3 double bedrooms, 1 twin bedroom with extra bed, 1 sofa bed, 1 shower room, 1 bath room
Location: Southern Coast of Tuscany
This property rents from Saturday to Saturday
Nestled in the hills above Campiglia Marittima, a charming well-preserved medieval town overlooking the Mediterranean, Casa dei Fichi is a house that matches the landscape that surrounds it. From the swing under the fruit tree to the sparkling sea that lies on the horizon, there is a wonderfully open air of freedom in and around this house. The gently sloping grounds are a lovely mix of what nature has to offer and what the knowledgeable owners have added to bring colour and fragrance. The large patio and wide furnished terraces which surround the house all have French doors that ensure easy flow in and out of the house, while inside the open plan layout brings the benefit of light and the festive feeling of being on holiday.
There as so many points of entry to the house that the concept of a 'front door' is happily discarded, yet one could easily choose to head down the outdoor stone steps to the large flagstone terrace and from there into the Tuscan heart of any house, its kitchen. Well-equipped for those who like to cook, and with a handy pantry room that is equipped with refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine, the kitchen looks through wide brick arches into the dining area and nearby living room. This room has comfortable sofas, an open fireplace, and doors to both the front and side terraces. Also on the ground floor, a generous travertine-clad shower room is located off a large area near the dining room, itself containing a woodstove and open stone staircase to the bedrooms on the upper floor. Three double bedrooms and a twin bedroom with an additional child's bed are all steps away from a tiled bathroom. Two of the bedrooms have doors to a front porch, where a slice of the sea on the horizon can inspire a day's outing. All rooms have good simple furnishings and comfortable beds necessary for a good night's sleep, but the draw of the house is undoubtedly the areas that draw people together or afford them a quiet nook of contemplation.
People might gather near the double stone barbecue on the sunny patio or seek the shade near the pizza oven or the nearby swimming pool, but they could just as easily set a solitary chair and a glass of wine anywhere on the long panoramic terrace or set out to discover their green surroundings on foot. Once in the car, however, there are easy day trips in all directions. The beach is only 15 minutes away at the lovely Gulf of Baratti, itself walking distance from one of the most fascinating Etruscan sites in Italy. And with the ferry to the island of Elba so close at hand you could even take to the sea, explore Napoleon's place of exile and still be back for supper. The nearest town you can walk to, and Pisa and Lucca are only an hour away when big city sites and shopping tempt; yet it is very likely that time away will only make you appreciate all the more the quiet and open beauty of the place you come home to.
We had a lovely time staying at Casa dei Fichi.
There were six adults in our party and the accommodation was perfect for us. The views from all parts of the villa were wonderful in particular from the front bedrooms and the terracing. We could see the Mediterranean from the pool and the castle from the terrace. The settees and chairs in the lounges were very comfortable. The kitchen was extremely well equipped with a very good cooker. The utility room had two fridges and a convenient washing machine and dish-washer. Really, the house was well equipped. The villa was very secluded and we only saw a few of the estate workers and a couple of walkers during the whole week – very peaceful. There were no city noises, no street lights and no crowds – ideal for us.
We had an enjoyable evening when Luca, the caretaker, came to prepare pizzas for us – a really nice meal and although we didn’t cook any pizzas ourselves during the week, we had a few barbeques. Most evenings and early mornings were spent around the pool. The weather was in the high 20’s all week and we only had a shower of rain for an hour one afternoon.
We walked several times into the village and ate lunches in the cafes in the centre. Being on top of a hill, the walk from the villa to the village was easy but a little harder on the way back! We found a map of the trails around Campiglia and followed one of them to the Archaeological park – mines that had ceased working some while back but are now open to the public. The site has several mines and includes small railways – very interesting.
Since we had not been to Tuscany before, we had two city trips – to Florence and Siena. We decided the best option was to drive. In Florence, we parked in Fortessa de Basso – about 0.5 km from the centre. In Siena, we parked in the Stadio – the football stadium – again just outside the ZTL (no car) area – both had plenty of space (but it was September). Both days were filled with the wonderful sights of the cities.
On another day, we visited a winery. We were advised to go to the Bolgheri (about 30km) area where there are several wineries that provide a tour. We visited Marina at Mulini di Segalari who gave us a description of how her wines were produced and then provided us with glasses of the five wine types.
It was truly a most enjoyable week. Location – great; villa – great; weather – great; food and drink – great; pool – great. What else could one say!
Thanks to Luca and Sarah at your office for advice and hospitality.
We first visited Casa dei Fichi three years ago and knew then that we would return. Going back we were a bit apprehensive that maybe the memories of the previous time there would not be repeated but the minute we drove around the bend in the driveway and the house appeared I knew we needn’t have worried.
Knowing the locale from last time we knew how to get to the house which wasn’t necessarily the case case first time round (careful not to end up driving down the wrong street and ending up into middle of the old town when you are not supposed to!) Also we knew the local big Coop in Venturina and with the flight into Pisa getting in at 12.30 by the time we had made to Campiglia Marittima we had time to nip there to stock up with our first shop before heading to the house for check-in at 17.00. We also had time for a quick drink in the beautiful town square (great ice creams for the kids at the Bacco Bar) and book a table at La Tavernetta for our first evening (Saturdays it gets a bit busy in the square so worth securing a table outside.)
