Arcata is a ground floor apartment in a large farmhouse that now offers a couple or small family a great place to holiday in Tuscany, but in earlier centuries was quite likely home to those who fed the clerics of the mighty St. Mary's Abbey in nearby Badia Agnano. In spaces that once would have housed the farmstead's livestock and supplies, the current owners, in a 10-year restoration project, remained faithful to original layouts and created a generous apartment that now allow guests to stretch limbs and step away from the stresses of modern life.
This apartment, like the other two on the estate, has an individual outdoor eating area and easy access to the spacious pool area whose sun loungers, umbrellas, tables and night lighting make it a popular spot day and night. The surrounding hectares, once cultivated in grain, are now planted with olive and walnut trees, some strung with hammocks to make the most of a shaded afternoon snooze. The owner, who lives with her family on the top floor of the farmhouse, is an excellent resource. And at this property there are many 'extra' possibilities - horse stables you can walk to, cooking lessons and meals done by a lovely Italian, tours and transport to corners you've yet to discover, outlet shopping, and bike rentals for those who would tour Tuscany in a slower lane.
Entrance to this apartment is through the arched entryway directly into a generous sitting room with sofa, armchairs, a wood stove and an extra double sofa bed. Up a couple of steps to the right is a double bedroom with wrought iron bedstead, desk, wardrobe and ensuite shower room and an independent access to the side garden down a short jasmine-covered staircase. Also off the sitting room is access to a 2nd shower room and a large eat-in kitchen with view to the pool.
Once the territory of powerful feudal lords, the fertile valley of the Ambra River lies central to the Florence, Siena and Arezzo triangle; not surprisingly, throughout the Middle Ages it was land to be fought over and frequently traded hands - until the formidable Medici family did away with its influence and relegated it to the role of Florentine breadbasket. For this the modern tourist can be thankful; the protected land and buildings seen today are not that removed from the Tuscan countryside seen in ancient frescos. There are many good restaurants and lively festivals in the charming towns and villages nearby, and with the famous tips of the triangle - Siena, Arezzo, Florence - all within easy driving distance, Arcata is easily one of the most comfortable and well placed holiday spots you could find.
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