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Historic hillside cottage in Tuscan Appennines



Updated: 12-Apr-2016
3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, sleeps up to 9 plus cot

Beautiful, historic hillside cottage in a tiny, peaceful hamlet in the Appenines between Bologna and Florence. This rustic, C16th stone house has chestnut-wood floors and ceilings, antique furniture, open fireplace, bedrooms with views and wood store. It has a patio, two terraced gardens, a tiny orchard and is surrounded by chestnut woodland, all with mountain views.

The house is in an idyllic mountain setting away from tourism. The hamlet and its traditional way of life has been unchanged for hundreds of years. It is within 10 mins of village shops and a train station and is within easy reach of Pisa, Lucca, Florence and Bologna (all 1hr or less), and 25kms from Pistoia. It is ideal for people with a spirit of adventure who want to experience an authentic glimpse of rural Italy in one of the last corners of Tuscany/Emilia still untouched by tourism. The small road leading to the house from the main road is a steep drive (about 1km). The property is a home, not hotel. It is quirky.

Ski, walking, hiking: There are 3 ski resorts close to the house. Abetone, 30 kms away, is the best in the Appenines with stunning views of Emila and Tuscany. It has an extensive network of slopes mainly for intermediate level skiers. Closer but smaller are Lizzano in Belvedere and Corno alle Scale, both approx. 30-mins drive. Specials deals are available on ski passes. For info, call (0039) (0)534 51052. Some ski equipment (salopettes etc.) is available at the house and can be borrowed with the owner's agreement.

The Appennines have an excellent network of marked trails and mountain refuges organised by the Italian Alpine Club which has a main branch in Bologna (0039) 051 234 856. A recognised national footpath passes by the house and takes walkers to as high as 1441m to mountain ridges offering stunning panoramic views of the Appenines, Emilia and Tuscany. From one local peak, visitors can see both coasts of Italy and as far as Mont Blanc!

Food and drink: Emilia Romagna is Italy's finest culinary region, home of balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese and parma ham and Tuscany is renown for its fantastic wine, making this house perfectly placed for foodies. Maresca, 20 mins away, has a top-class restaurant listed in Italian best-food guides, which serves seasonal, delicious and very reasonable local food and wine. Carmignano, less than 30 mins from the house, is known for wines that marry Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Cabernet grapes (as well as local olive oil and grappa) and wine tasting are available in lots of local vineyards. Excellent wine can also be found in all local enoteche (specialist wine bars). Because of the area's superb culinary traditions, there are a profusion of food festivals (sagre) all year round, ranging from chestnut sagre to the famous white truffle sagre, held in Marradi, about 1hr from the house, in Autumn. In the summer local sagre in near-by villages include polenta, wild boar, venison and ravioli.

Festivals and markets: The area is home to many music festivals in the summer, including Italy's best blues and jazz festivals. Pistoia holds the world famous Pistoia Blues festival every July, as well as the Giostra dell Orto, a jousting medieval processing also held in the Summer. Porretta holds the Porretta Jazz festivals each summer, with past guests including the likes of Buddy Guy.

Many local towns also throw medieval parties in the summer - joisting, parades, processions - and Prato has an annual national Comic Book Conference in the spring and Prato Estate (July/August) is a living arts festival including open-air theatre, concerts and films held each year.

Nearby San Miniato is home to antique and craft festivals on the third and first Sundays of every month. An antique market, often including a stall selling only fascist memorabilia to the strains of military music, as well as antiques and paintings, is held every Sunday in Pracchia's town square (15-minute drive).

Wild swimming: there are a profusion of wild swimming options close to the house, including streams, waterfalls and plunge pools in the woods surrounding the house and, five minutes' away, a large river (Reno) with small peddly beaches along its shores. A lake half an hour away has small beaches, pedalos, cafes and sail boats for hire.

More Details
  • Sleeps 9
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Parking
  • Garden
  • Barbecue
  • Pets considered
  • Internet
  • Washing machine
  • Towels provided
  • Linens provided
  • Accept Credit Cards

Top Traveller Review

About the Owner

I lived in Emilia Romagna after leaving school and then again while studying Italian at university. I have 3 children who love the house and the surrounding woods. There are fairies there, as they will tell you!

Call Owner
Speaks English, French, Italian, Greek

Guestbook comments from the owner

'A very special and memorable two weeks. The house aspect, the surroundings and wonderful hospitality of the village people made us truly relax and feel special. One of the best holidays we've ever had. I would warmly recommend the house to anyone. Many sincere thanks'. Tracey McCarthy, New Zealand, Aug 2003. (Tracey' s 3-year old daughter made firm friends with many of the village children).

