Luxury Tuscany villa rental with private swimming pool, air conditioning and panoramic view
Villa Tuscany on the Wall Street Journal Europe
This article by Brian A. Grow has been published on the Wall Street Journal Europe in 2002 when the villa was named Villa dell'Albero.
The Wall Street Journal Europe
Friday/saturday/Sunday, November 15-17, 2002
Luxury Class - Ambrosial Haven, alla Toscana
by Brian A. Grow
"Ahhh, Tuscany. At l'Albero, a grand 200-year-old stone house on a working farm, visitors can enjoy life on the land and be pampered at the same time.
What's special? Just 25 kilometers south of Florence, l'Albero is one of the most upscale examples of agriturismo, or farm vacation, where travelers can experience traditional olive groves still at work today.
The south-facing villa sits on an isolated four-hectare estate overlooking the magnificent Chianti countryside. The 300-quare meter farmhouse is spacious yet cozy and can sleep up to 15 people - perfect for a getaway with friends, or the family reunion.
L'Albero's meticulous restoration saved its old terra-cotta floors, wood-beamed ceplings and door frames made of classic pieta serena, or, literally, serene stone, a type of sandstone found in many rustic settings in Tuscany. The villa has six bedrooms, several with four-poster beds and antique dressers. It has a soothing living room with a giant Tuscan fireplace and a sink-into-the-cushions sofa and armchairs. The ground floor has big double doors with access to the gardens that can be opened to feel the breeze. The dining room seats 15 people for the feasts that are the most dazzling part of any visit to Italy.
Beyond the garden is a 12-netter swimming pool. Guests can relax around the pool, enjoying glasses of Chianti, or lounge on two panoramic terraces built of the main house of l'Albero. Dinner can be served by the pool or on the terraces.
Guests at l'Albero have two equally tempting gastronomic choices: cooking their own food in the modern, fully equipped kitchen; or hiring l'Albero's cook to prepare dinners for the entire troop. Almost every meal is served with olive oils straight from l'Albero'own groves. And much of the food and drynk is produced by other Italian farms.
L'Albero's owner, Yves Lebreton - a Frenchman who has spent 20 years in Italy and who lives in a small restored barn behind the farm-house - will stock the kitchen in advance with wines of your choice, and Parma ham, eggs and breads.
The surrounding region offers dozens of wonderful wine-tasting tours at old Tuscan vineyards, reached by narrow roads lined with 50-meter-tall cedars. The renaissance beauty of Florence is just a 30-minute drive, and day trips to other towns such as Siena and Lucca are an easy jaunt.
How to do it? The best time of the year to enjoy Tuscany and l'Albero is summer, so you'll want to book far in advance. That's when the weather is warm and the pool will beckon. High season runs from June through Sept, but the villa can be rented year-round. Book l'Albero directly with Mr. Lebreton by telephone. L'Albero is three kilometers from the Tuscan town of Montespertoli. Siena is 30 kilometers to the south and Pisa is 50 kilometers to the northwest".
Brian A. Grow