Pagliaio is a two storey apartment in a former haybarn that now offers two couples or small family a great place to holiday in Tuscany, but in earlier centuries was quite likely part of the farmstead of those who fed the clerics of the mighty St. Mary's Abbey in nearby Badia Agnano. In spaces that once would have stored the hay produced on the farmstead, 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.
This apartment sits across the drive from the main house and is entered through arched glass doors into a sitting room with two bright sofas, which can double as two single beds, 1 for a child and 1 for an adult.
A short corridor leads past a shower room into an eat-in kitchen with a glass topped table for 4 with wicker chairs.
Up the wrought iron & glass staircase with natural wood steps is an additional shower room and two spacious double bedrooms where light filters through the original brickwork of haybarn windows.
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, Pagliaio is easily one of the most comfortable and well placed holiday spots you could find.
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