Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3482: Owner, Apartment della Cervia
2bed/2bath apartment in Lucca, Tuscany North
April 1-April15, 2008, two weeks
The apartment at 22 via della Cervia made our two week stay inside the walls of Lucca an all time favorite vacation. It was comfortable and amazingly spacious for four adults. The location near Piazza San Michele was in the center of town, but quiet because it faced a small piazza.
Buying food from neighborhood bakeries, green grocers and markets and preparing it in the well equipped apartment kitchen let us experience a little of the daily life of Lucca.
It was a 10 minute walk to the mercato centrale to a supermarket, which had everything we needed. Closer to home were smaller neighborhood markets with fresh produce, a market with only chicken, bakeries, wine shops, pastry shops--just everything you could ask for.
The historical restaurant Buca di San'Antonio is less than a block away. We managed to stagger there our first night after a long flight from California.
The historical building was typical of Lucca buildings. The apartment is on the first (US second) floor, just one flight of steps up from the ground floor. The owner and his family live in the apartment next door. There are apartments one floor above. We never heard any noise from the floor above us.
The kitchen/dining area was spacious and comfortable. There was a washing machine in the apartment which worked fine. We shared the dryer in the foyer with the owner's family. By washing laundry in the evening there was no conflict over dryer use.
Because we live in California and are weather wimps we appreciated having heat available for the apartment.
We loved the sunny view from the living room window in the early morning and the balcony in the afternoon. The two comfy sofas and big coffee table in the living room made it easy for us to lay out maps and guidebooks and talk over plans for the next day's adventures. When we came back to the apartment after staying overnight in another city it felt like coming home.
There is a pleasant balcony which is shared with the owner's family, although they seldom used it. It has a barbecue which we never got around to using since we prepared only light meals in the apartment.
The apartment was very clean and comfortable. The furniture was in good shape. The two sofas in the living room were more than adequate for the four of us.
The lovely marble dining table is large enough to seat more than the four of us.
The larger of the two bedrooms is spacious with a queen sized bed, a dresser and a wardrobe with hangers and drawers. The smaller bedroom has two twin beds with one tall dresser.
One bathroom has a shower and the other has a tub. We used the tub and not the shower. Both bathrooms warm up nicely on a cold morning with the heated towel racks.
At the end of our first week the sheets and towels were changed and the bathrooms cleaned. That made for a real vacation!
The kitchen and dining area were amazingly spacious. The newer model stove, refrigerator and dishwasher all worked perfectly. The granite countertop was a better quality than my countertop at home! The large marble dining table provided extra space for unloading groceries and food preparation. The kitchen was well stocked with clean good quality pots, pans, utensils dishes, etc.
Cooking and eating were a joy in this kitchen. It was delightful to be able to buy and prepare local specialties in addition to eating in local restaurants.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We knew we had chosen the right place when Joe, the owner, offered to walk over to the restaurant Buca di San'Antonio to make dinner reservations for us the afternoon that we arrived, worn out from our travels. Letting us use his phone to make a museum reservation simplified the arrangements for one of our day trips to Florence.
Joe, a native speaker of English, and his bilingual wife Miranda live in the apartment next door.
The apartment was accurately described on the website. We paid $750 per week for the first two weeks of April.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would absolutely stay at 22 via della Cervia again. Staying in this apartment made our experience of Lucca and Tuscany in general more complete and enjoyable. I've already recommended to several friends who plan to go to Italy.
For €35, one way, Joe will pick up guests at the Pisa airport. We chose to use his services both arriving and departing since it was a convenient way to deal with luggage and getting to exactly the right location. Since two couples split the cost it seemed like a bargain. Now that we're all retired we're more interested in comfort and convenience than bargain prices.
Things to do in this area
The restaurant Buca di San'Antonio, which is less than a block away has excellent traditional food. It's relatively expensive--we paid around $50.00 US dollars per person for a multi course dinner with wine. The four of us agreed that the quality of the food, service and atmosphere were worth the cost.
They serve dinner only and accept credit cards.
The best bakery we found is located, facing the San Michele church, on the street behind the church and to the left. The bakery is on the left about half a block down. It was recommended to us by the wife of the apartment owner. When we saw the crowd of people in the bakery we knew it had to be good. It's worth the wait.
Getting to Florence, Cinque Terre and Siena was convenient by train. To use the rest rooms in the train station in Florence be prepared to put exactly 70 cents in the turnstile. As you enter the doorway there's a change machine to your right. Do not put a one euro coin in the coin slot in the turnstile because it jams the machine. Explaining this is my way of paying back for the inconvenience I caused by jamming the turnstile!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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