On a hilltop that figured in maps drawn by Leonardo da Vinci and which held an observation point from which he studied the wide Chiana valley, there exists a property that has watched Arezzo grow throughout the centuries.
San Michele, the large house now providing comfort and the ideal place for friends to holiday together, was once the home of the priest for the adjacent church of the same name, which, like many fortified villages, took higher refuge from the inconveniences of the marshy floodplain below. Long drained and now fertile farmland, the valley is still a wonderful panorama enjoyed by the large fenced estate made up of San Michele and the large farmhouse belonging to the owners' small family.
The young couple, who have taken meticulous care in the long restoration of a property that dates back to the 7th century and that suffered wartime bombing, originally set the house up to accommodate four separate families. Happily, interconnecting doors and a change of heart meant they were able to easily open the house up to one group - a large multigenerational family or friends who enjoy each others company but like a bit of personal space.
On the left at the end of the entrance drive, San Michele has a furnished portico the length of the house with four doors that access its ground floor. The door to the right leads into the main dining room with a table for 8 and a corner kitchen, while the two central doors access the sitting room, which has comfortable sofas, a corner fireplace, a galley kitchen and a nearby staircase to the upper floor.
A short corridor off this sitting room leads past a small utility room with a washing machine to the only ground floor bedroom suite - a double bedroom with independent access and an adjacent shower room. The last door off the portico opens to an additional kitchen/dining room, though here the table for 4 might well serve for an evening card game or a place to catch up on the journal. This room has a second laundry room and stairs leading up to another double bedroom suite with a view towards the pool and an ensuite shower room.
The remaining two double bedroom suites are accessed from the central staircase and on opposite sides of the landing. While that on the right consists of a spacious bedroom and rosy shower room, the suite on the left also has a large sitting/dining room furnished with a table for 6, an attractive hutch, the ubiquitous kitchen and a single sofa-bed equipped with a trundle bed. From this room there are stairs leading down to the back of the house and very near the entrance to the church, no doubt very handy for the priest of earlier days. All of the bedrooms and shower rooms in San Michele are beautifully finished with authentic materials befitting the style of the house and sparkle with the added light of small chandeliers. The handcrafted vintage beds are queen size and made up with linens from well-known artisans from Anghiari.
While the wide portico has a lovely view of the grounds and its gas barbecue and outdoor table and chairs make it a delightful place for dining al fresco, there are other options that make 'going out to dinner' an easy and very local affair. Taking the path down to the large panoramically placed pool with its adjacent Jacuzzi also brings you to the pool house whose covered terrace is furnished for outdoor meals, all made easier since the pool house has a handy kitchen as well as a WC and changing/shower facilities. The pool itself is part of the view from the glass-fronted dining hall in the owner's home, itself a venue for dinners, pizza evenings and cooking classes they can arrange for guests on request.
San Michele was absolutely amazing, the grounds were incredible and so well kept, pool area superb, hosts so helpful and two delicious meals with them and vegetables from their veggie patch. Plus a tour of their wine cellar, quite something else. The layout of the villa suited us all so well, plenty of room to have our own space! The 18 month old loved going to see the animals in the morning and evening. Great value for money.C.W. and family staying in San Michele . Feb 2018
We were very happy and satisfied with our stay at San Michele. The beauty of the place and friendly welcome from Patricia made us feel so at home. We enjoyed Arezzo, shopping in Pam and some restaurants in town. We found an interesting steakhouse called Mama Mia! No pizza for kids but there's 🍝. A shopping center with Decathlon and Coop grocery store had nice selection of food and drinks. An outlet 29 km direction Sienna had good selection of brand in clothings, shoes and more.A.T. and family staying in San Michele . Mar 2017
We had a wonderful time at San Michele! The property itself is wonderful. We enjoyed the building itself which worked very well for our extended-family group. We loved walking the gardens and visiting the animals and our hosts were terrific. It was also great that the train in Arezzo was so convenient for day trips. Even though we had a rental car, sometimes the train was easier than dealing with parking at our destination. Things we loved the most: Cooking class offered by Patrizia and Pietro – this was so much fun! We all loved the experience and the wonderful food! Trip to Florence by train Two great restaurants in Arezzo: Pappa e Cena (Via Romana, 133, 52100 Arezzo AR, Italy) and Osteria Dei Mercanti (Via di Ser Petraccolo, 52100 Arezzo AR, Italy)
