Verified Review icon check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar svg-report-flag pet-dog svg-multiunit Default Owner Icon heart-filled

Farmhouse w. pool at Montebenichi, high up in the Chianti, spectacular views

Bedrooms 4
Space 400 m²
Property type farmhouse
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights


About the property

Lux. Villa, 4 Bedrooms + 1 Convertible bed 4.5 Baths, (Sleeps 8-9), heated pool

Il Colombaio di Monte Benichi is a traditional Tuscan farmhouse whose origins date back to the year of 1232. Only steps away from the hilltop hamlet of Monte Benichi, Il Colombaio sits at about 500 meters above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the beautiful Ambra River Valley, a beautiful and unspoiled natural environment in the heart of Tuscany at the southeastern edge of the Chianti, the area producing one of Italy's finest red wines. The famous medieval town of Siena is only a 20-minute drive by car. See map under photos for exact location.

Il Colombaio and its solar-heated pool and central heating are surrounded by some 350 olive trees with their mystic silver-green leaves. Beyond the olive grove are unspoiled views that reach all the way to the mountains and the sea. The surrounding area is a peaceful and productive landscape with woods, vineyards, olive trees and active wildlife, scattered with villages and castles, and, at every turn, a splendid panoramic view.

Il Colombaio is available for rental year round, meaning guests can also enjoy the villa outside of the peak tourist season, in the spring, fall and winter months, when the Tuscan landscapes are still lush, locals fill the cafes, and the cuisine is at its best.

As part of a 2014-2015 renovation project undertaken by the current owner, a solar energy system was installed to heat the pool and to provide heating and hot water to the villa. The solar heating system inside of the villa is supported by two large open fireplaces. Although solar energy is uneven by nature, the solar system installed at Il Colombaio has basically extended the pool season to the full month of May to the end of October.

Il Colombaio sources its clean water from a natural spring located 100 metres underground. In early 2015, a 10,000-litre cistern was installed, to serve as a back-up to the spring water. Other reserves of water are always available via truck transport.

Positioned on the southeastern side of the Chianti hills, Il Colombaio generally enjoys a refreshing breeze from the east in the afternoon and evening. With the cross-ventilation available in each room, the breeze can effectively cool the villa's interior in the evening. In addition, all of the villa's bedrooms are equipped with electric overhead fans, while the master bedroom has air conditioning. All rooms have mosquito screens.

Internet access is available throughout the villa and on the terrace. Mobile phone reception is generally good outside of the house, but it may be poor in some parts of the villa interior, due to the barrier of natural stone walls that can be up to 60 centimetres thick.

The rental of Il Colombaio also includes the presence of the following service personnel: gardener (almost daily), cleaners (twice a week) and the pool maintenance crew (weekly). A small vegetable garden yields spices and seasonal tomatoes and figs. Bed sheets and towels are changed weekly, and on request, can be changed more frequently, at an extra charge.

The villa went through a major restoration in 2002, with subsequent renovation work done in 2005 and 2015. The interior is decorated in a typical Tuscan style, mixed with modern touches for comfort and design. All bathrooms have been renovated. The house is also decorated with a series of modern, large-scale photographs taken by the owner's daughter.

Ground Floor:

Main living room, dining and kitchen: 56 sqm with vaulted brick ceilings, stone walls, and yet full of light. Large open fireplace. Open passage to dining area, with seating for 10. Open passage to fully fitted kitchen (incl. dishwasher, large fridge-freezer, gas-stove).

WC and Pantry (incl. washing machine). Stairway to 1st floor.

Double bedroom: 18.75 sqm with separate, barrier-free entrance: 2 x 100 x 200 cm single beds; en-suite bathroom with large shower.

Terrace: large partially covered area with barrier-free natural stone ramps; covered dining area, with seating for 10; large BBQ (wood and charcoal); external lounge area.

First Floor:

Master bedroom: 15.2 sqm with adjacent bath, air conditioning and its own shady terrace, 160 cm wide bed;

Second bedroom: 21.7 sqm , 160 cm wide bed, sharing bathroom with master bedroom;

Third bedroom: 14.0 sqm with queen size bed and a full bath nearby.

