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Chianti is sure to be a part of any guests' itinerary, and fortunately the famed Via Chiantigiana begins at Impruneta and proceeds south to Siena. This is the spine of the Chianti region and there is no end to the charming villages available for exploration; Greve, Radda, Castellina, Panzano, San Casciano and the like. Rather than taking the winding country lane, you can descend from Villa Francescadirectly to the start of the Florence-Siena Raccordo at Certosa putting Monteriggioni and San Gimignano within an easy 30 minute drive. Should Lucca, Arezzo or Cortona be on your agenda, you are less than five minutes away from the A1 highway linking these major Tuscany points of interest.
Villa Francesca has fortunately been recently updated and now offers an environment and atmosphere well-designed for groups of adult couples or several families. Very well-run by a prominent Florentine dynasty with good taste and a devotion to maintaining the traditional qualities of the family estate, the owners pay close attention to the needs of the property. Situated adjacent to the paved road that rises from Tavernuzze to Impruneta, the Villa is enclosed within a high gate and walls, the gardens hedged with privet and the lawns private to guests of the Villa. The grounds are designed in keeping with the scale and seriousness of the villa, with cypress trees and hedges. Large cotta pots with annuals add colour here and there. There are three principal outdoor areas at Villa Domitilla. The large pool (15 x 7.5 meters) is edged in cotto and set into a lawn, surrounded by a formal hedge. There is ample lawn furniture and shady areas under spreading querce or holm oak trees.
The Villa itself is fronted by an open paved courtyard, with two loggia and lawn beyond. A spreading fig tree on the edge of the lawn provides shade for an intimate grouping of couch and chairs for six. It is a cool and relaxing place to unwind and let the children run. Adjacent is a dining loggia for 10, an oval teak table and casual captains' chairs provide a cooling place for warm-weather lunch al fresco. A narrow back stairway leads to an informal lunch kitchen (fridge, microwave, sink) for keeping drinks, snacks and the makings of a light lunch convenient to both the pool and the dining loggia. The lawn from here sweeps to the formal entrance to the Villa, once host to carriages and fine horses, where now there is an easy place to relax out of doors for cocktails or a morning coffee. The lawn is plenty wide and flat for some informal soccer or ball throwing, and the hedge keeps little ones from wandering too far afield. (Low stone wall drops to lower lawn - could be hazardous for young children.)
The Villa's interior reflects the taste and style of an important family of Florentine aristocrats. The antiques are all important pieces. The paintings, prints, etchings and engravings are traditional in theme and style, and the nicely upholstered furniture is well-proportioned for the large rooms. This is a very comfortable house to be in. The exceptionally thick walls keep the heat and cool in as necessary to the season, so that the house remains comfortable year round. There are very high ceilings and generously proportioned rooms. Each room is tastefully appointed and has windows framing an exceptional view over the vineyards and olive groves to the valley of the Arno and the hills of Fiesole beyond. During the evening, the view is animated with the lights from Florence; during the day the view is softened by the contours of the farmland and the villa of Collazzi, one of Michelangelo's architectural achievements.
Entrance hall reached off paved courtyard with white-washed walls. Oriental rugs cover the cotta floor and a series of antique maps adorns the walls. Closet with safe. Stairs lead to Piano Nobile.
Small gym (stationary bike, treadmill) with sauna and room for floor exercises. A window looks out to the garden.
Laundry room (for staff use).
Stairs lead to staff apartment.
Formal entrance hall, very substantial in scale with high beamed ceiling and double doors opening to front steps and lawn. Along one wall is the tall hearth with carved stone mantle, flanked by a series of engraved portraits.
Front sitting room also with high beamed ceiling, cotta floors and white-washed walls hung with important paintings. Central seating area for 10 at grouping of comfortable, upholstered couches and armchairs around central coffee table. Windows face north and west. TV.
Back sitting room with central seating area for 10 under high beamed ceiling. East wall has been fitted with bookshelves and cabinets and is fronted with a spacious antique desk, creating an efficient work-space. DSL line and fax machine. TV. Two windows facing garden and vineyards to the north.
Formal dining room for 14 at antique oval table with matching high-back chairs. Walls hung with series of engravings of important classic ruins and monuments. Window overlooking front lawn to the west.
