Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2055: Owner, Ansugo di Sopra
3bed/2bath house, near Barga, Tuscany North
April 28 thru May 5th 2006, One Week
We had wonderful time at Ansugo in Tuscany, (in the Garfagana, middle of northern Tuscany about 45 minutes from Lucca in Italy) with the birds chirping, the stream down below the house flowed gently and the sun highlighted the leaves of the trees. I would pick wild flowers on morning hikes and place them on the old wood and stone window sills of the turn of the century guesthouse. It was enchanting being up in the hills and watching the fog rise in the morning and 360 view of greenery!
When we reached the secluded "mountain cabin" all that hectic touring shed off and I would get busy in the kitchen preparing Italian meals with the fresh ingredients that we bought in one of the small village towns near by (Ten minutes down the hill). The owner had a stack of cook books for me to get inspired! And a comprehensive list of restaurants in case I was not into it that day. A little kitchen, but perfect for us. I loved the wee farm table in the middle and would sit there and look out the French doors in the kitchen and chop mushrooms or prepare purple globe artichokes. She had every kind of pan and pot that I could imagine and strainers and soaps, napkins, paper towels, anything that I needed was right there.
This is a historical house (I am guessing by the low beamed doors that it is at least 200 years old. I did bring my laptop, but no internet up there between the Cararra mountains, nor did I need it when mother nature was there to entertain me. It really was tranquil and I loved coming “home” from visiting the busy cities, Lucca, Florence and Pisa are near by. After you drive up into the hills, then onto a curvey dirt road for five minutes, you see the house, you are met by a row of rosemary bushes and the rich heady scent of wisteria hits you. This is not a road for sports cars, if at any time I did really need an SUV this would have been one of those times. As long as it was a narrow SUV!
There were a couple of neighboors up in the hills, but we only met one of them walking his dog. He was really nice and the dog escorted us to the house! It was super private!
In the dining room we ate at the large table (lots of extra chairs, wine glasses) and then read on the couch or watched DVDs (she had tons of DVDs and videos)and listened to music. The thick walls insolate the house so it was always cool inside, a welcome relief to the hot days spent at the beach and in Florence. The house has heating if you need, but it costs extra and someone has to turn it on for you ahead of time. In April and May is was brisk in the mornings and some nights it rained. There were plenty of blankets and extra linens in case we needed them in the armoires in each room.
It has three modern bedrooms (very comfortable) and two bathrooms with bath tubs so I could soak and look out the window at the olive trees along the country road. It is super hard to find and thus secluded and wonderful for some time away from it all. She provided everything we could possibly need and more.
Plenty of books in English about Italy, a shoebox full of maps and brochures and restaurant recommendations, a well stocked kitchen with a dishwasher, microwave, toaster and an out room with a clothes washer. I loved hanging my clothes out to dry in the Tuscan sun while I sat in under the climbing wisteria. I took my morning coffee outside almost every morning with the birds and other wildlife: one morning a silver fox!
Problems or Bonuses
A lot of critters, but that is normal for a rustic farmhouse. We enjoyed feeding the birds and wild cats and taking photos of geckos in the sun. Didn't take any photos of the ants that came inside though!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency was nice and spoke perfect English as they are British. It looks like they are going to sell the house, so hopefully the next owner will also rent.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, I would stay here again. It was nice to unwind in the hills away from it all. It was like my own mini retreat and back to nature and we did make it to the hot spots in Italy as well so my husband was happy to see some of Italy.
Things to do in this area
We loved going to the mountain towns near by and exploring old stone villages of Bagni de Lucca, Corteglia de Antemille and the markets at Castelnouvo. If you are looking for a mountain hidaway in the middle of nowhere, this is the place. The perfect spot to unwind, take in nature, hike in the woods, and experience the Tuscan countryside at your own pace.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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