Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1587: Italian Vacation Villas, Il Mezzanino
2.5bed/2bath apartment in Lucca, Tuscany North
2001, 2004, 2005, 3 weeks each time
This lovely apartment, within the walls of Lucca, is tucked into an offshoot of tiny Piazza San Gregorio, close, but not too close, to the Via Fillungo, the main shopping/passeggiata street of Lucca. I love this area of Lucca, because it is near the Koine' school, where I study Italian, even nearer the only (small) supermarket within the walls, and a minute's walk from the old Central Market (once a monastery cloister, I think), which has two vegetable/fruit sellers in the open space, as well as tables from the bar where the Koine' teachers and students take their "pausa", and surrounded on the perimeter by specialists in meats, fish, cheese, etc.
Almost all stated above. Restaurants are plentiful nearby. Nothing is far away in Lucca - you can walk the long way across town in less than half an hour.
Another reviewer has described the layout of the apartment, which is spacious, although with a somewhat low ceiling (it is the mezzanine after all), and tastefully decorated. It is a well-maintained historical building. Buildings are very close together in Lucca so that one hears whatever is said in the street, but in general it is a quiet area. Traffic is very restricted in the area, but there is the occasional car or motorbike. The apartment is one flight up, and the owners' grown son lives on the ground floor, and the owners on the piano nobile above Il Mezzanino.
There is no garden. It is a 10-minute walk to get to the Walls, where there are allees of beautiful tall trees on a 4 kilometer circle surrounding the historic center.
Everything in the apartment is in excellent shape, comfortable, and surprisingly spacious. And immaculately clean. There are 4 kitchen table chairs, but also two wooden chairs in the living room for extra diners. There is a TV and a CD player and a bookshelf with mostly Italian books, as well as helpful information on the area left on the desk in the living room. The TV channel selection is ample.
Both of the "real" bedrooms are large, with comfortable beds. There is a third room where someone (short) can sleep, but it has no windows. We used it as a suitcase room. There are two bathrooms, one with a tub, which are very adequate. There were hair dryers in the bathrooms, as well as soap and small amenities.
The kitchen is more than usable. We like to cook, and rarely missed a pot or pan. There were no pot lids, which was strange, but we improvised. I'm sure if I'd asked, they would have been glad to supply them. We cooked in most times, because both Laura and I like to buy vegetables, which sort of obligates one to use them (:-)) We entertained one night with 8 in total, and the kitchen was up to it. Of course the utility knives aren't great, but when are there ever good knives at a rental? There were plenty of dishes and glasses - and a dishwasher!
Problems or Bonuses
It continually surprises me how much I enjoy staying in Il Mezzanino. Emanuela G. is a wonderful owner, very accommodating and eager that we will enjoy our stay. Her English is excellent if you don't speak Italian, but she is also very complimentary when a guest does speak Italian, a wonderful trait, I must say. Since this most recent stay (May of 2005) is the third time I have rented it, I must think it's pretty wonderful. A good surprise this time was that my husband and son joined us at the end of the second week (it had been previously Laura, my daughter in law, and I sharing) and there was no feeling of being crowded with four of us instead of two. We even had a visit from Laura's brother for two nights, who slept in the 1/2 bedroom, and that worked out well, too.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Italian Vacation Villas was prompt and efficient, and we had no problems at all with the booking. The apartment is actually represented by Salogi, an Italian firm, but they in turn are represented by Italian Vacation Villas in the U.S. Mr. G. works with (maybe owns, I don't know) Salogi, and their office used to be on the ground floor where the son lives currently. The photographs and description of the apartment in the Salogi literature are on the mark. In 2005, the rental rate was $1730 per week, as I recall, and Italian Vacation Villas added a $60 booking fee. The price is the same all year round, and was increased this year.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I'm convinced that I/we will stay at Il Mezzanino again, and I look forward to it. No qualifications, but selfishly I hope nobody reads this review, just in case travel plans would have us wanting the apartment on the same dates!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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