In the remnants of a watchtower that had seen six centuries of history unfold in the countryside south of Arezzo its present owners respectfully restored as much of it as authorities allowed and created a home that gives a family or group of friends the chance to learn what relaxed country living is all about. Sitting above their organic farm and surrounded by 43 hectares of olive groves and forestland, the tower overlooks the Trove valley and across to the medieval village of Civitella where the ruins of its ancient castle etch the skyline.
Being a witness to history is not always easy, as the tragic wartime story of Civitella testifies; yet the present panorama from the furnished pergola and infinity edged pool is the stuff of dreams. Lavender and rosemary edge the massive tower walls and the furnished terraces that surround them, and sunset reflected in quiet waters seems an evening doubly blessed.
There are two entrances on either side of the ground floor, both leading into the main room running the width of the house and offering a sitting/dining room with sofas in front of an open fireplace and a dining table for 6. At one end of this room, separated by a partial divider, is a compact but complete kitchen with oak counters as well as the modern appliances one relies on.
A few steps down from the dining area is another small sitting area at the bottom of the internal staircase, off which is a single bedroom with independent outdoor access and a small ensuite shower room. The open tread stairway leads to a landing and three bedrooms; the smallest has a French double bed that may best be used by a guest that likes to stretch his limbs and an ensuite shower room. The other two, which share a shower room, both have queen-sized beds and attractive country antiques.
There are several places outdoors to bring a cup of tea or a glass of wine or set up a family dinner; one can choose between the wrought iron table under the vine-draped pergola, a small table outside the kitchen door, or the newly converted upper floor of a hay barn that now sports a sofa, a large dining table and chandelier lighting. All have the view one is happy to look out upon, as does the fenced swimming pool on a yet higher level that is furnished with sunbeds and a shaded pergola.
The lovely elliptical village seen from the house, one of the best-preserved Lombard fortresses of the 6th century, is 1.5 km away and certainly walk-able if one doesn't mind the fact that it sits on top of a hill. A good restaurant and a gelateria are reasons to visit, but so is the city council's Room of Memories, a moving tribute to the high price its citizens paid to the madness of war. Owners can arrange bicycles for those who would like to explore this region at a slower pace, but by car it is a short drive to Arezzo and its beautiful Piazza Grande, featured in the film "Life is Beautiful".
Arezzo hosts both the Saracen Joust in late June and early September and monthly Antiquarian Fairs, but is also a Mecca to those following the Piero della Francesca Trail. Excellent access to major motorways and delightful country roads also place the ancient cities of Siena and Florence within easy reach, but how reassuring to know that a quiet terrace and a restorative panorama await your return.
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