La Casa dei Fiordalisi is the perfect setting for your family and friends to settle in for a delightful week's vacation. It was named after the coat of arms over the door, which shows the heraldic crest of the home's original family, made up of 4 fleur-de-lis (lily flowers) and horizontal bars.
This enchanting, recently restored house faces a quiet village street on one side and overlooks its private garden, terraces and pool on the other. From the garden the panorama, that stretches from Montalcino to Siena, is filtered by ancient cypress trees. But from the upper stories of the house, the scene is spectacular, a landscape the falls away for miles, quilted with wineries and olive groves that have been cultivated for centuries, even millennia. After all, the Etruscans from whom Tuscany retains its name were a flourishing civilization here before the dawn of the Roman Empire.
The house is a unique treasure, originally built using the six-foot-thick city wall as its west wall. But in the 1300's an addition was made outside the wall, creating a continuous covered balcony ( loggia,) and on the top floor an open, arbored terrace that runs the full length of the house. This design allows the living room, dining room, kitchen and working pantry (the cantine, originally the rooms where wine was made) to shelter within the cool mass of the city wall, yet allows the bedroom floors and upstairs sitting room to fully enjoy the cross-breezes and the panoramic view.
La Casa dei Fiordalisi is what is called a "self-catering" house -- ready for you to enjoy as if you were borrowing the home of a friend. Relax and live comfortable, replacing supplies you use. This house goes beyond any level of routine appointments: it is designed for those who like to settle into a house and have daily life really work. Each room has, tucked under the bathroom counter, a front-loading washing machine. Each bedroom has a private bath. Wireless connection in the Piano Nobile sitting room make staying in touch easy.
The kitchen is equipped for those who love to cook, to share the process and like to linger over summer meals under a trellised canopy of vines on the terrace, which seats 18 or more. Fitted into the cool cantina spaces, the kitchen has stone counters, a wood-burning grill (firewood is provided), five-burner gas range and oven, two dishwashers, a working pantry with Miele refrigerator , and a terrace pantry with ice maker. Just steps from the arbored terrace, you will also find a traditional Italian vegetable and herb garden. This is a house that is perfect for family reunions, weddings, quiet dinners, or celebrations of food, wine, and life.
The terraces and gardens are designed to provide spaces for everyone -- the main shaded terrace for dining, a sunning terrace at pool level, a quiet out-of-the-way pergola terrace for a bit of get-away, a walking path with seating through the 'orto' (vegetable garden) and the old olive trees that were in the garden when the house was purchased.
Understanding La Casa Dei Fiordalisi
As is typical in Italy, with its long tradition of extended families under the same roof, the house is actually a collection of three connected dwellings: La Casa dei Fiordalisi proper, the four-bedroom central house astride the old city wall; La Casa di Città, an interconnected, complete one-bedroom village townhouse that also opens to the top floor terrace balcony; La Casetta, a private one bedroom carriage house on the garden terrace level.
Each of these 3 'houses' has at least one fireplace, eating area and kitchen - Casetta and the Main House each have sofa beds. All told, La Casa dei Fiordalisi is a great complex for multiple couples and families who value privacy but love time together, too. At its maximum, the house can accommodate 12 in the private rooms with baths and with the additional 2 sofa beds (comfortable for small children), another 4 guests, for a total of 16. Portacribs are available. Main House and Casetta are rented together, May through October. With three or four couples, it feels wonderfully spacious. With more, it becomes more convivial, but no less private and enchanting.
The house is easily accessed, with an unloading area immediately below the garden, with stairs to the terraces and to the garden entry doors -- large French doors that lead through a huge ancient archway in the city wall. Parking is close by and abundant.
La Casa Dei Fiordalisi
In the main house, the entry floor (piano terra), with the quiet, winding village street on one side and the terraces and gardens on the other, contains the living room with fireplace, intimate dining room, adjoining main kitchen and working pantry. A few stairs down from the kitchen is the large, shaded dining terrace, pool terrace and gardens.
The floor above, originally the living level or piano nobile, has a covered balcony or loggia along the entire west face of the house, ending in a covered stair leading directly to the garden area and the arrival area. The sitting room with non-working original fireplace opens onto this loggia. The floor contains two bedrooms with en suite baths. La Camera d'Oliva has a fireplace, French doors to the loggia, and a master bath with soaking tub and separate shower. Also on this floor is the Camera Serena, a quiet room that looks down the village street and has pocket view over the loggia. This room has a 3/4 bath with a large shower with a vaulted ceiling.
On the top floor, piano secondo, are two bedrooms with private baths, sharing the long open balcony, shaded by vines. One bedroom has an original fireplace and a small fragment of an elaborate fresco from the time that this house was a palazzetto. The other bedroom has a full bath. Both have soaring beamed ceilings and French doors onto the terrace, with its stunning outlook.
La Casa di Citta
Throughout history Italian hill towns grew and changed as the population waxed and waned, but for centuries only within the city walls. The little interconnected village townhouse is one example of how this process worked. A section of the city wall was removed; the remnants are still visible. Then rooms were added over La Casa dei Fiordalisi. A wide stone stairway was built from the village street to this new abode. There is no way to tell precisely when all this occurred. At the top of the stair, which is lined with planters full of herbs and, in season, tomatoes and other vegetables, is a fully appointed little kitchenette with a little eating area and French doors onto a balcony over the village street. Next there is a salotto, or sitting room, which has French doors to the main house top terrace balcony, windows to the village and a fireplace. Atop this, like an aerie up a winding stair, is a beam-ceiling bedroom with framed vistas over all of the surrounding countryside, an arc from Montalcino to Siena. This little home has a half bath with washing machine off the sitting room and a 3/4 bath off the top floor bedroom. Very charming and very private. Access to the main house is from the terrace balcony, to the main house stair.
Along the lower edge of the garden runs via Taverne. Along this lane, is the garden gate access to La Casa dei Fiordalisi and the garden terraces. Slightly above the main terrace level opens the small private entry terrace of La Casetta. This little carriage house was made from granaio rooms, where historically winter produce--apples, pears, grain--was stored. It has a beamed ceiling and handmade tile floors. The sitting room has a sofa bed, lounge chair, a fireplace, eating area and a full kitchenette. Beyond is a large bedroom and full sky lit bath. This little cottage is quiet and private, directly above the main terrace. The porch terrace is shaded and cool. The fountain at the terrace door to the main house provides a lilting accompagnamento. Climbing over the terrace roof is one of the original grape vines, tended for decades to produce wine.