Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2957: Bella Vita Italia, Casa Valeria
3bed/2bath apartment in Lucca, Tuscany North
June 30, 2007- July 7, 2007, 1 week
We wanted to live within a small town in Italy for our summer vacation where we could feel part of the Italian culture. Lucca was recommended by our concierge from Bella Vita Italia. Our rental was recently renovated and was decorated beautifully. We felt right at home. It was spacious and my family of six felt quite comfortable for space. It came complete with our own private terrace that looked out over the town of Lucca making for a lovely spot to eat a meal or enjoy a bottle of wine.
The location was conveniently located within walking distance of the train station making day trips to other parts of Tuscany very convenient. The main square in town was also close by. The three in a half mile walk around the surrounding wall of Lucca was also a quick walk from our apartment. The traffic is restricted inside the walls which is nice but the scooters can get a bit noisy at times. Overall, we loved Lucca and our apartment.
Lucca is a walking town. It has quaint restaurants, cafes, gelato stores, and grocery stores at every turn. It is fun to just walk around and find a new store each day. There is all sorts of shopping even an Internet cafe or two.
I don't believe the apartment has any historical significance but it was an older building beautifully maintained. This four floor apartment building is stuccoed on the outside with large operating shutters (both inside and out). Each floor has one tenant. Our apartment had a lovely private terrace that we used quite a bit for meals, tanning, and enjoying the breathtaking vistas. I mentioned that the apartment had been renovated recently. The bedrooms were painted with a special faux painting technique that was quite charming. The bathrooms were updated and the fixtures very stylish. The living room was large and the television was able to get some English speaking channels so the kids were happy. It also can with a washer and dryer, quite unusual for Italy I understand.
The private terrace that I have mentioned before was complete with flowering pots. We enjoyed watering them as we are gardeners. The view was just so wonderful. You could see local churches, and architecture as well as the distant mountains. Just stunning.
The apartment had beautiful, easy living furniture that was tasteful. We are a family of six and we ate on the terrace where there is seating for six. The dining room in the apartment had seating for six, using an expandable table we did not use. It was very clean and came with a nice quality sheet and towel sets.
The beds were comfortable. Not a single complaint from our family of six. The two bathrooms were adequate for our family.
The kitchen was large and completely updated with new appliances. It was well stocked with plates, glassware, flatware, pots and pan. We took a cooking lesson in our kitchen apartment and we had ample supplies to make our meal, including homemade pasta. We probably could have used one large cooking pot.
Problems or Bonuses
Traveling to a foreign country is always different from ones own experiences in their own country. This apartment far exceeded our expectations and that was a lovely surprise. Because of the limit on electricity consumption, we couldn't run the washer and dryer at the same time but we worked around that. It was nice to have both since that is not the norm in Italy. The apartment was also located near a lane of scooter parking and one or two nights we could hear them as their owners came to claim them but it didn't last long. The positives far outweigh the occasional scooter sounds.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I have already given out Megan's card at Bella Vita Italia. She was wonderful. She listened to what our vacation desires were and delivered right down to the budget we had in mind. I can't say enough good things about her. She made our dream vacation a huge success.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We like to try new places each time we travel but without a doubt I would recommend it to a friend, not a moments hesitation. I would use Bella Vita Italia again to book a trip to Italy.
Things to do in this area
I don't recall the name of the places we ate at so I won't be much help there. We just loved strolling around in our little town. We even rented bikes and rode around on the wall. If you time it right you can stay in Lucca when they have concerts, this year they had Elton John, Norah Jones, and others I don't recall at the moment. Pisa, Florence, Cinque Terre, Chianti region, and the beach are all doable day trips. I highly recommend this whole package. Even our four children (ages 12,15,17,18) enjoyed this trip even though we took them away from their friends for two weeks.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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