Computer room & library;

Lounge with two sofas (one sleeping 100 x 200 cm), large open fireplace, 62-cm flat-screen TV, DVD player, and DVD library with classic Italian films.

The third bedroom and the first-floor lounge area have doors opening on to a small covered verandah offering beautiful views of the property and the Ambra Valley.

Pool House

A small house adjacent to the pool has a living area with large sofa, stereo, fridge, sink and a bathroom (w/shower).

Pool specifications:

11 metres x 4.5 metres; depth 160 cm plus, ; solar-heated from May to October; stairs with handrail; ample seating area with 8 sun-beds and chairs; beautiful views.

More Details

J. MIchael Semler, Munich
Member since: 2010
Speaks english, german, italian
Response time
Within a few days
Response rate
Calendar last updated:
7 August, 2017

About J. MIchael Semler, Munich

For more than 10 years Il Colombaio has been home to Valeria Bottazzi, her husband and her two sons. Despite being let for the last years, the house retained its character of being a primarily private permanent home. In June 2014, Valeria sold the House to Michael Semler, born 1946 in Munich/ Germany. Michael grew up in Germany and the UK. As a trained lawyer, specialized in international tax-law he became an international investment consultant and opened companies in Munich and St. Louis/Missouri. They accompanied many European companies, largely mid-sized family held companies, on their ways through mergers and acquisition in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentinia, Europe and Africa.

In 1987, Michael sold the companies to one of the major international consulting firms. Michael returned to his great love, Africa, and tried for two decades to bring peace and prosperity to this rich continent, working for private organizations as well as for the UN on peace making and peace keeping missions. Michael continues to travel to Africa, today specialized in legal issues on land ownership, protection against land grabbing and better justice in land ownership.

J. MIchael Semler, Munich purchased this farmhouse in 2014

Why J. MIchael Semler, Munich chose Siena Area

From the age of a toddler Michael came to Italy, every summer for at least six weeks, to a house on the island of Elba, where the family rented an old napoleon villa near the sea for almost two decades. Through his close friendship to imminent art-history professor Bernhard Berenson (Harvard) Father Semler became a hobby-art-historian. Trips to Italy therefore were never holidays only for Michael; they were often extensive tours through the history and art history of Italy. For decades there had been a strong desire in Michael to own a house in Italy, preferably in Southern Tuscany. Michael is a keen cook and loves the wine. But he equally loves the art, and the Music. All his life, Michael has been travelling extensively, often to the least desirable, hot, dirty places. Michael felt that time had come to sit down and dig deeply into the art history of Italy. A multi-lingual library will soon grow in La Colombaia. Italian literature and Film during the last three decades might well, be one of the most interesting in the world. This will be another area of intense research. But Michael also feels that there is such a mass of experience, positive and negative, he has enjoyed during his life, that he hopes to be able to put this into one or more books in Il Colombaio.

Il Colombaio will therefore remain a house almost permanently lived in. Valerie offered all her extensive experience in letting the villa when not needed, and thus Michael agreed that the house can be let during times he continues to travel somewhere around the world, or not needed by his two daughters. This implies that Il Colombaio will never be a sterile Hotel but it will breathe the spirit and taste of those loving, ownig, and living in it. It will breathe the individuality of the owner and we would be grateful if, to the extent possible, you will respect this individuality. Then, Michael enjoys the opportunity to share the beauty of this place with you.

What makes this farmhouse unique

Nature: The wooded areas near Il Colombaio are home to wild boar, falcons, deer, fox, beech maarten, & other animal species. It is recommended that guests wear sturdy hiking shoes when walking in these areas. Some of the aforementioned animals wander onto the roads during the hours near sunrise/sunset and during the dark. The lack of lakes & open water reservoirs as well as the continuous wind make Il Colombaio almost insect-free.

Local attractions: With its upward winding spiral shape, the medieval village of Monte Benichi has a rich history, and features two castles, two churches, a small luxury hotel and a great family-owned Tuscan "trattoria" restaurant, where the food is fantastic and reasonably priced.

A few kilometres by car is the small walled village of San Gusme, sitting atop a hill, with the views extending from the local vineyards to the towering landmarks of Siena; San Gusme is completely a pedestrian zone, offering charming restaurants.

