VILLA LA QUERCIA
Citr code: 045004LTN0008
Bedrooms 6, Bathrooms 6
Reusa, Casola in Lunigiana – Tuscany, Italy
The region of Lunigiana, in northern Tuscany, is a land of ancient castles, chestnut-wooded hillsides, and tumbling rivers, protected by a ring of mountains — the Apennines to the north, and the Apuan Alps to the south. It is a place where timeless country traditions and seasonal farming cycles still govern the pace of life, and the region remains mostly untouched by our modern age. Here you will experience the tranquility and peace of the countryside, with only the sound of church bells to break the silence.
Villa La Quercia is three levels listed historic villa dating from the 1500s, but with earlier (Roman) foundations. The villa is spacious and comfortable and was designed as the owners’ second home with renovations and furnishings of the highest quality. The villa has five bedrooms/bathrooms, with an adjacent converted barn adding a sixth bedroom, accommodating up to twelve guests in all. In traditional Tuscan style, the two main floors of the villa are connected by an outdoor staircase, creating two separate living quarters, perfect for two families or groups of friends who wish to share the villa. Smaller groups may rent the villa in May and September as a private two-bedroom villa.
The terraced gardens and stone courtyards provide many enchanting areas to enjoy morning breakfast or lunch al Aperto, evening cocktails by the pool, or a barbecue under the vine-covered arbor. There are many sunbathing areas and shady nooks for quiet contemplation on the various levels and terraces. The pool is accessed by two flights of steps that wind through the olive grove and terraces planted with lavender and rosemary. Beyond the pool terrace is a meadow and a chestnut wood with a stream running through it, delightful for kids to explore, and old mule paths that lead up to alpine meadows and down to nearby villages for those who are more adventurous.
The villa has spectacular views across chestnut-wooded valleys and hillsides to the mountain peaks of the Apuan Alps National Park. It is located 50 miles north of Lucca and is just a 50-minute drive from the coastal villages and famed seafood restaurants of the Italian Riviera and the Cinque Terre.
The villa has six bedrooms and six bathrooms in all, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the top floor, three on the two lower floors, and one-bedroom/bathroom in an adjacent converted barn. In traditional Tuscan style, the two main floors of the villa are connected by an outdoor staircase, creating two separate living quarters, perfect for families or friends who wish to share the villa. The top floor has a fully-equipped kitchen and separate dining room, while the middle floor has a smaller kitchen and a dining area as part of the living room. The house is furnished with Italian, French, and English antiques, original oil paintings, and oriental rugs, including some brought back from a trip to Morocco, and with quality linens and soft furnishings mostly imported from the USA.
Smaller groups may rent the property in May and September as a two-bedroom private villa for 2 to 6 people—perfect for small families, honeymooners, or a couple looking for a peaceful and romantic getaway.
The top floor is very spacious and features a large living room with a high beamed ceiling, traditional stone fireplace, dining room, kitchen, and two bedrooms with private bathrooms.
The spacious living room has seating that includes a sofa (seats 3), 2 armchairs, and several occasional chairs and stools to accommodate 10 to 12 people. There is a TV with Sky channels, a DVD player with a large collection of DVDs, and a small library of books about Italy.
The dining room has a floor of antique terra-cotta tiles salvaged from the old house, and a ceiling custom-built from chestnut beams to match the original. The antique Italian library table seats eight to ten, and a hatch through to the kitchen gives the room a sense of space.
The kitchen was built by a local craftsman out of chestnut wood and has a floor of antique terra-cotta tiles. There is a five-burner stove with a rotisserie oven, a large fridge with freezer, dishwasher, and espresso maker with a complimentary starter box of coffee.
The cantina holds several demi-johns of our neighbor’s homemade wine and guests are invited to fill up their wine bottles any time they wish at no cost—drink up and enjoy!
BEDROOM & BATHROOM
Bedroom 1: Two French double beds, 4′ 3″ x 6′ 3″
The Zanzibar Suite (14′ x 21″) features a pair of canopied antique beds carved from rosewood and mahogany and inset with painted glass hearts imported from Zanzibar especially for this room (size: French double.) Two sets of French doors look out over spectacular views of the mountains. The en-suite bathroom has a combination bathtub with shower, sink, and wc, and underfloor heating.
