Our car climbed a narrow, winding road through dim forest to a sunny gate - La Pianella. The tidy, pebbled drive was flanked by banks and pots of blossoms and herbs; a most propitious start to our week stay. This gardener is gifted! Roses, jasmine, wisteria twined magnificently, scenting the loggia. I saw grape vines, pomegranate, bamboo, marjoram! French doors and windows remained open to fresh air with little unwanted incursion, though I once saw a charming firefly twinkling in my bedroom.
Donatella, a welcoming sprite, poised and gracious, efficient cook who served 14 of us 3 meals/day with ease, generously shared her kitchen and wood-fired pizza oven with any comers. She is a treasure!
The salt water swimming pool is sited at the highest point on this property. It is quiet, beautiful, private, offers sun and shade, comfortable loungers, a stellar view of hills and sky with only trees looking down at you. My all-time-favorite pool!
My bed was comfortable with ironed sheets, lamps for reading were ample, hot water was always available in the shower, noise did not seem to travel (really, we had a toddler in the party and people kept different hours), the house was clean.
We absolutely loved our time at La pianella and so did all of our guests. The wedding we held there was brilliant , it went really well, the guests had a magical time and the views were great for the pictures. Also we cannot praise Donatella the house manager enough,
We enjoyed her cooking every night and nothing was too much hassle, she even made our little girl a birthday cake, over and above what was asked of her.
A short break in the hills of Lucca in a Tuscan farmhouse where everything was taken care of by our marvellous hosts, Mary Ann and Colin. Nothing was to much for this attentive couple and we were treated like family in the short time we stayed there. The farmhouse has all you need to make your holiday comfortable and relaxing. Local supermarket not to far and plenty restaurants to eat out. It's a steep accent up the helter-skelter road to the farmhouse but once your there you'll be delighted with the fabulous vista's from all direction.
La Pianella oozes rustic charm without compromising on luxury. Situated on a terrace in the lush forested hills above San Martino in Freddana, the large villa offers peaceful seclusion yet is superbly located only 20 minutes drive from the historic city of Lucca.
It is reached by a hairpin lane dubbed the helter skelter in a published short story (available in the villa) by former UK Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd who was one of a number of high-profile political and Royal guests of the previous owner and fellow cabinet minister Sir Ian Gilmour. The villa has eight bedrooms, plenty of bathrooms and an outdoor terrace for dining which comfortably fitted our large group plus a few passing visitors. The gardens were well maintained and splashed with vibrant colour and if Carlsberg made tennis courts, La Pianella's would be it. Flanked on three sides by a fence cloaked in flowers and scented bay bushes, the all-weather Astro-turf surface is perched at the base of a gentle hillside that forms the final perimeter. The large pool sits above the tennis court and is a short but steep walk on a stepped path through an olive grove. There's a bench half way up to rest and to admire the stunning views across the valley and towards the peaks of the Apuan Alps which can act as a magnet for the rain clouds that help keep this area so fertile. Don't be surprised if you encounter the occasional afternoon shower amid the sunshine - we certainly did. The pool is surrounded by a lawn and equipped with ample loungers and parasols as is the garden in front of the villa. La Pianella has plenty of indoor space to dine or relax, table tennis, an outdoor pizza oven and good kitchen facilities - although we took owner Mary Ann's advice and hired local cook Donatella one night who conjured up a great meal at a very reasonable price. In a nutshell, the villa is brilliantly located offering peace, seclusion, beauty and luxury while only a short drive from supermarkets, bars, restaurants, the coast and Lucca!
The Villa at La Pianella Estate provided the perfect retreat for our family holiday with plenty of space for all seventeen of us! It is a beautiful secluded villa perched on the hillside with fantastic views down the valley. There is plenty to keep everyone entertained with the swimming pool, tennis court and table tennis table but also makes a great base for exploring the historic cities and idilic countryside of Tuscany. The villa is well equipped with everything you could need in the kitchen to cater for a large group but for a break from cooking I highly recommend taking advantage of the catering services of Donatella and her daughter Sonia for fabulous authentic Italian cuisine. Clare and Mary-Ann were both so helpful making arrangements and generous with their time to discuss plans and advise on what to do and where to go. This is a great place to stay in a beautiful part of the world and I would definitely recommend it.