Casa Anna is a converted cottage above the tiny hamlet of Sant'Anna di Stazzema, high in the Apuan Alps of Tuscany and above the coastline of Viareggio. Set at the end of a terrace of 4 houses, all unused at present, it has a terraced garden with a Jacuzzi, and a covered pergola with lovely views of the surrounding hills. The small village of S.Anna is a brief walk away and has a tiny cafe/restaurant with a few simple supplies too. The owners have carefully converted and modernised their family retreat to make an excellent base for a holiday in these fascinating mountains.
Approached up a steep drive, the house is terraced into the hillside: one can enter through the lower door to the sitting room, or more naturally from the covered terrace a floor higher, which leads into a kitchen/ dining room. The kitchen is well equipped, with a beautiful marble sink, as well as a dishwasher and a microwave oven. Most of the living will be done here, and on the magnificent covered terrace just outside, with its built in barbecue, comfortable chairs and beautiful views.
From the kitchen/dining room steep stairs lead up to a double bedroom with beautiful views over the local valley, and a smaller bedroom with bunk beds at the back of the building. There is also a shower room on this floor.
Back down the stairs, a further flight leads down to a comfortable sitting room, with sofas surrounding a central coffee table. This room also has a sofa that can easily become a double bed. This allows the house to be used by 2 couples, or by a family where each child wants their own room. The house could also accommodate 6 people if you wished. On this floor there is also a second shower-room, an a door that leads outside. The garden is to the left of the house, terraced cleverly into the hillside. The Jacussi is on the highest level, gazing out over the valley from its private position. Lower down further lawns give spaces to lie in the sun.
The Apuan alps are a great undiscovered playground of walks, climbs, restaurants, and historical villages. Reaching as high as 1700 metres (over 5500 feet) these are the mountains from which Michelangelo had carved the marble for the David, astoundingly white and still highly prized. The quarries may still be visited, and nearby Pietrasanta is a centre for sculptors, with a lively programme of exhibitions throughout the year. For a more lively experience, Versilia has been the Florentines coast playground for years, and has miles of beaches, lined with trendy bars, fine restaurants and discotheques. Lucca and Pisa are also under an hour away, with architectural and artistic delights. In Pisa, The Campo dei Miracoli houses the famous leaning tower also has a XI century Basilica, built with money the Pisans gained after a victorious expedition against the hideout of the Arab pirates of Palermo. Look carefully at the white marble walls and you can find old Roman inscriptions, where the medieval builders re-used old plaques and inscriptions as building material. In the nearby Baptistery clapping your hands will bring out the "devil's laughter", a strange sound that echoes round the chamber. Lucca is an antique lovers paradise, with regular markets and many shops. The Church of San Michele is also a delight, with rising ranges of differing columns supporting the facade. For opera lovers the famous Festival Puccini runs from June to September, with performances at Puccini's own house and in the open air on the lakeside of Torre del Lago. For a spectacular taste of the religious traditions that underlie Italian culture there is the Triennale di Gesu' Morto a Camaiore every third Easter,where the illumination of the whole town, with traditional lanterns made from glasses filled with olive oil, is atmospheric beyond description. This is not limited to just the centre of the town, but extends onto the surrounding hills which, lit by thousands of flickering lights, adds hugely to the atmosphere during this celebration. Every June on the occasion of Corpus Domini, Camaiore continues the picturesque tradition of lining its streets with rich carpets (known as tappeti di segatura) made of flower petals and coloured sawdust. These are laid down by local men and boys throughout night before the celebration. On Sunday morning a chanting procession, led by the priest and followed by the small children who have recently taken their communion, passes over the carpets destroying them and leaving the streets behind them filled with the smell of incense. And, after all these excursions, slipping into the warm Jacuzzi with a glass of Champagne to watch the sunset will set the world to rights....Read more
Left on 08/08/2012 for a stay in July 2012 | A FlipKey verified reviewer
We recently spent the most amazing week vacationing at Casa anna. From the moment we got there, we were greeted by the property owners anna and Francesco as well as caretaker Sarah, waiting for us with a fresh baked apple cake, chocolate muffins, a bowl of fresh fruit, a bottle of wine, homemade jams and the biggest welcoming smiles.
It is a stunning location, nestled up in the mountain, where you get true calm and quiet, the silence only broken by the cicadas or bird songs.
The house itself is a pure gem, very abundantly furnished with all the essentials, from linens to towels and a fully equipped kitchen, dishwasher and washing machine.
Satellite TV is available, and the flat screen TV and stereo system were brand new . It is beautifully decorated, with minute attention to details. Every piece of furniture has been selected with great care and excellent taste. There is always a nice breeze and the air is cooler than the shore where it gets very hot in the summer. The outdoors are just as lovely as the house, with tons of colorful flowers, a large terrace with a jacuzzi, and a coverd patio with a dining table where we had our candlelit dinners.
It is a great location to visit nearby Pisa and Lucca, as well as the beach at Lido di Camaiore which is second to none. The only regret we have is not staying an extra week to enjoy the house and gardens as we often spent the day away at the beach or nearby medieval cities.
Casa anna is truly a hidden gem, the kind that one would wish to keep secret for themselves, but deserving a lot more recognition.
A truly remarkable hidden getaway for a romantic stay or an amazing family vacation, where you would think time has stopped were it not for the gentle church bells regularly reminding it has not.
We really hope to return, and soon.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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