3 double bedrooms, 2 twin/double bedrooms, 1 double sofa bed, 2 shower rooms and 1 bathroom
Location: Florence and surroundings
This property rents Saturday to Saturday
The stone farmhouses that dot the foothills of the Pratomagno - the mountain range running along the spine of the Italian peninsula and nearly encircled by the Arno River - have some of the loveliest inland views possible. To enjoy these to the fullest, the owners of Pietrina made sure in the renovation of their Tuscan family home to set tables and hammocks and poolside loungers all with panoramas in mind. The result is a delightful place for a large family or good friends to live outdoors as much as in, and to relish the chance to feel part of the small Tuscan towns that line the Arno valley, all the while sensing the power of Nature just over their shoulders.
Living space at Pietrina begins even before crossing the threshold, for the large flagstone patio to the front is furnished with a marble table under a generous umbrella, both strategically placed near a stone barbecue. From this patio the front door leads into a wide entry hall off of which are an attractively tiled bathroom, a shower room and steps up to two bedrooms - a double and a twin that can be set up as a double on request - both of which have doors leading to the back garden. An open doorway in the entry leads down a couple of steps to the large dining room, which has a woodstove set in the corner fireplace, comfortable armchairs, a long refectory table with benches and French glass doors to the front patio. A wide brick arch separates the dining room from a travertine and marble clad kitchen that has a door to the side garden.
The upper floor is reached via an artisan-designed open stairway from the entry hall. The first storey landing, equipped with a free-standing wood stove, has doors to three additional bedrooms, two doubles and one twin or double as requested, and a shower room. All bedrooms in Pietrina are furnished with the wrought iron beds and country antique furniture that blend perfectly with the beamed ceilings and terracotta floors that frame them. Also on the first floor is a large sitting room with comfortable sofas, which, in addition to the woodstove set in the corner fireplace and a small library, has a wooden staircase that leads up to a television area. Here one of the three sofas in front of the Sat. TV is a sofa-bed, offering additional accommodation to an extra guest. Also from the sitting room is a door out to a furnished panoramic loggia from which an external staircase leads down to a handy path around to the kitchen door, making the loggia a delightful place for lunch or an evening aperitif.
While the house is surrounded by 20 acres of woodland and olive groves, the immediate garden area has been beautifully planted with lavender, roses and flowering shrubs. There are hammocks strung from the trunks of sheltering oak trees and outdoor tables and chairs under the shade of their branches. A charming pool set in the upper lawn has sun beds, lounge chairs and umbrellas set to take in views of the Tuscan countryside and the forested Pratomagno mountains.
Though one of your near neighbours is Il Borro, a medieval village now owned entirely by Ferragamo that may tempt with their full-service spa and horse stables, it only takes a few minutes to reach the shops and pizzerias in the nearest village. And from there, traveling on the ancient Via dei Setteponti, Road of Seven Bridges, it is a quick trip to Loro Ciuffenna, the most beautiful medieval village along the way. Visiting the ancient mill perched along the gorge bisecting the village and the 1,000-year-old bridge that spans it, or stopping in one of the restaurants tucked away in its narrow meandering streets all brings the past pleasantly forward. For guests with an itch for big city sightseeing or shopping, the motorway that parallels the Arno River for much of its path between Arezzo and Florence means these cities of art are also easily-reached destinations. One could attend a Saracen Joust, sift through Antiquarian markets, or make a pilgrimage to the Renaissance gems that fill the guidebooks. Yet this area is also known for its food and wine, and with Pietrina's friendly caretaker pointing you in the right direction, there may be other pilgrimages to make, to that local winery or unassuming trattoria whose visit will also become a favourite holiday memory.
Our stay at Pietrina was everything I imagined and more!
The drive to the villa was done within the hour and the directions provided were easy to follow.
The next thing we knew we were driving up the lavender-lined driveway up to the front of the villa. What a gorgeous location. And Alison was there to greet us with a huge smile. The view of the mountains and valley from the villa is stunning.
We were 10 including 4 grandchildren between the ages of 9 and 11. The villa was spacious so one could always find a quiet space to enjoy.There was a lovely basket of fruit, a bottle of olive oil made from the olive trees on the property and some essential groceries on hand to get us through the first few days.
The villa was very well equipped and we found everything we needed.
The grounds are beautifully and thoughtfully landscaped. It was very hot while there and we spent a lot of time in the pool.
We found the grocery store, Simply Punto, in San Guistino well supplied for our needs. They make their own sweet Italian sausages which were beautifully spiced. And the store is just 2.7kms from the villa.
We also used the butcher in Loro Ciuffenna, recommended by Ali and bought beef, chicken and sausages. Delicious. The butcher doesn't speak English so we managed to make our selves understood with lots of pointing and facial expressions. What fun!
Also in Loro, we ate at La Torre. The food was excellent so we went back second time. But the service was very slow, very disappointing.
At the villa we ate al fresco 99% of the time. The barbq was well used.
I opted to have a meal catered at the villa. Chef's choice! Fantabulous!!!! The banquet was well worth the money. We had enough leftovers for our supper the next day. Marta, our chef, was a delight and I think she was pleasantly surprised when we gave her a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the meal. And hugs and kisses were in order. The most memorable dish was the pear risotto with pecorino!
We went to Marta's restaurant, Oca Satolla in Laterina which is 5 minutes south of San Giustino and dined outside in the garden. Food was excellent! Try the truffle pizza. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. My 4 granddaughters asked Marta if they could climb the trees in the garden. She graciously agreed as long as they promised not to get hurt. They provided entertainment for the other diners.
For anyone with children I would recommend going to Nora's Cashmere Goat Farm. About an hour's drive on some very winding roads up into the hills of Chianti. The farm is located just outside the village of Radda in Chianti. Nora made us a lovely lunch for 15 euros a person and did not charge for the children. She explained about her business; she called in the goats and the children got to feed "Jellybean" one of this spring's little ones. Nora also has a shop where she sells yarn, shawls, blankets made with the cashmere from the goats and soaps made from goats milk. It was a lovely visit.
Ali, the caretaker for the villa was very helpful and easily accessible by phone or email.
Our Toronto contact, Neville Reid and Neil at head office were always prompt with answering any enquiries while in the planning stages of thisvacatipn.There were no negative surprises when we got to the villa!
We had a fabulous vacation thanks to invitationtotuscany.com and highly recommend the villa Pietrina.
We had a wonderful time at Pietrina. Ally looked after us beautifully. We explored the area and the house is just in the most perfect spot to explore Tuscany from. And as it was so comfortable - we relaxed every day. We would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a luxurious Tuscan holiday