Momo Brubeck’s house, Il Colombaio, is a hidden gem in the hills of Tuscany, a few kilometers from the village of Montisi. Rented out by the week, it offers visitors the chance to be “at home” in Italy as Momo has been throughout his life.
Since his father was an American diplomat, he was born in the London and has lived in the UK, the Middle East, Morocco and the States. In 2000 chose to “come home” to Italy. He lives not far from the villa with his Italian wife, Francesca Guaultieri, who has an artisan fabric and design shop in the Montisi. (Read more about Un Marcello)
Momo’s parents bought the farmhouse in 1972 when he was five years old and his father was serving in Beirut, Lebanon. They were friends with American writer and international food expert, Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who drove them around and encouraged them to buy the house. In fact, Momo recounted, she told them to buy two! At the time, farmers were abandoning their properties and selling them for a song. No one was imagining the transformation that would occur over the next 40-50 years.
The view from the lawn in front of the house is of the Monte Amiata, the extinct volcano that the Etruscans believed was home to the gods. It rises like a beacon in the Val D’Orcia and remains one of the wildest parts of Tuscany. (Read more.)
Inside, the Il Colombaiao is a delicious mix of authentic Tuscan farmhouse, international touches of Mediterranean culture and color (from Northern Africa and the Middle East), modern essentials in the renovated kitchen and bathrooms, and most recently, Francesca’s hand-painted cushions from Un Macello.
My photos of the three bedrooms, the kitchen and the Renaissance style garden didn’t come out at all. Momo’s on the Il Colombaio website give a great sense of what the house looks and feels like.
Even though the house and garden are fabulous, the real magic of staying at the house is having access to Momo and his wealth of knowledge about the area. Reading the Testimonials section of the website gives an idea of how visitors settle into life in Montisi with Momo’s advice and contacts.