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Italy Vacation Rentals - Certified Homes, Villas, & Apartments
Tuscan Farmhouse Accommodation
Thankfully, this part of Tuscany escaped the crowds. Casa Pavone is a delightful and well restored, early 15th century farmhouse overlooking some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Tuscany - the verdant Val d'Orcia valley.
The views from inside are equally spectacular. A glass walled living room facing olive groves and rolling hills offers a living canvas of Tuscany that is constantly transformed by the passing sun and changing seasons. French doors from every ground floor room open to the outside with the kitchen opening to a furnished patio with endless views over the undulating beauty of the valley. Those coming in May, June or late fall get to experience this vast landscape covered in vivid shades of emerald green. The extensive grounds offer a pool, a pay-per-use sauna beside the pool and a wood fired oven.
Casa Pavone is a private home on two floors that are not connected inside the house. An outdoor brick stairway is used to reach the first floor. It offers four comparable bedrooms and bathrooms, two living rooms, a large dining area, three fireplaces and two furnished patios, one at either end of the villa. The price includes: a mid-week, three hour cleaning with a towel change, two baskets of firewood and one USB Internet connection.
Casa Pavone was once part of a monastic farming estate doubling as a medieval inn for pilgrims and knights traveling the Via Francigena, a route that connected Canterbury, England to the Vatican. The present owners did a commendable job in restoring and preserving this villa's authenticity. The original stone walls, thick wood beamed ceilings, terracotta floors and brick archways artfully adorn this spacious home. The dining room, living rooms and each bedroom have at least one screened window, and every bathroom has a heated towel rack.
The final approach to Casa Pavone is on a gravel road for three quarters of a mile. Smaller cars are a must to navigate the final 200 yards as the road narrows towards a final steep yet short incline.
This part of Tuscany is scattered with small, well preserved medieval villages, massive fortresses and ancient thermal springs that remain unaltered and mostly unaffected by mass tourism. Even restaurant prices are consistently modest. A mile away starts the ascent through the tiny village of Rocca d'Orcia to Rocca Tentennano, a limestone castle built in 1250 over the remains of a much older fortress. With commanding views across the valley, Rocca Tentennano was a hotly contested prize between Florence and Siena. The fortress, now open to the public, guards a small but welcoming village with a restaurant, a small museum showcasing 15th and 16th century Sienese paintings and a plaque commemorating St. Catherine of Siena, Italy's patron saint who lived here briefly.
A bit farther up the road, the sleepy village of Castiglione d'Orcia provides the basic necessities of a restaurant, a pharmacy, a mini-market and a couple of pizzerie and cafes. A 10 minute drive leads to the larger walled stronghold of San Quirico d'Orcia and its lively pedestrian thoroughfare lined with restaurants, cafes, wine shops and boutiques. Bagno Vignoni, another neighboring gem, reached in 10 minutes boasts a Roman era thermal bath occupying the main square bordered by a few small shops and restaurants. During the Renaissance, Lorenzo il Magnifico favored Bagno Vignoni for its healing 125º F waters. When visiting, park by the ruins of a 12th century mill and enjoy a phenomenal view across the entire valley.
Easily traversed, this compact area is chock full of fascinating day trips. Pienza, the unforgettable pastoral setting for the film "The English Patient", is also famed for its Pecorino cheese or the tiny walled village of Monticchiello and its outdoor theater from mid-July to mid-August are within 20 minute drives; the hot springs and waterfalls of Bagni San Filippo: 25; the prized vineyards of Montepulciano or Montalcino: 30; San Giovanni d'Asso, renowned for its white truffles: 35; the abbey at Monte Oliveto Maggiore: 45; Siena: 60: Cortona or Orvieto: 75; Lake Trasimeno or Arezzo: 80; San Gimignano, Castellina in Chianti or Perugia: 100; Florence or the Tuscan coast: 2 hours; Rome: 2.5 hours.
First floor: Entered from a separate external entrance. From a second furnished patio, 17 outdoor stone steps lead up to a covered portico and into a living room with fireplace. Small beverage kitchen with stove top, oven, fridge and dishwasher. One bedroom with two single, joinable beds, fireplace and adjacent bathroom with shower and two sinks. One bedroom with a queen size bed and en suite bathroom with Jacuzzi tub and hand shower. All bathrooms have a heated towel rack. Washing machine is in the sauna cottage.