This Tuscany house for sale in picturesque Santa Fiora, Maremma is no ordinary house. You know it immediately when you open the driveway gate and catch sight of its thick stone walls.
Its lush green garden, the sweet sound of rushing water and heady scents from roses, jasmine and lavender, will distract you for a while from the biggest clue. If you spotted it that is.
The name of the lane in which it has stood for more than 600 years. And those of its neighbours behind it and on the other side of the fast running stream - the beginning of the most beautiful river in Maremma - that divides them.
For 400 years the hydropower generated by the water wheel attached to this house hammered metal into shape. Iron. This was Santa Fiora's iron mill, home to its "ferraio". The blacksmith.
That is, until in 1849 with its thick layers of black soot brushed clean, it was converted into a gristmill and began grinding local grain into flour for the towns "fornaie". Its bakers.
To reach the mill house you will have to take a walk through history. Beginning next to a church with a glass floor, beneath two dolphins and a trident. Santa Fiora's 14th century trout farm that kept Maremma's nobility fed in style in the fortified town above.
Through one of the oldest and most fascinating medieval borgo's in Tuscany, Santa Fiora's "Terziere di Borgo". The home of the town's ancient Jewish ghetto.
Down a lane called the, Via dei Molini". The road of mills.
The same lane that, twenty years ago, an architect strolled down and found the Mill House. And decided to restore it. With love. And to let the beauty of the building speak for itself.
The present owners brought it from him 15 years ago and now it is their turn to move on. But not before they too have found hands and hearts that will continue to love it for years to come. To be part of the next chapter in its story.
The stone set above the front door is inscribed with the date of its change into a flour mill.
The Mill House's gardens surround it with an oasis of green tranquility.
Starting with a shady space for your car under the trees, just inside the entrance gate. That changes into a sun trap in the south-facing front of the house.
From which you can retreat to the terraced garden with gazebo and fig tree to the left. And on really hot days, to the shady back garden to listen to the breeze tickle the Wheeping willow tree.
All the time with the incredibly soothing sound of running water.
Which, with the appropriate permission, you can use to water your garden throughout the year.
Walk up another narrow lane behind the house on your way into the centre of town above, and you will find this wonderful waterfall. Ever constant. Never dry.
From there it passes under the lane you can see in the photograph below. Re-emerging just feet away alongside the walled garden and on alongside yours.
Crystal clear on a flat route, before it drops, cascading again and passes under Via dei Molini.
The door to the left in this photograph leads to a store cupboard.
The spacious living room has patio doors that open onto the front garden, and an open fireplace. Which, even though the house has (LPG) central heating and a wood pellet stove, I wouldn't be able to resist lighting in the winter. Warming a bottle of red wine next to it!
The Mill House walls are very thick - which is why the building is cool indoors in the summer and retains heat in the winter - with wonderfully deep windowsills. Self-made reading nooks.
The first-floor accommodation is spacious with a long access corridor with windows - with those same lovely deep windowsills - that open onto the back garden.
There are three bedrooms upstairs: two double rooms and a single. All with windows opening onto the front garden.
The upstairs bathroom has a shower and double windows that open onto the back garden.
If the Mill House was mine I would make only two adjustments. This is already a wonderful property. It doesn't need anything else. But both would, if I had frequent guests or were to contemplate offering bed and breakfast. Or even renting it out as a holiday home whilst I wasn't there. Make it just perfect.
The first is indoors.
I would convert the single bedroom upstairs into a large en suite bathroom for the second double bedroom. The upstairs bathroom is already next door, so any pipework needed can readily be connected to the existing plumbing.
And I would add a new door in the corridor - at the moment there is a mini-L - so that the new bathroom may be reached in total privacy from its bedroom. That way both upstairs bedrooms would have their own bathrooms.
The second change I would make is outside. Not to the house. But an addition to the garden. A swimming pool. Supplied with water from the stream.
For details of the asking price - which is negotiable - floor plans and measurements etc, contact Rita Renzi and Riccardo Giuntini of the Tuscanary Real Estate Agency here in Maremma.
You can send them an email directly via this form.
Or contact them via their website at www.tuscanary.it
In an area of incredible natural beauty below Maremma's magical mountain, Monte Amiata, Santa Fiora is one of Tuscany's most impressive towns.
The drama that it at first glance instills, sat domineering a rocky outcrop, belies its modern day quiet, cat napping, odd tourist passing through, reality. But it wasn't always thus.
You only have to take a walk up, down, and around its streets to find out why. Start in the Terziere di Montecatino, inside the tiny, glass-floored Church of Our Lady of the Snows.
And then go next door into the gardens of La Peschiera. Before walking up that outcrop and through the ancient gateway into town.
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