Il Colombaio is also near some of the most important historical cities in Tuscany: Florence (1 hour), Siena (20 minutes), Perugia (1 hour), Arezzo (45 minutes) and Pienza (1 hour). Even the famous duomo of Orvieto is only just a little over one hour away.

From Monte Benichi, the Chianti road winds around woods, olive groves and vineyards taking you to medieval villages, imposing castles, and wineries. It takes 40 minutes to drive southwest to Montalcino (producing Brunello, one of Italy's best wines) or to head southeast to Montepulciano (known for its Vino Nobile). There is an extensive house book to provide guests with hints about where to go and also where to dine.

Slightly south of Monte Benichi are the “Crete Senesi”, an extraordinary and unique land known for its clay lomes & the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore.

The small thermal spa town of Rapolano, 20 minutes from Il Colombaio, features two resorts, one of them a full SPA, with natural hot springs emerging from the ground at 38 degrees.

Guestbook comments from the owner

My friends and I rented Il Colombaio for 5 days in October and were extremely impressed by everything inside and outside the villa. The pool was glorious and Valeria even had Cheese and Prociuto waiting for us in the fridge. The rooms were clean and spacious and our only regret is that we could not spend more time at the villa. I would definately recommend it to anyone visiting the region.
Oct 2012
  • 1 of 1


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday farmhouse rental in Castelnuovo Berardenga, Italy

Property Type:
  • farmhouse
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 400 m²
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 4:00 PM / Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 9
  • children welcome
  • pets not allowed
  • non smoking only
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Near The Ocean ...
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Broadband Access ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Computer Available ...
  • Fireplace ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • mobile phone
  • Parking Off Street ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • Wood Fireplace
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • 5 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 3 -
    Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower enclosure , bidet
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , bath (no shower) , shower enclosure , bidet
    Bathroom 3 - toilet , shower enclosure , bidet
    Bathroom 4 in pool house - toilet , shower enclosure
  • Ground Floor: En suite Bathroom with shower, Bidet, WC, sink. Toilet with WC, Bidet and sink. First Floor: Bathroom with tub/shower, bidet, WC and sink. 2nd Bathroom with shower, bidet, 2 sinks, toilet. Pool house: Bathroom with shower WC and sink. Washing Machine and dryer in the separate pantry.
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 9
  • Convertible bed(s) - 1 cot
    Bedroom 1 - 2 single bed
    Bedroom 2 - 1 large double bed
    Bedroom 3 - 1 large double bed
    Bedroom 4 - 1 large double bed
  • Queen size Beds (3) Master bedroom with direct access onto private balcony, comfortable queen size bed, bathroom en-suite with 2 sinks and shower GROUND FLOOR Room with two single beds Independent room on ground floor with two single beds 100 x 200 cm and bath with shower en suite. FIRST FLOOR Three bedrooms with double (queen.-size) beds Familiyx room with single (100 x 200 cm) sofa-bed. Baby travel bed and children (up to 140 cm) bed available.
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Music Library
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • Video Library ...
  • Balcony ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Gazebo
  • Golf ...
  • Lanai / Gazebo
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill
Pool / Spa:
  • Heated Pool
  • Private Pool ...
  • churches
  • health/beauty spa
  • live theatre
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antique hunting
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horse riding
  • outlet shopping
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundrette - serviced
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • golf
  • golf pass optional
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • mountaineering
  • swimming
  • tennis
Linnen and towels, mid-week and final cleaning included in price. There is a varied multilingual book, DVD and book library at the house. Guests are welcome to use them during the vacation.


Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(10 traveller reviews)

90% Complete
10% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
Farmhouse w. pool at Montebenichi, high up in the Chianti, spectacular views
average rating of 4.9 based on 11 reviews

Fabulous family getaway

  • 5 of 5

Thank you Valarie for being the most wonderful hostess to our family visiting the villa. We had the most amazing trip which was even more special because of the beauty and ambiance of the villa. From the moment we arrived, it was a perfect getaway and far exceeded our families expectations. Valerie gave great recommendations and became the concierge for the entire trip, I appreciate your help more than you know. Our family will remember this wonderful vacation forever due to your hospitality and kindness. I highly recommend this property to anyone.

