2 double and 2 twin bedrooms, all with ensuite shower rooms.
Location: Val d'Orcia and Amiata
This property rents from Saturday to Saturday
Set in the picturesque landscape of a UNESCO World Heritage site, a restored farmhouse of golden local stone has generous spaces reflecting the wide Val d'Orcia valley just outside its doors. This makes it the ideal location for relaxed family reunions or a holiday retreat for friends happy to eschew snarled traffic in favor of uncluttered hillsides and willing to leave full agendas behind. Owned previously by a local cheesemaker, the house sits easily amongst the cultivated hills and towns perched on rocky outcrops which have been captured by artists since the Renaissance. It was certainly not chance that brought the Sienese Pope Pius II to build his Ideal City in this valley, though these days, the area is feted more perhaps for its Brunello wine and pecorino cheese for which the area is famous.
As the drive up to the house will lead you to the covered parking area at the back of the house, the easiest point of entry will be the time-honoured Tuscan one - directly into the large country kitchen. Since in former days this was the room that produced delicious cheese, the dimensions are generous, yet a thorough and respectful face-lift have provided modern appliances, travertine countertops and a wooden table good for preparation or, as with the furnished patio just outside, room for the first up for breakfast. A doorway from the kitchen leads to a games room with table soccer and a door to the front garden. To the right of this room is the dining room with a table for 8, while to the left is a room set up with a ping pong table. This room connects through a doorway cut in the house's thick walls to the main hall that runs deep from the wide glass doors to the garden to the corner fireplace at the end of the room. With its original beamed ceiling, terracotta flooring, comfy sofas and golden walls, this is a room that will draw the crowd.
The top floor is reach either by doors from the front garden to an internal staircase or a hallway from the dining room that accesses the same stairway through a room with the original bread oven and a handy washing machine. From a landing near the top of the stairs a glass door leads to the first of four bedroom suites, this one with twin beds under the eaves, the same view enjoyed from the pool and an ensuite shower room. A long hallway with arched brick ceiling leads to three further suites - two doubles and one twin/double bedroom, all with ensuite shower rooms. All the bedrooms are very spacious and furnished with country antiques suiting the style of the house.
Understandably, an early outing may be to Castiglioncello di Trinoro, the 12th century village that crowns the hill behind the house and offers restaurants, an art gallery and summer concerts. The Jazz and Blues Festival takes place in August in the nearest town, Sarteano. Dominated by its 15th century castle, this lively town has been inhabited for thousands of years and the Etruscan 'Tomb of the Chariot from Hell', unearthed only in 2001, merits a visit. A half-hour's drive leads to Bagno Vignoni, whose underground acquifer made the small village the spa of choice for popes, saints, and politicians, or to Iris Origo's beautiful villa 'La Foce' and its famed gardens designed by English architect Cecil Pinsent, both venues for concerts throughout the summer. An easy day trip could take in one of the cultural and artistic centers of the Val di Chiana: Cortona, of 'Under the Tuscan Sun' fame, which spills down the hillside and offers stunning views over its medieval walls or Arezzo, whose Piazza Grande fills with jousting knights for the Giostra del Saracino or with bargain hunters at its monthly Antiques Fair. With the medieval gems Siena and Perugia only slightly further, it will simply be a choice of where to head next. Of course, if contemplation of this happens while lying in the sun near the long pool or tucking into a Tuscan meal under the furnished pergola, the option of staying put may take the day.
We are already back home and I have to write that we had a wonderful time in Casa del Pastore. Everything was great, Nicolette is a perfect caretaker, very helpful. We were very happy and relaxed so please send many thanks to the owner for sharing such a beautiful property. Thank you very much - we hope we can visit Casa del Pastore again next year.