Set on a ridge running down from the Pratomagno mountains, Pietrina is a great family villa for 10, with a pool set just above the house. This is a delightful place for a large family or good friends to live outdoors as much as in, and to relish the chance to feel part of the small Tuscan towns that line the Arno valley, surorounded by the beautiful views across the surrounding hills.
Outside there are hammocks strung among the oak trees. An excellent barbecue and outdoor dining table makes for perfect al-fresco living - this is a great house for family reunions, with space for all three generations to relax and enjoy themselves.
Living space at Pietrina begins even before crossing the threshold, for the large flagstone patio to the front is furnished with a marble table under a generous umbrella, both strategically placed near a stone barbecue. From this patio the front door leads into a wide entry hall off of which are an attractively tiled bathroom, a shower room and steps up to two bedrooms - a double and a twin that can be set up as a double on request - both of which have doors leading to the back garden. An open doorway in the entry leads down a couple of steps to the large dining room, which has a woodstove set in the corner fireplace, comfortable armchairs, a long refectory table with benches and French glass doors to the front patio. A wide brick arch separates the dining room from a travertine and marble clad kitchen that has a door to the side garden.
The upper floor is reached via an artisan-designed open stairway from the entry hall. The first storey landing, equipped with a free-standing wood stove, has doors to three additional bedrooms, two doubles and one twin or double as requested, and a shower room. All bedrooms in Pietrina are furnished with the wrought iron beds and country antique furniture that blend perfectly with the beamed ceilings and terracotta floors that frame them.
Also on the first floor is a large sitting room with comfortable sofas, which, in addition to the woodstove set in the corner fireplace and a small library, has a wooden staircase that leads up to a television area. Here one of the three sofas in front of the Sat. TV is a sofa-bed, offering additional accommodation to an extra guest. Also from the sitting room is a door out to a furnished panoramic loggia from which an external staircase leads down to a handy path around to the kitchen door, making the loggia a delightful place for lunch or an evening aperitif.
While the house is surrounded by 20 acres of woodland and olive groves, the immediate garden area has been beautifully planted with lavender, roses and flowering shrubs. There are hammocks strung from the trunks of sheltering oak trees and outdoor tables and chairs under the shade of their branches. A charming pool set in the upper lawn has sun beds, lounge chairs and umbrellas set to take in views of the Tuscan countryside and the forested Pratomagno mountains.
Though one of your near neighbours is Il Borro, a medieval village now owned entirely by Ferragamo that may tempt with their full-service spa and horse stables, it only takes a few minutes to reach the shops and pizzerias in the nearest village. And from there, traveling on the ancient Via dei Setteponti, (Road of Seven Bridges), it is a quick trip to Loro Ciuffenna, the most beautiful medieval village along the way. Visiting the ancient mill perched along the gorge bisecting the village and the 1,000-year-old bridge that spans it, or stopping in one of the restaurants tucked away in its narrow meandering streets all brings the past pleasantly forward.
For guests with an itch for big city sightseeing or shopping, the motorway that parallels the Arno River for much of its path between Arezzo and Florence means these cities of art are also easily-reached destinations. One could attend a Saracen Joust, sift through Antiquarian markets, or make a pilgrimage to the Renaissance gems that fill the guidebooks.
Yet this area is also known for its food and wine, and with Pietrina's friendly caretaker pointing you in the right direction, there may be other pilgrimages to make, to that local winery or unassuming trattoria whose visit will also become a favourite holiday memory.
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