"In the middle of nowhere and the middle of everything" is how the owners describe the 16th century San Martino estate, which is set amid in stunning rural Chianti scenery, yet within an hour of Italy's Golden Triangle (Pisa, Florence and Siena) and its beautiful Cinque Terre coastline, making it a fabulous place do as much or as little as you please.
'La Quercia' (sleeps 4) and the neighbouring Il Pino have been renovated from the farm's former barn and share a stunning infinity pool, wisteria covered terrace, gardens and championship standard professional tennis court. There is an additional larger property on the estate; The Farmhouse which is set 300m away with its own private pool which is also available to rent. The two smaller villas are as well suited to multiple family groups taking all them together, as it is for independent rental, since each property has its own entrance, private garden with BBQ terrace, and the pergola between the two can be opened or closed off for privacy. Each cottage has its own short path leading to the lavender-edged 12m x 6m infinity pool they share, which offers the kind of uninterrupted rolling rural views that make it impossible not to feel relaxed whilst nestled within them. The pool comes complete with sun bathing areas, elegant teak loungers and pool toys, as well as a shady pergola with hammock, fridge and bar. There are also paddling pools for toddlers, a play castle with swings, slides, climbing walls, sand pit, a play house, badminton kit and 16 acres of enclosed grounds for youngsters to play and explore. For those who can drag themselves away from the comforts of their villa or a poolside hammock, there are plenty of scenic walks on the doorstep. Lucky visitors might even spot a roe deer, wild boar, or even an owl, at dusk.
The villas have been beautifully designed to be stylishly simple, light and airy, combining original features and antiques with quality furnishings and high spec finishes. In the Tuscany heat, terracotta floors keep the villas cool but when there’s a chill in the air, both are centrally heated and equipped with Sky TV (full package incl. films, kids channels and sport), DVD and CD players, WiFi, toys, books and games for cosy nights in. The kitchens are kitted out with large fridge freezers, gas ovens and hobs, washing machines and dishwashers while the bathrooms are finished in smooth local stone.
A welcome hamper of local produce, including wines and olive oil from the farm is helpfully provided, along with an optional pre-arrival grocery shopping service that sees guests arrive to fully stocked kitchen cupboards and fridges - a Godsend for parents with tots for whom a post-arrival supermarket trip risks a journey-induced tantrum! They can even include nappies, wipes and baby food. Aids to parental relaxation continue in the form of handy baby gear provided (see Fast Facts) and pre-bookable services including babysitting, private chef, beauty therapy, massage, yoga and extra housekeeping (charges apply). There are also children’s pizza cooking lessons, more advanced cookery session for and wine tastings are also available for grown ups.
La Quercia has two spacious bedrooms which can be set up as large doubles or twins, both with room for a cot. One is ensuite, with a power shower, wc, bidet and washbasin while the main bathroom has a bath too. The villa is set in lawned gardens with a sunny south-easterly aspect and features attractive patio areas on two sides. From one of these an impressive archway entrance leads into a generously proportioned living room, with comfortable seating around a traditional open fireplace. The fabulous designer kitchen includes a travertine breakfast bar and the spacious dining area easily seats up to 12 people which is the ideal for family get-togethers when the villa is booked with Il Pino. The shady veranda leading into the garden is the perfect spot for al fresco dining.
The cottage has its own stone barbecues surrounded by aromatic herb gardens and comes equipped with central heating, satellite TV, DVD and CD players. The kitchen features large fridge freezer, gas oven and hob, washing machine and dishwasher. Linen and towels are all provided. Central heating if needed is charged at 100 Euros.
When the house is at full capacity an additional second cot will be charged at 50 euros. Whilst one additional bed is available for 175 euros.
La Quercia and Il Pino at San Martino are located right in the heart of the Tuscany countryside, only 20 minutes from the Chianti wine route. The nearest village with a basic shop and a restaurant is Il Castagno, just 3 km away. For those not taking advantage of the pre-arrival grocery shopping service, there's a supermarket within 10mins drive in Gambassi.
San Gimignano (10km) is one of the most remarkable Tuscan hilltop towns, looking like a medieval Manhattan thanks to numerous tall campaniles, while Volterra is a fine medieval walled town renowned for its carved alabaster and Roman remains.
The three must-visit Tuscany cities of Florence, Siena and Pisa are all within an hour away, as is the lovely coastline and many beaches of Italy's Cinque Terre.
Getting There: The best airports for San Martino are Pisa, 50-60 minutes drive, and Florence, 1 hour drive. Bologna is approximately 2 hours drive.
Nearest Medical Facilities: A&E Castelfiorentino; 20-25 mins; Doctors Gambassi or Montaione 15 mins