View of Casa Haute from pool
Casa Haute rests atop one of the beautiful hills that make up the heart of Romagna Toscana, a wonderful mix of Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. Serene and restful, Casa haute lies off the beaten track, on the border of the Foreste Casentinesi, a National Park extending southward into Tuscany.
On the north side of this peaceful and lush valley, you will find the tiny Tuscan village of Lutirano; on the other side, 3 km down the hill in Romagna, Tredozio, with its quaint restaurants, butchers, bakers, general stores, bars, banks and post office.
Casa Haute is just half way between Florence (Km 85) and Bologna (80 km). Ravenna, capital of the world's finest Byzantine mosaics outside of Istanbul, is 45 km away.
The magnificent hilltop view
Casa Haute is set atop the highest ridge, where the sun rises over the Romagna Apennines to warm the pool and the shaded breakfast loggia, and sets behind the Apennines of Tuscany that stretch out endlessly from the front of the house.
Comfortable living room
Casa Haute, originally a shepherd's house, was totally restored in 2005. The owner has used the finest local materials - terracotta flooring, chestnut from their own trees and tiles from the nearby factories of Faenza. All modern comforts are built in. It has a large garden with patios, lounge chairs and a panoramic swimming pool overlooking the valley. (10x5 m, depth 1,20/1,90 m. - open from May 10th-September 27th)
Whenever I begin to plan a trip of any length, I have learned to use the following simple packing list (from Mary Beth Bond, author of Gutsy Women). Those items that don't apply are simply crossed out, but methodically going through the remainder helps me to stay organized. And for peace of mind and ultimate confidence, that's the key – organization. Hope this helps you too!
Click for Packing List.
Artisan bread baked in an ancient oven.
Emmanuel, family & friend in Japan
As properties are filling up very quickly now for this summer, no time to waste to book your favorite villa if you haven't done it yet!
For those of you who have travelled extensively in Italy and want to try a different area, we have a new gem called Emilia Romagna. Check out our wonderful properties there. Also, for those who long for the sun and want to experience an exotic area, we invite you to try Morocco.
Happy Travels to you all,
Emmanuel de Ricard, President
Serve in a heavy pan
with fresh lemon
PAELLA VALENCIANA DE LA HUERTA
Paella is prepared with ingredients available at the time of preparation, so there are a great variety of different ones. The recipe given below is one of the most usual among them, but feel free to 'customize' yours however you wish.
600 g rice
480 g rabbit
600 g chicken
180 g grated tomato
180 g garrofe (beans for paella)
180 g tabella (small white beans)
6 Tbsp olive oil
a few strands of saffron
1 Tbsp sweet red pepper
salt and yellow coloring for paella
200 g ferraura (green beans for paella)
Spaniard filling wine glasses
Place rice over heat with olive oil and a little salt. When hot, add chicken and rabbit pieces, frying them over a low heat until golden brown. Add beans, all of them, and fry a little longer, and then add the tomato, and sweet pepper, continuing to fry. Add the water, all at once. At the boiling point add snails, cleaned and boiled previously, saffron, coloring, and salt. After boiling for 15 minutes, the rice will be distributed evenly. Cook another 6 minutes over fast heat, and then reduce heat and simmer until done.
Typical Tuscan countryside
On A Philosophical Note…
"Why would you be anywhere else when you can be in Italy?"
- Edith Wharton
I must admit, this time of year I feel homesick for Italy. And perhaps because Tuscany is the place I've been the most, and because I'm a farmer's daughter, and because I relate to a simple and rustic lifestyle, I often find this magical place in my thoughts. For in Tuscany there's a rich and deep-rooted belief in hospitality, an appreciation of sharing one's blessings among a people born into an aged society, wise and proud, with strong family ties and traditions. They seem to have the balance that we in the 'New World' struggle to achieve and maintain. Yes, Tuscans labor just as we do, in a modern world with the latest technology and commerce, but the balance of their lives surround family, country, food, and religion. Just go to any town or village in the Tuscan countryside, after dinner any evening of the week, and watch the locals stroll the piazzas, pushing their babies in strollers, older children trailing behind, meeting and greeting friends and neighbors. The old men sit and sip wine, the old women talk and shop, the young singles laugh and hang out together. There's a comfort and safety in belonging to a community where everyone is familiar.
