Pietrina is a beautiful old Tuscan farmhouse on a ridge in the hills south of Florence. Like many houses it had been abandoned when the original owners moved to the city and it took the loving care of the new owners to bring it back to life. Today it’s a warm family home with beds for 10 people, an ideal spot for a relaxed family reunion. This is our interview with the owners:
How long have you owned Pietrina?
We’ve now owned it for 15 years, though it took a while to complete the renovations after we first bought it.
What made you fall in love with it?
We first saw La Pietrina on a wet October afternoon while staying with our friend Laura Castelluci. The estate agent didn’t have the keys and couldn’t get hold of the owners who lived in Florence so we saw it with shutters closed and had to imagine the inside from the few photos that the estate agent managed to find before we got there.
The near 360 degree views were wonderful, even in the rain, but it was the special feel and warmth of the house, the garden and the olive groves that captured our hearts. We felt that if it could be that good on a wet miserable day it must be special – and we weren’t wrong. It is hard to put into words what makes La Pietrina special but it is something which over the years has become even stronger especially with all the wonderful times we have there with both family and friends.
Are there any stories attached to the house?
La Pietrina finally became ours on 30th December 2003 and we embarked on 6 months of renovations. New roof, new plumbing, new electrics, new windows, walls knocked down, 2 foot concrete floors drilled out, new bathrooms, kitchen – the list went on and on culminating with installing a swimming pool and landscaping the garden in July 2004 so that we could have all the family, including Granny and twin niece and nephew, aged 4, to see whether the house worked for all age groups.
Most weekends between late February and July 2004 we flew out to Italy to meet with various workmen and see the progress.Choosing 20 lights at 6pm before heading straight to Pisa airport hoping to make the last plane home was one particular memory along with wonderful memories of the cacophony of sound which accompanied our meetings with multiple artisans while we decided what to do about the stairs!! We still use the same builder to do work for us and based on our experience I would thoroughly recommend Italian Builders and Trades to anyone.
Since those hectic but thoroughly enjoyable months we have spent so many happy times at La Pietrina with two very memorable significant birthday parties, New year celebrations and long hot summer days around the pool just generally chilling out. Our children, and now our Grandchildren, love it and we hope will continue long into the future.
What secret or special place would you advise your guests go to see nearby?
There are so many special places and we have tried to list many of them in the information in the house. There is one thing that I have done with nearly all the friends and family that have stayed at La Pietrina and that is the 2 hour walk around the mountain behind us to Anciolina. Always rewarded with a tea or coffee (and ice cream in summer) at the tiny cafe at Anciolina. The tiny hamlet is pretty and unspoilt with spectacular views across to Arezzo and Umbria. On a clear day the locals claim you can see Lake Trasimeno. Non walkers staying with us drive up and meet us at the top and depending on energy levels can chauffeur home those who’ve walked enough.
What do you like about renting your property?
We feel the house needs to have people and laughter as much as possible. It also means many people from all over the world can share the magic of La Pietrina.
Have you had any famous guests?
Yes – not telling who!
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
We are able to offer a whole range of additional services and it is worth asking about anything that is not advertised as Ali will always look into it and see whether it is possible to provide it
To see more details, prices and availability click here: Pietrina.
We’ve now been offering Pietrina to our guests since 2013 and have had many happy clients.
I love the position. The hill ridge the house sits upon is part of the Pratomagno, a famous park and mountain area close to Florence. It is a marvellous place to explore. The hills rise up to nearly 1600 metres and are criss-crossed with marked paths, tiny villages often with fantastic romanesque churches and good, simple restaurants.
There are guide books and maps in the house. Alison, who will welcome you to the house, can organise a local guide for walks should you wish. Alison’s husband runs a bike company which can also take you on local tours of the area – on and off-road. I can highly recommend the local mountain-biking; I haven’t cycled with Gabi, though I hope to, but I have explored the area myself.
Yet if you want to visit Florence or Arezzo they are close. Half an hour will get you to Arezzo and an hour will get you to Florence.