies Casola Valsenio, a small but nice farmer's village that doesn't see many tourists yet, despite its lively character, interesting culinary festivals and ancient herb garden. Main sites in the village are the Cardello-house at the park entrance, the nearby Valsenio Church, both from the 11th century, and the clif overlooking the Senio River on which the village is built. Casola's got some nice spots to walk/swim/fish near the river, a big public swimming pool during summer and horse/quad riding facilities nearby. Market-days are Tuesday and Friday and the supermarket is open each day of the week (go between 10-12 to be sure). There's great local cuisine at Il Cardello Locanda down the road (seriously, check it out). There are several good eateries/pizzerias such as La Curva and Il Farro, where the pizzaiolo is also the region's most famous writer. Go drink coffee at Bar Central or Bar Sport where cappuccino after 11 is frowned upon, but wine before 9 is fine... There's a great butcher on Via Guglielmo Marconi and across the street they sell really good fruit and veggies. Last but not least, there's happy-maker Giorgio who runs 'Chilometro Zero', the local organic vegetable garden. Before doing groceries we always visit Giorgio first and buy... well... EVERYTHING. Ask for eggs and he'll go gather them from his chickens. Seriously, it's good eating in Casola. And drinking too. Lots of wines are also produced in the region, most notably from the Sangiovese, Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. These wines are sold along the roads throughout the valley. Within a 30 kilometre radius you'll find Palazzuolo, Imola, Faenza, Forli and Brisighella, all of which are beautiful towns with lots of history, culture and natural beauty, and even more of that great Emiliano-Romagnolo food to taste. Go a few hours further and you'll reach the cultural powerhouses of Bologna, Ravenna and Florence.
UPON ARRIVAL. Upon your first arrival at the restaurant 'Il Cardello Locanda' just before Casola Valsenio, our local friends Gabriela and/or Cor will welcome you and escort you to the house to show you the way and to demonstrate how things work in the house. Gabriela - an Italian sweetheart who grew up in the area - and Cor - her Dutch husband who's a great artist - live nearby and will be there when you need them. They speak English, Italian, Dutch, and some French and German too, so you should be fine. Of course we'll be available online if you have questions regarding the reservation itself.