In the remnants of a watchtower that had seen six centuries of history unfold in the countryside south of Arezzo its present owners respectfully restored as much of it as authorities allowed and created a home that gives a family or group of friends the chance to learn what relaxed country living is all about. Sitting above their organic farm and surrounded by 43 hectares of olive groves and forestland, the tower overlooks the Trove valley and across to the medieval village of Civitella where the ruins of its ancient castle etch the skyline.
Being a witness to history is not always easy, as the tragic wartime story of Civitella testifies; yet the present panorama from the furnished pergola and infinity edged pool is the stuff of dreams. Lavender and rosemary edge the massive tower walls and the furnished terraces that surround them, and sunset reflected in quiet waters seems an evening doubly blessed.
There are two entrances on either side of the ground floor, both leading into the main room running the width of the house and offering a sitting/dining room with sofas in front of an open fireplace and a dining table for 6. At one end of this room, separated by a partial divider, is a compact but complete kitchen with oak counters as well as the modern appliances one relies on.
A few steps down from the dining area is another small sitting area at the bottom of the internal staircase, off which is a single bedroom with independent outdoor access and a small ensuite shower room. The open tread stairway leads to a landing and three bedrooms; the smallest has a French double bed that may best be used by a guest that likes to stretch his limbs and an ensuite shower room. The other two, which share a shower room, both have queen-sized beds and attractive country antiques.
There are several places outdoors to bring a cup of tea or a glass of wine or set up a family dinner; one can choose between the wrought iron table under the vine-draped pergola, a small table outside the kitchen door, or the newly converted upper floor of a hay barn that now sports a sofa, a large dining table and chandelier lighting. All have the view one is happy to look out upon, as does the fenced swimming pool on a yet higher level that is furnished with sunbeds and a shaded pergola.
A very lovely house and garden- my personal favourite so far after many years visiting Umbria and Tuscany. Travel books etc now out of date but most people will bring their own maps, guidebooks etc. Also it would be useful to update the informationm on local trattorias/gelaterias, etc- with accurate closing days/times - e.g., the nice piazzeria/gelateria/trattoria in Civitella was closed several days in the week but we had to work this out by trial and error. Some personal recommendations on 'basic' and more 'sophisicated' places to eat would be helpful!Nigel & family, UK staying in Guardiano . Jul 2022
We couldn’t fault the house or location. Everything was wonderful. The views from the house and the pool are spectacular. It was so hot that air conditioning would have been nice but I think it was unusually hot. We’d come back but maybe earlier in the year when it is sub 40 dcTim and family, UK staying in Guardiano . Jul 2022
we had a great time at Guardiano thanks.
We thought the property was fantastic – the location, pool and gardens are absolutely beautiful. The beds were comfortable and the living area worked really well for us. It was very good value for money. The following are not complaints just what they could add for very little cost (with the exception of replacing the sun loungers – that would be costly) and would make a big difference.
Nice big glass tumblers for Gin and Tonic (we are British after all 😉 ) we ended up buying some large wine glasses that we left there. Bottle of wine in fridge on arrival – nothing fancy – we arrived at 7 on Saturday evening and would have loved a drink before going out for dinner and didn’t fancy going to the supermarket immediately. Pasta machine! (I cook on holiday 😉) I should have asked beforehand – I bet Luciana and John would have been happy to lend me theirs. Pool loungers that you can turn over on – the ones there you can only tan your front – failing that, cushions to put behind your head on the sun loungers to make it easier to read a book whilst reclining. Small soaps in the bathrooms would be nice.
We loved all 3 of the restaurants we went to in Civitella. Antico Borgo on the one night it rained.
Enoteca Ristorante il Vicolo was great, bit more expensive than it’s cheap and cheerful neighbour that was also great but can’t remember the name of it so that’s not very helpful – they’re both in the same little piazza at the top of the steps when you first park and walk up to Civitella.
Luciana and John were great – very welcoming.
Definitely a property I would recommend to friends – even without any of the above additions.
Staff Comment: "Thanks Penny, I'll let Luciana know about your comments, I'm sure they can find some larger glasses for the G&Ts and I agree a bottle of wine on arrival would be welcome. Thanks again and we're delighted you enjoyed it!"P.C. staying in Guardiano . Nov 2017
Luciana and John were fantastic, as was Guardiano! Both the house and especially the pool area left for nothing, we were so delighted all round that we have done a very rare thing, in regards to promising to return there again in some future year (we never go to the same place twice 😉).
Positive constructive feedback is hard to suggest! The only things I can offer are:
A larger draining board area (being only two of us we did not want to waste water using the dishwasher) The mattress in the blue/green room was not as high quality as in the master bedroom (noisy springs) Unfortunately some rather large and persistent wasps had nested in the watchtower so we were unable to use that during our stay (but to be expected in the country)
A thoroughly amazing place and two lovely owners!
from Dan: "Thank you for your comments - we will pass the advice on to the owners so they can act on it. Particularly getting rid of the wasps!"S.F. staying in Guardiano . Nov 2017
Guardiano and its gardens and view are beautiful and suited us very well indeed. We loved the historic and rustic nature of the building and some of the quirkier restorations. The pool, the gardens and the chance encounters with wild boar and deer made it quite an experience for us Londoners.
We fell in love with Civitella although it really wasn't walkable because it was on road but once there it is very magical and Il Vicciolo restaurant was superb.
JoAnn Warren was brilliant at helping get us to a vet in Arezzo when one of our dogs injured her paws and giving us a heads up about a national holiday on the Friday when we were there.
There was no information in the house about recommended local restaurants or places of interest and markets/festivals etc. although lots of maps and brochures and some recommendations could be taken from the visitors book. It would be good to provide more!J.D. and family (and dogs!) staying in Guardiano .
The cottage was idyllic, absolutely perfect, the peace, the quiet, the view, the beautiful tower where we ate every day. The swimming pool was probably the best we've ever had anywhere. I would recommend it to anyone who just wants to get away from it all. We will be back.Mr. I.G. and family, UK staying in Guardiano . Dec 2015
We had a great stay at Guardiano recently. The house has been beautifully restored and the peaceful surroundings of the gardens and immediate area was just what we were looking for. The salt water swimming pool was lovely as was the pool area. The various eating areas were excellent especially the converted loft away from the house. We had a lovely relaxing quiet stay.Mrs. R.H. and family, UK staying in Guardiano . Apr 2015
The lovely elliptical village seen from the house, one of the best-preserved Lombard fortresses of the 6th century, is 1.5 km away and certainly walk-able if one doesn't mind the fact that it sits on top of a hill. A good restaurant and a gelateria are reasons to visit, but so is the city council's Room of Memories, a moving tribute to the high price its citizens paid to the madness of war. Owners can arrange bicycles for those who would like to explore this region at a slower pace, but by car it is a short drive to Arezzo and its beautiful Piazza Grande, featured in the film "Life is Beautiful".
Arezzo hosts both the Saracen Joust in late June and early September and monthly Antiquarian Fairs, but is also a Mecca to those following the Piero della Francesca Trail. Excellent access to major motorways and delightful country roads also place the ancient cities of Siena and Florence within easy reach, but how reassuring to know that a quiet terrace and a restorative panorama await your return.
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