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Villa Pienza

Under the Tuscan sun

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Minimum stay1 week

Special attributesSilence, Pool, Gym, Organic Vegetable Garden

If you’ve ever pined over the early 2000s rom-com ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’, get ready for the real-life version! Pack your bags, gather your friends and get yourselves to Southern Tuscany, or more specifically, to Villa Pienza in Val D’Orcia. This heartthrob of a property, with a seemingly infinite panorama overlooking soft Sienese hills and sprawling greenery is available to rent by the week, or month, and trust us when we say, it’s the latter you’ll be wanting to stay for.

 

The Villa and its owners, Italian sisters Sabrina and Barbara, have a story we feel worthy in itself of a feature film. Having discovered and fallen wholeheartedly in love with the spectacular location, the siblings purchased the property, then “stones and rubble” along with one-hectare of land, just over two decades ago. With the intent not to rebuild, but to restore what had once been, the painstakingly precise and beautiful renovations took them all of six years to complete, with smaller additional works continuingly being made to this day. Old oak and terracotta floors, wooden beams and stone walls have transformed the once ruins into the six-bedroom Tuscan paradise that stands today. Equipped with an expansive terrace for al-fresco dining, a pool, vegetable gardens, gym and bath, the sisters have ensured that nothing will be lacking during your stay.

 

“They say our house does not have a precise style,” proclaim the sisters, “but, as journalists often write, it has a style of its own that makes it utterly unique.” It is a treasure trove of family heirlooms, friends’ creations and the sisters’ own and much-cherished objects. Sabrina studied in France and Barbara in Brussels and they both bought antiques. The rooms are painted in sensational shades of green, blue, yellow, and some in pastel pink to match the Tuscan sunsets. The villa has an abundance of large cushioned armchairs, colourful rugs and lampshades, a magnificent array of mosaics adorning the bathroom walls, and at its heart the Big Tuscan-style kitchen. With the aid of in-house chef (if you choose), on-site cooking lessons (again, if desired) or just yourselves in the kitchen utilizing the produce fresh from the gardens and a bundle of the sisters’ favourite recipes to guide you, smells of irresistible Italian cooking will waft their way in and out of the house all day long. It is warmth and colour and the Villa’s distinctive charm that has led visitors (and you are next!) to dub it the “Happy House.” 

 

If you’re not busy in the kitchen baking the house speciality Torta Sbriciolata di Ricotta e Cioccolato, lounging in the thermal tub, lapping the 18-meter-long outside pool, ‘aperitiving’ on the veranda or simply reposing whilst taking in the surrounding lush and remarkably undisturbed landscape, the sisters and their staff can arrange an assortment of experiences for you to enjoy. Yoga classes, massages, farm visits, wine tasting, cheese tasting, hiking or hot air ballooning are to name just a few. One is at the heart of the Renaissance here, so within striking distance of most of the great Renaissance sculpture, paintings and architecture of the Tuscan and Umbrian city states. On one’s doorstep is Pienza, a little jewel of the rebirth of knowledge, and also the birthplace of the humanist Scholar, Enea Silvio Piccolimini, who became Pope Pius 11. Pienza has been dubbed ‘manuscript central’ but there is also in nearby Siena the great Piccolimini library and its enchanting Pinturicchio frescoes within the Cathedral.  If you like books or rather book covers, the archives in Siena are undoubtedly the most visually exciting in the world.

 

Many previous visitors have confessed that they rarely ventured outside the villa during their stay. Crossing the threshold of the long and winding, cypress flanked driveway was a near impossibility. And it is true, it is a magic of the place. An invisible magnet seems to hold you at Villa Pienza. Time seems to stop, life’s stresses fly away and it is just you, your friends, the Tuscan sun and breeze. One can always claim to be following in the tradition of the area by picking up a book and staying put.