1 double bedroom and 1 bathroom with separate shower
Location: Northern Coast of Tuscany
Saturday to Saturday in mid and high, shorter stays permitted in low season (October to March)
Featured in a Conde Nast roundup of the 25 best villas in Europe, this small Tuscany villa for two with a private pool is a firm favourite for couples who want to enjoy the Tuscan coast. In a quiet hillside position, opposite the ancient hill village of Ameglia, this cottage has beautiful views both of the Magra estuary and of the Apuan marble mountains, as well as a swimming pool and furnished patio from which to survey it all. Approached up a narrow country lane, there is a delightful atmosphere of peace and quality here. This jewel of a retreat, dressed in stone and ivy, has just the right furnishings for a relaxing holiday.
Steps away from the panoramic pool, entrance to the cottage is through french doors into a sitting room whose white walls seem to expand the space and whose warm hardwood floors, fireplace and comfortable sofa add the welcoming touches one delights in finding in a home away from home. This room opens into an stylish well-equipped eat-in kitchen, which in turn leads out to a delightfully cool furnished pergola. Also on the ground floor is the bathroom with separate shower. Stairs from the living area lead up to a double bedroom with a sweet upper terrace that is furnished with sunbeds and umbrella, just the place for that short afternoon snooze. While the mountain village views from this upper terrace are charming, those from the wooden decked pool are breathtaking, with the mountains changing their hue throughout the day.
The owners, who live with two friendly labradors in the pink house below the pool, are out most of the time, but when they are at home they are charming hosts. The house is situated on the edge of the woods from where you can take lovely walks in an area of Roman remains. A 5 minute walk will take you up to the village of Ameglia for a breakfast coffee or light meal in the restaurant in the piazza. Ameglia has a 10th Century castle, picturesque houses, a bakery and a small grocery store. A 10 minute drive leads to Bocca di Magra, with the owner's restaurant on esturary, overlooking the mountains and the sailing boats in the small port. You can also see what the local fishing boats bring in, hire a beautiful yacht or take boat trips to Lerici, Portovenere or the Cinque Terre.
We had a wonderful time. The villa and surrounding area were perfect. We mostly ate at the marina where there are lots of good restaurants, especially The Garden which is a reasonably priced pizzeria owned by Mario, the owner of the villa, and the slightly more expensive restaurant also owned by Mario, at the marina. One thing I would definitely recommend is a trip to the Carrara marble quarries at the other side of the estuary. Staggering! There is a lovely little town called Sarzana nearby that is worth a visit too. We shall definitely visit Casa Guelfi again.
We have just returned from a week in Casa Guelfi in Ameglia. This perfect little villa is charm itself. So pretty with the
most incredible view over beautiful countryside and the ancient hillside village of Ameglia. The little villa itself is extremely comfortable with everything you could possibly need. The welcome pack included wine, pasta, two jars of the owner's special passata and beef tomatoes. There was a welcome bottle of water. Luckily we had our own little milk pots as there wasn't any milk. The outside area is where you want to be though with numerous places to sit depending on whether you want sun or shade. The swimming pool is perfect for cooling off. There were 4 sunbeds and two sets of tables and chairs. If we could suggest anything it would be some cushions for the outdoor furniture. The bedroom is bright and sunny with a very comfortable bed and air conditioning, which was very much needed, Surrounded by beautiful countryside the hardest thing is actually leaving the villa to explore. There is a walk up to the ancient village behind the villa through the woods but then an incredibly long range of winding steps - not for anyone who isn't pretty fit and mobile especially not in July heat - I did survive but only just! At the top though there is a lovely little cafe where the locals congregate. The village is so picturesque and very interesting to walk round and take lots of photos.
Bocca di Magra is a very short drive. It's a very quiet quite exclusive sort of place - lots of very posh yachts in the marina. There are a few restaurants- Ciccio the owner's restaurant looked beautiful but a bit out of our price range - seemed very popular though. The bar next to it with outside tables and still part of the restaurant was lovely for evening drinks overlooking the mountains and the estuary. We did eat at Mario's other restaurant at The Garden Hotel. Amazing pizza and pasta and good prices too. Beautiful view of the mountains.
We visited the vineyard near Sarzana which was well worth a visit. Very friendly helpful staff and very cheap wine! The town of Sarzana is well worth a visit with its typical old Italian town area and pizza with lots of churches to look at and lovely cafes and Gelaterias. There was a massive market on the Thursday we went and filled the long narrow streets. We felt we were seeing the real Italy.
The old village of Monte Marcello is well worth it and not far to go in the car. We had the most incredible lasagne in the piazza in the middle of the ancient town.
We also went to Lerici but it was very busy and much more than the fishing village we were expecting, all depends what you want. We weren't keen on the crowded very regimented beaches. Lots of places to eat though. We preferred Telero for an interesting place to walk round. Stunning coastal buildings built on the cliff side. No beach but very quirky place.
We would highly recommend this villa for a quiet retreat in the most stunning scenery. It is certainly a windy road to get to it but the directions are excellent and we had no trouble finding it. This area of Italy is very rural and off the tourist track, which made it really special.
We had a fabulous time at Casa Guelfi and now regard it as our favourite holiday house. This is no disrespect to other places that we have stayed, but this one is very special.
The house was very well appointed and had a feeling of real quality, the surroundings and views of both countryside and mountains were ideal and overall the setting could not have been better. We were met by the owners' daughter, who lives in London and speak very good English, she was both charming and helpful and the following day we met Mario at The Garden Hotel where we ate a very good meal, Pat had fish and I decided on the mussels.
When we shopped we found a Supermarket at San Stefano which had great meat and fish, fresh food and good offers on wine and beer. The local Village is approached from the house via an old footpath with exactly 100 steps bringing you out in the central main square, there is a café opposite, a grocers a few paces up the hill and a very good restaurant further down the square itself, we ate there on our first evening and the place was buzzing, excellent plain Italian food.
Coming back to the house the pool was always a great treat, not big but enough for a corner to corner swim, very deep at one end, and extremely inviting being a few paces from the house. For a romantic break, this place cannot be beaten, but the drive from the main road can be quite a challenge.
...thanks for a lovely holiday,
Casa Guelfi in Ameglia, Liguria, Italy was in a superb position, outside the village, on a hill and had spectacular views of the ancient village of Ameglia, perched on the hill opposite. Mario the owner was brilliant - friendly and nothing was too much trouble. We could pick any vegetables or fruit from the land surrounding the house, for our meals and we did! Such a lovely place, with a choice of places to sit around the house and pool. Mario would take fresh vegetables from the same land for his restaurants and hotel, in Bocca di Magra. On leaving, we were presented with two jars of homemade passata and a bottle of mint liqueur.
We went several times to Bocca di Magra, on the river estuary and enjoyed delicious fish lunches. One day, we braved the heat and went for the day to Lucca, especially to visit the Puccini Museum. Highly recommend Casa Guelfi, but be prepared for negotiating narrow lanes - large 4 by 4s not required!
We loved Casa Guelfi . It's in a beautiful location with spectacular views. The owners Mario and Wendy were very welcoming. If anyone is looking for a beautiful, peaceful hideaway this is it.
The nearby seaside resort of Lerici is lovely, from here you can get a boat trip to see the Cinque Terre. This is well worth doing. We loved Monterosso one of the villages you can visit by boat.
It is also worth visiting Montemarcello a short drive from Ameglia, a lovely place.
This is a beautiful area and we would certainly return.