That's why I so believe in the concept of renting a home through RentaVilla.com. Here you actually have the opportunity to become a local, albeit for a little while. And it's also why we recommend as long a stay in each chosen location as possible. In my estimation, it's not until about the 3rd day that you truly begin to relax and forget your 'other life'. Your blood pressure drops, your pulse steadies, and the "real you" begins to emerge and stretch with long forgotten freedom. Sometimes in our busy 'at home' lives, we live mostly for others. Our own needs come after the kids, the budget, the boss, the career, and the 'honey-do list'. Even our vacations are often crammed with too many miles to cover, too many places to see, too many activities to cram into a short time, and we come home exhausted! That's why you should consider RentaVilla.com!
First of all, you will want to choose a location and a home that fits you. That may be an apartment in Paris, a Bed and Breakfast in Rome, a cottage in a tiny Provencal hamlet, a stately villa on a Tuscan hillside, a glistening white stucco home built into the hillside of Positano, or even a castle in Austria. Whatever you choose, you'll always be glad you did, for throughout the years to come you will remember the special time you enjoyed. Go alone, take family and friends, or make it a romantic getaway for two. Just do it! 2008 is a new year, with dreams to realize, relationships to cement, and Bucket Lists to accomplish!
The beautiful Villa David
Menaggio/Lake Como, Italy
Villa David is a lakefront property located 10 kilometers north of Menaggio, on the northwest shore of Lake Como. The villa is located in a unique setting and provides access to the beach. The property includes private parking for 6 cars behind the house, an above ground pool, and a large panoramic terrace that offers breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Villa David with its spacious and brightly decorated interior is the ideal holiday home for large parties. The house can accommodate 12 people in 5 double bedrooms and 2 single bedrooms. It consists of two floors (each 300 sq. m.). Outside the property (2500 sq. m.) is directly on the shore of the lake, just a few meters from the public beach. On the large terrace (45m x 8m) is the above ground pool (5m x 3m).
Visit the Museum of "La Raccolta della Barca Lariana" just 50m behind the villa. The museum features over 600 boats that played an important part in the nautical history of the lake from the 19th century to today. Among them, there is a Venetian gondola from the last century which was built on Lake Como, and a Cisco, which is a typical English sailing boat also from the last century. The village and its shops are about 600m from the property. The nearest golf course, tennis court, and equestrian club are 10 km away in Menaggio.
The Lake of Como, and in particular the northern zone of the lake, is renowned in all of Europe as an excellent sailing area. This is the breeziest area of the lake, and the most pristine. The Breva, a temperate breeze of the Lake of Como, blows during the afternoons. This breeze guarantees enjoyment for sailing, windsurfing or kite-surfing.
The area offers numerous alpine destinations and several trekking and mountain bike trails. The main factory outlet shops (Armani, Fox town, Ferragamo, Versace, Etro, Gucci, Mantero, Lario) are all within 10 to 30 minutes of Como. Malpensa/Linate airports are 1.5 hrs, Bergamo Orio al Serio airport 2 hrs, Saint Moritz 2 hrs, Venice 3.5 hrs, and Florence is 4 hrs.
Bellagio is known as the 'pearl of the lake', thanks to its position between the two arms of the lake and the medieval village of Varenna. Here you'll see the neo-classical Villa Carlotta, one of the most beautiful villas of the lake, with its botanical garden and artistic masterpieces, the 16th century Villa Balbianello in Nesso, Menaggio, Varenna (Villa Monastero) and Como with its important historical buildings. When you want to play in this wonderland, enjoy swimming, boating, sailing, windsurfing, hiking, golfing (Golf club Menaggio), flying, and horseback riding.
"Villa David was the highlight of our 6 weeks in Italy. We really felt comfortable in this house and loved the access to the lake. We highly recommend it. The staff was efficient and very responsive to our needs."
- MG, Wayland, MA.
"Well maintained home, beautiful views!"
- SH, MA
For a little laugh
Newsletter Editor: Kathy Hayes