The Old Mill: A luxury country home on Tuscany’s wine road

Passepartout Homes’ property portfolio showcases a very exclusive collection of unique luxury holiday retreats located in 15 countries on four continents across the globe. What’s unique about each of our exclusive holiday villas is that every one is a home which has been lovingly built, rebuilt or renovated by its proprietors who invested their hearts and souls into creating a unique and special atmosphere for their guests. In this interview series, we meet the property owners who tell us the stories behind their exclusive holiday homes.

Nestled in the rolling hills of a vast wine estate near the town of Carmignano in Tuscany is The Old Mill, a heritage property which has been tastefully and conscientiously restored into an exclusive holiday home by Lido Reali, a native to the region who works in the textile business doing quality control inspection for many big fashion houses.

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Paola Van den Brande from Passepartout Homes and Lido take a stroll through the estate.

This luxury holiday property is over 500 years old and was the site of a mill which was powered by the water of a neighbouring river. The charming mill house has been converted in a luxurious 4-bedroom country home preserved in the Tuscan style, while the river and a water reservoir which was used for the mill now make up a vast 300 cubic metre swimming pool.

The Tuscan countryside is a delight for nature lovers as well as connoisseurs of good food and wine. The Old Mill offers complete seclusion and 40,000 square metres of lush gardens to explore. Located along one of Tuscany’s many wine roads, visitors can visit local producers and sample their quality wines. The many rustic local restaurants serving typical specialities made with fresh local produce from the fertile Tuscan earth guarantee a gastronomic experience to remember.

 

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Lido told us more about the fascinating history of this unique luxury holiday retreat:

How did you discover the property and what made you fall in love with it?

I bought the property in 1995. I was looking for a country house in a quiet, serene location. The property is an old flour mill which dates back to 1500. There used to be wheat fields on the property as well as the original bread oven which was used to bake bread for the whole village. There was also a station house here where travellers used to stop with their horses and have a meal or spend the night before continuing their journey. This is a stunning location in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, a real paradise on earth.

 

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Did you build or renovate the property? What was this process like?

I restored the old mill house a year ago. A farmer who was born on the property used to live there and since he had always lived here, I didn’t want to ask him to leave. He would take care of the vineyards and gardens and he had planted the tall cypress trees along the road between the two villages, which are 70 years old now. He stayed until the end of his about fives years ago – he had lived to over 90!

I didn’t change the structure of the old mill, all the walls are original. Since the property comes under heritage property regulations, it’s not possible to make changes to the structure and anyway I wanted to preserve it as much as possible. I renovated the interiors and the doors and windows, maintaining the traditional Tuscan design.

 

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What is unique about the property and area?

The Old Mill is located in the middle of a wine region, right on one of Tuscany’s wine roads. The wines produced here are of a very high quality. Close by there are many typical local locande and osteria serving typical Tuscan food. In a village just 200 metres away there’s a restaurant in a house which belonged to Leonardo da Vinci’s grandmother. Da Vinci’s house is just over the hill.

We have a huge swimming pool which was made from part of the creek which runs through the property. The calm and creative energy of the place is ideal for artists and writers. I’ve created some intimate, cosy spaces ideal for reading.

We offer the services of a renowned chef who can prepare Tuscan specialities for our guests. We can also arrange for a maid or personal shopper, live music, yoga, or massage. And of course guests love to visit local vineyards and sample their high-quality wines.

 

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What type of visitor does The Old Mill suit?

This is a good base for couples or families or a group of friends who would like to explore the towns and villages of Tuscany. We’re only a 20-minute drive away from Florence, and one hour from the fashionable seaside resorts of Versilia, like Forte dei Marmi. The Leonardo da Vinci museum in Vinci is just 30 minutes away. Siena is a 1.5 hour drive away, while Lucca and Chianti are only one hour. Pisa airport is 40 minutes away and Florence airport 15 minutes. We also have a helicopter pad on the property.

This is the perfect place for people who love nature: there are three waterfalls on the property, a creek and woods. This is also a paradise for people who love cycling – Tuscany is a favourite destination for cyclists from around the world.

Did you have any notable guests stay here?

Some famous Hollywood actors and well-known Italian ones have stayed here!

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Interview by Isabel Putinja.

Passepartout Homes is a private members’ club catering to the high-end holiday rental market. We match carefully-targeted owners of private residences with highly discerning guests. To find your perfect villa, visit our website.

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande is Founder and Director at Passepartout Homes, luxury holiday homes.

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