Stone Cottage in Tuscan Hill Village with Spectacular Views
'Vibbianella" is a centuries-old, chestnut-drying barn that has been carefully restored as a small house with all of today's comfortable amenities. It is nestled in the center of picturesque Vibbiana, a tiny hill village located high above the Serchio River in the Garfagnana region of northern Tuscany.
This 'Lost Corner of Tuscany' combines the gastronomic treats of central Italy with the warmth and charm of its Garfagnana residents. Enjoy outstanding walking and hiking possibilities in the surrounding mountains, the historic and cultural points of interest at nearly every turn in the road (and there are many!), and the pride in locally produced foods and the many festivals celebrating them. Explore the 12th century fortress of Verrucole, which occupies a ridge just below the village.
Bask in the culture of Florence. Bike atop the walls of Lucca. Sightsee in Pisa. Hike along the seaside villages of the Cinque Terre. The farthest of these, Florence, is still within two hours' drive of Vibbianella.
The house's kitchen/dining room and the living room are located on the top floor. On-site parking lies just a few steps above the door leading onto this floor. Antique chestnut woodwork, including a large floor-to-ceiling cupboard, add warmth to the cozy kitchen. The kitchen comes with a dishwasher, a gas stove, and service for six.
The living room has a small wood stove that adds cheer on cool nights. A pair of sofa chairs can be unfolded to provide supplemental sleeping accommodations. A tiled bathroom with shower lies off the living room.
A door leads from the living room to the terrace, an ideal spot for al fresco dining. A wisteria-covered arbor provides shade over the table. Planters of geraniums, a row of rosemary and lavender, fruit trees, an olive tree, several rose bushes, and a hedge of laurel adorn the property. Across the valley, Garfagnana's iconic 'Uomo Morto', a rock profile of a potbellied 'dead man' formed by mountain ridges, stares skyward. The jagged peaks of the Alpi Apuane range, snow-capped much of the year, form a dramatic backdrop to the view. Here is where Michelangelo found the marble for his masterpieces.
Stairs at the edge of the living room lead to the two bedrooms below. The master bedroom has a hand-wrought, queen-sized iron bed; an adjoining bathroom features a bidet, a tiled shower stall, and a warming towel rack. The guest bedroom has a pair of hand-wrought iron twin beds that can be pushed together, if desired. The room has a large chestnut wardrobe and French (Italian?) doors that lead directly out to a spacious lower patio laid with ancient stone.
Off the patio is a technical room that houses a large multi-purpose sink, a clothes washer, a drying rack, and a gas-fired furnace for central heat.
The Village of Vibbiana
A ten-minute walk takes you to the family-owned cheese factory at the edge of the village. Here you can purchase wonderful pecorino cheese, salami, and other locally made products. A bread truck comes every morning to Vibbiana's little piazza below the house. The village of Verrucole, a one-mile walk or drive, has a bar/restaurant for a lunch or dinner and it includes a small store for basic provisions.
A couple notes of caution:
- Virtually no one speaks English in Vibbiana. However, you'll find the residents are enormously accommodating and basic communication never seems to be a problem.
- Driving in the mountainous Garfagnana region can be a bit of an adventure. The last few kilometers approaching Vibbiana has several hairpin turns. Small cars do better than big ones on the narrow streets.