Charming one-bedroom property with mountains and river on its doorstep
La Stalla at Villa Bonicelli is a recently renovated barn conversion that sleeps 2-3 people in style. It is situated in Villa Bonicelli, a picturesque and peaceful hamlet in the heart of the Appennini mountains of Emilia Romagna. The property is well equipped, comfortably furnished and boasts absolutely stunning views of the mountains and the river Dolo. It's an ideal spot for couples looking for a romantic hideaway, but can also be rented in conjunction with L'Antico Palazzo, which is just next door and sleeps up to 12, and/or Casa Vigneto, a three-bedroom house also in Villa Bonicelli, just a few minutes' walk away, across a small vineyard.
The outdoor swimming pool, which has breathtaking views, is shared between three properties and is situated a few paces from La Stalla's front door.
Although a modern conversion, the barn retains much of its original charm, with exposed beams and stonework throughout. The open-plan ground floor has a sitting and dining area with wood pellet-burning stove, satellite television, DVD player and film library; a well-equipped kitchen corner with gas hob, fridge-freezer and washing machine; and a bathroom with charming small wooden bath tub imported from Thailand and separate shower cubicle.
Stairs lead up to a mezzanine floor, where you will find a spacious double bedroom with a cosy seating area and large picture windows (with remote-control-operated electronic blinds) that look out onto the beautiful mountain landscape. There is also a day bed that can be used as a single bed to sleep a third person, but please note that La Stalla is NOT suitable for children under the age of 5.
La Stalla has a private east-facing terrace that looks onto the Appennini mountains and the river Dolo. What better spot to enjoy an alfresco meal (there's a fantastic large stone/marble barbecue) or a glass of vino as the sun goes down?
Whether you're simply looking to relax and recharge your batteries, or whether you are looking for a more active holiday of outdoor pursuits and sight-seeing, our property will provide the perfect base for you to enjoy and explore this unspoilt corner of Italy.
Top Traveller Review
About the Owner
Guestbook comments from the manager
OMG! I have just got back from a week I'll remember forever. A friend recommended La Stalla to me, and I was not disappointed. This picture postcard pretty part of Italy is a real hidden jewel. I normally visit Tuscany, but this region of Italy is far less crowded with tourists than its neighbour, the food is out of this world, and the scenery stunning. We had planned to do loads of sightseeing, but La Stalla was so pretty, so relaxed, so unique, that most days we just hung out by the pool, tried our hand at some Italian cooking, or wandered around the countryside. The house itself has a very special feel. By the end of the first day, it felt like my own home! Whoever decorated the rooms, has that special skill of being able to match odd and quirky pieces of furniture and ornaments to create something very special. It might look casual, but you can tell that a lot of love and care has gone into finding all these treasures. I cannot say enough about this house. it was a very very special find, and I'll be going back next year for sure. Who needs Tuscany! PS. Don't forget to buy some Parmesan cheese from the nearby cheese maker.
4.4 based on 11 holidaymaker reviews
This is a beautiful property in the rolling hills of rural Emilia Romagna and a perfect location to unwind and relax. We loved exploring the little towns and villages nearby and also took the chance to visit Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia. The information pack provided with the property was exceptionally good with lots of practical advice eg which village has the best bakery, butcher etc. We also received this well in advance of our trip which really helped with our planning! We loved shopping in Quara and Toano and really enjoyed having to practice our Italian. The Enoteca in Cerredolo had an excellent choice of wines, both local and from other regions of Italy. It is possible to eat out in the evening but only if you're prepared to drive.
The property was very good indeed with nothing but praise for the week.
We had no complaint. The property was well decorated and furnished, everything worked, and we had a great week. It probably helped that all the other two properties were empty, but we had the pool to ourselves. With the other flats full the pool would have been very crowded. Apart from that possible problem this was a great week.
lovely place to stay in beautiful surroundings
We were delighted with La Stalla and found it to be every bit as good as the description. I suggest you ignore the comments from the 1 star review as we totally disagreed with them! The pool is perfect for swimming, the house was well equipped, very clean and comfortable. The details about places to eat, visit etc were very comprehensive and helpful and the welcome back much appreciated. One of the highlights was definitely the cooking with Gabriella!
Excellent retreat in Quara
Very nice barn conversion in a beautiful setting in the hills of Emilia Romagna. It's rural setting is it's charm. The house was well equipped and comfortable with a nice welcome basket of fresh vegetables , eggs, milk and wine there on our arrival.
Scheduled a cooking lesson with chef Gabriella at her restaurant which was a tremendous experience and one of the highlights of our trip. Made several types of pasta, tortoloni, lasagna, focaccia bread and a quick bruschetta. A fabulous dinner by the fireplace completed a great day. A must if you are staying here and have any interest in cooking.
