Casa nella Selva is a three-story stone farmhouse a half hour north of Lucca, in the Serchio River Valley. The house overlooks the town of Borgo a Mozzano, with a panoramic view of vineyard-covered hillsides, clusters of farmhouses and the spectacular Appenine and Apuan Mountains in the distance.
A plant-lined terrace runs the length of the house, with a large stone table for outdoor dining shaded by a rose and grape-leaf pergola. There's also a vine-covered stone shade room for sitting outdoors at midday.
There is a large outdoor pizza oven for ambitious cooks, an inexhaustible supply of rosemary, basil, and sage from spring through the end of October. There are several small flower gardens on the property, a second small terrace for quiet reading and a hammock in the woods for afternoon naps.
A working chestnut farm into the late 1980s, the house still has its original chestnut beams, and is simply and comfortably furnished with a mix of country pieces, including many that are original to the house. There are terracotta floors, original or restored, throughout, beautiful wooden windows and shutters, proper reading lamps in all the bedrooms, lots of leftover books to read.
The ground floor includes a fully-equipped kitchen with fireplace, a dining/sitting room that opens directly onto the terrace, a modern-tiled bathroom with large glass stall shower and a washing machine.
On the second floor are three large bedrooms, one of which opens into a separate studio with high speed Internet and wireless that extends onto the terrace. Each of the bedrooms has a large double bed (ranging in size from American double to king) and all overlook the valley. There is also a large marble-tiled bathroom on this floor, fitted with double sinks, a glass stall shower and a giant separate tub. The bedrooms are furnished with traditional iron bedsteads, new mattresses, and old wooden chests or armoires. Towels and linens are included in the rent and are ample for six people. (There is a surcharge of $30 per each additional guest.)
The third floor, formerly the hayloft, has been converted into an open living space, with a large table for sketching or board games, comfortable reading chairs, a double bed and a day bed/sofa. Its floor-to-ceiling windows share the same view as the terrace.
The comune of Borgo is the major town between Lucca and the Garfagnana, one of Italy’s most beautiful and popular trekking zones, and is easily reached by car or public transportation (regular trains and buses from Lucca). Borgo’s population is about 8000, of which roughly half live in town, the remainder in small villages or 'frazione' nearby.
In addition to a supermarket, the town has an abundance of excellent food shops; you can find fresh bread and homemade pasta, extraordinary local pecorino cheeses, wonderful fruits and vegetables, wines from the Lucchese hills and just about everywhere else. There is an outdoor market on Friday mornings, and similar ones can be found nearby on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. There is also a large number of modestly-priced restaurants serving excellent regional dishes within a twenty-minute range, and one very good one in town that is open for dinner six days a week, and for lunch and dinner on the weekend.
The Lucca region is one of the last parts of Tuscany to be discovered by tourists, and is anchored by two especially beautiful cities: Lucca itself, enclosed within its perfectly preserved wall, and Barga, whose narrow winding streets lined with ochre, persimmon, or apricot colored houses lead to a spectacular 12th century cathedral of white stone that looks out over the Apuan Alps. In between is in the spa town of Bagni di Lucca, 15 minutes from Borgo. Borgo itself has two clay tennis courts, and a beautiful community recreation center with a 25-meter swimming pool, a separate pool for toddlers, snack bar, and rentable lounge chairs for sunbathing.
The beaches of Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi are within an hour's drive; the towns of Carrara, Pietrasanta, the Cinque Terre and the spas of Montecatini are all easy day trips. One of the great advantages of the house is its easy access to Lucca, Pisa and Florence. It is possible to spend the day sightseeing, museum-going, and shopping, yet be home in time to enjoy dinner on the terrace.
Features include fireplace, telephone, high speed internet and wireless, washing machine, dishwasher, outdoor oven, and barbecue.
Activities nearby include the beaches of Viareggio, Forte di Marmi, Tirrenia and Cinque Terre, antiquing, garden and villa tours, hiking, and trekking. For shoppers, there are fabulous markets almost every ay of the week: Sunday and Wednesday mornings in Forte di Marmi for high end clothing, leather goods, and cashmere; Wednesday and Saturday in Lucca, for household goods, inexpensive clothing, bags, shoes, and local farm produce. Smaller markets are held in Borgo itself (Friday), and Bagni di Lucca (Wednesday and Saturday).
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Keywords: 17th c. farmhouse