The weather from April until the end of October is lovely. It can be hot in the summer but, because it is a dry heat, it can be most pleasant. And both houses have fans and screens in most windows. In the off-season, it is often wet or humid. But weather, of course, can be unpredictable. One guest visiting la Casina in March gardened in shorts and, the next day, played in the snow! In November, other visitors spent hours a 2 sunny week stay harvesting local olives, just for the fun of it. Note that, highly unusual for such old houses, both La Casina and Il Nido have furnaces and all rooms can be heated.
La Casina and Il Nido are rented from Saturday to Saturday, but that can usually be adjusted in the off season. The houses are cleaned and new linens provided before each visit. On receipt of the deposit, clients are sent a package of information on what to do and places to visit, and, most importantly, where to eat! La Casina’s first visitors spent their time hiking and going to 18 wine and olive oil tastings- and their requirement was that they all be within ½ hour of the house!
La Casina rents for $1,500 Canadian per week for 6 people or fewer, and $1,700 for 7-8. Il Nido rents for $800 Canadian per week. To secure a reservation, half the rent is required. This amount is non-refundable, should you need to cancel for whatever reason unless you or I can find a suitable replacement for the week(s) reserved. Of course, it would be a shame to miss out on such a wonderful adventure. Fortunately, it rarely happens. The second and final payment is due 3 weeks/month before you take up residence. Smoking is not permitted.
The countryside is spectacular. And this corner of Tuscany is particularly wonderful, among the rolling Apennines, with lots of little towns and tiny hamlets, some of them abandoned. Il Nido is in Anghiari, a Medieval, walled town of 6,000 friendly people. Tourism is still largely a novelty in this part of Tuscany and the locals think visitors are there to be welcomed and helped. Food and wine, whether in a restaurant or purchased for meals at home, is plentiful and of quality we don’t always find in Canada. The local banks’ ATMs take only a few seconds longer than Canadian ones, making it unnecessary to exchange much money in Canada. Visa is accepted almost everywhere.
Sansepolcro, birthplace of della Francesa, is 15 minutes away. Its Civil Museum contains several of his wonderful paintings. The cathedral is not to be missed.
Arezzo, home of the largest antique fair in Italy (the first Sunday of every month) is ½ hour to the west, on the main Rome-Florence highway and train route. Il Nido is an hour from Florence, 2 hours from Sienna, and 3 hours from Rome.
Giuseppe Dini, who manages the property, speaks excellent English and French, is very helpful, and delights in telling newcomers about his beloved Tuscany. (What he doesn’t know about Anghiari and places you might want to visit on day trips isn’t worth knowing.) For an additional fee, negotiated with him, he is happy to pick you up at the train station or airport, arrange cooking lessons or catered meals or serve as a private guide using his comfortable car.