Casa Bacciana, named after the zone of “Bacciana” in which it is located, is a long two-storey stone and brick south-facing building which was originally a farmhouse in typical Umbrian style, with the animals accommodated on the ground floor, and the family living in the upper rooms, accessed in those days only via an external staircase. The oldest part of the house – at the western buttressed end – probably dates back to the 14th century, and might well have been a watch tower which fell into disuse and then eventually became the basis of the farmhouse.
When we first saw Casa Bacciana, it had been abandoned for nearly a decade and was virtually a ruin, and the garden had become a wilderness of weeds, rubble and undergrowth. It was a daunting project to take on, but the remarkable location of the house with its superb panoramic view of Montone made us fall totally in love with the property. Also, we loved the unique countrified character of the house itself and we could see – beneath the debris, the dust, the damp and the cobwebs – that many attractive features of the original building had fortunately survived years of neglect, such as the huge stone fireplace, the stone flagstones, and the terracotta floors and ceilings. We were determined that the restoration of the house should be carried out so that its appearance remains in keeping with its rustic, Umbrian character and in this we were fortunate to have exceptional local builders and craftsmen with a wealth of experience in restoring houses of this type.
The enormous beams on the upper floor are new but made of chestnut wood, as were the original ones that they replaced; the doors are reclaimed oak; new ironwork banisters and window bars have been designed and made in the local forge in Montone to be in keeping with the original features. The floors are mainly old terracotta tiling and many of the original flagstones have been incorporated, with the new stone internal staircase being built of the ancient stone slabs we found in the original animal quarters on the ground floor. Ancient oak from the animal mangers fixed to the walls – that still existed on the ground floor when we first viewed the property – has been used to make shelving in the kitchen and one of the bathrooms.
Some of the outbuildings have been demolished but an old pigsty (which we call “The Barn”) has been restored and painted terracotta-pink to make it an attractive and quaint feature which is also storage for logs, garden furniture and tools.
Casa Bacciana is not a sanitised and depersonalised rental property: it is a quirky and special family home and our work on the property is ongoing, in the sense that there is always more we want to do, but we have ensured that the house has modern comforts and conveniences throughout. . You will find that ancient and modern coexist harmoniously at Casa Bacciana, so that visitors can have the best of both worlds.