What you want from a holiday rental is to be near enough town to take advantage of its attractions and yet peace and quiet and all the necessary living facilities. Bearing in mind that Italy is always noisy, this was an almost perfect villa and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Volterra is a hill-top town in Tuscany, surrounded by high walls that are interrupted by a number of gateways. Casa Selci was just round the corner from the most Easterly gateway of Port Selci, opposite an imposing medieval fortress now functioning as the State Prison.
Perfectly situated, it is only a short stroll before you find yourself passing bars, shops, restaurants, two different museums, an alabaster workshop and even the local supermarket. Yet the villa itself, a converted barn, is set in an oasis of calm – a large, secluded garden with fruit trees, a wonderfully large circular pool, BBQ, loungers and a breakfast table overlooking a fabulous view of Tuscany.
There are two large bedrooms – one double and one twin – each equipped with fans and shutters, as well as a small room full of left-over English books that we used as a dressing room. (It does contain a small bed, but would be too hot to sleep in as there is no air conditioning and too much glass.)
The bathroom, downstairs, has a great shower and the kitchen/sitting room has a large cooker and small fridge. A bit dark in the evenings, it is perfectly adequate and we spent most of our time out of doors anyway. (If you are stay-at-home types, there is no TV – but our visit coincided with the Italy-Spain football final and we watched for free sitting on a wall outside a local bar whilst eating fabulous ice cream!)
The best feature of this place is the landlady – Daniela – who is more friend than business associate. She arranged tickets to the annual Bocelli concert for us and even drove us there! She and her assistant Roseanna would do anything for us, and were around if we ever needed any help.
I have to mention that there is a small park next to the house where boys play football most afternoons, and twice a week there is noisy drum, trumpet and flag-waving practice between 9.30 and 11pm, but we found it quite bearable and managed to catch a festival day so we could enjoy the musical performance they gave in the Square one Sunday.
Volterra is lovely – wonderful old buildings, many restaurants (speciality: wild boar, and you see their heads on various shop walls) and Etruscan and other treasures to view. There is even a gruesome and internationally renowned Torture Museum. We had no car, stayed two weeks and yet were so happy we couldn't bear to leave.