This stunning stone village house has been completely restored over the last four years. The shell of the building had been uninhabited for over 80 years but today combines luxury with the very best in eco-technology.
The original ciappe roof, made from large, uncut slate, has been insulated, and shutters and double-glazed windows (made by the 80-year-old village joiner) help to keep the house cool in summer.
Solar panels fuel the heat storage system to provide the house with hot water, and a biomass boiler burns wood chips and olive pits to power the underfloor heating – a definite asset during the winter months. An old-fashioned Sheila Maid hangs in the vaulted ceiling of the living area, offering the ultimate eco-friendly air-drying for clothing.
The property is brought to life by up-cycled furniture and eclectic accessories. An Italian-style kitchen is complete with plenty of crockery and an abundance of accessories. Bedrooms are furnished with White Company linen and towels, and fully-stocked bookshelves complete the picture.
The owners live most of the year in the adjoining property and are available to help should they be needed.
Entrance to the ground floor is via the private terrace. Here there is one double bedroom, with views across the valley. An additional bedroom has zip twin beds, which can be made up as two single beds or one king-sized double. A family bathroom has a bath with shower, sink, WC and bidet, plus a washing machine.
The first floor features a large open-plan kitchen/dining/living area with a vaulted ceiling, a CD/DVD system with iPod dock and USB port. Windows face across and down the valley.
Stairs lead to the mezzanine level, which has a double bedroom overlooking the living area and an en-suite shower room with frameless glass enclosure. Windows look across the valley.
Outside of the house is a private terrace with wood-fired pizza oven, lounge chairs, and dining table and chairs, under a vine-covered pergola.
The property is located in Liguria, Italy, which borders on Mediterranean France. This mountainous region is perfect for mountain biking, walking or trial-biking around the Alpi Liguri National Park, as well as lounging on the Italian Riviera.
Nearby Rezzo is everything you could hope for from an Italian village, underpopulated by tourists yet truly welcoming to visitors. Between six and eight festivals take place each year, mainly over the summer months. These take the shape of dinner dances with fabulous food served in the Giardino Publico, or Babacce (the Halloween festival), a trail around the decorated village with food and drink samples along the way.
Two kilometers above the village is the incredible 15th-century Santuario di Nostra Signora del Santo Sepolcro e di Maria Bambina, built on the site of a small chapel where miracles were reputed to occur. It houses an impressive set of frescoes that have been sensitively preserved over the past few years.
Next door is Formaggio di Santuario di Rezzo, home to goat herder Barbara Saltarini, who champions the slow food movement. She owns over 200 goats, a dairy, a shop and a thriving agriturismo restaurant, a 15-minute walk from the house. As well as the local brusso cheese, Barbara makes and sells all types of goat’s cheese and other foods.
Rezzo offers great trails for cycling, and it is possible to ascend over 1000m from Rezzo to the Alpi Liguri in only a couple of kilometers. A gentler alternative is the coastal cycle path along the old railway line.
The region has many great restaurants. The village itself has two small shops/bars and a Locanda (bar/restaurant). Take a walk down the river and you’ll reach Lavina – home of Lavinella, a family-run restaurant with a great set menu of up to 12 (small) courses including wine for 25 euros. This is a great spot for Sunday lunch.
And finally, no visit to Italy is complete without a trip to a market. There’s one on most days of the week within an hour or so by car – including the famed Ventimiglia and San Remo markets.
Nearest airport: Nice or Genoa 120 km
Nearest railway: Imperia Oneglia 30 km.
Transportation: Car is recommended.
Nearest beach: Imperia, Albenga, Alassio 30 km