This is a rather different sort of holiday and you need to be sure that this is what you want. Jamie and Ailsa's converted old Tuscan farmhouse, where we (just six of us) stayed in May 2013, is pretty remote. We were picked up by Jamie from Lucca train station and conveyed by 9 seater van to Lavacchio. The road kept getting smaller and more uphill until eventually we were left to walk in the final 500 metres or so to the house, the van won't fit in the laneway - but your luggage is taken in in a smaller car. Arriving in the house, Jamie explains the layout of things - the lights, the wood burning stove, the gas cooker with its very slight leak ( 'remember to turn off the tap under the sink!'), the fridge with its bottles of white wine, beer, soft drinks, the red wine and crisps and bars of bad things (you record what you consume, pay on departure) ... this is not a hotel, you are on your own up here, no local shop or pub or anything ... The house is well appointed, with four rooms (mix of twin and double beds) and two bathrooms upstairs and a double bed (large) room and bathroom downstairs. So upstairs, you're sharing a bathroom.
If peace and quiet is what you are after, fine - but it may not appeal to everyone! Lavacchio is the sort of place that writers or poets might go to seeking their muse in splendid isolation. Other reviewers have mentioned Jamie and Ailsa's friendliness, the excellent food - including rather weird lunches, the interesting walks, the great scenery. We did the 'mild Tuscany' option and that was fine, just about right for a group of sexagenarians. Where we went, the landscape was pretty rough and broken up for the most part, the paths in places demanding due to being constructed from large stones. One of the walks included a planned quite wide knee high river crossing and also a smaller unplanned wade across, the wooden bridge having disappeared. Highlight of the walks was the day we had a four course very rustic lunch up in an ancient Rifugio, very weird but really nice, loads of wine included ... which wasn't too helpful as there was a steep 40 minute pull up to a col straight after lunch!
The splendid isolation ... we mentioned to Jamie that one thing we did miss was going for a pint or a cup of coffee/tea in a pub after the day's outing - the bottle of beer in the fridge or the kettle back at the house was not quite the same; he took that comment on board and we stopped for ice cream and beer on the way home the last two days. On our off walking day, Jamie dropped us to the local train to Lucca (half hour to town), it's a nice place, you can cycle round the city walls (40 minutes) and explore the old quarter - a pleasant outing.
I can recommend this holiday, it's rather exotic and different - but be sure that this is what you want. The house at Lavacchio is not a hotel!
- Also Known As:
- Col Di Lavacchio Tuscany/Molazzana, Italy