Il Cavaliere lies in an area called Maremma, a lesser known and therefore all the more captivating part of Tuscany, 25 km inland from the coast, close to the peninsula Monte Argentario. Beyond the borders of the estate you will discover an area rich in cultural landmarks, softly rolling landscape, good food and excellent wine, combining the charms of the Tuscan lifestyle with joys of an unspoilt coast.
Il Cavaliere is a working farm, the 120 acres estate mainly produces grain and extra virgin olive oil, which can be bought on the premises. The center of the estate is marked by the main house dating from the 18th century. The owner spends most of her time here, sharing the simplicity of country life with her children and grand-children during the summer months. The owner and a couple working on the estate live in the same building.
The large pool measuring 12 x 6 m is located in a beautiful part of the garden of the estate, with a view over a seemingly endless landscape of rolling hills, utterly unspoilt, spotted with cypress trees and farmhouses here and there. Two very charming apartments sleeping 4 and 5, with a terrace for al fresco meals, have been restored in the main house.
About the region
The closest village is Manciano, at 9 km from the estate. Manciano is a typically Tuscan fortified village where you will enjoy your daily shopping. You will find everything you need: food shops, supermarket, bank, post office, newsagent, pharmacy as well as the local bar for your daily cappuccino. Within close driving distance a number of hilltop villages - closest are Magliano and the trendy Capalbio - offer charming alternatives for the daily shopping and stopovers at the local bar.
A beach of fine sand stretches along the coast. The water is clean and ususally warm enough to swim in from mid-may to October. You can hire a boat to visit the hidden creeks of the islands Giglio and Giannutri. Italian beach-life is usually organised through beach clubs, where you can rent a cabin, a parasol and sunbeds by the day or the week as well as have drinks and snacks at the bar of the stabilimento. This system turns out to be very convenient if you have small children. Mostly you can just show up at the club with no reservation. You will find a list of the beach clubs in the area we recommend.
The islands and hiring a boat
In Porto Santo Stefano at half an hour's drive from Il Cavaliere, you can hire a motor boat with a 'captain' which will take you to the islands of Giglio and Giannutri off the Tuscan coast. The attraction of such an expedition lies not only in the trip itself. Giglio has a charming main village and castle, and many creeks hidden between the cliffs which can only be reached by boat. Giannutri, its bare coastline dominated by ruins of a Roman villa overlooking the sea recalls some of the Greek islands, while deep-sea divers can look for sunken Roman galeons on the sea bed.
The peninsula of Monte Argentario
The peninsula of Monte Argentario deserves a mention, even though it is not quite clear under which heading it should be included. Cliffs above the sea, archeological excavations, mediterranean macchia with a large number of self-propagating wild flowers, and jet-set holiday resorts such as Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole all come toghether here. On the way lies the town of Orbetello, charming and of historical interest.
Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano
These three towns stand close to each other at about 1 hours drive from Il Cavaliere. Sovana is often considered the most interesting spot of southern Tuscany, boasting a magnificent Etruscan necropolis and 2 remarkable Romanic churches. Pitigliano is a medieval town with a dramatic location, interestingly enough with a jewish quarter and also known for the white wine produced there, Bianco di Pitigliano.
While staying at Cavaliere you should not miss visiting the 'Parco Regionale della Maremma', also known as the 'Parco dell'Uccellina'. It is a regional park of rare beauty with walks through high and lofty pine forests towards hidden creeks, past the romantic ruins of fortified watch-towers and the abbey of San Rabano, built by monks who arrived from Rhodes in the 10th century. A large variety of medittarenean flora and fauna as well as spectacular views of an untouched landscape will make this visit unforgettable. The animals you can see are deer, wild boar, roe-buck as well as porcupines, foxes, stone martens and badgers. Closer to the shore you will come accross birds such as wild ducks, whistling ducks and herons.
The Tarot-Garden of Niki de Saint-Phalle
On one of the hills not far from Il Cavaliere the famous French artist built her 'Jardin des Tarots', twenty two giant sculpures in ceramic and coloured glass inspired by the figures of the magic tarot cards.
Only 20 km from Il Cavaliere is the famous spa of Saturnia. Tuscany is famous for its hot springs, belonging to a geothermical system that more or less encircles the Monte Amiata. Saturnia is the most spectacular, with hot waterfalls in the middle of nature, open to everyone. In summer one might prefer coming here in the evening or, even better, at night.
Little is known of these people who sprang to importance in the 8th century BC. At the height of their power, their influence spread from the Po Valley to Campania, even encompassing ancient Rome, which defeated them in the 3rd century BC. A trip through what was known as Etruria is one of the most interesting archeological excursions in Italy. The Etruscans' demise may be partly attributed to their ephemeral attitude towards life on this earth, which led them to build their homes of wood and clay. Their tombs on the other hand were built to last forever.
Tarquinia and Tuscania
Tarquinia and Tuscania, only 25 km away from the estate, boast worldwide famous archeological excavations which should not be missed. Tarquinia is whimsical, sometimes even bacchanal. The tombs are hidden underground, accessed through small holes cut into the earth, and there are thousands of them. It's impossible to say which tombs your guide will take the group to, because they are opened in rotation to save the magnificent and delicate wall paintings adorning the walls, giving a better idea of what life was like in Etruria than any scholar could hope to do. Tuscania is a beautiful Etrurian walled town with more interesting tombs (ask at the National Museum in Piazza Madonna del Riposo). Also worth a visit here are the exquisite 11th-century churches of San Pietro and Santa Maria Maggiore. Both have lovely façades, carved altars and pulpits. Other Etruscan sites of relevance to be visited in the area are Populonia, Vetulonia, Ansedonia and Norcia.
Wine & Food
The area has many appealing restaurants and trattorias of which you will find a list in the house. The gastronomical traditions of the Maremma are rich and varied, fresh vegetables, tender salads, ripe tomatoes and artichokes, 'tortelli di ricotta e spinaci' (large home made tortellini), 'zuppa di funghi' (mushroom soup), wild boar and excellent fish dishes as for instance 'spaghetti allo scoglio', Pecorino - the local sheep cheese which can be bought directly from a nearby producer. The local red wine - Morellino di Scansano - has lately been gaining considerable attention from connoisseurs all over the world. Many famous wine producers from northern Tuscany have bought farms in the area as they believe in the enormous potential of the Maremma.
At a 20 minute drive the Golf Club Maremmello has 18 holes, Par 72. The famous Punta Ala Golf course is at an hour's drive away and has 18 holes, Par 72.
Rome and Siena are 1 hours drive from Il Cavaliere, Pisa is 2 hours, for Florence please reck on 2 hours. Closer by the city of Viterbo is at less than an hours drive, whereas Tarquinia and Tuscania are reached in half an hour.
The connection Rome - Orbetello (25 minutes drive from Il Cavaliere) takes just over an hour, and trains to and from leave regularly. This is probably the best way to travel if you wish to spend a day in Rome. Otherwise, public transport is rather inefficient in this part of the world, and the car still seems the easiest way of getting around.
Additional amenities include: shared and general laundry room for all guests, fireplace only in geranio, parking and a lovely pool, iron and ironing board, electric filter coffee machine and bialetti moka coffee maker (italian stove-top coffee maker), fridge with built in freezer, electric water kettle, outdoor areas under a pergola/on a terrace....Read more
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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