Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3050: Grifoglia, Apartment
apartments on a farm near Barga, north of Lucca, Tuscany North
August, 2007, 2 weeks
We spent two weeks in the self contained apartment at Grifoglia and had an amazing, relaxing, rejuvenating holiday. The road up to the property was a little daunting to begin with, narrow and quite twisty, but after a few days, it became a source of adventure as we tried to spot a porcupine or other nocturnal creatures on our return from an evening out in nearby Barga. We were all a little disappointed when the adventure ended.
The apartment was invitingly cool after a day under the Tuscan sun. It was clean and tastefully decorated and there was an abundance of fresh, white, fluffy towels (changed twice a week). There was a very welcome basket of goodies awaiting us upon arrival including homemade jams, fruit bread and essentials such as tea, coffee and milk in the refrigerator. The swimming pool must have one of the prettiest outlooks of anywhere in the world, surrounded by chestnut forests and views of the spectacular Apuane mountains in the distance.
Our hosts were delightful, helpful, friendly and good to have around to ask various questions and make us feel totally at ease. We were invited to help make traditional Neopolitan pizzas, which were cooked in a real pizza oven outside, fired by old pieces of chestnut wood found locally. This delightful experience was one we will all remember, especially my eldest son who had at least one piece each of the 12 delicious pizzas Pietro cooked to perfection. The organic vegetables from Pietro's garden were also consumed with great enthusiasm and it was our first taste of fresh borloti beans, which both of my two sons wolfed down.
We had trips to the Orecchiella National Park, about an hour's drive north and well worth a visit, Pisa, Lucca and Florence. We also had several excursions into the woods looking for wild boar but had to satisfy ourselves with the sighting of a red squirrel, somewhat smaller but nonetheless, something we don’t see back home in Rutland. We had a walk up to the village of Sommocolonia, affording fantastic views of the surrounding countryside but because of its significance in WWII, was also quite a moving experience.
On our last evening we took Kerry’s advice and drove to the top of the mountain opposite Grifoglia to a trattoria. The views over the chestnut clad valleys were in themselves a feast, but the food was even more so with fresh warm homemade bread, broad ribbons of succulent pasta and, mushrooms so full of flavour, even the olives were like no olives I had eaten before, less bitter than shop bought ones. Put quite simply, every detail was just perfect because those who ran the place were actually genuinely concerned about sending customers away happy and thoroughly contented.
I think the holiday at Grifoglia has to rate as one of the best we have ever had and I just wish we could nip over more often to switch off and chill out.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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