September 9 - 23, 2006
I have just returned from the most glorious two weeks in Tuscany at the Casa dei Frati. Having family on both coasts of the US, it was a stroke of genius and good fortune to find this Villa for our family reunion. Traveling together was the matriarch of our family, three adult siblings and spouses and a long time family friend.
Finding the villa was a bit challenging and the long steep driveway took a couple of times to get accustomed to, but those were the only two challenges of this home. And what a beautiful home it was. After traversing a narrow road about a quarter of mile up the mountain passing cows and pheasant hunters along the way, the villa appears before you.
Our group had three cars and there was plenty of space to park. We walked into the courtyard of the 14th Century Villa and at once were transported to a simpler, more lovely time. The villa from the main courtyard overlooks the Mugello valley where small vineyards dot the landscape. You can see for at least 50 miles from the Villa.
Both houses are impeccably decorated but not formal or overdone at all. The owner obviously had comfort in mind in her decor selections. The kitchen, complete with bread oven and dining room of the main house are immediately off the courtyard. Up one flight is the living room where if you must watch TV, you can - there is Satellite. It is off this level that you get to the swimming pool. I'll get back to the pool later. There is also a powder room on this floor.
Up to the top floor are two bedrooms. The bedroom I stayed had two twin beds, which we made into a king and overlooked the pool. A huge bathroom with Jacuzzi tub was down the hall. The other bedroom on this floor had a king bed, ensuite bath and overlooked the courtyard. But the best part of this room was the view overlooking the Valley. The trek up the mountain to the Villa is completely worth it once you see the view from this bedroom.
The guest house is where my mom, our friend and my brother and his wife stayed. On the courtyard level of this house there is an outside dining area and two bedrooms, one with two twins and one with a queen bed. All the beds had scrumptious Frette sheets too which are absolutely heavenly. In fact, we brought a couple sets at the Frette store in Florence. Expensive, but they will last forever.
Up one flight of stairs are a beautiful sitting room and dining room. I spent on rainy day here overlooking the valley and even as the rain poured down, it was so green and quiet and just beautiful. Off the back of this house is the swimming pool. There are plenty of chaise loungers and a beautiful canopy to escape from the sun. And even in September, it was quite hot in the afternoon. And the view from the pool - WOW. There are beautiful hedges surrounding the pool for privacy, but they are kept low as to not obstruct the view.
This Villa was the perfect location for our group to use as a home base. My brother had studied in Florence 25 years ago and spent most days going into the city and visiting his old haunts. My other brother is a type A traveler and was out every morning at dawn sightseeing. Our friend who was with us had friends in Rome and spent a few days there. Mom was content to just by the pool as walking is quite difficult for her. As for me, my spouse isn't big into sight seeing so we did a little vegging by the pool and some day trips. I am the chef of the family so I prepared most of our meals.
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