1 double bedroom, 1 twin/double bedroom and 1 shower room
Location: Northern Coast of Tuscany
This property rents Saturday to Saturday
Il Frantoio is on the top floor of a renovated olive oil mill at the entrance to the medieval village of Montemarcello, on the border of Liguria and Tuscany. It is a delightful apartment, with a spacious living/dining area and beautiful views towards the Apennine mountains, across the Magra valley. Placed between the sea and the mountains, it is ideally suited to those who want to explore the area, with fantastic walks in the coastal National park starting from the its doorstep, and many more only a short drive or bus ride away. The sea is close by, though the 700 steps access is daunting; an easier alternative is to drive or take the bus to nearby Bocca di Magra, from where there are boat trips along the coast.
There is a small sitting area at the top of the external stone staircase; not large enough for chairs or tables, it is nevertheless a wonderful place to sit with a morning coffee or evening Prosecco and gaze across at the white marble mountains of nearby Carrara. The glazed front door opens into a light sitting/dining-room paved in white, with a white painted, beamed ceiling, a pretty fireplace and elegant, comfortable furniture. A sliding door leads to a small twin bedroom. A corridor on the right leads to a small kitchen, with dishwasher and washing machine, followed by the bathroom. The spacious double bedroom is beyond this and has a ceiling fan and large wardrobes. The mill is elegantly furnished with an eclectic mixture of rustic and antique furniture collected by the owner's family from all over the world.
The village of Montemarcello is classed as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy, a list of around 250 villages all over the peninsula. High above the coast, it has spectacular views over the sea to the west, and the white mountains of the Apuan Alps, which house the marble quarries for Michelangelo's David and the Pieta'. The quarries still exist, and can be visited by jeep on organised tours. Around the village, the forests of evergreen oak are now part of a National Park and are crisscrossed by marked trails. You can use these to reach the coast, with stunning villages like Tellaro or to simply to explore the limestone landscape, perhaps reaching restaurants like the nearby 'La Brace', around 20 to 30 minutes walk away (though google maps marks it as next door - don't be fooled, it's in Zanego). Further afield, you can get boats along the coast from Bocca di Magra, and visit small hidden coves, or go further north towards the tourist honeypot of the Cinque Terre, with wonderful villages draped down the steep hillsides, often accessible only by boat or path.
Inland, the valley of the Magra and the surrounding hills are a cyclist's delight, with roads winding their way up into the nearby mountains. The area was once part of the kingdom of the Lunis, eventually conquered by the Romans. The city of Luni is now an archeological site and you can explore the remains of the Roman and medieval city. It was later a Bishopric, until the church was moved to nearby Sarzana which is still the main town of the area today. The mountains are a delight to explore - with walking, cycling and even some pretty serious mountaineering and climbing available, as well as wonderful hidden villages with some delicious restaurants.
Further afield, you can travel to Genova in an hour and a half, and its beautiful restored port, with tiny narrow streets and stunning stripy churches, as well as a newly developed seafront with an aquarium. Pisa is an hour away, Florence 2 hours while beautiful Lucca is under an hour. You could also consider driving across the mountains to Parma, in under 2 hours. For encouragement one needs only to think of all the things that Parma has given us: Parmesan cheese, Parma Ham, Salame di Felino, the list goes on. Worth going just to eat in one of the three Michelin starred restaurants!
I had a lovely holiday staying at Frantoio with my daughter . The apartment is bigger than I was expecting from the description photos can be so deceiving. Marina was very welcoming and helpful. We did a lot of walking and visiting nearby places. The walk to the beach is hard. Not so much down but when it is hot the walk back up is not for the faint hearted.. the steps are high so for short people it really is a challenge :) I was unaware that there are many walks leaving from directly outside the apartment so we did try a few and this was really nice. We walked into Bocca di magra and back up again . Trainers are needed for these walks . Bocca di magra is a lovely port with great restaurants and a hidden beach area. I can recommend the Hotel Garden. But I was unprepared for the lack of English we really needed our translation book for menus. All the restaurants in Montemarcello were good but we liked the one right outside the apartment best. it was popular so booking was essential. I drove to Lerici to park the car in the multi storey car park and get the ferry to Riomaggiore and Portovenere but these places were very busy and It was nice to get back to montemarcello. the apartment was very peaceful, not too hot, despite having no air con and had everything we needed. It was nice to have the space to relax on the sofas and read our books . And I still miss waking up the the amazing views from the windows across to the carrara mountains and watching the mist rise .
I drove to a beach one day. it was only about 10-15 mins and was great . Sea was warm and lovely to swim in.
We also booked up and went on a tour of the carrara marble mines. It was worth doing the tour, as opposed to driving oneself as we went off road in the landrover and the guide was very informative. Was a great afternoon out and we bought some marble back with us.
thankyou for your help in booking this holiday we had a great time.