'Una vera casa delle fate' (a real fairy-tale house), Fabrizio Stocchi, Italy, Oct 2002.

'Great house, fantastic views, beautiful weather', Robin Frances, England, May 2003.

'Complete peace and tranquillity, perfect for recharging the batteries', Andreas Arvanitakis, Greece, April 2003.

'Most relaxing and enjoyable stay, thanks'. Neil Birney, Scotland, April 2003.

'A wonderful time, relaxing peaceful setting, many thanks', Stella Sheehan, Ireland, June 2003 (honeymooning with her new husband!).

'Great Christmas and New Year', Greg Moore, England, 2002-
Nov 2007
  • 1 of 1

3 Reviews

based on 3 holidaymaker reviews


Beautifully peaceful

  • 4 of 5

Absolutely delightful. This is the second time we've been, returning this year with more people, including 10-and 12-year-olds who were in heaven, able to clamber freely through the woods. Whenever I'm stressed now I imagine myself back on the terrace listening to the sound of the breeze in the treetops.

The fact that the railway line is almost back in full working order is a big plus.

  • Review Submitted: Sep 16, 2015
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2015
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: It's so lovely to know that our special place is special for other families too and we look forward to welcoming you all back again soon.
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0 0

Bello, bello, bello!

  • 5 of 5

Torniamo ogni anno, più o meno per una settimana, in questa casetta che sembra uscire direttamente dal mondo delle fiabe. Il borgo è bellissimo, caratteristico, con tutte queste abitazioni in pietra e un panorama da spezzare il fiato. La casa è accogliente, non così grande ma ha tutto quello di cui si può aver bisogno: tre camere, un bagno, una cucina, un salottino ed un bagno ed è veramente tenuta benissimo...è riuscita subito a conquistarci e ogni anno ci torniamo con gioia!

Il posto è perfetto per rilassarsi, passare un po' di giorni "fuori dal mondo", senza traffico, senza confusione... ed è adatto a tutti: per una settimana tra amici o in famiglia!

La signora che gestisce la casa, Candida è veramente gentile e disponibile e offre tutte le informazioni cui si può aver bisogno!

Raccomandato altamente, noi già non vediamo l'ora di tornarci.. e ormai manca poco!

  • Review Submitted: Nov 13, 2013
  • Date of Stay: Dec 2012
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Silvia and her group of friends visit every new year and have done so for years. I offer a 10% discount for returning guests. It's wonderful to know that Italians find the house an enchanting as us foreigners!
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1 1

Welcoming and peaceful

  • 5 of 5

We had a fantastic time here - eating dinner in the garden under the stars, wandering around the pretty little village, learning about the rich partisan history of the area from locals in the know. The owners gave us a detailed description of the route and it wasn't hard to find. The property was clean and well-maintained. The house feels cosy and welcoming and the views are gorgeous (and there’s an amazing new treehouse in the garden). There's a beautiful man-made lake a 20-minute drive away – perfect for a day out with the kids. Some excellent local restaurants are also easily accessible by car. Not to mention the fabulous local produce and the thermal baths found in nearby Porretta di Terme. The charming medieval town of Lucca is a 30-min drive across the Tuscan border. If you're looking for a tranquil hideaway far from the madd(en)ing crowds, Casa Castagna is for you. We had never been to this region before but will definitely be back. I feel very grateful to the owner for showing us the unique corner of Italy.

  • Review Submitted: Nov 8, 2013
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2013
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: I'm so glad those who stay at Casa Castagna are so positive about the house. it is our second home and we love it too! The tree house is almost finished (just needs a ladder) and then the kids will have even more reason to explore the woods, leaving the grown-ups to enjoy the views..
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From the Owner

I have travelled every region of Italy but always come back to Emilia Romagna for its wonderful food, warm and welcoming people, history and lack of tourists. For me it is the epitome of everything I love about Italy. This house is in a small village where the partisans hid out. The views are stunning, the night skies are filled with stars and the screeching of owls and a stay there is pure medicine for the soul.

