Olivella is a large farmhouse located in the beautiful countryside of the Val d'Orcia, in walking distance to the little hilltown of San Giovanni d'Asso (1 km). The Val d'Orcia is an enchanting and miraculously unspoilt valley in southern Tuscany, listed as UNESCO world heritage in 2004. Siena, Pienza, Cortona, Arezzo, Orvieto, San Gimignano, Volterra, Perugia, Viterbo and a wealth of sites and attractions are within easy reach. Montalcino, the classic Tuscan hill town topped by a fortress and famous for its Brunello wine (as well as the less pricey Rosso di Montalcino) is nearby. The famous Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is only 7 km away, and also the Sant' Antimo Abbey, one of the finest Romanesque churches in Tuscany, is within easy daytrip distance.
Olivella is an ideal choice for those who wish to be close to shopping, restaurants and cafes, yet be in a private home. The small village with approximately 300 inhabitans is just a 5-minute walk away. San Giovanni d`Asso has a simple restaurant, an 'osteria', a baker and butcher, a pharmacy, a post office, a supermarket and a Cappuccino bar. In the upper part of the old town there is a very good restaurant. The village hosts the famous White Truffle Market in the month of November. The white truffle is prized and famous throughout Italy, as well are the other agricultural products of the area: excellent wines, oil, savoury cheeses and honey. There is no public transport in San Giovanni, therefore it is essential to have a car.
This large stone farmhouse has the advantage of being composed of two independent house sections, each with a private entrance. The houses are connected by two doors, one on the ground floor and the other on the upper floor, but by closing the doors they can be completely separated. Therefore, this is the perfect place for two families travelling together. As each house has its own kitchen and living room, you can divide up your group easily. But on the other hand you can be together: the door can remain open and each dining area has a wooden table large enough to seat 10 people. A total of 10 people can be accommodated. House A sleeps 4 people, House B sleeps 6 people. You can choose if renting the entire property for 10 people or just House B for 6 people. If renting only House B the smaller House A will be closed and not rented to other parties to guarantee privacy for the guests.
Places of interest
The property's location makes excursions to Siena, Assisi, Orvieto, Perugia, Arezzo and Florence an easy day trip. But the area below Siena, stretching from the monastery of Monte Oliveto to Montalcino and Montepulciano offers some rewarding sites that are well worth a visit.
In San Quirico d'Orcia make sure you see the Horti Leonini, an early Renaissance garden, as well as the western door in the city wall and the Collegiata (main church).
Montalcino is beautifully situated on a hill inhabited since Etruscan times, swathed in vineyards and olive groves. It is a quiet, affluent, attractive town with pretty buildings and flower-filled squares, and many shops selling the Brunello di Montalcino.
Montepulcino is a graceful Tuscan hill town, best known for its Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which was being praised by connoisseurs over 200 years ago and can certainly contend with Italy's best today.
Pienza, the unfinished 'utopian' city, was commissioned by Pope Pius II in 1459.
Chiusi is one of our favourites because of its unpretentious liveliness. Compared to Montepulciano it is uncontaminated by tourism. Chiusi has a railway station - from here it is a quick ride to the city center of Rome.
Monticchiello is a pleasant walled village, whose crooked watch-tower is visible from afar. Next to the church is a small shop which sells local linens (towels, bedspreads) and materials in pure linen. They use traditional methods and patterns and the results are extremely attractive.
Visit the abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and the semi-derelict monastery of Sant'Anna in Camprena - a very romantic setting which served as location for the film 'The English Patient'.
Sant'Antimo is surely one of the loveliest Romanesque buildings in all of Italy. It is hard to imagine a more sympathetic combination of architectural grace and natural setting.
And last but not least the landscape in this region of Tuscany is spectacular: The Crete Senesi are the eroded clay hills in the Orcia valley. These strange, pale, barren looking slopes, with their bare cliffs, broken gullies and white Jurassic limestone, look altogehter more lunar than terrestial.
Pool in winter?
Tuscany is famous for its Hot springs, belonging to a geothermical system that more or less encircles Monte Amiata, the most spectacular being Saturnia in the south west of the region. Steaming water collects in a number of white limestone basins - a rare natural spectacle and great fun to bathe in! Swimming possible both in the natural basins and in smart thermal baths. Saturnia offers a wide range of comforts and even a sauna.
Close to the property is Bagno Vignoni which has been popular since Etruscan times. St. Catherine of Siena is said to have appreciated its thearpeutic qualities, as is Lorenzo the Magnificent, whose family built the splendid arcaded pool - a kind of flooded, bubbling piazza, famously used by Tarkowsky for some of the more surreal passages of his film 'Nolstalgia'. Not far from this antique piazza there is a hotel with a lovely open air swimming pool, fed from hot springs. This is also available to external guests.
Bagni San Filippo may go into the books as the world's smallest thermal spa - a telephone booth, a few old houses, outdoor spring in the middle of the woods with glistening limestone formations and one small hotel with a public pool.
In Rapolano Terme there are two wonderful thermal spas - particulary beautiful are the San Giovanni Terme.
The Montepulciano thermal springs can also be enjoyed in an indoor thermal swimming pool. Have yourself thoroughly pampered! Just relax here!
Additional amenities include: 1 cd-stereo, 2 fridges with freezer, 1 small oven (in the smaller house), private entrance gate, 1 iron and 2 ironing boards, 2 satellite TVs, 2 italian mocha machines (not electrical like in a bar, parking for 6 cars (2 of which under a roof in a barn) inside the property, but the one you screw together and put on the stove), 2 toasters, 1 DVD-player, air conditioning and fans in all bedrooms, 2 kitchen stoves, 2 electric kettles, hair dryer in each bathroom, 1 regular fan assisted oven (in the larger house), 2 washing machines....Read more
A wonderful house in a beautiful area; very calm and relaxing.
Left on 08/09/2010 for a stay in July 2010 | Stephan
Federica, the owner of Olivella, is a very nice and friendly person. The house is beautiful and they take care for the pool as much as possible. The right place to relax and to enjoy this part of tuscanny. Giovanni d`Asso is very small, only few shops and only one good restaurant. We alwalys had to drive for al least 30 min to reach something. We only would recommend to enlarge the numbers of plates, cups, glasses and kitchenstuff. And the beds could be a little more comfortable.
Left on 06/17/2010 for a stay in July 2008 | A FlipKey verified reviewer
Two grandparent and two young families - 5 children under 7.Quite a long drive from Pisa airport and arriving late found difficulties with road sining. Olivella villas tiny notice. Accommodation was perfect for two families because no matter how well you get on, it was lovely to have your own space. We all mucked in together anyway! Down side was lack of fans for airconditioning as bedrooms were small and very hot forchildren especially. Very clean and pool area very well maintained but they were very reluctant to give us lilos for the chairs which was very annoying as they were necessary andmost uncomfortable without. Even though we arrived later than expected due to road signing the pre arranged supper was most disappointing and very expensive. A great pity as we really looked forward to having most of the catering done for us. In the event we did not use this service again.
Despite the drive, it was a prefect and very peaceful location and we all said it was the best holiday ever. and with the above provisos, I would recommend it to anyone
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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