Main villa: 6 double bedrooms and 2 twin bedrooms, with 7 shower room, 5 of which ensuite, and 1 ensuite bathroom
Annex: 6 single beds and 1 shower room
Location: Siena and surroundings
This property rents from Saturday to Saturday
Sitting back from a quiet country road, Cacciatore is a Leopoldine country villa built of golden local stone and crowned with a dovecote tower. Together with its converted hay barn it offers spacious accommodation for gatherings of family and friends in an area once prized by and fought over by Florence, Siena and Arezzo. And it is no wonder they laid claim – set above the fertile valley of the Ambra River that was once the Florentine breadbasket, it is still now untarnished by the trappings of the industrial age, but rather offers a panorama of wooded hillsides, open pastures and distant fortified villages.
Honoring its farming background, the villa favors authentic tradition and gentility over designer chic, and celebrates original materials and architectural features throughout - oak and chestnut beams overhead, wide brick arches, and terracotta-tiled patios. Modern comforts are in no way compromised, however, and guests enjoy queen-size beds, private shower rooms, modern appliances and the option of air-conditioning.
To satisfy a large group’s need to be active and entertained, Cacciatore is happily well situated. Not only do its pool area and covered terrace provide outdoor venues for meals al fresco, the attentive property manager can arrange catering, cooking lessons and the tasting of Tuscany’s famed wine and oil. In a countryside intersected with hiking, horseback and biking trails, this land invites exploration. Whether by walking over to the nearby polo club to take in a match and have dinner at its upscale restaurant or by boarding bikes available at the property, horses in nearby pastures or hot air balloons that drift quietly over the Chianti, this is the ideal spot for savouring the best Tuscany has to offer.
Double wooden doors in the arched entry open to a wide hall whose wood oven once turned out fragrant loaves. A door to the left leads into a country kitchen, well equipped for modern cooks, but complete with a marble-topped table for 6 and open fireplace seen in most Tuscan kitchens. Arched doorways off both the kitchen and the entry hall lead to a very large dining room whose wooden table for 16 looks out through double french doors to a patio facing the pool. Both the dining room and the entry hall open to a spacious living room with twin arches spanning the width of the room. With an open fireplace and comfortable sofas, armchairs and settees arranged throughout the long room, guests can easily gather to plan upcoming excusions. For those needing to keep up with the news, a TV room off the living room provides the necessary satellite channels. Also on the ground floor are two bedrooms, a double and a twin, off a corridor from the living area which also accesses the pool area. Both bedrooms have ensuite shower rooms and, like all of the villa bedrooms, are charmingly furnished with country antiques and lovely soft furnishings.
A stairway off the dining room leads up to a large hall which accesses four double bedrooms and one twin bedroom. A final double bedroom with ensuite bathroom is located in the tower. All of the bedrooms are good-sized and enjoy views of the gentle hills surrounding the property. With a shower room for each bedroom, four of them ensuite, there is never any waiting to get ready for the day. Further accommodation is found in the former haybarn to the right of the villa. Here, though the ground floor does have a shower room with the property’s washing machine and a small table for 4, the emphasis is on providing extra beds; in all, the annex has six single beds, primarily in the two adjoining rooms on the upper floor, making it perfect for teenagers or family units that don’t mind sharing the shower room.
To one side of the main villa a large covered porch with a long marble and iron table allows meals ‘al fresco’, out of the midday sun, but never short of a panorama. A few steps across the lawn lead to the swimming pool with sun beds and lawn chairs on a terracotta surround and an adjacent outdoor living area complete with a corner sofa and a gazebo-shaded dining area where those not ready to do laps or paddle can watch those who are.
While continuing uphill will lead to the small 16th C. village of Montebenichi and a restaurant serving traditional Tuscan fare, there are many reasons to head back down to the valley. Heading north there is nearby Ambra with excellent shops and restaurants or Montevarchi from which one can catch the fast train into the heart of Florence. To the northeast is the medieval walled city of Arezzo, whose Basilica preserves the masterpiece of Piero della Francesco and whose Piazza Grande central square fills with monthly antiquarian fairs and Saracen Jousts. Heading southeast leads to healing spa treatments at Rapolano Terme or, therapy of another sort, the designer shops of the Valdichiana Outlet Village.
But the Chianti region is practically on Cacciatore’s doorsteps with Castelnuovo Berardenga, Villa a Sesta and San Gusmé all offering stellar restaurants, excellent wineries and stately villas. Not surprisingly, the rural castle of Baron Ricasoli, the creator of the ‘recipe’ of Chianti wine, is also located is this area. It is a region which deserves to be discovered at leisure, with excursions interwoven into sunny days of relaxation and the comfort of one’s own Tuscan villa.