All new modern kitchen (5-burner gas stove, oven, microwave, fridge, separate freezer, dishwasher) with central marble top table for four. Wood stairs lead to sopalco. Large south-facing window. Guest bath delightfully frescoed with vines of English ivy.
Delightful double guest bedroom (king) finished with soft shades of peach and green on the bed and tester. Series of 19th century prints. South facing window (screened) overlooking lawns and cypress trees. Walk-in closet. Ensuite bath (shower stall) with marble counter and fresco of ivy vines.
Second spacious and well-appointed double bedroom (king) with coordinated prints on bed and dressing table. Window (screened) overlooks north lawn. Corridor lined with cupboards for clothes leads to ensuite bath (tub with hand-held shower and shower stall). North-facing window.
Spacious piano room, with a baby grand, under a high beamed ceiling with white-washed walls and antique cotta floors as throughout the house. Stairs lead to Torre.
Very spacious and comfortable family room with seating for at least 10 on couches and chairs. TV with satellite and DVD (European format). Long modern black desk for writing. Two screened windows face west.
Elegant double bedroom (king) with alcove for bed, finished with gold Florentine headboard and bed tester. Very spacious with day bed and excellent antique pieces. Screened window looking north to Collazzi and the Arno valley. Ensuite bath (tub with wall-mounted shower and partition) reached through dressing room with dressing table and closets.
Light-filled and lovely double bedroom (twins can combine) finished in crisp blue and white stripe fabric on beds and headboards. Two screened windows face north and east. Dressing room with closets leads to ensuite bath (stall shower).
Corridor leads to very charming coral-colored double bedroom (twins cannot combine) with antique canopy beds and walk-in closet. Two screened windows facing south and west overlook garden, olive trees and the adjacent road. Walk-in closet.
Second sun-filled double bedroom (twins cannot combine) with screened, south-facing window and walk-in closet.
Shared bathroom (shower stall) with small south-facing window.
Stairs from piano room lead to double height sitting room in the ancient tower of the Villa. High-placed arched window and open hearth with upholstered couch and chairs for four. Small TV.
Stairs lead to upper double bedroom (twin beds can combine) with Indonesian-style print fabric on bed and headboard. Ensuite bath (tub with hand-held shower and curtain) large enough to include ample closet space.
Daily Cleaning from Monday to Saturday.
If the guests want to have dinners prepared by an excellent cook) the dinner and included in the price is the staff’s time for preparing the dinner, the shopping, the food, and the staff’s time for washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. If instead the guests wish to cook for themselves they can ask the staff to do the shopping, wash the dishes and clean the kitchen after the dinner, but this time is charged extra, as well as the groceries. The time that the staff uses to do the food shopping is charged as extra, as well as eventual time if the guests request a “personal laundry” service, including ironing.
The owner requests a Euro 1,000.00 “services” deposit per week upon arrival from which amount the staff uses the money to do the shopping for all the meals (i.e. breakfast and dinners), prepare the dinners, do laundry and anything else requested by the guests.
Included in the weekly booking:
Not included in the weekly booking:
Note in general that the rate for any additional hours is Euro 15.00 per hr. which are deducted from the Euro 1,000 given upon arrival.
The owner requests a Euro 500.00 “services” deposit per week upon arrival from which amount the staff uses the money to do the shopping for all the meals (i.e. breakfast and dinners), prepare the dinners, do laundry and anything else requested by the guests.
You can tour our vineyards and learn everything about our wines with Marco Ferretti, the wine maker of our company. At the end of the tour you'll visit our cellar and taste our wines which have won a great number of prizes.
Additional Activities: all these activities are private and for the guests at the villa. To be paid by the guests.
Guided Visits of Florence and Siena
Visit Firenze and Siena with a very special guide, an art historian Cecilia Martelli, former teacher of the art history program at John Hopkins University in Florence. You will step into the Renaissance and walk thru the beauty of the city and its monuments, museums and churches.
Some examples of itineraries:
The Medici family and the arts – visit to Palazzo Medici Riccardi (with the famous Benozzo Gozzoli chapel), San Lorenzo church and Medici Chapels
Brunelleschi Renaissance architecture in Florence – walking tour of Ospedale degli Innocenti, San Lorenzo Church, visit of the Duomo and the “cupola”.
