2 doubles, 1 bathroom, 1 en-suite washroom
Location: Southern Coast of Tuscany
Porto Santo Stefano (shopping, bars, restaurants) - 15 mins
Orbetello and its lagoon 25 mins - great bird watching
Porto Ercole 25 minutes
Rome FCO Airport 2 hours
Rome CIA Airport 2 hours 20 minutes
Thermal Baths of Saturnia 1 hour 20 minutes
Giardino dei Tarocchi 50 minutes
Talamone 40 minutes
Casa Moresca is a little house high on a ridge over the mediterranean sea, surrounded by olive trees and with views that go on forever. During the day you can see out to the Island of Giglio, then to Montecristo and even as far as Corsica. At night stars sparkle gloriously right over your outside dining table as well as over the nearby Jacuzzi - the owner told me with tongue in cheek that they had built it purposely exactly beneath the milky way for maximum effect!
This is a house in which to return to ancient, more relaxing times with daily rhythms punctuated by meals, swims and snoozes. The sage and rosemary that surround the house mix with the sea-air for that wonderful mediterranean aroma of holidays and lazy summers. It sleeps 4 but is also ideal for a couple as a romantic hideaway.
The house is reached by a narrow road that climbs up the side of Argentario to a spot close to the top of the limestone ridge, at around 330 metres or just over 1000 feet. It is a simple cottage, designed to face straight out to sea, with a living room and kitchen stretching across all the front of the house, and with 2 double bedrooms and a bathroom at the back. The master bedroom has a small ensuite washroom, and french windows leading out to the side, towards the Jacuzzi. The Jacuzzi is set on an old olive grove terrace, among newly planted olive trees and looking out at the Mediterranean sea with the island of Giglio in the distance, making it a perfect spot to lie back and relax with a glass in your hand.
In front of the house a pergola shades a dining table that is perfectly positioned to enjoy the view. A meal of olives, fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil, parma ham and sheep's cheese all washed down with red wine is worth hours of therapy!
The promontory of Argentario was once an island, until gradual silting joined it to the mainland. It is remarkably mountainous, like many of the islands in the Tuscan archipelago and has a beautiful craggy coastline, with coves, grottoes and cliffs. There are two main towns, Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole, one in the north and the other in the south. It is a wonderful place to explore on foot, with paths crisscrossing the hills and following the ridges. Or you can explore the peninsula - and the other islands - by boat. A small ferry will take you to Giglio in around an hour, or you can explore the coves and caves on the Argentario coast itself - you can take bespoke boat trips to see some wonderful little bays and beaches. You can also rent a small dinghy (so no licence needed) or a boat with a skipper to go around the island and find your own private spot.
If you decide to explore further inland, Orbetello is a wonderful town, with a market on Saturdays and a lively evening scene with good restaurants and bars. There are also beautiful national parks with spectacular bird-spotting, archeological sites like Cosa, a Roman city set close to modern Orbetello on a promontory called Ansedonia. Further inland there is also the better preserved site of Roselle, once an Etrusco-Roman city with a port, now miles from the sea. The cyclopic walls are well worth seeing, as is the forum. On a brighter, more modern note, the "Giardino dei Tarocchi" is a vibrantly coloured garden designed by Niki de Saint Phalle - a sort of Gaudi on acid experience. There are also local festivals to enjoy, like the Palio Marinaro, a rowing boat race run from Porto Santo Stefano. Four local teams race against each other, apparently in memory of a rowing boat that escaped Turkish pirates in the 16th century by rowing so fast they managed to escape, and hide in a local cave, still called "Grotto of the Turks". The Thermal baths of Saturnia are a short drive inland, a series of naturally formed baths of limestone with hot mineral rich water cascading across them.
The road to this house is narrow and steep - best to hire a Fiat Panda than a Mercedes. There are donkeys to feed halfway up, bring carrots.