Activity and Interests

Nearest Airport : Bologna at 65 Kilometres Nearest Barpub : Orsignia at 5 Kilometres Nearest Ferry : Livorno at 80 Kilometres Nearest Train : Biagioni at 1 Kilometres Nearest Motorway : Pistoia at 25 Kilometres Nearest Restaurant : Orsignia at 5 Kilometres Nearest Ski : Corno alle Scale at 40 Kilometres Nearest Beach : Lido di Camaiore at 120 Kilometres Car: recommended

Perfect for visiting Tuscany or Emilia, the house is in a quiet mountain hamlet on the Emilia/Tuscany border, 1hr or less from Florence, Bologna, Lucca and Pisa. The house is surrounded by a large private woodland and is ideal for adventurous people who want to walk, explore, build log fires in the evening and hear very little other than bird song, woodpeckers, owls and the odd wild boar. It is an ideal location for mountain walking and for wild swimming in lakes, streams, rivers and numerous waterfalls. The woods have many attractions including a tree house with a view and an abandoned village. Great for adventurous children! It is perfect for foragers on the hunt for porcini and chestnuts or for flora and fauna enthusiasts. The stars at night are brilliantly bright.

The nearest airports are Florence, Bologna and Pisa, all roughly 1hr away, (Bologna Forli 2hrs). The quiet spa town of Porretta Terme, with restaurants bars and a health complex, is 20 mins away. Less than 5kms from the house are local shops, a train station and several pretty Tuscan villages with banks, small hotels, restaurants, bars etc. It is a comfortable family home and not for those looking for hotel-standard luxury. The 1km road to the house from the main road up the mountain is steep.

Other Activities: Health and beauty centre at spa town Porretta Terme, large lake with beaches, cafes, pedalos and boat hire, excellent local restaurants, sightseeing and skiing (winter only!)


Rental rates

Convert Currency
Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event Price
mid season
4 Sep 2016 - 29 Oct 2016
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
low season
1 Nov 2016 - 18 Dec 2016
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 £150

Weekend breaks are subject to availability at a daily rate of £100, £90 or £80 (high season, mid season and low season).
We will try to accommodate you however long or short your stay.
A returnable deposit may be requested. Prices include fresh towels and linen, all bills, firewood.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

100% refund for cancellations more than 30 days before check-in date.
Enter dates for accurate pricing
Total amount
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Updated: 12-Apr-2016
Available arrival
This property calendar has not been updated in the last 60 days. Contact the owner for latest availability.


From the Owner

utter peace and quiet. Not a tourist in sight. Excellent wild swimming in nearby lakes, rivers and waterfalls, fantastic foraging opportunities.

Property Type

  • cottage


  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Budget
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities


  • Fireplace ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Sofa Bed
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wood Stove ...


  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Freezer
  • Grill
  • Kitchen ...
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • Hob


  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area


  • Audio Tape Player
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player ...
  • Games
  • Music Library
  • Radio
  • Stereo
  • Toys ...


  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only
  • pets considered
  • not suitable for elderly or infirm
  • wheelchair inaccessible

Location Type

  • mountain
  • rural
  • village


  • autumn foliage
  • churches
  • festivals
  • forests
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • waterfalls

Leisure Activities

  • bird watching
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking

Local Services & Businesses

  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • medical services

Sports & Adventure Activities

  • cycling
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • ski
  • swimming

Floor Area

  • 120 m²


  • Bathroom - Toilet, Shower Enclosure, Bidet, washing machine
  • The large bathroom is new and has an excellent shower, basin, toilet, bidet and washing machine


  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 9
  • Bedroom - 1 Large Double Bed, 1 Cot
  • Bedroom - 1 Large Double Bed
  • Bedroom - 3 Single Bed
  • Bedroom 4/lounge - 1 Sofa bed/Futon, a double sofa bed sleeping 2 can be opened in the lounge
  • 2 doubles, 2 bunk beds, 1 single, 1 cot


  • Boat ...
  • Terrace ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Garden ...
  • Barbecue ...
  • Veranda ...
  • Ski & Snowboard ...
  • Terrace
  • 6 garden chairs


  • Self-catering


  • The lounge has children’s toys and a variety of games (monopoly, cards..). The kitchen retains its original stone stove (plus modern one!) and open fire. Two bedrooms have mountain views, wooden shutters and antique furniture. The bathroom is new. Outside, visitors are encouraged to pick the fruit from the orchard and to hang hammocks (3 provided). There are terraced gardens and a chestnut wood where children can play and no traffic, making the hamlet safe. The villagers (rarely more than 10) meet some nights in the summer in the hamlet's tiny square. The woodland is reknown for mushrooms, (porcini and truffles), and chestnuts and is home to deer, wild boar, eagles and other fauna. There is a tree house and swing. There are stunning mountain walks leaving from outside the front door, one of which leads to an abandoned village 1km up the mountain. It is not for the faint-hearted. A near-by lake (20 min drive) has beaches, picnic areas and pedalos. Washing machine available on request

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