This is a very special Villa indeed. Set on the border between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna it started life as a fortified watch-tower later before becoming a more genteel residence and reniassance villa.
The current owners acquired the villa in 1576, so it has been in their continuous ownership for over 400 years. The continuity and love the owning family have had for the villa and the entire farming estate it is attached to shines through, the whole place lives and breathes history.
From the small everyday details like providing much of its own food - if you stay here you will eat fruit, vegetables, honey, cheese and more produced by the Villa's estate farm - to the grandiose - the Villa still has its own consecrated chapel, one of the very few in the country still allowed.
Villa Rosetta sleeps 20 and is a wonderful venue for weddings, for family gatherings - even for small scale conferences. During your stay here you will have a cook in the kitchen to prepare all your meals, you can dance in the ballroom, explore the rooms in the medieval tower, relax by the pool and in the formal italian garden - it really is an amazing experience. And should you decide to explore, the Villa is perfectly placed, about an hour away from Bologna - and its airport which is receiving more direct US flights, you're also in reach of Florence and Tuscany to the south as well as Venice, Verona and Milan to the north.
The main villa is entered through the arched stone doorway at the center of the wide facade and into a vaulted corridor off of which are its many living and dining rooms. Hosting 20 guests requires ample space for congenial get-togethers and on the ground floor alone there are three living areas – the main living room with brightened beams and comfortable sofas facing a large open fireplace, a smaller study/sitting room with satellite TV and direct garden access, and the luminous ‘Serra’ living room whose French doors open to the pool area. In all of these rooms are the paintings and sculpture of the late 19th century artist Giuseppe Graziosi, the owner’s grandfather.
There are two dining rooms on the ground floor - the formal dining hall steps below the Serra living room whose large wooden table extends to seat 22 and the smaller dining room opening to the garden whose antique table seats 14. Meals for guests at these tables are prepared in the impressive vaulted main kitchen where a stone-framed grand fireplace was meant for cooking as much as for warmth. This kitchen becomes the scene for cooking lessons as well as the setting where Michelin-starred Chef can prepare special dinners. Also on the ground floor is a fully-equipped laundry room and a guest bathroom
Sleeping and bathroom accommodations, as well as two additional living areas are on the upper floors. On the first floor there are two single bedrooms, the Empire bedroom and the Well bedroom, which share a shower room, a suite, ‘Camera dei Gemelli’ with a sitting room and twin/double bedroom with ensuite shower room, ‘Donna Rosetta’ apartment which includes a charming sitting room with fireplace and grand piano, a twin bedroom and a bathroom with a claw-footed tub, and finally the master bedroom suite which has both a bathroom and a shower room ensuite, as well as direct access to a large terrace which overelooks the pool and garden. Also on the first floor or ‘Piano Nobile’ is the Ballroom whose parquet floors once held couples swirling under the light of chandeliers reflected in gilded mirrors. For special occasions this room can be furnished with tables to seat up to 50 people.
On the second floor there is a single bedroom (delle Donne) and a queen double bedroom (di Ottavio) which share a shower room, an additional queen double bedroom (dei Fiori) which has an ensuite shower room, and two twin/double bedrooms, one of which (degli Sposi) which is adjacent to a bathroom and the other (della Caterina) which has an ensuite shower room. On this floor there is a large living room with a desk, sofas, satellite TV and a large wardrobe containging a small kitchenette whose fridge, kettle and coffee maker mean guets on this level do not have to traipse down two floors for a hot or cold drink. On this floor is also the villa maid’s bedroom and bathroom.
Two further guest bedrooms are available in the Tower, which is accessed via a small furnished courtyard on the ground level. In the tower there are 12 steps up to a single bedroom with an ensuite shower room and a further 18 steps to reach a charming twin bedroom with a sweet corner fireplace and an ensuite shower room. All the bedrooms are beautifully furnished with family antiques, stylish bedcovers, fine artworks and old world charm. This charm certainly extends to the villa’s Italian garden where tailored hedges frame vibrant flower beds, a small fountain provides a gentle soundtrack and aged stone walls are draped with flowering vines and open to a stairway down to the anoramic pool. The flagstone patio surrounding the pool is furnished with sun beds and deck chairs, the nearby pool house has changing facilities, a shower room and a summer kitchen and a vine-covered pergola provides the possibility of al fresco dining – it is not difficult to understand why many hours are spent outdoors in this sheltered haven. In one final informal living area, the ‘Tinaia’ or wine cellar, seasoned oak wine barrels form a backdrop to convivial arrangements of plush or cane-bottomed armchairs awaiting the company to fill them.
Nearby on the Romagna side of the valley seen from the villa lies the ancient town of Tredozio which sits within the Casentinesi National Park; though only a kilometre in length, the village has the shops and services, banks, and bars that come in handy. In addition, there are restaurants, tennis courts and summer concerts in the courtyard of the elegant Palazzo Fantini. This spectacular area of rural Italy is criss-crossed with trails that invite exploration by mountain bike, horseback, or a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Yet towards the Adriatic coast there are the spas of Riolo Terme, the famed ceramics of Faenza and the ancient mosaics of Ravenna all before you reach the water’s edge.
When ready for the bustle and abundance of a city, in less that an hour there are two which epitomize the best of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. Florence threads the splendor of the Renaissance and Italian design from famed museums through winding streets, across the river Arno and up into hillside villa gardens. Bologna, often overlooked on the tourist trail, is easy to navigate and blessed with beautiful arched porticos that shield from the elements and lead to wide piazzas, impressive churches and always a restuarant. For this city is a foodie’s paradise, with Emilia Romagna’s high standards overseeing what is brought to the table - be sure to bring an appetite when you come to visit.
Interactions with any of these places or activities will be made all the easier thanks to the gracious hostess and staff of Villa Rosetta. Whether organizing a special event or heading out with a group of friends, their help and suggestions will add grace notes to any holiday.
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