Idyllic honeymoon retreat overlooking the Tuscan coast
2 double bedrooms, 1 with king-size bed 1 with queen-size bed. 1 bathroom with en-suite W.C. and hand-basin, 1 shower-room.
Location: Garfagnana and the Apuan Alps
This property normally rents Saturday to Saturday, but owner will consider shorter stays
Argentone is a charming house sitting on its own above the village of S.Anna di Stazzema, with a Jacuzzi on a terrace overlooking the Tuscan coast far below. Originally a dwelling for the nearby abandoned medieval silver mines, it has been beautifully restored and is now a stylish retreat either as a base for invigorating mountain walks, a welcome home after a day by the beach only 25 minutes away or as a restoring refuge from city life. It is most often rented by honeymoon couples who delight in the feeling of privacy and the soaring views. Sitting in the Jacuzzi with a glass of Prosecco at night, with the stars twinkling above and the lights of the Versilia coast laid out below is a romantic delight.
Approached by a gravel path, steps lead down to a blue front door, which gives directly onto the light-filled living room, with a curved-front fireplace, typical of the area. To the left is a well-equipped kitchen with another open fireplace, and a dining room with a window to the view of the sea. Because of the slope the house is built upon, these ground floor windows are actually high above the slope, giving a wonderfully airy, high feeling to the rooms. Turning right after the front door, a flight of stairs lead to a large master bedroom with a curved-edge double-ended bath and a double bed. A small W.C. and basin is also off this main bedroom. There is also a further bedroom with a queen size bed and a shower room. Both bedrooms enjoy the stunning views of the coastline and sea. To the right of the house a large wooden sun-terrace has a warmed Jacuzzi in its centre, with sun-loungers surrounding it, and a shower housed nearby in a small cave carved out of the silver bearing rock.
The Apuan alps are a great undiscovered playground of walks, climbs, restaurants, and historical villages. Reaching as high as 1700 metres (over 5500 feet) these are the mountains from which Michelangelo had carved the marble for the David, astoundingly white and still highly prized. The quarries may still be visited, and nearby Pietrasanta is a centre for sculptors, with a lively programme of exhibitions throughout the year. For a more lively experience, Versilia has been the Florentines coast playground for years, and has miles of beaches, lined with trendy bars, fine restaurants and discotheques.
Lucca and Pisa are also under an hour away, with architectural and artistic delights. In Pisa, The Campo dei Miracoli houses the famous leaning tower also has a XI century Basilica, built with money the Pisans gained after a victorious expeduition against the hideout of the Arab pirates of Palermo. Look carefully at the white marble walls and you can find old Roman inscriptions, where the medieval builders re-used old plaques and inscriptions as building material. In the nearby Baptistery clapping your hands will bring out the "devil's laughter", a strange sound that echoes round the chamber. Lucca is an antique lovers paradise, with regular markets and many shops. The Church of San michele is also a delight, with rising ranges of differing columns supporting the facade. For opera lovers the famous Festival Puccini runs from June to September, with performances at Puccini's own house and in the open air on the lakeside of Torre del Lago.
For a spectacular taste of the religious traditions that underlie Italian culture there is the Triennale di Gesu' Morto a Camaiore every third Easter,where the illumination of the whole town, with traditional lanterns made from glasses filled with olive oil, is atmospheric beyond description. This is not limited to just the centre of the town, but extends onto the surrounding hills which, lit by thousands of flickering lights, adds hugely to the atmosphere during this celebration. Every June on the occasion of Corpus Domini, Camaiore continues the picturesque tradition of lining its streets with rich carpets (known as tappeti di segatura) made of flower petals and coloured sawdust. These are laid down by local men and boys throughout night before the celebration. On Sunday morning a chanting procession, led by the priest and followed by the small children who have recently taken their communion, passes over the carpets destroying them and leaving the streets behind them filled with the smell of incense.
And, after all these excursions, slipping into the warm Jacuzzi with a glass of Champagne to watch the sunset will set the world to rights.
Our stay at Argentone was wonderful. We caught the last of the August sun before the weather cooled a little, exactly on September 1st. We loved the peace up in the hills and spent a good amount of our time outside on the shaded patio or on the warm sunny decking with it's hot tub. Occasionally we drove down to Pietrasanta for a food shop or just to relax in a cafe on the square. The coast is an half hour drive but mostly owned by hotels, so you have to pay for a day on the beach. You can drive a little further south of Viareggio to discover a free beach with lots of places nearby to eat al fresco. Very pleasant. The house itself is lovely, decorated tastefully and simply. An half hour walk through the woods will take you to Sant' Anna with it's national peace park, where there is a little bar that served simple food, mainly bread & cheese with salad and the like. Half way down the twisting hill is trattoria which we will have to try next visit! We ended our week with a visit by train to Pisa, and feeling very refreshed. A memorably relaxing holiday.
If you are looking for a magnificent location and house to match, with views whether by day or night that never fail to please then Argentone is unbeatable. We've just had the most relaxing and stress free two weeks at Argentone. The house is very tastefully decorated and comfortableThe first week we just spent relaxing on the decking in and out of the hot tub. It was an effort to leave the house but the local towns of Pietrsanta and Lucca made it well worth it. The local restaurants produce excellent food and the shops are great. A must do is to visit the little local shop in S'Anna to buy your fresh bread, cheese and eggs delicious! The drive up and down the mountain is stunning too and it gets easier with practice! We absolutely loved the area and the House. Sarah (the housekeepers) is a font of knowledge and nothing is too much trouble. I would also recommend Invitation to Tuscany, Laura was extremely helpful and so easy to deal with. One of the best holidays we've had.
We stayed for a week in mid-May. The view is stunning and the location is wonderfully secluded. The house itself had everything you need and more. We would highly recommend this to any couple.
We loved the house- it was absolutely great, and even better than your brochure and website described. When you see the house it truly is in an awesome site; the views were just fab, so far reaching and clear. We loved the quiet and relaxing feel of the place. [It was] very well renovated and and tastefully decorated and had everything you need. we cooked quite a few days and we had everything in kitchen with utensils that you would need. The Bose stereo was a nice touch in the living room and you can have music out on patio when eating. Your directions were excellent - it was very easy to find and the drive up to the house was really good but easy to negotiate as long as you take it steady round the bends !! Also the COOP you suggested was just right, had everything for a week at the house food wise and was open all day on Saturday. Lucca is beautiful place to visit just over an hour away. The Forte di Marmi market on Wed. was great to visit an upmarket market. We went to Florence on train from Viareggio, only an hour away from station and great all-day trip. All in all, a wonderful house in a great location.
Third visit in 4 years. Really impressed with how well maintained it has been. Plenty of utensils etc for cooking and nights/days in. Wonderful views outside, very cosy inside. Great food shops in Camiore where you will find butchers, seafood and a great wine merchant next to the Co-op plus good supermarket at Pietrasanta. This year we went up the coast to the Cinque Terra - Riomaggiore etc. Wonderful villages, great walks and sights. Also went to the coast at Pietrasanta for the first time, not much on in October but the pier was well worth a walk. Much warmer at sea-level in October than up the mountain.
Thank you for this review, so glad you are continuing to enjoy it - I think it's a fantastic area! The walking is wonderful, the views amazing. At this time of year you do really start to feel the difference between the coast and the mountains, but I like it because its all a little more empty too...