Bedroom 2: Two single beds that can make a king
The Portovenere Suite (17’x15′ including bathroom) is situated in what was a separate cottage now attached to the main house. It has two single beds which can be made up of a queen-sized bed. French windows look out onto the village (northeast) side of the villa. The en-suite bathroom has a shower, sink, and WC.
Both bedrooms on the top floor have air conditioning and window screens, and both bathrooms have underfloor heating to warm up the floor tiles in cooler weather.
Bedroom 6: King bed size
Il Micino is a renovated chestnut drying house situated right next to the main floor of the house. It is a sweet little house with a high, beamed ceiling and consists of a spacious bedroom and en suite bathroom with a shower. It has a queen-sized bed with a Tempurpedic mattress, air conditioning, and French doors leading out to the stone courtyard (see photo to the right). Il Micino means “kitten” and is named after our beloved cat Kaki who loved to hang out in this barn before it was renovated.
These two floors of the villa comprise three bedrooms plus a kitchen and living room with a dining area.
Bedroom 3: King bed (US Queen) imported from the USA
The Venetian Suite (14′ x 21′) is a beautifully-proportioned room with two French windows affording spectacular views of the mountains. The room is decorated in Italian and French antiques, creating a romantic atmosphere reminiscent of a more elegant period. The pillow-top queen-sized bed was imported from the US, and traditional chestnut flooring guards against the cold-toes syndrome when your feet touch the floor first thing in the morning. A staircase within the bedroom leads down to a vestibule with French doors that open out onto a private terrace with incredible views, and the adjacent luxury bathroom has a Jacuzzi-type bathtub and separate jet-spray shower (bathroom size 8′ x 10′).
Bedroom 4: Two single beds that can make a King
The Rafaello Suite (12′ x 15′, bathroom 8′ x 10′) is a charming room with twin beds that can be made up as a queen. The en-suite bathroom has a tub/shower. All the windows have lovely views of the mountains and the church next door, which is lit up at night.
Bedroom 5: Two singles that can make a king (US Queen size)
The Leonardo Suite (10′ x 11′, bathroom 5′ x 7′) is a cozy room with twin beds that can be made up as a queen; the adjoining bathroom has a shower.
The kitchen on the middle floor is fully-equipped with a stovetop, oven, dishwasher, and large refrigerator. The adjoining living room/dining area has 2 two-seater sofas and a dining table and chairs for 6 people.
Bathroom 1: Toilet, combination tub/shower (Zanzibar bathroom has tub with shower, toilet, and vanity)
Bathroom 2: Toilet, shower (Portovenere bathroom has a shower stall and toilet)
Bathroom 3: Toilet, tub, shower, jetted tub (The spacious Venetian spa bathroom has a jacuzzi tub)
Bathroom 4: Toilet, combination tub/shower (The Raffaello bathroom has a bathtub with shower)
Bathroom 5: Toilet, shower (The Leonardo room bathroom has a shower stall and toiled)
Bathroom 6: Toilet, shower (Il Mancino bathroom has a shower stall and toilet)
Pool & Grounds
The private hillside terraces and olive groves of Villa la Quercia total about three acres and face the south/southwest, with stunning views over the valley to the verdant foothills of the Apuan Alps. On the other side of these mountains are the historic towns of Carrara and Pietrasanta, where Michelangelo quarried his favored pure white marble, and where famed sculptor Fernando Botero now resides.
In front of the house are a large stone courtyard providing ample space for sunbathing, a patio for breakfast and morning coffee, and a dining terrace with a covered arbor and barbecue. The swimming pool is located on a terrace further down the hillside and is accessed by two flights of steps. The pool size is 3.5m x 7m, and pool towels are provided. There is plenty of outdoor lounging furniture around the pool, and also an arbor for shade. The various terraces also provide many private nooks for sunbathing and quiet contemplation. The terraces and pool area are planted with lavender and rosemary, wisteria and jasmine, oleander, and bougainvillea. The property continues down the hillside, across the meadow, and into the woods beyond to a little stream, should guests wish to go exploring. Deer and wild boar are often seen in this area.