Introduction to florentine Renaissance art – walking tour of San Lorenzo church, piazza Duomo, Battistero, Orsanmichele church, piazza Signoria, visit of the Uffizi Gallery (this is a whole day itinerary).
Michelangelo in Florence - visit of the Accademia museum, Medici Chapel, Laurentian library.
Lorenzo Ghiberti and the Baptistery doors – visit to the Battistero and the Opera del Duomo museum.
Our guide is an expert on Renaissance art and she can organize tours also in Siena (which is only 50 km away from the villa).
Prices: 230 Euro for a half day tour, 340 Euro for a whole day tour, the guide speaks fluent English. Maximum number is 14 people. Minimum number is 2 people. For the whole day tour there will be a break for lunch paid by the guests. For transportation guests can either go with their own cars, or by bus or transportation can be provided at additional cost.
Visit of the Pottery Factory Antica Fornace “Ugo Poggi”
Located very near Villa Francesca is the terra-cotta factory of Ugo Poggi which is famous for its beautiful terracotta pots, jars, tiles and art works. Impruneta is the town of “cotto”. The tiles of the Florence Duomo are made in Impruneta and the factories which produce terra-cotta are many. But the Poggi furnace is unique, because it has a long tradition in this manufacturing art. The Poggi furnace creates gorgeous flower pots, both traditional and modern which are exported to the whole world. Recently the Italian artist Mauro Staccioli created his art work for Poggi, a gigantic terra-cotta ring which has become a landmark for Impruneta. Visiting the factory you'll discover the secrets of “cotto” as we call it and the process of making it.
Price: 100 Euro for the 30 minute guided tour in English. This activity is at walking distance from the villa.
Learn Italian at the Villa
Do want to take advantage of your trip to Italy to learn the basic Italian? You, your friends, your children can enjoy private Italian lessons right at the villa. A qualified teacher will be at your disposal, for how many lessons you want, and you'll go home after this trip bringing with you something special.
Price: 40 Euro per hour of lesson. Maximum number is 14 people. Minimum number is 2 people.
Bicycling in Chianti
Why not visit Chianti by bicycle? You can book the bikes and the guide at the villa, pick your favorite itinerary and see the country in a different and exciting way. Our guides from the shop “Florence by Bike” will propose a different range of tours, perfect for a family ride or for a more “professional” challenge. In any case, there is no better way to really enjoy the beauty of Chianti, with its extensive vineyards and olive groves. The famous towns of Greve and Panzano are within reach, a must of Chianti touring. If you don't think you need a guided tour, but you want to rent your bikes nevertheless, we offer you the possibility of having them delivered right at the villa.
Prices: starting from 500 euros depending on the number of participants. The price includes the transport to bring the bicycles to the villa.
Learn the real Tuscan cuisine with someone who has a true insight into the Tuscan food culture. You'll learn how to make the real “pappa al pomodoro”, “zuppa di farro”, “rosticciana”, “fagioli all'uccelleto”, and other dishes that make the Tuscan cuisine so unique. Our very good friend Elisa Poggetti is a fantastic cook, she was born in Siena but now lives in Firenze and her menus includes dishes from these two important traditions. In the comfortable atmosphere of Villa Francesca learning to cook Italian food will be a pleasure!
Price: 50 Euro per person plus the cost of food. This is a hands-on cooking experience and there will be lunch or dinner after the lesson. The staff at the villa can serve and clean-up. Wine is not included. Maximum number of participants is 10 people.
Trekking on the Apuane mountains
The Apuane are the Dolomites (Alps) of Tuscany. They are very near the coast and are famous for their marbles (Michelangelo used the Apuane's marble for his sculptures). They offer the beauty of a walk in the mountains with the breath-taking view of the sea. Our expert guide and friend Cinzia Sarti will come with a van to pick up the group at the villa and lead it through this easy but fascinating trekking. The day can end with a visit of nearby Lucca or with a stop on the beaches of the Tuscan riviera, the Versilia.
Price: 250 Euro for a full-day excursion including transportation. Maximum number of participants is 14 people.
***Please note that all these activities need to be booked ahead of time, and not when guests are at the villa. This is to assure availabilities of the guides and the instructors. Payments need to be made via wire transfer or in cash on arrival. Credit cards are not accepted. ***
TV cable or satellite
cook included or available
maid included or available