"We spent a week at l'Olmo in mid-August with a family party of six adults and three children aged eighteen months, five and nine - and everybody had a great time. The house was welcoming and comfortable, the location superb and the swimming pool irresistible.
Set high in the hills east of Florence and looking over the Val di Sieve, the views from L'Olmo are stunning. Sitting round the pool or on the terrace looking out over the wooded slopes or up at the stars at night, you feel you are in a timeless landscape that has changed little since Roman times. Especially when the family of wild boar that live close by come foraging for pears in the orchard next to the pool; and when the shepherd brings his herd of sheep, marshaled by his two sheepdogs, to graze in the fields in front of the villa.
The stone and oak-beamed farmhouse was cool, clean and comfortable with big bedrooms and lots of space downstairs for children and adults, perfect for a family like ours.
However we spent almost all of our time outdoors on the sun loungers around the pool or in the water. There's enough shade from the cherry and almond trees to keep you cool during the hottest parts of the day and the pool is big enough for games with the children or a decent swim.
We divided the cooking between the kitchen and the barbecue and had most of our meals on the terrace with the eight of us seated comfortably round the large dining table. But we had the option of using the posh dining room indoors and then ending the evening with coffee in the library.
Florence is an easy trip for a day's outing by car or train and the local village has a couple of good restaurants and a friendly bar. If you want to go a bit further afield the owner, Martyn, will happily advise you about the best places to eat, vineyards, local markets, villages, shopping and much more.
The road up to the villa is a bit daunting the first time but soon familiar and well worth it for the stunning location and views."