  • Review Submitted: Jun 21, 2015
  • Date of Stay: May 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Dania, it was a pleasure to interact with you all the way through and it was fun meeting your family. I was most impressed with both parent couples and their wonderful spirit. It always makes us happy when we know that guests enjoy the home and our service and I thank you for letting me know so kindly. I truly hope that our paths can cross again! Valerie & Michael
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0
Washington, DC USA

Magical Vacation Villa

  • 5 of 5

We had a wonderful and perfect two week stay at this villa in early September 2014. It was everything advertised and more. The “more” part was how much time, detail and help that Valeria gave to us from the first email to her to our final communications after our trip was complete. Valeria gave us a very warm welcome reception upon our arrival on the first day. She could not have been nicer to us. Her tour of the house and grounds made us feel right at home immediately. She was always available to us through our stay if we needed her, which made us feel connected to someone should we have a question during our stay. The lovely welcome basket was thoughtful and appreciated as we made dinner the first evening. The villa was gorgeous inside and out and was impeccably clean. The house is very centrally located to many of the Tuscan hill towns. Great home base for us as we drove daily to different towns, cooking classes, and vineyards. The villa had beautiful grounds and views of the surrounding rolling hills. So relaxing and peaceful especially at the pool and watching the stars on the terrace at night. The house was very well appointed so we were able to prepare food and cook easily with the accommodations. We felt so at home! We would totally recommend this villa to anyone looking for a quality and picturesque rental property run by people who care about their renters. It was a magical vacation and the villa was a huge part of that special memory.

  • Review Submitted: Sep 30, 2014
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Clayton, Thank you so much for such a wonderful review. It has truly been my pleasure to meet you both and interact with you from the very beginning. I am touched by the details you share and thank you for taking the time to have done so. I hope that our paths cross again soon, hopefully at the villa with friends! :-) Best wishes! Valerie
Did you find this review helpful?
2 0

Spacious with beautiful views in a great location

  • 4 of 5

I stayed here with my husband, our two children (ages 8 and 12) and another couple with their 2 children in August. The home was spacious and laid out well to provide privacy but also shared common spaces for hanging out. The views were amazing and the location was perfect for day trips--our family visited Montepulciano, Siena, and Florence while there. Our friends also took trips to Cortona and Volterra.

There are lots of surrounding trails for walking and running with beautiful views but there seemed to be a fly epidemic during our visit which made extended walks or runs difficult without being dive bombed and bitten by the flies! The flies also seemed to love us at the pool so we were not able to lounge at the pool as much as we had hoped although the kids braved the flies to get some pool time in. The flies were the only disappointment in a lovely setting.

Valerie was pleasant, quick to respond, and helpful in all our interactions with her. She even offered us a later check out when she discovered the next guests would be arriving later.

  • Review Submitted: Sep 15, 2014
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Heather, Thank you for taking the time to write a review about the villa and the area. I am so sorry to hear about the flies. I didn't realize theY had gotten that bad as you mention. I am not sure I could have solved it should I have known but I could have tried. The past winter has been very mild and this summer season we definitively had more bugs of all types than usual. Right after you left, there has been three days of a cold spell and thankfully all the flies disappeared, but it was too late for your enjoyment of the outdoors. I wish I could do something about it, but the country side is bigger than man. Hoping that you had a wonderful vacation with fond memories nonetheless, I wish you well! Kind regards Valerie
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0

Family holidays at Toscana

  • 5 of 5

Villa Il Colombaio is trully a pretty place to stay. Valeria and Stefano, the house owners were very hospitable and always helpful. The pictures on the website are just like things are in reality.Everything in the house is very clean and new.There are a lot of things that you can spend your time on, like a gym, card games, TV... The swimming pool was also very enjoyable, to everyone in the family. It's a nice place if what you want is to be relaxed. We loved it and we recommend it to anyone. It has been for as an enjoyable experience in very many ways and for sure we will treasure this vacation in our memories.

