I ROGGIAI

 

A little history from its owner,

Mrs Rossana Banti

 

 

 

 

 

 

When, in the sixties of the last century, I arrived in this part of Maremma for the first time, I could not believe my eyes.

 

We had come on a trip from the sea-coast - an hour's drive away – with some friends, curious to explore this upper part of the countryside, not well know at the time; a bit

mysterious, full of stories on Etruscan magic. We all fell in love with it immediately.

Untouched and unspoiled hills of forest; some fields, very few houses, far apart from each other, flocks of sheep, horses and some beautiful medieval villages with castles and fortresses. Another world!

 

The seacoast was pretty much burnt down by the heat of the summer, while everything here was green, at 500 meters above sea level near the Monte Amiata.  The scenery was so beautiful that I decided I had to have a house here. 

 

The incredible thing is that today, after 50 years, what I see from my house has not changed: a very serious law on building has preserved the countryside and its beauty.

 

It took me a long time and patience to buy the land around the house I had finally found. It was all a story of little pieces of land owned by families with many members - fathers, grandfathers, cousins, grandchildren, etc – and I had to contact them all and convince them. In the end I managed to have a nice property all around the house with woodland, arable fields and olive trees.

 

The house was rather big and solidly built but it had no water, no electricity, no bathroom; there was a lot to do, i.e. pavements, roof, enlargement, etc.

I was, at the time, living between Rome and London working for the Italian and British television.  I did not have much time to dedicate to this project, but I knew exactly how I wanted my house to become.

So I decided not to be in a hurry.

 

I made a plan to enlarge and restructure the original building with the local artisans who, in the Italian tradition of arts & crafts, are capable, reliable, experienced, clever and honest.

 

We went to the sawmills located further up towards the mountain, to buy old seasoned chestnut-wood beams for the roof and ceiling. The usual “ cotto “ (hand made oven 

baked tiles) were chosen for the floor. I wanted a porch where I could sit and read or write and look at the breathtaking view in front of me.

After some time we managed to have the water connection so we started the work of restoring and restructuring. Then came the electricity and even the telephone line.

It took a couple of years to finish the house, working during the good season and stopping in the wintertime.

 

Finally the home was ready, new and comfortable, warm in winter with central heating; pleasantly cool in the summer with its thick walls.

Of course we made a big party with family and friends. 

 

In the following years I built the stable for my horses. 

At times, we had up to seven horses: mares, colts, even a stallion.

I went riding around the countryside, crossing small rivers and woods, anytime I wanted during any kind of weather. 

 

The mushroom season was (and still is) a big event; everybody leaves whatever he or she is doing to go looking for them. Lots of them grew on my land and it was amusing, in the early morning hours, to go searching for the fresh mushrooms.

 

In the 1990’s we decided to fence the entire property in order to create an ecological space where shooting was legally forbidden and animals could take shelter and live freely.

On our walks we, at times, caught glimpse of a hare, rabbit, dear, wild boar and many birds, even owls and hawks way above in the sky.

 

Then there was the Well!

I was certain there must have been a water vein somewhere but it had to be found! I asked around but nobody knew a water diviner: but I did not give up my search. After some time, a short man with very strong hands came telling me he could give it a try. He was a rather strange person from a village far away from our place and spoke only a few words. He silently moved around with his small stick he held with his hands. He tried for 3 to 4 days, never saying a word. I was so astonished and curious but did not dare to ask or disturb his magic. All of a sudden he stopped and only said: “Here!”. He had found water!

 

I asked him who could make the well. He said he could do it but only if I accepted his terms, which meant he could come and work for one or two weeks and then go away for four to five months before coming back to continue for some more weeks and so on.

 

It took nearly two years to have it finished. He did it all by himself, by hand, deep down to 80 meters: nobody builds a well like this anymore, like the ancient Romans did!

 

 

For over half a century I we enjoyed this house enormously: summer parties with friends, family, children, grandchildren, dinners and lunches, summer evenings, teas and snacks, Christmas around the fireplace. Harmony, joy, laughter and love in these lovely surroundings.

 

In January of 2015 I will be 90 years old. Although I am lucky to still be in good health I think it is time for I Roggiai to have new owners. 

 

I hope to find buyers who will understand the magical spirit of the land and property and the aura that comes with it.

 

I ROGGIAI is beautiful, private, elegant with olive groves and pastures for horse riding or walking and breathtaking views - -perfect for someone who wishes, from time to time, to leave the frantic world of today and who can appreciate this still untouched corner of earth.

 

 

 

ROSSANA BANTI

I Roggai, 2014