, Via Costa, 21, Santa Giulia di Lavagna.
This old Genoese villa sits high on the hill above Lavagna beach, overlooking the Mediterranean sea. The character has been carefully preserved, retaining the traditional pink and ochre colours as well as the stone, wood slate and terracotta of the original. Owner Michele and his family also run their smallholding, producing olives, grapes and various soft fruits, with the finished products being used on the table at oliVenere.
There is a large living room with modern sofas and antique carpets, overlooking the garden and the sea. The breakfast room has a marble fireplace, complete in winter with a warming fire. The kitchen boasts functional style with stone arches and antique wood and ironwork. At the base of it all the cipressa is the old olive mill with stone walls, a vaulted ceiling, dark chestnut wood furnishings and the original millstone made from a single piece of rock.
The house is surrounded by a garden shaded by pine trees and terraced as it dips towards the sea. As the hill gets steeper the terraces get narrower and plunge down the hillside becoming the family’s farm. The hot tub has a prime spot for watching the sun set into the sea, and is surrounded by aromatic herbs and flowers to further enhance the experience.
Breakfast is served in the patio throughout the spring and summer, and retires to the elegant breakfast room as the mornings lose their warmth in the autumn. The buffet is laden with hams, cheeses, eggs ready to be cooked to order, freshly baked cakes and croissants, cereals, home-produced fruit juices and more besides. Freshness, quality and local are the watchwords.
The recently renovated guest rooms are on the first and second floors where they enjoy views of the garden and the Tigullio Gulf. Some of them have a balcony or terrace. Each one has a private bathroom with shower, air-conditioning, TV and wi-fi, hairdryer, safe and tea and coffee facilities.
For hikers, there are some great walks starting right from the house, all mapped and signposted. It’s about a 20 minute walk down to Lavagna to the art museum, the beach, the marina and dozens of shops, restaurants and bars. You can take boat trips along the coast to visit Portofino, Cinque Terre and Porto Venere, or simply hire a car and go where you will.