1 twin bedroom, 2 double bedrooms and 1 bedroom with either adult single or bunk beds for children, all with ensuite shower or bathrooms.
Location: Southern Coast of Tuscany
Centuries ago a lookout tower and garrison for soldiers with an eye out for Barbaresque pirates, this panoramically placed complex has recently become a unique residence for guests wishing to enjoy history in comfort and the timeless pleasure of gazing out to sea. To the right the sensuous curves of the island of Elba, to the left the long sand beach and pine forest buffer to roads leading to Rome. Set on a rocky peninsula to protect the nearby castle, the complex once consisted of barracks, oven house, watchtower, chapel, well and sentry box and was reached only by mule-track. Now you can drive (slowly) up a gravel road to its 21st century comforts.
The barracks is now a spacious living / dining room with high beamed ceilings, a fireplace, comfortable sofas, a large table for 8 and wonderful views out all of the side windows. There is a cloakroom off the dining area and, behind a sliding wooden door, a well-equipped kitchen with washing machine. The double wooden doors off the living area lead out to the former oven-house, now converted into separate bedroom suites, a twin bedroom with shower room and a double bedroom with bathroom. Up the original staircase and across the drawbridge of the dramatic cylindrical tower you come to a round living area with a fireplace, comfortable cushioned chairs and a wooden chest that ingeniously hides a sink, hobs and fridge for those late nights when tower dwellers do not feel like a outdoor walk to the kitchen. Downstairs there is a small bedroom made up either as bunk beds for two children or as a single adult bedroom with ensuite shower room. Up the sweeping iron staircase is a wonderful top-of-the-tower double bedroom with outstanding views and an ensuite shower room. As in all of the rooms there are bright fabrics and attractive country furniture throughout.
Just beyond the tower is a terrace whose views to the Tyrrhenian Sea and Tuscan archipelago are uninterrupted and inspiring; the perfect place to watch the sunset or fix your own seaside dinner, thanks to the convenient small kitchen in the old chapel off the terrace. And one last surprise; what looks like the nearby well is actually a Jacuzzi, whose mosaic tiles will sparkle in the light of the moon.
Though the watery horizon may hold you to your cliff-top, there are many good reasons to venture away. Interlaced in the pinewoods and low scrub surrounding the property are paths you can easily follow to explore the un-spoilt nature that sits well above an open sea. Down on sea level, however, are all the reasons for which one makes a pilgrimage to the water's edge; beaches, seafood, sailing, scuba-diving, all in easy reach.
This property affords the most amazing views, the sunsets to the west were stunning, the night skies were beautiful, and it was almost impossible to refrain from taking photos. Sleeping in the top of the tower was a unique experience. With the windows open and the breeze blowing, it was pleasantly cool with just a hint of the sea carried on the wind.
We found the accommodation to be comfortable, with most of the furnishings and accessories we needed. Notably lacking were sufficient easy chairs in the sitting area in the main building. We also felt that the windows needed brackets or hooks to stop them from banging because it seemed to get very windy in the evenings, and there was no rubbish bin in the tower itself. A teapot and a few welcoming groceries would have been much appreciated.
The property description did not fully prepare us for the dirt track to the property. If we had known what to expect, we would have considered renting a 4 wheel drive vehicle instead of the compact cars with standard transmission we picked up at the airport.
A booklet in the property told us that there were many trails in the area to explore, but we did not find any maps or other information.
We would suggest that Invitation to Tuscany provide future visitors with the GPS/SatNav coordinates when confirming bookings. With the latitude and longitude programmed into the GPS, it was not too difficult to navigate to the property, but we had to use Google Earth to find this information.
Many thanks for your feedback and suggestions which we shared with the owner. This property indeed has unforgettable views!! As we also felt that GPS coordinates would help guests arrive more easily, we now provide them with directions to this and all of our properties.