The grounds and pool area can be lit up at night if you wish to have dinner or cocktails on any of the patios or around the pool
Pool / Spa
The Surrounding Area
The villa is situated in the midst of the verdant countryside, yet it is only about 50 minutes from the beautiful Mediterranean towns of Lerici and Portovenere, renowned for their waterfront seafood restaurants. Boats leave from both these ports for trips to the picturesque fishing villages of the Cinque Terre, and to Portofino. Locally, there is a multitude of ancient towns and villages to explore, each with its personality, and often with a country restaurant or bar for a welcome pit-stop. The Mediterranean beaches of the Versilia coast are about an hour away, and provide a typically Italian seaside experience, with beach clubs, sun umbrellas, and beachfront bars and restaurants.
Shops & Services
Reusa is close to essential services; it is just five minutes from the town of Casola, which has a cafe, restaurant, bank, post office, chemist, and several grocery stores; 17 mins from the picturesque market town of Fivizzano; and 30 minutes from Aulla, with railway station, major shops, cinema, supermarkets (Conad), and the Autostrada to La Spezia/Parma/Genoa/Livorno/Firenze.
Shops usually close from about 12:30 or 1:00 to 3:00 or 3:30, but the Conad supermarkets in Aulla are open all day. There is also a small supermarket in Pallerone, about 20 minutes, and a new one has recently opened in the center of Fivizzano.
TUESDAY – Fivizzano (mornings until 12:30 in the Piazza di Medicea)
THURSDAY – Sarzana has an all-day market, great for clothes stalls, but you have to get there early to get a parking space; there’s also an all-day market in Castelnuovo in Garfagnana (about an hour’s drive along the road to Lucca).
FRIDAY – La Spezia (all day), a big market, about 50 mins. Away
SATURDAY – Aulla (mornings until 12:30, 1/2 hour drive) Worth going to, parking usually no problem, a really fun market where you can buy fresh produce, local cheeses, and meat, fish, flowers, clothes, just about everything.
From Reusa, it is about one-and-a-quarter to one-and-a-half hours to Pisa airport, depending on the traffic. On Saturdays, the traffic is no problem, but on a weekday, allow longer for possible traffic delays. Genoa airport is about the same distance as Pisa, and Florence Airport is about 30 mins. further.
Places of Interest Nearby
The nearest town is Casola (3 miles), a medieval village with an Antico borgo, an ancient town center of narrow cobbled streets and winding stone stairways connecting the different levels. There is a bank and ATM, a post office, and a handful of shops, including two greengrocers, a restaurant/pizza parlor, and a cafe. This cafe also sells interesting edibles, such as local jams and honey, chestnut bread and pasta, and local wine and olive oil. Next door is a delicatessen, owned by the same people. A stroll through Casola is delightful, and you can walk down to the bridge over the river to the other side and ramble along the various footpaths. The museum in Casola is open by appointment.
Fivizzano, about 15 to 20 mins. away (depending on how fast you like to drive on mountain roads), is a beautiful Renaissance market town with a large square, the Piazza Medicea, dotted with outdoor cafes centered around a large fountain. This is a good place to go for food shopping; there are three butchers on Via Roma, who will chop, slice, fillet, and de-bone the meat you choose. They also bake daily a delicious local delicacy, torta verde, a kind of spinach tart, which you can take home for a treat. There are also several greengrocers on this same street. Down Via Roma, a little further is the Antica Pharmacia, a pharmacy with antique fixtures which is worth a look, and it also sells nice Italian smelly stuff, soaps, etc, which make great gifts. Market day in Fivizzano is Tuesday, when the square fills up with stalls, including a fish stall that sells fresh fish—the fishmonger will gut, fillet, and bone your fish for you, but you must ask. There’s also a fishmonger on Via Roma, next to the newspaper stand. You can usually get English-language newspapers in Fivizzano at the edicola (newsstand) by the main parking lot.
