On our 16th century ancestral estate, our ancient and historic family home, Villa La Collina, has been magnificently restored over the past eight years, led by the architect Paolo Baccherini. On our property were several original, colonial villas, long since abandoned as tractors and technology have transformed the way we use the land. One by one, my husband and I, along with my sister, Bettina, an architect whose specialty has been restoring the historic buildings of Florence, have restored them, including an ancient chapel, into comfortable holiday homes, taking great care to preserve the original appearance and structure of the buildings, while bringing in modern design and conveniences. The roofs have been renewed with classic terracotta tiles, the windows and shutters reinforced with our own chestnut and the walls restored with local stone. Also inside the houses, the original character has been retained. But we have ensured that there is every comfort and convenience for the way we live today: gas-fired central heating, adequate power points, fully-equipped kitchens with dishwashers, utility rooms with washing machines, satellite television and WI−FI. New floors and kitchen and bathroom walls are clad in tiles made in nearby Faenza, famous for its ceramics since the 14th century. Each house has a pool, and is equipped for outdoor living. We have furnished with things we ourselves love, expecting that our guests will appreciate and respect the quality of living such surroundings offer. You will find detailed descriptions of these homes on the following pages. A quality they all share is extraordinary views. The La Collina estate is some 650 mt. above sea level on the Appenine ridge. In the valley to the north is the tiny Tuscan village of Lutirano, on the other side 3 km down the hill in Romagna, is Tredozio, our hometown, one kilometer from end to end. It has butchers, bakers, general stores, bars and banks. There are several local restaurants. We recommend two restaurants in the heart of Tredozio. Locanda Guelfo serves Sunday brunch, and other meals by appointment. La Taverna dei Rioni is noted for serving typical Romagna-Toscana dishes.
On summer evenings, in the ancient courtyard of the Palazzo Fantini, in Tredozio, there are concerts ranging from jazz to chamber music organised by the province's cultural department. There are public tennis courts in Tredozio, golf courses at Forlì, Riolo Terme and Milano Marittima on the Adriatic, and trails for mountain biking, horse-riding and trekking. A pleasant walk through the woods from La Collina leads to the Urrai family farm, where flocks of sheep and goats supply milk to make cheeses in the traditional Sardinian way. This is not the Chiantishire of souvenir shops and Leaning Tower T-shirts; this is the real, rural and peaceful Italy.
Ravenna and the Adriatic coast are 45 minutes away: Florence and the other historical Tuscan cities are within easy reach; the beautiful, bustling city of Bologna, often overlooked on the tourist trail, is just over an hour away. As a break from driving, we advise use of the excellent train services from Faenza. Alitalia, British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, EasyJet and Ryanair fly to Bologna.
Now let me tell you about the accommodations. Included in the basic prices are all utilities (except heating), use of the swimming pool and pool towels. The gardener checks the pools and gardens every day. And there′s a complementary bottle of La Collina wine from our own vineyard to greet you. For longer stays, there is a weekly change of bed linen and towels.
Options include maid service and, by arrangement, the cooking of local meals for you. And, by special request, Pierluigi Gentilini, an internationally respected master chef, will cook a typical 19th century dinner for you to be served at Villa La Collina, or he can be commissioned to cook dinner in your villa.