The one tip we have, at least for American guests is to rent a car with automatic transmission. The road up the hill is steep and narrow in places and we were glad to have an automatic, even though we know how to drive a manual transmission.H. F. and family staying in San Michele . Feb 2017
I visited San Michele at the end of a long day's driving; I had been out seeing a lot of houses around Tuscany and was tired. The welcome that Patrizia and Pietro gave me, coupled with one of the best views I have ever seen and a swimming pool perfectly placed to take advantage of it soon gave me my energy back. This is a building on a site redolent with history, lovingly nursed back to life after decades of being hidden under brambles - ask P & P to show you the photographs of what the site looked like when they bought it! This is a house made to be enjoyed - there are myriad delights down in the plains toward Arezzo and in the hills beyond, but this is a place where I would want to just lie by the pool, relax and soak in the astounding view, day after day. A favourite!D.W. staying in San Michele . Sep 2016
We stayed at San Michele in Arezzo in Autumn and just had a fabulous time. The villa was everything it should be. The rooms were large, the views were fantastic and our host and hostess were incredibly helpful and welcoming. There were two washing machines and drying racks. The pool was fantastic. Our hosts, Patrizia and Pietro did a wonderful homemade pizza dinner for us, another fabulous dinner in their cantina and also invited us to a private party in their home. The linens were changed weekly including our comforter. Softer and or extra pillows would be nice. The villa was at the top of a small mountain and overlooked the entire town. The directions to the villa on our GPS were great. It is narrow in places but we drove a large van that held seven and it is doable. There is also an electric gate to go through so you could not possibly feel safer. The air conditioning worked as well as american a/c but we didn't need it except for the first few days. We slept with the windows open and it was heavenly. Windows were screened, but we did not notice any flies or mosquitos while there. There is an absolutely amazing bakery not far from the villa called Panificio Pandemonio in Arezzo. Their almond biscotti, raisin coffeecake, and breads are unbeatable - Don't miss it. There is also a fabulous grocery store, Ipercoop, that matches any from the U.S. Go to the deli meat section and splurge. All those wonderful meats and cheeses are half the price you'd pay back home.Ms. D.P. and family, USA staying in San Michele . Dec 2009
We had a fantastic stay at San Michele. It was a really special place and Patrizia and Pedro fantastic hosts! To be honest, we didn't venture far as it was so lovely there. Would happily recommend it to people and hope to return!Mrs. R.T. and family, UK staying in San Michele . Feb 2016
Wow! On our recent visit we were amazed by the villa's setting, its breathtaking views, and the pool which shone like a gem in the night sky. We were impressed by the quality of the interior, especially its lovely linens and chic bathrooms. The pergola was a favourite spot where we enjoyed breakfasting and a fun pizza evening; we even ate some bits from the lovely vegetable garden as guests are invited to do. Patrizia and Pietro were perfect hosts at an incredible dinner in their wonderful home with a view you must see to believe - we loved staying at San Michele and know you will too!L & L. staying in San Michele . Nov 2014
When one decides come down from the hilltop, the obvious destination is the famous city whose medieval towers they have spotted from on high. One of the 12 most important Etruscan cities, Arezzo remained prominent in Roman times for its fine pottery and important throughout the Middle Ages thanks to powerful bishops and its artisans who excelled in goldsmithing and textiles.
Piero della Francesca captured part of the city's history in his famous frescoes, scenes of which are easily imagined in the city's beautiful Piazza Grande. Arezzo hosts both the Saracen Joust in late June and early September as well as monthly Antiquarian Fairs that fill the streets with fascinating pickings.
Yet there are other worthwhile places to visit nearby. A short drive brings you to the charm of the Cortona of 'Under the Tuscan Sun' fame, to the shores of Tuscany's 'inland sea' Lake Trasimeno, or even to the delight of bargains at nearby outlet shopping. Excellent access to major motorways and delightful country roads also place the ancient cities of Siena and Florence within easy reach, but what a pleasure to know that a quiet terrace and a hilltop view await your return.
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