The dirt road up to the house had been a bit of a challenge the last time but I am glad to report it has been upgraded to an extent and now is no real issue at all. Tuning off the track onto the drive way of the house with the line of cypress trees never fails to bring a lump to your throat as the view and house appears after 400m or so.
Whoever cleans the house between guests does an amazing job as the house was immaculate . The kitchen is fully stocked with every tool and could possibly need. The pantry full of essentials and plenty of fridge space. Books, toys, electronics a plenty to keep everyone occupied. A big stock of seasoned olive wood for the bbq and the pizza oven that are just great for making very special lunches and evening meals sitting on the patio or under the loggia watching the sunset. The pool is just perfect. Not heated but never cold and really fresh being fed by the houses well. The beds were all made up, plenty of extra linen and towels in the store cupboard and big silent fans in the ceiling of each room meaning not once were we uncomfortable sleeping despite the 30+ daytime temperatures.
The week was made up of breakfasts on the terrace, swimming in the pool, pasta and pizza dough making for long lunches, afternoon walks, bbq evening meals or strolling 20 minutes down the hill into town for exploring, drinks and great food in the larger than expected choices of restaurants hidden away down little side alleys off the main square. The walks back up the hill in the dark was always a great source of excitement. Coming across families of wild boar, hiding and jumping out to scare the kids in the dark and telling scary stories makes the walk back and the steep slope fly by.
Last time we did days out to Lucca, Pisa and Sienna so didn’t need to repeat these (although certainly worth it and all less than an hour and a half away). This time we took a day out and visited Volterra and San Grimignano as well as a trip to find some wild swimming on the river Celina (check out the book Wild Swimming in Italy). An afternoon at the beach along from Piombino after a lovely lunch at Restorante Canessa in Baratti was great too.
All in not just a repeat of a previous holiday but perfect week made all the better by feeling you were back home to an extent. Bring on next time!
As a foot note, I think it is worth describing how we got there. I love a road trip but that’s not best with two young kids. As such I set of in the car and met the family at Pisa airport a few days later. We still needed to hire a car as there were six of us in total but it did mean the Easy Jet flights could be done with no luggage and the family car loaded to the gunnels with more than you would every look to take on a plane. Hiring a 5+2 sear car (think Ford SMax, Renault Grand Scenic or Nissan Quasqui+) meant we could still travel around for the week in one car whilst the familiar car was left parked up. The first time I did a direct route via the Mont Blance tunnel and a stop at Vercelli between Turin and Milan for a day and a half 900mile trip to Pisa. Back was a repeat with the over night in Dijon France. Easily doable but not the most fun.
This time I added a day to the trip south and after a day getting to Grenoble drove the Route Napoleon down to Nice and then a night in a seaside town 30miles from Genoa for a quick dash to Pisa the next morning. Much more fun! One thing to note is that since the collapse of the bridge in the middle of Genoa a year or so ago, getting through there is daunting. That Saturday morning there had been an accident on the detour route causing chaos. I did however follow the Waze app which took me off the signed route and through the middle of Genoa missing the whole problem and only 15 mins extra drive time. Well worth putting your faith in Waze!
On the way back I did the same as last time but instead of the cost and waiting at the Mont Blanc tunnel I crossed the alps by the Mont Cenis pass. Again more fun and didn’t actually add much more time or distance.
Thanks for making the family holiday perfect. It won’t be long before we are back.
Just thought I would drop you a quite email to say how much we enjoyed our holiday in Casa dei Fichi. The villa surpassed our expectations in every way. It was a perfect location with stunning views and excellent facilities. Our eldest son (a keen amateur cook) was in his element in the kitchen and barbeque, we also had a fun pizza night.
We stayed for a week at Casa Di Fichi in June 2018 and I just cannot recommend it highly enough. There's along dusty track leading to the villa, which given we arrived on a late flight, was interesting to navigate! We were delighted to be met, even at a very late hour, by someone to hand over the keys. This was in stark contrast to our experience in Monte Carlo in April when the owner refused to allow a check in for a late flight, so we were most grateful to Dan. The villa exceeded all our expectations. It was huge, clean and had the most amazing views over the valley. The David Hockney print of the view made it very special! The villa had absolutely everything, and more that we needed for a relaxing holiday. The kitchen was so well equipped there was nothing we couldn't find. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of books to read and games too. The pool is chilly but lovely and lots of sun loungers and shade if needed.There is outside space and terraces at every level, so many private spaces, so no problem with feeling cramped or crowded. The nearest village is very pretty but not walk able. We took a day trip to San Gimignano, stunning but busy, and Pisa too, ditto. I don't think the villa would suit very young children due to the number of steps and no alarm or fencing round the pool (mandatory in France, but my kids are older). In summary I would not hesitate to rebook this beautiful and obviously much cared for villa.
We had an absolutely fabulous time at Casa dei Fichi and cannot speak too highly of the house, the help and support received from you before we got there (including sending us a video of the drive to the house so we could check if our van would be ok with it) and from Luca when were there. The only issue we had was from very flickering lights the first night we were there, very efficiently sorted by Luca that same night. The house was perfect, and we especially appreciated all the different outdoor sitting and eating spaces around the house. The views from the property over to the sea were beautiful and the pool too was gorgeous and perfectly maintained. We loved walking into Campiglia in the evenings and back after enjoying the excellent restaurants and bars. Finally, a special thanks to Luca for his lovely tomatoes, and for posting us back the keys we left behind!
We used your company many years ago when we used to holiday pre-children, and would never book with anyone with anyone else for our Tuscan adventures.