On a bluff, in the ascending slopes of the bowl of a prehistoric lagoon, a stone and brick ‘Leopoldina’ property, in a panoramic position.
Externally in the Leopoldina style – a design penned by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, the property dates in the main part from about 1750. Perhaps beginning life as a boat house some centuries earlier, the central room and original dwelling is much much older. As is the case with the best country houses in Tuscany the property is positioned for views and breezes in a raised position or poggio; this particular hill is named ‘Poggio Al Vento’ or Place In The Breeze
Dramatic, yet grounded within its rural landscape, the clay and stones used in construction originate from the surrounding land. Tangibly hand built – stone by stone – with great care, the exterior is disarmingly beautiful.
A Casa Padronale – roughly translated to mean a significant farmhouse, until the 1950’s the house was home to more than 20 people, 5 families (on the first floor) and (until much later – perhaps the late 80’s) numerous Chianina Tuscan White Oxon on the ground floor. The house has the typical Colombaio dovecote centred in the roof that is very much part of the Leopoldina design. Now the Ox are gone, as are the pigeons – but we have maintained the huge living spaces within the property, we could not bear to close them.
All told 6,000 square feet of space. If you’re familiar with the visual language of a Tuscan country house then, at a glance, the house might appear ‘smaller’ than it really is – due to its proportions.
Unusual for Tuscany – but also for a Leopoldina, the house has many very large windows. The explanation, we are confident, must be the beautiful views.
Only the main house is restored, the Smoke House and barn yet to complete, their raw appearance adding to the romance, the untouched feel of the outside, and giving much large areas of shade during the hot summer months.
Known locally as ‘quel casa col quel muro’ – That house with the wall – The property has a firm place in local folklore. Farm properties round these parts just don’t have walls like that. Mostly invisible – down there below the Olive terraces – the wall is useful to keep out unwanted visitors (such as Wild Boar) and makes parking secure if you want to come in a special motor. Outside is classic rustic Tuscany.
Inside is so different…