Il Poggetto is an environmentally sustainable agriturismo (farmhouse) in Tuscany, and located in the vineyards Pieve de’ Pitti amidst Sangiovese, Malvasia, Trebbiano, and Vermentino grapes (See map below).
I first meet Caterina Gargari, architect and wine maker for her family owned business, Pieve de’ Pitti, in 2010 at an educational workshop in Arezzo. Her talents not only created some of the best wine of the province of Pisa, but transformed the existing farmhouse into three eco-friendly apartments: Il Poggetto, (four bedrooms), La Stalla (two bedrooms, handicap accessible), and La Mangiatoia, (one bedroom).
“The existing house was already perfectly oriented considering the sun path and the wind direction. The main façade is facing south, with a great oak tree that shades it during the hottest summer days. The north façade is half underground.”
“I first re-opened some of the windows that had been bricked up years ago, allowing the cool breezes to flow through the house from the north. This passive free cooling strategy helps keep the house cool, offering a lovely natural comfort to the guests. Breezes are flowing over vineyards, so they always bring nice countryside smells.”
“The clay tiled roof has a ventilated cavity that collects the breeze in order to refresh the roof surface and reduce overheating due to the direct solar radiation on the tiles. Natural cork panel insulation was used (on the roof and walls) to provide the house with the best thermal insulation during the winter months.”
Cocciopesto – An Ancient Technique of Plastering
“The plaster is made by Cocciopesto, a traditional recipe using natural materials that dates back to the Roman times. Cocciopesto is made with tiny chips of bricks or tile mixed with lime mortar. The cocciopesto plaster is made using a different “brick-grain” size, and several layers of wet plaster are applied before coming to the final thickness of 3-5 cm. The cocciopesto mortar has high durability and resistance, but also has a high water permeability.
Our apartments are breathing with the outdoors. The indoor humidity level is probably higher than in other mechanical-conditioned rooms, but they are definitely more healthy, because no mold is on the walls, no bacteria in the air-conditioning pipes. And if you don’t like such high humidity level (~70%), just open the windows and your front door, and it will be removed by the cool breezes! The house has a radiant heating plant that runs along the walls: in this way, the warm air heats the cocciopesto walls first. They store the heating (the insulation prevent loosing it to the outdoor) and release it to the inner space when needed, avoiding thermal draughts and assuring a uniform thermal comfort in the rooms.”
The Colors of Tuscany
“All the paint for the apartments was created using soils from the valleys between Volterra and Siena which produce the beautiful colors of Tuscany.” No wonder no matter how hard we try we can never replicate these gorgeous colors.
An Ideal Location
A retreat in the vineyards, as well as being a convenient base for visiting the cities of Florence, San Gimignano, Volterra, Lucca and Pisa, Il Poggetto is one of those special place that linger long after your return home. Spending a few days here, being totally relaxed in the secluded countryside of Pisa, will be a reminder of how relaxing and restful vacation should be.