Main villa: 1 double, 2 twin/double bedrooms, and 3 ensuite shower rooms
Annex: 1 double, 1 twin/double bedrooms, and 2 ensuite shower rooms
Location: Central Tuscany
This property rents Saturday to Saturday, with arrival day flexibility in 2018.
On a property that epitomizes all things Tuscan, here there is space for a family’s multi-generational reunion or the ideal base for a group of friends on holiday. Stalwart cypresses, tidy rows of grapevines, and villages perched on distant hilltops provide the setting, but the life of the holiday gathering will likely happen on Scaparzi’s furnished panoramic patios or around its pool and BBQ / pizza oven. When guests need to recharge, there are spacious bedrooms, all with en suite shower rooms, and once refreshed, large living and dining areas in which to be together. That the property is also an up and coming boutique winery whose ‘Insieme’ label has already drawn glowing comments makes it all the more inviting.
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 providing additional accommodation 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 14 and having direct access to the patio, garden and pool, this room immediately speaks to conviviality and the spirit of being on holiday. 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.
The annex provides an apartment with its own fully-equipped kitchen, living/dining area and two bedrooms with ensuite shower rooms. With an individual outdoor eating area facing the vineyard, this accommodation provides a large group with greater options for small family unit 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.