  • Review Submitted: Sep 8, 2013
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Queridisima Carmela, fue un placer conocerlos!!! What fun to have a family from Spain visiting the villa. Thank you for writing about your special time at Il Colombaio. That is what Stefano and I treasure about renting the property, that is, sharing in the special moments of who stays in Montebenichi. Hasta siempre! Valeria and Stefano
Did you find this review helpful?
2 0
Los Angeles, CA

A Perfect Tuscany Experience

  • 5 of 5

Our family of 5 spent one heavenly week at Castelnuovo this past August and we are still enjoying the wonderful memories that we created there, not to mention the delectable olive oil from the orchards on the property that we took home with us.

The house was even better than what we had pictured and hoped for when we were planning our trip to Tuscany. The ambiance, decor and views were not done justice by the photos on the website, as lovely as they are -- really, nothing could have prepared us for the beauty of it all. The house is stunning, yet completely comfortable, quiet and (very important to us) spotlessly clean. The pool was fantastic -- so clean and with more spectacular views over the Tuscan hills. A home definitely reflects the personality and soul of its owner and in this regard, Valerie, with her warmth and graciousness, has infused Castelnuovo with both. We have rented many, MANY vacation rentals throughout our travels and we all agree that this was one of the very best.

  • Review Submitted: Sep 8, 2013
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Holly and Terry, Thank you for this wonderful review. Our whole interaction has been fun for me, since your booking on January 1st, when we discovered that when I lived in L.A. I was so near your house, to the delightful manner in which you handled your stay. Please stay in touch. It was my pleasure to meet you and your children, not so children any more! Warm salutes from Tuscany, Valerie and Stefano
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0
South Africa

Fantastic Villa in Tuscany

  • 5 of 5

What a lovely Villa. we were 6 friends that rented the Villa from Valerie. Having not knowing Tuscany that well, it was a lovely surprise to be welcomed by Valerie upon our arrival at the Villa. The welcome hamper was extensive and included two bottles of wine, coffee, tea, milk sugar, eggs, Parma ham and cheese. The Villa is equipped with all the appliances and utensils that you may wish for, along with a very thorough and informative operations manual for all the electronic equipment and TV. The manual also contained a section with local amenities and attractions. Valerie also provided us with a mobile phone for local calls and reservations.

The Villa itself is extremely well accommodated and clean with a sparkling pool and beautiful gardens overlooking an olive grove and the beautiful Tuscan countryside. All the bedrooms have beautiful views and are very private. There is even a gym in the Villa.

The Villa is located centrally and easily accessible to all the major attractions even a day at the beach is within an hours drive from the Villa.

We recommend this Villa to all our friends and family and have no doubt that they will also love it.

Wish we could have spent more time there.

Thank you Valerie.

  • Review Submitted: Aug 6, 2013
  • Date of Stay: Jul 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Jaco, Thank you for your write up and for taking the time to sending this feedback on VRBO. My pleasure was meeting all six of you and I hope to see you again, if not in Tuscany I will come to Kruger Park! it is in my wish-list of places to see. My best wishes for all of you, Valerie Bottazzi
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0


Nearest Airport
60 Kilometres
Nearest Barpub
10 Kilometres
Ambra or Castelnuovo Berardenga
Nearest Train
20 Kilometres
Nearest Motorway
10 Kilometres
Siena - Bettolle
Nearest Restaurant
0.3 Kilometres
Osteria Orciaia in Montebenichi
Nearest Ski
200 Kilometres
Nearest Beach
80 Kilometres
Nearest Point of Interest
Castelnuovo Berardenga
Nearest Point of Interest
Car: necessary

Tuscany, and specifically the Chianti Classico wine region are famous worldwide for reflecting the dolce vita lifestyle. Wine and olive oil tasting, great food, plenty of excellent restaurants to choose from, cooking classes (that can be set also at the villa), all types of summer festivals, antique markets, outlet shopping malls, and golf courses within 1 hour from the villa. You can organize yourself for biking tours, horseback riding excursions and lessons, and of course the enjoyment of the area. Just trekking from the villa wondering off on to the woods and then taking time off at the thermal spas 15 minutes away.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Pet Fee A$222.47
Damage Deposit A$1,038.19

Rates are subject to change until reservation is confirmed. 30% down payment required to book and the balance plus the refundable damage deposit 10 weeks prior to vacation date.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 7 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.