It was crisp autumn morning when we awakened in beautiful Lucca, but the sun filled the old walled city with light; it’s going to be a beautiful day.
Over the past several days, we’ve been searching for a new villa (we love the villas we have been using but so many of you have already stayed with us in these villas; some of you more than once.) So, we called on our many contacts in Italy to suggest new villas in new destinations. Our focus has been on southern Tuscany and northern Umbria; both regions out of practical reach from our previous locations in northern Tuscany.
The first villa we visited was originally built as the hunting lodge for a wealthy Italian who lived a mile or so away in a huge castle-like country estate. As a boy, he had lived in several European countries following his father who was an ambassador from Italy. As we approached, we could see at once that the villa needed freshening, a bit of excitement, color. Yes, it was probably a great hunting lodge but it was the villa for our good travelers.
Climbing back into our car, we drove through the lovely hills through one delightful village after another – we could have spent more time in most of them. But, we had a job to do.
Another villa, once a convent, had fallen into ruins until it was taken under the wing of the manager’s father who patiently rebuilt it. It was a delightful place and the manager could not have been more accommodating. But… four of the rooms shared two bathrooms. That just doesn’t work for our guests. Phooey, it was so promising. Back into the car for more.
One villa was not close to anything; another seemed okay but there was no magic.
Finally we arrived in a delightful little village known for its pecorino cheese. Just outside, tucked in the folds of the rolling hills, we can upon a delightful villa; perhaps, our best ever. It radiated charm and delight in every corner. Each room included superb en suite facilities and the views over the stunning Tuscan cypress-dotted hills provided wonderful candy for the eyes.
We’re not ready to announce the villa yet; we’ve got a lot more work to do to organize the staff, arrange for our excursions etc. Rather we’ll keep our guests waiting just a bit longer when we unveil our 2018 program on November 15. We can’t wait!