Beautifully restored property (110 sqm) set on the edge of the ancient cloister of a former convent in one of the most picturesque villages of Lunigiana. The property is accessed through the cloister from the main village square. Recently restored by the current owners the accommodation retains many original features and is full of character and charm. Entrance is up the staircase to the kitchen with fireplace and a large living room with vaulted ceiling. On the other side of the building are two bedrooms. The master bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe and the second bedroom has a feature fireplace. Bathroom with shower, laundry room; below the property there is a large vaulted cellar for storage. Connected to mains services and with central heating. The original floors and vaulted ceilings and the many original features give this property a wealth of character.
Within walking distance are shops, bars and restaurants and also a large (50 m) outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts, and the train station. A golf course is under construction also within walking distance.
Meander your way through the little town of Filetto where you will find every street is linked to a stone passage or bridge. Filetto is best enjoyed in the month of August when it opens its doors and hosts the annual medieval festival where all the villagers are dressed up and reenacting a bygone age. Villafranca is on the main road between Aulla and Pontremoli. Take time to discover the old centre which is hidden behind the main road where you will find some lovely restaurants and local amenities including banks, train station, supermarkets and a weekly market.
Each year Pontremoli hosts a large festival, ‘Medievalis’ when the town is transformed into Medieval times with medieval camps, horse jousting, flag throwing competitions, live music, markets and street food. It also hosts the prestigious Premio Letterario Bancarella, the Italian literary prize voted for by booksellers originating from 1953 when first won by Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”. It is a lovely town to wander through, and the cathedral is definitely worth a visit. The nearby village of Filleto also undertakes a total transformation in August to host four days of medieval market stalls, traditional food, artisans and displays around the Italian summer holiday of Ferragosto. There are numerous country farm restaurants (agriturismi) to discover nearby serving local specialties and excellent walking trails abound. The small town of Villafranca is close by, set on the banks of the river Magra, and offers a selection of shops and restaurants, schools, chemist and one of the best cheese shops in the area.
There are many great day trips to explore. Lucca is a beautiful Tuscan town protected by massively thick 16th-century walls, featuring some of Italy’s finest medieval and Renaissance architecture, superb dining, antique markets, classical and rock music at the Lucca Summer Festival and with easy access to stunning nearby villas in the surrounding hills. The central Piazza dell’Anfiteatro in the centre is stunning. Pietrasanta is a historic medieval and artistic town in northern Tuscany sometimes called the City of the Artists or Small Athens for its marble studios and monuments. It is an important centre for working marble and was used as a marble source by Michelangelo. And, of course, the art and architectural treasures of Florence are a must.
The Ligurian coastline is within easy reach. The Cinque Terre (UNESCO World Heritage site) is made up of the five fishing villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore and the 18km of coastal walks along the old mule-tracks between them, the most famous of which is the Via dell’Amore. Just south of the Cinque Terre is Portovenere where you can catch a ferry to the Cinque Terre or to Lerici, swim at Byron’s Bay or visit one of the islands Palmaria, Tino or Tinetto. The villages of Lerici and San Terenzo, each with impressive castles, face each other across the Gulf of the Poets and Tellaro has been named as one of the top 100 most beautiful hamlets in Italy. Neighbouring Fiascherino is just as beautiful. In addition to being known as a seaside tourist town, Viareggio is famous for its Carnival in February and the Puccini Festival during July and August. So the Ligurian coastline offers endless possibilities for days swimming or sailing, or for catching a boat trip or for simply taking a ‘passeggiata al mare’ and sipping an aperitivo.
The Ligurian coastline is special and Lunigiana, the northernmost part of Tuscany, is magical. The rolling landscape is liberally sprinkled with castles of Medici or Malaspina vintage and the year round calendar of festivals offer wonderful local specialities to try in each of the ancient towns and villages. The airports of Pisa, Parma and Genova are all just over an hour away.
Distances: Villafranca in Lunigiana (train station) 1.5 km, Aulla 12 km, Pontremoli 12 km, Lerici (beaches) 35 km, Cinque Terre 40 km, Lucca 80 km, Pisa (airport) 90 km, Florence 120 km.