3 double and 2 twin/double bedrooms, 5 ensuite shower rooms, 1 of which has both tub and shower
Location: Central Tuscany
This property rents from Saturday to Saturday
Close to San Gimignano a "strada bianca" track leads across the hills, ending at Francigena and Pellegrino, 2 large Tuscan villas, each with its own private pool and garden, yet close enough to be easily joined should a large group wish to take them both. Francigena, this one, is the smaller of the 2 and sleeps 10 in comfort. There is a small apartment at the very top of the house which is left empty and used should you wish to have the villa fully serviced, with a chef and maid on site.
Arched double doors lead into a short entry hall that opens to a large living area which extends to the length of the house. Modern in style and furnishings, it has a grand piano for guests who are adept at a keyboard and a door that opens to the furnished loggia facing the swimming pool in the back garden. The open plan of the ground floor provides easy access around the stairway to the first floor and into the dining room whose table for 10 under a crystal chandelier is positioned to best enjoy the view of the pool through French doors. The kitchen, conveniently off the dining room, has a pleasant mix of stainless counters and appliances with a marble-topped table and antique sideboard, as well as a door that opens to a furnished vine-covered pergola. Also on this floor is a laundry equipped with washer and dryer and a guest WC.
All the bedrooms, 3 doubles and 2 twins that can be set up as a twin or a double with prior request, are on the first floor. Two of the bedrooms have access to the balcony over the poolside loggia. Each bedroom has an ensuite shower room, with one of these having a tub as well as a shower stall. Tuscan country in style, the bedrooms are spacious and unfussy, leaving guests with plenty of room to make the space their own. Outdoors, the lawn wraps around the swimming pool, itself surrounded by terracotta paving on which to arrange sun beds. Here umbrellas are not necessary, for the arched loggia, furnished with comfortable seating, makes a fine place to come in out of the sun and still keep an eye on splashing youngsters.
Slightly over a kilometre on the country road that ends at the villa, the Santo Pietro Estate reception centre has a restaurant, bar and concierge services that can help set up anything from wine tasting to bike rental. Being in the heart of central Tuscany places many sites in your guide book at easy reach. The closest is the San Gimignano, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, famed for its medieval towers, but also offering open-air concerts seen from the steps of the church and Vernaccia, one of Tuscany's rare white wines. Just as close is Certaldo, the birthplace of home of Giovanni Boccaccio, the Renaissance author of the 'Decamero' and, in mid July, the site of one of the best street theatre festivals in Europe, the Mercantia. Only slight further afield is Volterra, the ancient Etruscan city of alabaster; with more than three millennia of history unfolding on its high plateau, it celebrates life in a series of fairs and festivals throughout the summer and honors its history in the excellent Museo Guarnacci. Both Volterra and nearby San Miniato are noted for their truffles, so always keep an eye on menus for this prized tuber. An hour's drive away is Siena, the medieval gem with the beautiful shell-shaped piazza around which the popular Palio horse race is run, or Vinci, the natal town of the great Leonardo with a small museum that reminds visitors of the breadth of his genius. Day trips could even include Florence, though parking headaches argue for utilizing the good local transportation and discovering the historic center on foot. Naturally, if part of the pleasure of touring is the sightseeing, the other part is having a welcoming home to return to - at Francigena you will have both.