1 double bedroom and 1 shower room
Location: Pisa and Lucca
This property rents from Saturday to Saturday
Set in the hills above the town of Camaiore, this charming cottage looks out over a panorama of Tuscan delight, and out to the Mediterranean sea. An excellent "shabby-chic" conversion of this ancient farm building has created a great hideaway for two, with a covered loggia, a kitchen/living room, a romantic double bedroom on the top floor and a small pool in the terraced gardens. Behind the cottage the forested slopes of the marble mountains of Carrara rise up to over 1500 metres, while in front, the land drops away to the Mediterranean sea, sparkling in the distance.
Arriving along a footpath you will see the house on your right, with a hexagonal pool in its terraced gardens. The front of the house is covered with a full width loggia, giving shaded seating looking out over the view; the perfect place for an aperitif or a relaxed meal. Inside, the lower floor is a charming living room with an open fireplace tucked under the stairs. The kitchen is newly renovated and ready for service. There is no dishwasher, but there is a washing machine in the laundry room. Upstairs the luminous bedroom has a bathtub looking over the stunning views, and a shower room behind the back wall.
Sognatrice (the dreamer) can only be reached along a path of around 250 metres, and the owners will transport your luggage upon arrival and departure with a small tracked vehicle. Behind the house there is a further small cottage, Ref. # 174 Rifugio. It doesn't overlook your loggia, and the two houses are quite private one from the other, but it is the only house around for a long while. The road to the house is steep and bendy - this is a house to arrive at with books, wine and food and then just enjoy. Should you venture out, Camaiore is a jewel of a town at the feet of the Apuan Alps, and the famous coast of Versilia and Viareggio is a short drive away. The beautiful town of Lucca is also not far, along a panoramic hill road. Head in the opposite direction and you will be going into the mountain valleys, with excellent restaurants, great walking country and an embarrassment of mountain villages to explore.
We stayed at Sognatrice above La Pieve in Tuscany in July. Do be prepared for the quite lengthy, bumpy track that leads up the hill to it - it does feel like a bit of a challenge and we would recommend that you arrive in daylight or it could be a bit of a shock. Others have mentioned this on reviews of the place, but it was more daunting than we were expecting so we think it's better to be prepared. Really wished we'd had a 4x4 hire car! If you have problems finding the track entrance, do call Camilla the owner and she may be able to send bubbly 'handyman' Christopher over to lead the way. She has a real gem in him as he will help with all sorts of questions and also maybe some organic vegetables and wine! Another plus, unless you're desperate to practice your Italian, he's Australian! So, once you've got over the access, Sognatrice is delightful. Very quirky in style and wonderfully isolated in location, we loved it and it was hard to leave the lovely covered terrace which overlooks the sea at Viareggio and Lido di Camaiore in the distance (we liked looking for big ships at sea at night and it was also very pleasant splashing in the little pool while gazing at that view). We suspect the elevated location accounted for cooler nights, which aided restful sleep. The only little problem I had was bites from, we think, midges rather than mozzies. I tried different sprays to no effect but they barely touched my husband - definitely worth taking a good insect repellent and light the candles in the evenings. We visited and enjoyed C'era una Volta restaurant back down the track in La Pieve - very good at both lunchtimes and in the evening. You will also find lovely Lucca less than 30 minutes away by car. We love that place and it is always a pleasure to enjoy the Puccini Festival (or the Summer Festival, if there's a band/artist on that you love - we could have seen Ringo Star, Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Roger Waters but missed James Taylor by a week unfortunately). One restaurant we particularly enjoyed was Blend in Piazza San Giusto. If you want to have a lazy, peaceful week in a quaint and comfortable location and don't mind a bit of off-roading, you will love Sognatrice. We would go back!
Dan responds: "Dear Judi, thanks for this! I will go back and check the track, they can change over a season. Perhaps I'll take some photos so everybody has a clearer idea. I'm a big fan of the Fiat Panda as a 'go anywhere' car in Italy - even the simple 2 wheel drive is so light and high it gets everywhere! And a good tip about the Summer Festival at Lucca - I've been but never remember to tell people about it, its an unexpected delight. All the best, Dan "
We had the most amazing relaxing break at Sognatrice after our wedding in September 2015. This is definitely somewhere to retreat with plenty of wine, local food and good books. The cottage itself is stylishly presented, whoever has decorated it has a flare for design and it really makes it special. The cottage has spectacular views across the valley towards the sea and is surrounded by olive groves, with only one neighbouring cottage. We used the BBQ and the woodburner as it was a little chilly in the evenings, but the cottage was snug and everything worked perfectly. Our main tip would be to make sure that you arrive before it gets dark, so that you can find the place and hire a small car, as the roads up the mountain are extremely narrow and winding, with multiple hairpin bends. This is also somewhere to avoid if you have any mobility impairments as to get to the cottage you must climb steep steps and walk along an unpaved path for about 200 metres, using a wheel barrow to carry your belongs! It added to the beauty for us though and we absolutely loved it.
We absolutely loved our stay here! It was perfect! The views across the valley were amazing and the little house itself was full of love and character! This is somewhere to come with a stack of good books and several bottles of wine and completely getaway from it all, so relaxing!
It was a great place and very nicely designed and laid out. Camilla the owner was incredibly helpful with our requests and we enjoyed out stay.