With long panoramas from its pool and dining loggia, this spacious first-floor apartment is a charming spot for a family or couples on holiday together. Set on an ancient agricultural estate producing its own wine and olive oil, the property is in easy reach of historic spa and medieval market towns scattered in the hills of the stunning Val d’Orcia south of Siena.
Hospitality on the estate is born of generous tradition, with fresh flowers, a Tuscan breakfast basket and seasonal garden vegetables all part of the welcome to help visitors feel at home. Add to these touches the silver-green of olive groves and the vines of Sangiovese and Merlot grapes ripening nearby and this Tuscan farm estate is the perfect place to be.
One must climb the external stone staircase to reach the front door, but the rewards are great for having done so. Not only are the views far-reaching and a dappled green, the wide covered landing is furnished as a dining loggia that will be well used for meals al fresco. The door on the landing opens to the large main room that includes a dining area with a table for six and a spacious living room with comfortable sofas under a high-beamed ceiling. Off the dining area is a generous country kitchen with marble counters and a wooden table perfect for informal meals, dinner preparation or an organized cooking class.
Three bedrooms, one double and two that can be set up as doubles or twins on request, are off the living area. With the double bedroom having an ensuite bathroom and each of the twin/doubles accessing its own shower room, this property is especially good for friends on holiday together. Bedrooms feature country antiques and attractive fabrics, while bathrooms are dressed with modern fixtures and touches of marble.
The dining loggia overlooks the private side garden and panoramic swimming pool which is surrounded by sunbeds, hammock-strung olive trees and a loggia providing shade and a fridge for cooling poolside drinks.
The living area is very large, with a high beamed ceiling and long-reaching views over the Tuscan countryside.
The double bedroom cleverly uses old Tuscan doors as headboards
The apartment is on the top floor of this old agricultural building - the lower floor is empty and unused.
The pool also has fabulous views over the Tuscan hills
The kitchen is part of the living room, all joined to make one very long living space.
The living room seen from the kitchen area
This room can be a double or a twin
The bathrooms are spacious too - all of this house is generously proportioned
This room can also be either a twin or a double
The apartment is reached via these old stone stairs, with a terrace at the top perfect for evening drinks
The table at the top of the stairs
Looking into the apartment from the terrace at the top of the stairs
Plenty of space to relax by the pool
More pool views
The farming estate has been in the family of its present owners since the 18th century and it is perhaps in keeping with their historic lineage that the race of cattle they breed are the beautiful white Chianina. Known in Etruscan and Roman times for their strength in ploughing the fields, these cattle are now a feted presence in Tuscan festival processions and prized in restaurants as the source of the famed ‘Fiorentina’ T-bone steak.
Though the estate is surrounded in greenery, there are neighbouring shops and restaurants just five minutes away. Not much further are the enchanting medieval hill towns of San Casciano dei Bagni and Cetona, which eschew the grid in favour of meandering streets towards an imposing fortress or ancient bell tower. An additional reason for visiting San Casciano is one of Italy's best-known spas, the Fonteverde, whose healing springs have drawn people for centuries.
The lively market town of Sarteano nearby throws itself into celebrating its own heritage in a mid-August Saracen Joust and proudly displays the famous Etruscan-age painting 'The Tomb of the Infernal Chariot' in the Civic Museum. But all is not ancient history in this area; there are summer concerts in the gardens of La Foce, home of author Iris Origo, outlet shopping in nearby Chiusi, and wine tasting in Montepulciano, whose 'Vino Nobile' draws connoisseurs to this Renaissance town atop a towering limestone ridge.
Day trips to Arezzo and Orvieto are also quite doable, with the former offering monthly antiquarian fairs and the frescoes of Piero della Francesca and the latter, perched upon a butte of volcanic tufo, known for its magnificent cathedral as well as an engineering masterpiece, the well of San Patrizio, that provided water to a city that sought safety in altitude. After a day of wandering, however, how pleasant to know that a refreshing pool and panoramic dining table await your return.
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