Though the area and the wine known as Chianti is much beloved by the modern traveler, this is a land that has been producing for centuries. Il Casolare is one of the ancient farm buildings that, like Topsy, just grew, and grew until it became the sprawling farmhouse whose contours extend long and jut up and outward. Its present owners took it in gentle hand and with a joyful sense of color and generous hospitality have transformed it into three large houses, all under the same roof, but individual in style and each with its own view of the ancient landscape that surrounds it.
Country living in these houses is not rustic. The owners have preserved the terracotta floors and chestnut beamed ceilings and let an ancient layout rule the day, yet they have successfully mixed the antique furniture with bold warm colors, attractive fabrics and all the good-quality appliances a modern cook would want. Individual houses take their names from the colors that grace the walls - the golden yellow of La Gialla, the patrician blue of L'Azzurra and the soft glowing orange of L'Arancio. All of the houses have their own outdoor eating areas, furnished with tables, umbrellas, and divans and located in separate parts of the property, but they share the large pool behind the house with its wide furnished surround and lovely views of the olive groves and wooded hillside opposite. While the houses themselves make you feel well looked after, a charming caretaker, who lives in a small building on the property, is also on hand to help with any special requests. Although the three houses function very well as private accommodation, La Gialla and L'Azzurra can be rented together and interconnected, and should the whole property be taken by a group there is plenty of space for everyone to be together.
The entrance to the large rear wing of the farmhouse is from the back garden into a cosy living room with bright sofas, wide armchairs and a corner fireplace. This is a house of steps - a few lead up to a kitchen with a table for 8 and the door (normally locked) that connects to Casa Gialla when required. A short staircase leads off the living room and up various levels to the sleeping quarters, three large bedrooms that share two bathrooms and a twin bedroom with an ensuite shower room. Guests of this house have a private outdoor eating area in the back garden and divans and hammocks under the pine trees that become their open-air sitting room.
There are endless things to do in this area for the spring to autumn seasons in nearby Chianti villages hum with festivals, outdoor markets, concerts and sagre, occasions when the whole village turns out to eat. The beauty of the Chianti and the many castles and wineries tucked in its hills can be explored by car, but you may like the slower method of discovery on horseback or mountain bike, both easily arranged from Il Casolare. Nearby Greve, Panzano, Radda and Castellina all have charming historic centres to explore, and when the Renaissance wonders of Florence call, or the lure of the designer outlet mall asserts itself, know that you are but half an hour away. You may, however, simply prefer to follow the example of Theo, the most laid-back watchdog in Tuscany, and just wander up the road to the neighboring Fattoria to buy the good Chianti wine whose name inspired your holiday and relax where the living is indeed easy....Read more
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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