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August 24, 2011

A Tuscan Villa of One's Own

By Marnie Hanel | Travel

Fractions are fun. Photo courtesy of Castello di Casole

Who hasn't dreamed of owning a villa among the vineyards and olive groves of Tuscany? To snag a slice of la dolce vita without going full Under the Tuscan Sun, consider purchasing a fractional share of a five-star Italian farmhouse set on a 4,200-acre estate. The swoon-worthy main hotel at Castello di Casole does not open until April 2012, but Timbers Resorts is offering immediate access to those who purchase fractional shares of the 28 freestanding houses on the property. The farmhouses are divided into 1/12 fractions, and start at $670,000. The hotel villas are divided into 1/8 fractions, which start at $396,000 and 1/12 fractions, which start at $420,000. (Presently, 15 houses have been sold in full.) For $1.1 million, guests may also purchase a 1/6 fraction of the 2-story penthouse with a private terrace in the 41-suite main hotel, which was once a castle in the 10th century. Many of the materials used to rebuild the estate were reclaimed from its ruins. The wood-beamed ceilings and stone walls recall traditional practices, while the spa, pizzeria and fine-dining restaurant nod to modern comforts. Bocce, Italian language lessons and trail hiking are offered on-site. And did we mention they make their own wine and press their own olive oil? You may find that one share is not enough. From $396,000 to $1.1 million. Weekly rentals and overnight stays are available for considerably less. 866/963-5005; castellodicasole.com.

Once you're there: Traveling undiscovered Tuscany