That this large stone house, carefully restored and furnished with exceptional taste and sensitivity to the comforts of modern travellers, began its life as a place of refuge seems only fitting. For once again, coming full circle to its late 12th century convent origins, there is an air of protected peace and gentle retreat about this ancient residence. Set in a wildlife reserve in the hills overlooking the Arno valley, Eremo is positioned to enjoy long vistas to rising horizons and close-up glimpses of the shy animals that are part of the Tuscan tapestry. Yet it is the house itself that will be savoured by its guests, and it is to it and to... them that the owners have dedicated their efforts.
In a lengthy labour of love, the owners laid gentle hands on the original structure and layout, the result of which has preserved spacious rooms and features not often found in a Tuscan home. One is seen as soon as you enter the arched door on the eastern facade, for no sooner are you in the house than you can see out of it - into the lovely inner courtyard at the heart of the house. In the living area another delight - a central stone pillar supporting four wide arches under which comfortable sofas and chairs afford the perfect place to recount the day's discoveries. And so it goes throughout the house, everywhere there is something to appreciate. The kitchen areas would please any chef, both the spacious two-stationed professional kitchen as well as the handy kitchen next to the dining room, for they are nicely furnished to give the sense of home, yet equipped with everything necessary to cook for a crowd, including a high-speed dishwasher and a pasta boiler. Off the main kitchen is another living area perfect for younger guests, for with toys, TV and video equipment, a table for eight, an open fireplace and access to a furnished terrace outdoors, it can entertain for many hours running. Beyond the dining room, which seats 16 comfortably, is the only ground floor bedroom, with ensuite shower room and a door to a small, furnished terrace. The last room on this floor is the studio, a restful place to read, play the electronic keyboard, write an overdue postcard or simply marvel at the treasure in the floor, the remnants of a foundation wall that stood 1,000 years ago - a humbling momento.
On the upper floor there are two additional living areas and four charming bedrooms, each distinctive in look, but all beautiful places in which to wake up. In all the bedroom suites in this large house, in addition to the beamed ceilings and terracotta flooring, there is a lovely mix of well-selected country antiques, lovely fabrics and the whimsy of ceramics. All bedrooms have ensuite bath or shower rooms and none are very far from a comfortable sitting room or the large Hall with its beautiful pietra serena fireplace.
Despite the great comfort of the interiors, guests will probably want to head out into the six landscaped acres that surround the property - perhaps to gather around the pizza oven on a night someone comes to reveal a pizzaiolo's secrets, or else under the vine-covered pergola that will seat the whole group for al fresco dining. Across the wide lawn is a large swimming pool connected to a children's wading pool by a cascading waterfall, and a shaded furnished pergola and a poolhouse with shower room, changing room, and refrigerator to save the trek back to the house. Add the fact that a charming Caretaker stands ready to help you realize all the excursions and in-house activities you may wish to build into your Tuscan holiday, and Eremo is just about perfect. Whether for family reunions, festive events or a business retreat, this house can accommodate it all. The fact that its location makes it a great base for exploring local hills on horseback or reaching medieval city festivals and antique markets in less than half an hour can only make it better.
Left on 01/15/2012 for a stay in October 2011 | MC
The villa was a little disjointed. The grounds were nice, but the pool area was dug up by the wild pigs. We had to traverse over wooden planks to get to the poolside. The staff was helpful, but a little difficult in getting points across since they spoke very little English and we (6 adults) spoke entremely little Italian. We would have liked a bathmat for the tub and soap for the shower. We found the villa just a little too far from the points we wanted to visit (strictly our problem). Villa would be very hard to navigate for someone with disabilities (the dining room and kitchen were all down a few steps, bedrooms were all up steps).
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