La Bedina is an old ancient house made with sandstone and with a stone roof made with piagne, sandstone sheets, laid on a plank surface. In front of the house is the beatiful aia, a large space paved with it original flagstones, and a well. The original name of La Bedina was “Cà del Governatore” (The Governor’s House) which indicates that it was the residence of a local official, probably the governor of Val d’Antena (the upper valley of the river Magra). La Bedina consists of two levels. The upper level was the old living area of the house, the lower floor originally consisted of three cellars, two of which were once used as stables, the third being a wine cellar. The two stables have been reconstructed to create a second living area.
The part of the house available to guests is the upper level which consists of four rooms: the kitchen, the bedroom, the large living room and the bathroom, a total area of around 60 square meters. The entrance to the house is via the kitchen which was once the old gradile, the local name for a chestnut drying room. The chestnuts were put on a wooden grid (grada), which formed the ceiling of the room and in the middle of the gradile a fire was lit. During restoration, the grada has been painstakingly dismantled, cleaned of decades of soot, and reconstructed to create the ceiling of what is now the kitchen.
The floor was originally of large flagstones which during restoration were lifted and subsequently reused to construct the present floor. The original central flagstones had been completely destroyed by the fire which had been lit there for decades to dry the chestnuts. This area has now been substituted with an area of coccio pesto (a roman style terracotta flooring technique) surrounded by a border of chestnut wood in order to mark the area where the fire used to be. The kitchen now is a small but lovely and well organized room. The cooking area consists of the cooking plate hosted in a chestnut BANCONE which has shelves for pots and food and where the electric oven finds its place. The washing sink was found in an old "bottegha" (old shop) of Florence of an old plumber collecting old materials. In the kitchen there is also the dining table, but you have the options of having your meals in the spacious living room or in the terrace where you can enjoy also the beautiful view, the songs of birds and the sound of the Magra River. The kitchen is fully equipped.
When we bought the house, the bedroom was full of cages for rabbits and other domestic animals and it was used as a chicken coop. Today this room has two walls of exposed stonework, a wall of canniccio, and a vaulted ceiling. Both the wall of canniccio and the vaulted ceiling are constructed in the traditional manner which consists of a frame of chestnut wood supporting woven sticks of hazel covered in plaster. In the other two walls of the bedroom, which are rendered, there are niches with shelves which serve as cupboards. At one time these two niches would have been doors, as can be seen from the large surrounding stone pillars and lintels which are still visible today.
The living room is a large environment divided into two areas: the living area with a dining table and its original corner cupboard, and the sleeping area with a sofa bed and large high backed bench. The bench, which is called scranno, was found in the kitchen. On this bench people would have sat and passed the long cold days of winter next to the fire. Part of the original stone roof which covered the living room had begun to collapse and the water that had filtered in had damaged the canniccio of the vaulted ceiling. This part of the vault was left exposed in order to show how it had originally been constructed. The centrally placed wood burning stove heats the room during the cold months, whilst the two windows and French doors which face south fill the room with light. This room has all four walls in exposed stonework and in one of the two niches you can still see the old clay urn in which money and precious objects would have been hidden. This niche would have been covered with a stone slab and plastered over so that it wasn’t visible, in other words this was the ancient version of the modern wall safe. The living room is a spacious and sunny room where you can enjoy you meals, or you can relax reading a book, listening to a nice cd, or watching a good movie. Available to guests are a collection of Italian and English books, cd, satellite TV and radio, the stereo and the DVD reader.
The window doors in the living room lead out to a large balcony paved with sandstone slabs, from which you have a wonderful view of the valley below and of the village of Casalina. Here you can find a dining table and umbrellas and it is a perfect place to have your breakfast or dinners with grilled meat or fished prepared with the barbecue available in the portico. Steps lead down from the terrazza to the arches below with their imposing stone pillars, to the old stables and cantina, and to the vineyard. The vineyard, which is presently being restored, is around 1000 square meters in size and produces a large quantity of good wine. On the land below the vineyard an organic vegetable garden is being created.
From the living room you pass through into the bathroom which was once used as a storage area for food like flour or potatoes. We found a couple of large wooden chests here which had been used for that purpose. The bathroom originally had a lining of chestnut planks on the ceiling which were removed during reconstruction. Those that were still in good condition were recycled to make the shelves below the windows in the living room and in the niches of the bedroom. The bathroom is characterised by exposed stonework walls, a ceiling of chestnut beams and planks, a built in shower, and the original chestnut doors which we have restored. The large stone doorposts and lintel between the bathroom and the living room show that this was originally a main entrance to the house and that what is now the bathroom was once a large porch that at some point was enclosed with walls to create a room.