There's an excellent Parmesan producer in Quara just a few minutes from the house. They were very friendly (spoke no english) and allowed us to look around and watch the cheese making. Bought plenty to take home and would strongly recommend stopping by to look, taste and purchase. Met some locals while there which led to a big party in Quara that day swapping stories with newly made friends over a great meal (with plenty of wine and grappa).
The walkway to the house is a bit steep and can be slick in the rain. The wifi worked best outside as the stone walls inhibit the reception inside. I had a few problems getting the pellet stove to work properly but eventually got it working. Better instructions seem to be in order here as none were provided.
In summary, we enjoyed our stay here and would recommend the property to anyone interested in the region and it's cuisine.
Excellent conversion and location
We had an excellent weeks break at a fantastic location, don’t think I’ve driven so much in 1st and 2nd gear!! The cooking course was excellent, just the two of us, with enough food to feed an army. We haven’t tried making pasta since we’ve been home, but have successfully converted to the Ragu sauce with great reviews form the family. You’ve done a great job with the conversion, it was ideal for the two of us to chill out – managed my quota of reading two books per year in the week. We spend the first part of the holiday in Bologna, then to Milan for the Grand Prix, therefore a great retreat from the high octane of city life. Overall the conversion is better in reality than described on the web site.
Furniture should be in a skip
We agree that the barn conversion was of a high standard, the views were impressive and the property was clean, but our praise ends there. The impression is that money was spent on the actual conversion and the barn was then filled with the cheapest furniture available.
Having stayed in other self catering accommodation in Italy (both in Tuscany), this was by far the poorest. The upstairs furniture was a joke - there is a difference between rustic and rubbish. No wardrobe, but a coat stand with hangers, a dilapidated chest of drawers with dubious liners and bolts sticking through to the inside. The junk shop owner must have been delighted to have managed to get rid of it.
Ironically we were required to pay a substantial security deposit to cover any damage - the only way we could do so much damage would be to burn the barn down!
We're not quite sure what colour the towels were meant to be, but you could see daylight through them. Make sure you bring your beach towels, you will need them.
The garden at the patio was completely overgrown, the loungers were filthy, the upstairs windows were filthy and the cooker hood didn't work.
Beware of camera angles, as the pool is nowhere as big as it looks in the photograph. In any case, we didn't use the pool as it was full of debris.
This property was so far below our expectations that we only stayed for two nights and then moved to a hotel in Parma.
A final word of warning, the restaurant guide provided is not very helpful, particularly if you are not going there in the height of the season. We went in September and really struggled to find a restaurant that was open, despite what the guide said.
Activity and Interests
In the immediate vicinity the river Dolo, which is in places deep enough to bathe, is on your doorstep and there are some spectacular walks that can be enjoyed directly from your front door. There's also a wealth of wildlife to observe – sharp-eyed guests might spot woodpeckers in the forest, deer in the fields and birds of prey circling over the mountains.
This area is extremely popular with walkers, cyclists and bikers than to the stunning mountainous scenery. There are marked walking routes that can be picked up from Villa Bonicelli, from the river or from the nearby hamlet of Castagnola, including one that takes you across a rope bridge (see photo). There is also an excellent Via Ferrata that enables less experienced climbers to access some of the more dramatic routes usually only accessible to the expert mountaineer! About 30 min away is the Pietra di Bismantova, a magnificent sandstone plateau over 1,000m high. It is a climbers' paradise, with about fifty routes and climbing variants. Guided treks, half-day climbing lessons etc at Bismantova can be arranged – please contact us for more information. The Parco del Gigante, one of the largest parks in Emilia, is great for walking and horseriding.
The area has many restaurants and pizzerias that offer great value for money, including one approx 10 mins' drive away in Farneta. It is a friendly family-run restaurant with a lovely terrace on which to enjoy your meal. We have a partnership with this restaurant and can offer tailor-made cooking courses there on request (advance booking essential). It's a fantastic experience that comes highly recommended - our guests have said that it was a highlight of their holiday. For an alternative foodie experience, look no further than our local Parmesan producer in Quara to learn all about - and taste - the best Parmesan around! Get there early for a tour of the dairy and to see the artisans at work.
Throughout summer and autumn there are 'feste' being held most weekends in one or other of the local villages, with the focus of the celebrations ranging from wine and beer to chestnuts, mushrooms and truffles – not to mention various obscure saints!
The nearby town of Toano (approx 7km) has a good selection of bars, pizzerie, shops etc and is also home to one of the best preserved Roman churches in the Apennines. It also has a lovely outdoor swimming pool, which is open during the school holidays (early June to early September).
Emilia Romagna is one of Italy's most prosperous regions and is famed for its culinary delights, making it an ideal destination for food lovers. Among other things, it is home to fresh filled pasta (tortellini, tortelloni...), ragù sauce, Parma ham, Parmesan cheese and traditional balsamic vinegar as well as Lambrusco, which is a light and very drinkable sparkling red.
