Main villa: 2 double, 2 twin/double bedrooms, and 4 ensuite shower rooms
Lower annex: 1 double, 1 twin/double bedrooms, and 2 ensuite shower rooms
Upper annex: 2 double bedrooms and 2 ensuite shower rooms
Location: Central Tuscany
This property rents Saturday to Saturday, with arrival day flexibility in mid season.
A sweeping cypress-lined avenue draws a line between the vineyards on either side, leading to this beautiful and elegant villa on a ridge in Central Tuscany, close to Casole d'Elsa, San Gimignano and Siena. This is a beautiful holiday villa for 16 people with a mosaic-lined infinity pool looking out over the rolling hills of Western Tuscany. The main house has plenty of living accommodation for all, both inside and out, and is a house designed for luxurious relaxing and exploring. The house sits at the centre of fields of vineyards producing excellent wines
The end of the cypress-lined drive opens to a wide piazza in front of the main house that is framed by a large terracotta patio and furnished dining pergola on one side and an annex accommodating two apartments on the other. Entrance to the villa is via a short entrance hall with a stairway to the upstairs ensuite bedrooms, a guest WC, and opposing doors to the living and the kitchen areas that run the length of the house. The generous living room has sofas in front of an open pietra serena fireplace as well as a long cushion-strewn divan facing a satellite TV. While wide french doors open directly out to the back patio and pool area, an arched hallway connects the living area to the kitchen and dining side of the house. The dining room, itself a later addition to the main house, is a very generous space and filled with light pouring through two large sliding glass doors at either end. Furnished with a table seating 16 and having direct access to the patio, garden and pool, this room immediately speaks to conviviality and the spirit of being on holiday. Just beyond this light-filled room, there is a double suite with en-suite bathroom.
In the other direction, a short hallway leads to the kitchen, consisting of two rooms separated by a wide arched opening. Though its marble counters and wooden cabinets give it a country look, there is no end to the modern appliances useful in preparing meals for a hungry crowd. A door off the kitchen means it is a short walk to bring dishes to the pergola furnished for meals al fresco.
Upstairs there are three bedrooms, one double and two twin/doubles, each with an ensuite shower room. The bedrooms are all spacious, bright and furnished with charming country antiques and the shower rooms have modern fixtures and roomy showers. Also on this floor is a games room, with a round wooden card table and a side buffet featuring brochures on local sites and activities.
Further bedrooms are in two apartments, each with its own fully-equipped kitchen, living/dining area and two bedrooms with ensuite shower rooms. With the apartment entrances on different sides of the building and individual outdoor eating areas, these accommodations provide a large group with greater options for small family units or guests who appreciate fewer stairs or a bit more privacy.
Though nearby Mensano offers a nice restaurant and village life on a small scale, it would be hard to ignore the lure of the two larger villages seen on the horizons – Casole d’Elsa and Radicondoli. Both bustle along in their inimitable Tuscan fashion, with residents and visitors meeting in piazzas and meandering side streets and caught up in colourful summer festivals – Casole’s Palio horse race in early July and Radicondoli’s Music and Arts festival in August. Not much further afield are towns which wear their centuries with grace: Volterra, of ancient Etruscan origins, sits high on its steep hill and is famous for its Roman ruins, Etruscan museum and alabaster workshops, whereas San Gimignano, the UNESCO-acclaimed town famed for its 14 medieval towers, draws visitors to its well-preserved ancient streets, outdoor concerts, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano, one of Tuscany’s few white wines.
Scaparzi, like the nearby Chianti region, sits between two ancient cities, Florence and Siena; once fierce rivals, both are must-visit destinations prized for their walkable, well-preserved historic centres. Thanks to its position on the ancient pilgrim’s path to Rome, Siena saw its golden days in the Middle Ages and it may seem that the city layout has changed little since then with life radiating out from one of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy. Florence, straddling the Arno river, is a jewel box of Renaissance power and artistry. Though a guidebook is handy as you navigate its museums, a meander through its non-grid cobbled streets quite often results in joyous discovery. And at the end of the day after the rewards of venturing, returning to Scaparzi’s spacious comforts and meditative views is in itself a pleasure.
CAUTIONARY DEPOSIT: This property requires a cash deposit of €1000 to be handed in upon arrival. This will be returned on departure, minus any costs for damages.
I have known this house for most of my life - it's on the road between my house and my school. Set on a small independent promontory in the beautiful valley close to the National Park of Berignone, it is surrounded by vineyards and reached by an avenue of cypress trees. So I was delighted when the current owner contacted me to discuss renting it when he's not in residence. He loves entertaining and eating al-fresco, and the house reflects this, with plenty of outdoor spots furnished with tables, chairs and sometimes pergolas. A giant barbecue takes its place in a corner of the large terrace and makes for a perfect focal point for evening meals. Inside, he has put air-conditioning everywhere and made sure all the bathrooms are large and spacious, which I love. 6 people can sleep in the main house and a further 8 can be accommodated in the annexe building. The main villa is built for 14 however, with plenty of dining and lounging space. The pool has spectacular views and is fenced, making this perfect for families with children. Having Casole d'Elsa nearby is an added plus, with great restaurants and cafes - oh! and Orietta - she's an excellent cook and will come to cook for you on-site - now that's a relaxing holiday!