4 double bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 1 shower room
Location: Garfagnana and the Apuan Alps
Saturday to Saturday rentals.
Having crossed the village of Fivizzano, in the heart of Lunigiana, if you head down the valley through the woods, you will come to a charming hidden corner, seemingly tucked away in time. Opposite a large mill that once used the water of a nearby stream there is an ancient stone bridge, known locally as the "Roman Bridge", whose strength and graceful arch recalls a long and fascinating history. Leave your car at the bridge and walk across to reach the large stone house that waits on the other side. Still a ruin when the present owner fell in love with it, 20 years have been dedicated to completing its restoration and its present look is the result of unconditional love and impassioned labour.
Though the foundations, the roof and some interior walls have been completely redone, great pains were made to maintain its original appearance. The grounds of the property rise on three easily reached levels towards the hillside through which an ancient stone path is nowadays used by the occasional hiker. Close to the house, the swimming pool has both sun and a view of the mill, while on a higher level there is a small patio, furnished for eating alfresco or relaxing with a good book.
The owner has chosen to keep interiors simple and sparsely furnished, choosing details with care each visit he makes, and this, accompanied by the solid walls and the glimpses of wilderness through the windows has translated into a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere for its visitors. The entrance is on the ground floor, leading to a comfortable living room with sofas and a piano (Baby Grand Piano unlocked on request), and double bedroom with adjoining shower room. This large double bedroom also has a door to a sunny terraced part of the garden, with a shaded pergola and dining table. The first floor is reached by an open stone staircase but, as the house follows the contours of the hillside, can also be reached by an entrance door higher up the hill. On this floor are an eat-in kitchen, three bedrooms and a bathroom that serves them all. While two of the bedrooms are of modest size, a third is large and luminous and has sky-blue walls that evoke the Nature outside its windows. Also on this floor is a cosy corner at the top of the stairs, with a dining table, chairs, a small sofa and lots books and magazines.
The house is perfect for people seeking a country holiday, where they can savour a simple life, the sun, the trees and and walks in an area of Tuscany that is still quite undiscovered.
The Lunigiana is situated in the north of Tuscany, among the Appenine and Apuane mountains and the Ligurian Sea. Taking its name from the ancient Roman settlement of Luni, this is a land of passage where the charm of the Middle Ages is strongly felt - in the castles belonging to the powerful Malaspina family that once hosted Dante, in the Romanesque country churches or the mighty walls of Medici Carpigliola and in the elegant tower built by the bishops of Luni. It is a borderland where different cultures have mixed and you can feel this in the landscape, in the languages and in the traditional food of the area. Throughout the centuries people crossed this land as pilgrims or soldiers or merchants, for it is the initial part of the Tuscan Via Francigena. Nowadays, old paths have become trekking ways that wind among castles, isolated towers and fortresses or green valleys and silent hills. There is certainly room for new pilgrims.
We stayed in Ponte Romano in Fivizzano. We had a great time there, the house was perfect for us and the pool...oh my, we couldn't get the children on any trips for the first few days because they wouldn't leave it. Booking and also support at the location were very well organised and all contact - per mail or personally (thank you so much Elly and Greg!) was pleasant and friendly. We'll certainly look into booking with you again next time we want to come to Tuscany!
A beautiful house and pool in lovely surroundings and a very short but steep walk from the sleepy village of Fivizzano. We were very comfortable here and the house was very nicely furnished. We would definitely recommend this house to others seeking a quiet, authentic experience of rural Italy.
We stayed at Ponte Romano for ten days in August 2012. From the moment of arriving, we were in love with the place. It takes a little of finding, and at one point on the road to the house we stopped the car and I went ahead on foot as we were worried about getting lost on the wrong road and not being able to turn around, but stick with the winding downhill road and you will get there. As the other review commented, you do have to carry your luggage/shopping across the bridge and up a small slope to the house, but take your time and this is part of the charm. The house itself is stunning, in a lovely location and is wonderfully comfortable. When we stayed I would describe the decor as homely and comfortable rather than luxurious, but this is in no way meant as a criticism. It definitely feels like you are staying in a home rather than a hotel. The house has a lovely dining area outside and a pool which is where we spent most of our time while at the house. The kitchen is on the floor above the terrace, so there is a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with food at mealtimes, but that isn't a big deal. I would be wary about the pool area with young children, as there are stone steps from the terrace to the pool, but no handrail (so a child could fall off the side of the steps). The house is a pleasant walk or short drive into Fivizzano, which has all the facilities you need for a simple vacation, in terms of restaurants, bars and shops. We met quite a few Italians and expats who were lovely to chat to, and we also regularly spoke with the neighbours who were very welcoming. When we were there there was no internet access at the house, although this may have changed. However, a bar on the main square in Fivizzano had free wifi, so that was just the excuse we needed to go for our daily cafe and torte. All in all, I would definitely recommend Ponte Romano and would certainly go there again.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review so long after your stay! I'm glad you liked it - I love the position close to the town and the house itself had an old world charm that is very relaxing. I agree about the steps near the pool but since your stay the owner has installed railings down the steps, as well as a fence around the pool, making it much safer for little ones. He also now has Wifi, so we're in the 21st century! Thanks again for your comments, hope to see you back some time.
We had a wonderful time at Ponte Romano, and really enjoyed every minute there.
We do have some recommendations:
- A trip to a big "Leclerk" Supermarket in Santo Stefano, about 30 mins by car, Liguria. All the goods there are worth the trip. The supermarket in Fivizzano is quite small and has all things necessary, but Leclerk or Conad (in Aulla, 10 mins by car) offer a wider selection.
- A must in the area is "Locanda al Castello" in Verrucola - fresh baked bread straight from the fire and some of the best Italian food we have ever had! They could improve on their wine selection, but the food (all handmade!) is to die for. A reservation should be made beforehand, it was crowded on Friday night. We left business cards in the Guest Book.
- The trip up the little stream near the house (as mentioned in the house information) to natural swimming pools is definitly worth the trip. The nature is breathtakingly beautiful.
We loved our stay at lovely Ponte Romano, and are very happy and satisfied with your services. We will definitely book our next stay in Italy with your company again.
Thank you very much!