Having crossed the village of Fivizzano, in the heart of Lunigiana, if you head down the valley through the woods, you will come to a charming hidden corner, seemingly tucked away in time. Opposite a large mill that once used the sparkling water of a nearby stream there is an ancient stone bridge, whose strength and graceful arch recalls a long and fascinating history. Such a bridge invites crossing - leave your car at the bridge and walk across to reach the large stone house that waits on the other side. Still a ruin when the present owner fell in love with it, 20 years have been dedicated to completing its restoration and its present look is the result of unconditional love and impassioned labour.
Though the foundations, the roof and exterior walls have been completely redone, great pains were made to maintain its original appearance. The grounds of the property rise on three easily reached levels towards the hillside through which an ancient stone path is nowadays used by the occasional hiker. Close to the house, the swimming pool has both sun and a view of the mill, while on a higher level there is a small patio, furnished for eating alfresco or relaxing with a good book.
The owner has chosen to keep interiors simple and sparsely furnished, choosing details with care each visit he makes, and this, accompanied by the solid walls and the glimpses of wilderness through the windows has translated into a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere for its visitors. This feeling is perhaps most felt on the ground floor with its wide living room and double bedroom with small shower room. The first floor is reached by an entrance staircase but, as the house follows the contours of the hillside, also has direct access to the outside. On this floor, situated along a corridor, are an eat-in kitchen, a bathroom and a large and luminous double bedroom with sky-blue walls that evoke the Nature outside its windows. Also on this floor is a cosy corner at the top of the stairs, with a piano, a small sofa and lots of books and magazines.
The house is perfect for people seeking a country holiday, where they can savour a simple life, the sun, the trees and and walks in an area of Tuscany that is still quite undiscovered. The Lunigiana is situated in the north of Tuscany, among the Appenine and Apuane mountains and the Ligurian Sea. Taking its name from the ancient Roman settlement of Luni, this is a land of passage where the charm of the Middle Ages is strongly felt - in the castles belonging to the powerful Malaspina family that once hosted Dante, in the Romanesque country churches or the mighty walls of Medici Carpigliola and in the elegant tower built by the bishops of Luni. It is a borderland where different cultures have mixed and you can feel this in the landscape, in the languages and in the traditional food of the area. Throughout the centuries people crossed this land as pilgrims or soldiers or merchants, for it is the initial part of the Tuscan Via Francigena. Nowadays, old paths have become trekking ways that wind among castles, isolated towers and fortresses or green valleys and silent hills. There is certainly room for new pilgrims....Read more
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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