Sarzana is a beautiful medieval town about 45 minutes from Reusa. The ancient center is closed to all but local traffic, making it a delightful place to stroll through narrow cobbled streets full of small boutiques, outdoor cafes, and little restaurants tucked down alleyways. Our favorite is a cafe serving homemade (artisanale) ice cream. You can also take a walk along the top of the old town wall and the main gate (see photo) which affords great views of the castle on the hill above and the narrow streets of the town below.
Lucca (50 miles) is a beautifull city to visit, known worldwide as the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, born there in 1858. You can get to Lucca along the old mountain road through Castelnuovo in Garfagnana, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours—it’s a beautiful drive through the wild landscape of the Garfagnana, though the road is windy and narrow in places. On the way, there is an interesting town to visit, Barga, just a few miles off the main road. You can return via the Autostrada, which is further in miles but takes about the same amount of time. Lucca is the only major Tuscan city center not built on a hilltop, and you can rent bicycles as a fun and relaxing way to tour the town since most of it is pedestrian-only.
Florence is about a 2-hour drive on the motorway, and not recommended for a day trip, it really requires more time there. It is of particular interest for art lovers and museum goers, but for general sightseeing, visitors will find it is packed with tourists, especially in summer.
The Italian Riviera
Lerici, Tellaro, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) are picturesque fishing villages set along the southern-most end of the Italian Riviera, all with great seafood restaurants. You can park at both Lerici (45 mins. away) and Portovenere (50 mins.) and take the boat to the villages of the Cinque Terre.
Lerici is an especially attractive town with a beautiful harbor full of colorful boats and edged with palm trees. It has a promenade the length of the town, and the harbor’s entrance is dominated by a magnificent castle. There is a parking lot in Lerici on the hill before you drive down into the town, and from here you can walk down the narrow streets to the shore. The best seafood restaurant in Lerici is Il Pescatore—there is no menu, they will bring you dish after dish of delicious seafood with as much white wine as you can drink. From here you can take a boat to Portovenere and the towns of the Cinque Terre, and as far as Portofino if you wish.
Portovenere (Port of Venus) is the gateway to the Cinque Terre, consisting of five tiny fishing villages clinging to the cliffs of the rocky coastline. There’s usually plenty of street-side parking in Portovenere, but weekends in summer are busy, and all the good restaurants will be booked for lunch. You can take a boat from here to the Cinque Terre villages, stopping for lunch at one of them if you like (our favorite is Vernazza); from here there is a cliff path where you can walk to the next village. This boat trip is highly recommended on a sunny day.
Other Places of Interest
Other places of interest: Equi Terme, for the caves and hot springs, about 30 mins; Carrara and Pietra Santa for the marble mines, about 45 mins; Forte dei Marmi, for the typically Italian beach-life, fancy boutiques, and Mediterranean atmosphere, about 1 hr (also a great outdoor clothes market on Wednesdays); Pontremoli, the capital of Lunigiana, a lovely ancient town on a river, about 45 mins; Fosdinovo, which has a castle with fabulous views of the Mediterranean, about 40 mins, on the mountain road over the mountains to Carrara.
PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
STAFF & SERVICES
At Extra Cost – Advance notice may be required:
Policies and requirements
All credit card holders must be aged 21 years and older at check-in. According to Italian law (ART.109 – TULPS), the Hosts and/or managers of any touristic structure are required to register their Guests with the authorities prior to allowing their access to the facilities. In order to facilitate the registration process you will be required to provide complete contact details (name, last name, address, telephone number etc.), a copy of the passport and the authorization to hold these details in accordance to law (D. Lgs.196/2003) on privacy protection, prior to your arrival at the property. This information cannot be used to promote, sell, solicit any service or product to you and is required only for the individual responsible of the rental agreement. While children are welcome, supervision will be due because of no fences or lifeguards. Heating costs are not included in the price and must be paid directly on the spot to the Host or his/her representative before departing. Please note that heating in Italy, when not subject to restrictions by the local Government, is more expensive compared to other countries.
If you look for a property in low season, make sure to ask for an estimate of the heating cost. You may be asked a supplementary deposit for heating expenses. Internet connection could be interrupted due to technical reasons beyond our control. We will do our best to provide support and reestablish the connection however we strongly recommend that those who need access to their emails should bring their own portable devices. Please note that in any case we cannot accept responsibility for lack of these services.
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