URL: http://www.rentinginitaly.com/villa/001883/

Villa Petrarca has a terrific strategic position in the western part of Chianti, just 40 minutes drive from downtown Florence (Firenze). This lovely house has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and sleeps up to seven guests.

The villa stands atop a hill - this is an aristocratic mansion on a 20-acre estate overlooking the quietly beautiful Tuscan countryside. The mansion dates back to the 18th century and has frescoed ceilings. Besides the four bedrooms, the house has two big frescoed halls. There is a kitchen, dining room, sitting room, study and a vast surrounding meadow.

This villa has all the fascination of past times: beautiful frescoes, antique furniture, prints and books, precious art. The rooms are bright and spacious and the living spaces are amazing in both their size and comfort. Fireplaces and a piano complete the atmosphere. The roomy kitchen is perfect for preparing family meals and opens directly onto the garden and the gazebo for all fresco dining.

The villa is located just outside Fucecchio, a town situated in the middle of Tuscany, between Florence (45km/28 miles), Pisa (42km), Lucca (35km) and Pistoia (30km). From the house, one can reach the main highway in around ten minutes: both the Florence-coastal motorway (Altopascio) and the toll-free motorway which runs Florence-Pisa-Livorno.

Fucecchio's location between Empoli and Pisa makes it an ideal base for exploring Tuscany. A gravelled, tree-lined driveway leads alongside a farm to the villa. It is possible to walk to a tiny village (less than two miles away) where you can find a coffee shop and a grocery store. The area, immersed in the woods of the Cerbaie hills, is very near the Padule of Fucecchio, which one can easily reach in a few minutes by car: the ideal place for excursions by foot, by bicycle or on horseback. The Padule of Fucecchio is a fascinating ecological site, the largest internal swamp in Italy, where it's possible to visit and see the local fauna. Information is available for making the most of the site. Other excursions are possible in the little valley of Cerbaie, where varied and lush vegetation has grown up thanks to the particular microclimate.

The owner of the villa is available to suggest itineraries to the historical centres and in the countryside of the Nievole Valley, Arno Valley and Elsa Valley, very rich in medieval and Renaissance monuments: Fucecchio has a lovely 'centro storico' and an interesting museum, the Museo Civico. Vinci is the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, while Collodi is popular for the park based around Pinocchio. The medieval San Miniato was visited by many emperors, and Empoli, a larger centre, boasts the Museo della Collegiata, rich in artworks from 1300 to 1600. Another interesting visit is the ceramics museum of Montelupo Fiorentino, where you can also shop for fine ceramics. If you need to relax after sightseeing, head off to the thermal baths at Monsummano or Montecatini. San Gimignano, the city of towers, is about 44km; Volterra is famous for its alabaster as well as its medieval centre and recommended Etruscan museum (about 66km); Versilia, with its beautiful beaches and the town of Viareggio, famous for its Carnival and for shopping, is about 55km.

On the ground floor of the villa, the main door opens onto a hall. Stairs to the right lead to the first floor. To the right a door provides access to the long spacious dining room with fireplace and a dining table for eight. French windows open onto an outside veranda. Next door there is a fabulous old-style kitchen, yet with all modern features. A small service half bathroom completes the floor. To the left a door provides access to a charming sitting room with fireplace, TV and video and a studio with piano (whose tuning may vary!). On the first floor up, there is a great living room with a wonderfully frescoed ceiling, two bathrooms with bathtub/shower, a master bedroom, two twin bedrooms (flexible beds) and one bedroom with a French-size bed.

The house has a gazebo, four fireplaces, a barbecue, private parking, window screens, dishwasher, washing machine and air conditioning in two of the bedrooms.

Via Curtatone e Montanara 14, 50053 Empoli, Florence, Italy
++39 0571 981064
++39 0571 981064