Our villa for our Tuscan retreat couldn't have been more beautiful and rustic. The setting is part way up a lush green hill, which catches the afternoon sun perfectly, as you sip a full-bodied Super Tuscan and fritter away the evenings with cards and a game of table tennis.
It takes about 10 minutes to get down to the main town, Camaiore, by car and another 10 to get to the beach, Lido di Camaiore. Camaiore, is a lovely little village with all the local amenities and a great pizza place (Pizzeria da Nicola) to boot. There’s not much shopping to be had, however, and the better places are IN Lucca (40 mins by car) and others that the owner can recommend.
The villa itself is a renovated farmhouse which was completed about 10 years ago. The finishes are of a high standard and the windows are double-glazed. The air conditioning in the bedroom is extremely useful, even in September! There is fly wire on some windows for those who prefer natural cooling.
The villa is well equipped with everything you need to make your meals and keep you entertained. The kitchen is stocked with lots of appliances and every utensil imaginable and even has some basic condiments. I think it was missing a toaster however, but the microwave could grill the bread in any event. We used the kitchen extensively and found it to be very convenient.
The lounge room is spacious and the leather sofa is comfortable. The modern flat screen is large and comes with a 5.1 surround sound DVD player. It might have been Blu-ray, but I’m not sure. There’s even some CD’s if you don’t bring your own. There is also a little office nook which has lots of Italian books, magazines and a chess-board.
The 3 bathrooms are nicely done and shower pressure and hot water were fine. There was a choice of rainforest and hand-held shower rose in both upstairs showers. Drainage was good too.
The bedrooms are furnished with a decent amount of closet space for your getaway and extra pillows and duvets. All 3 mattresses are different, so you may wish to choose which one suits you best.
There’s also gym cum bedroom (the 4th bedroom) with its own bathroom. This part of the house has access only through its own door.
Wifi is excellent and handled Skype and all of our browsing needs.
The only thing to be aware of: the electricity has a tendency to switch-off when overloaded, so this can be a little bit of a pain. Luckily, it’s easy to switch back on if it occurs inside, but you may have to venture outside to flip the switch as well, which can be inconvenient in the rain. The power went off about 5 times during our week-long stay.
A pool is planned which I’m told will be ready in Summer 2015.
Overall, we really enjoyed having the run of the house at Il Castagno. The grounds are also quite sprawling and large which make for a real “estate” feel. Everything is well maintained by the owner who is extremely friendly and helped us on a number of occasions.