This delightful hotel is located just outside Lucca and was easy to find with ample parking. We were welcomed by the young and very enthusiastic owners who bent over backwards to make us feel welcome. The room was very nice and comfortable with a view of the Tuscan countryside. We arrived in the afternoon tired and hungry, having driven from Milan after our flight from South Texas. Since the restaurant was not open, the owners brought a deligtful, complementary snack to tide us over. The restaurant was wonderful, especially since we were able to sit on the patio. The menu was in Italian and they spoke limited English, so we just told them to serve us the specials of the evening. It must have bneen seafood night as that is what we got - and it was WONDERFUL! Not being big seafood eaters, we were introduced to several items we had not eaten (and might not have ordered) before. Each was a delightful surprise, was attarctivcely served and tasted really good. It was a wonderful experience and a fantastic meal. The breakfast, also on the patio, was more conventional but excellent. We were able to look into the kitchen to see them begin cooking for the day and my wife visited with the owner/chef, who also has a small gourmet shop there, gave her some Italian cookiing tips and sold her some great items to take home. This is not a fancy place but staying here was a wonderful experience which we hope we can repeat. Lucca was a short drive from the hotel. Although the closest parking lot was full, we were able to drive around the perimeter of the walled city and quickly found a good parking place close to one of the gates. We arrived in Lucca on the Friday before the third Sunday of the month, which meant that that Saturday and Sunday one of the largest antique markets in Italy fills the squares and streets of this quaint, walled city. Being antique dealers, we felt like we had arrived in paradise and had a wonderful day. Antiques or not, it you want to enjoy Tuscany at its best, Lucca is the town and the Vigna Ilaria is the place to stay.
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