'La Stalla' is very well placed for a day trip to any of the four main cities in Emilia Romagna, all of which are worth a visit. The ancient Roman town of Reggio Emilia is 50km away. Modena (60km) is a thriving city whose Duomo is considered one of the greatest examples of European Romanesque architecture and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parma, one of the most affluent towns in Italy, is 70km away. Bologna (c.100km), the region's capital city, is a real delight, with its characteristic red-brick buildings and its over 40km of covered porticos (useful in bad weather). It is also home to the oldest university in Europe, founded in 1088, earning it one of its nicknames, La Dotta (The Learned). Also known as La Grassa (The Fat), Bologna takes its food very seriously; in fact, it is considered by many to be the food capital of Italy.
This area is a car and motorbike enthusiast's dream come true - Lamborghini (Dosso, nr Ferrara), Ferrari (Maranello), Maserati and Ducati (near Bologna) all have their factories and museums in the region.
For day-trips slightly further afield, a day at the seaside can be enjoyed at La Spezia or Lerici, about two hours away – and don't miss the Cinque Terre, five beautiful cliff-top villages dotted along the rugged Ligurian coastline that can only be reached by foot or by train. They're charming and surprisingly unspoilt, thanks to their UNESCO status. Alternatively, head to the Adriatic coast to the legendary resort of Rimini, with its 15km of sandy beaches (2.5hrs approx).
For those looking for a winter break, there are several excellent ski resorts – Cerreto Laghi, Cimone/Sestola and Abetone – that can be reached from Villa Bonicelli in little over an hour, depending of course on driving conditions. Contact us for more details.
Golf: There are several good golf courses within an hour's drive of the house, including the 18-hole San Valentino Golf Club in Castellarano (approx 45 min), which is surrounded by over 130 hectares of woodland and green pastures and boasts four lakes; and the Matilde di Canossa golf club near the town of Reggio Emilia.
|Rental Period||Minimum Price||Additional Nights||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly||Event Price|
19 Dec 2016 - 2 Jan 2017
4 night minimum stay
for 4 nights
1 Jul 2017 - 9 Sep 2017
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
10 Sep 2017 - 30 Sep 2017
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
My Standard Rate
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
Additional pricing information
|Fees||No additional mandatory fees|
|Refundable Damage Deposit||£250|
We request a fully refundable damage deposit of €300, to be paid in cash on arrival at the property. Bookings during peak season are usually Sat-Sat but other arrival dates will be accommodated where possible.
Our property manager will be there to welcome you on your arrival to help you get the most out of your stay. There is also a comprehensive guide to the area at www.coolretreats.com.
Manager's Cancellation Policy
- Available arrival
- Away From It All
- Sports & Activities
- Tourist Attractions
- Hair Dryer
- Heating ...
- Internet ...
- Iron & Board
- Linens Provided ...
- Living Room ...
- Parking ...
- Towels Provided ...
- Washing Machine ...
- Wood Stove ...
- Coffee Maker ...
- Dishes & Utensils ...
- Kitchen ...
- Oven ...
- Pantry Items ...
- Refrigerator ...
- Hob ...
- Dining ...
- Dining Area
- Books ...
- DVD Player
- Television ...
- Video Library ...
Pool / Spa
- Communal Pool ...
- Events Allowed
- Long-term Renters Welcome
- non smoking only ...
- not suitable for children ...
- pets not allowed
- wheelchair inaccessible ...
- autumn foliage
- bird watching
- horse riding
- scenic drives
- sight seeing
Local Services & Businesses
- massage therapist
- medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities
- mountain biking
- mountain climbing
- 60 m²
- Bathroom (ground floor) - Toilet, Bath (no shower), Shower Enclosure
- The bathroom, which is located on the ground floor, has a charming small wooden bath tub imported from Thailand and a separate shower cubicle.
- 1 Bedroom, Sleeps 3
- Bedroom - 1 Large Double Bed, 1 Single Bed, The barn is only suitable for children over the age of 5.
- The spacious double bedroom is upstairs, on the mezzanine floor. It has a cosy seating area with television, and large picture windows (with remote-control-operated electronic blinds) that look out onto the beautiful mountain landscape. There is also a day bed that can be used as a single bed to sleep a third person, but please note that the barn is NOT suitable for young children (under the age of approx 5) due to the open staircase and mezzanine floor.
- Terrace ...
- Barbecue ...
Learn more about this holiday rental at the owner's website
- Our property manager will be there to welcome you on your arrival and to answer any questions you might have about the house and the area. You will also be provided with a comprehensive guide to the area before your stay, so that you can plan any day trips etc you might wish to make. If you would like any help putting together a customised itinerary that will make the most of your stay, don't hesitate to contact her. She can also help with any bookings you wish to make and can offer babysitting services (please book in advance to avoid disappointment).