2 double bedrooms, 2 shower rooms, 1 double sofa bed
Location: Arezzo and Cortona
This property rents Saturday to Saturday
Providing especially easy access, there are entrances to the house on both levels of the stone cottage. Under the furnished portico at the front of the house and adjacent to the wood-fired pizza oven, a door opens to a short hallway off of which are located two double bedrooms. While one of the bedrooms has an open fireplace, a romantic touch for guests who come in cooler seasons, both bedrooms are furnished with country antiques and wrought iron crafted by local artisans, and both open to a shared, newly modernized shower room.
Further living accommodations are on the ground floor, reached either by an internal stairway or via two sets of French doors at the back of the house. On this level the dining area, with its table for 8, is handy to a corner dishwasher, sink and serving trolley. Additional kitchen facilities, with fridge, ovens and small appliances, are located in the large pantry steps away. A wide arched opening leads from the dining area to the living room where a double sofa bed facing the open brick fireplace and satellite TV provides extra sleeping accommodation for a last minute guest or two. Conveniently, just off the living room is an additional shower room.
Soft light from the French doors easily draw guests towards outdoor living and in the back garden there are various spots to enjoy the view. There is a shaded terrace furnished for meals al fresco, a corner patio for parents to relax while keeping an eye on young swimmers and a poolside solarium where sunbeds can be set for those determined to return home nicely bronzed.
While family restaurants and a small spa are within easy walking distance, a short drive will find all other services in nearby Capolona. Following the Arno River north leads to a fascinating discovery of the historic Casentino: the ancient watermills of Subbiano and Falciano that once powered the valley’s industries, the splendid castle of Valenzano, a crenelated bastion with a respected restaurant, the town of Poppi, whose charming hexagonal church Oratorio della Madonna contrasts with the imposing Castello overlooking the town and once the battleground where the Ghibellines of Arezzo met the Guelphs of Florence, Dante Alighieri among them. Further north lies Stia whose manufacturing of wool and wrought iron is still honoured today, while overlooking the whole valley from the heights of Monte Penna in the Tuscan Appenines is the evocative La Verna Sanctuary where St. Francis of Assisi is said to have received the stigmata.
However, Arezzo is but a handful of minutes away and it will be difficult to resist its charms, starting with its wide Piazza Grande, encircled with a great variety of architectural styles and host to the medieval Saracen Joust in late June and early September and the monthly Antiquarian Fair that fills the piazza and the surrounding arcades. In the streets radiating out of the piazza are churches whose Piero della Francesca frescoes capture scenes of the city’s history and shops featuring artisan textiles, pottery and goldsmithery that have been produced since the Middle Ages. Slightly further to the south are hill towns that merit a visit – Castiglion Fiorentino, whose summer calendar is full of events and whose Friday market is a great place to join the locals, and Cortona of ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ fame and replete with an excellent Etruscan museum, fine Renaissance architecture and sweeping views of the valley below.
Yet enjoying a visit to the Casentino is also about appreciating what Nature has to offer, the prized Marsuolo truffle to name but one gift. Martinetta is a great base from which to explore the natural riches of the area – on foot, on horseback, by mountain bike. The owners can help guests arrange how to venture out, but know that appreciation also comes from an expansive view and the peace in which to savour it.