VILLA LAURA (filmed in Under the Tuscan Sun as Frances Mayes' Villa Bramasole) now rented as a private vacation villa
Near Cortona in southeastern
Tuscany — Featured in American Express Departures Magazine as one of the 10 top private villas to rent in Tuscany (May/June 2012)
Sleeps 20 in 10 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms; air-conditioned, with swimming pool, Jacuzzi hot tub, private lake, bocce court, billiard table, wood-burning pizza oven, WiFi
total: Villa sleeps 12 in 6 bedrooms with en suite baths; Farmhouse sleeps 8 in 4 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms; air-conditioning, swimming pool, Jacuzzi hot tub with seating for 8, private lake, bocce court, billiard table, wood-burning pizza oven, WiFi
Map | Daytrip
Ideas | Newsletter
More Photos: Villa | Farmhouse | Video
Villa Laura is the very villa used in the filming of “Under the Tuscan Sun.” It was used as the Bramasole "double" because Frances Meyes' Bramasole had already been renovated and the Hollywood crew needed a ruin. Villa Laura was built in 1504 and had been abandoned for some years before being completely renovated and transformed into a beautiful luxury estate.
The location, just on the outskirts of the famous art city of Cortona, is central for day trips in Tuscany and Umbria. Fit guests can hike up to the center in fifteen minutes along the winding uphill country road that runs alongside the property. Or guests may prefer the five-minute drive, with parking available outside the city walls. Located near the main rail line between Rome and Florence, and at the crossroads of Perugia, Assisi and Siena, Cortona is a central location for exploring Tuscany and Umbria.
Shops and restaurants are within five minutes’ drive and there is a spa hotel across the street where guests can walk for beauty treatments.
The property was purchased in 2006 by the owners of Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Wineries in Sonoma, California who undertook a total restoration. The original terracotta floors were lifted, cleaned and re-laid. Kitchens and bathrooms in both houses were custom made by local craftsmen, using marble surfaces and restored original stone walls. The villa has a wonderful selection of wines. Sip a Bellini or a glass of Prosecco on the terrace, or arrange for a wine tasting while you're in residence.
Furnishings are a mix of antique and contemporary, sourced from Italy and Europe to achieve a balance of charm, character and comfort. Typical Tuscan natural fabrics from nearby Busatti are often woven on the original looms used to make the uniforms for Napoleon's troops. Busatti is highly regarded throughout Italy; visiting their workrooms in the delightful village of Anghiari, 50 minutes away, is like stepping into another world. Antique wall lights and chandeliers are mainly from Italy and the Continent and include capodimonte porcelain, wall lights from Sicily and a Baccarat crystal chandelier. The beds in the villa, mainly four-posters, were made in Spello by an artisan iron worker. All mattresses and pillows are Italian, with beautiful linens from England.
The estate is comprised of a villa with limonaia and an adjacent farmhouse that form a sheltered corner with a rose garden and a stunning travertine marble swimming pool in the center. The main villa is slightly more formal in décor than the more rustic farmhouse, and both are very comfortable and beautiful. They can be rented only together as one marvelous accommodation for large families, groups of friends, wine or dining groups and for weddings.
This is your chance to step into a movie set for a Tuscan adventure of your own! Cooking classes and wine tastings are available at the villa or in the area.
VILLA (6000 sq feet on 3 floors, sleeps 10)
The yellow villa with green shutters dates back to the 16th century and although it has been carefully restored to keep its original features, it now has amenities, including modern travertine marble bathrooms, air conditioning and WiFi in all rooms. There are three floors in the main villa, as well as a chapel and limonaia, the place where lemon trees once were stored in winter. There are decorative fireplaces, some marble, and interiors are light with harmonious colors. Original floors, beamed ceilings and stone steps were carefully restored.
Ground floor - lower entrance from the limonaia court
- Sitting room; opens to the limonaia courtyard
- Vaulted TV room; opens onto the limonaia courtyard
- Club and music room with billiard table
- Guest powder room
- Staff laundry room
- Private chapel
Main floor - upper entrance (sleeps 2)
- Entrance hall (up 5 steps from ground level)
- Living room
- Dining room with large dining table (seats 16)
- State-of-the-art kitchen with marble countertops, island, gas stove, large refrigerator, microwave, DeLonghi expresso maker
- Master bedroom (queen bed); en-suite bathroom in travertine with double sink and shower over tub
- Powder room
- Entrance to the private balcony overlooking the family chapel
Top floor (sleeps 8):
- Diane Lane room (queen bed) with view over countryside; en suite bathroom with shower and double sink
- Blue bedroom (queen bed) with view to garden and farmhouse; en suite bathroom with shower over tub
- Yellow bedroom (queen bed) with views over garden to farmhouse; en suite bathroom with double sink and shower over tub
- Master bedroom (queen bed) with sitting area, views to a castle and countryside; en suite travertine bathroom with shower over tub.
LIMONAIA (sleeps 2):
- Sitting room frescoed ceiling
- Limonaia bedroom (queen bed)
- Small full wet bathroom with shower
FARMHOUSE (4000 sq ft on 2 floors, sleeps 8)
The ground floor is a wonderful open plan design, with original doors from each room to the rose garden and terrace.
- Kitchen (state of the art)
- Wood pizza oven
- Living /sitting room
- Dining room
- Study with desk and fax machine
- Guest powder room
Second floor (sleeps 8):
- Queen-bedded room; en suite bathroom with shower
- Queen-bedded room; en suite bathroom with shower over bathtub
- Twin-bedded room; en suite bathroom with shower
- Queen bedded master bedroom; en suite bathroom with shower over bathtub
- Pool (16 x 32 ft) in stunning travertine with shallow end and deep end with diving board
- Jacuzzi (seating for 8)
- Romantic ancient cistern surrounded by columns
- Ancient Roman fountain
- Medici wild garden – woods with winding pathways, ancient stone bench and lake
- Parking lot
- Rose garden
- Limonaia courtyard with romantic seating under a handmade, grape covered, iron pergola
- Outdoor Ping Pong Table
- Bocce court
- Herb garden
- Security gates
If you like Villa Laura and it is unavailable, consider Villa Bellissima or Villa Buonvisi which are both luxury villas for large groups in nearby Umbria or Tuscany.
Villa Laura is rented as a whole to large groups for one week minimum rentals. If yours is a smaller group and want to be near Cortona, consider renting nearby Villa Foglia or Villa Grazia.