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“Splendid Isolation”
Review of Col di Lavacchio

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Col di Lavacchio
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Splendid Isolation”
Reviewed 2 June 2013

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!

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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2 Thank MossieB_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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21 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
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English first
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 September 2012

I just returned from a glorious week in Tuscany, staying at Jamie and Ailsa's beautiful 'agri turismo' at Col di Lavacchio. The location is beautiful and the perfect spot to explore the Apuani and Appenine mountain ranges. I stayed in the farmhouse which was really charming, very well equipped in every way and with wonderful views from the terraces. Set in beautiful gardens with hammocks and a lovely pool in a separate area. I was on a week with two levels of walking - 'mild' and 'wild' - be warned, the wild (led by a super-fit and encouraging guide from the French alps who knows the area well) is pretty challenging, but so worth it once you get to the top of the peaks. The mild walks, led by Jamie, were also fantastic - they were varied and interesting walks particularly due to his knowledge and enthusiasiasm for the local area. Lunches and dinners, prepared by Ailsa were just fabulous - the lunches were the best ever and were far too good to be referred to as pack lunches! I was with a super group of people which was another bonus. All in all a wonderful week in a super location - highly recommended. Enjoy.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled solo
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1 Thank lynnarn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxshott, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 September 2012

We've just returned from a week at Col Di Lavacchio, one of the most memorable holidays we can remember. Situated in the less fashionable part of Tuscany, about 30 miles north of Lucca, it overlooks some spectacular countryside, largely the Northern Apennines mountain range. Run and owned by Jamie and Ailsa who have lovingly converted this typical Tuscan farm into a tranquil haven where one can relax by the pool or simply enjoy the stunning scenery. A lot of what we ate was grown on the farm and Ailsa, being an accomplished cordon bleu cook, produced some magnificent dinners. We chose the one of Jamie's tailor-made walking weeks, which was as rewarding as it was stimulating. Our fellow walkers ranged in age all the way up to 68 and everyone coped well with the sloping landscape, including getting up to 2000 meters on a couple of the walks. We spent a day in Lucca which a charming and stylish walled town dating back to medieval times and only 40 minutes from the farm by train. On Ailsa's night off we walked 10 minutes from the farm to a local restaurant called Fobbia; again the food was fabulous and incredibly good value, a delicious sirloin steak was 10 euros and a smashing bottle of Chianti 8 euros, beat that!
All in all a wonderful week in a stunning location with charming hosts and some of the best cooking I can remember. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with family
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Thank ColinB8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2012

We went for the "Wild Walks" option on the website and were not disappointed. The Alpi Apuane and, across the valley, the Appenines have fabulous landscapes and Jamie does an excellent job in leading the walks, which are carefully planned yet flaxible enough to cater for a differing levels of fitness and expectations.

We stayed in the farmhouse part of the property. This has been renovated with a great deal of understated panache - it is very comfortable with everything, for us, hitting the right notes. We were not self catering, but if we had been the kitchen and outside dining areas would be perfect. No cheap bendy knives and tiny saucepans here - for once the kitchen and the equipment match rest of the accommodation.

The reason we did not self cater is that the walking holidays are fully catered, and Ailsa is a magical cook. Come expecting to eat rustic, locally sourced and good restaurant quality food at every meal. Even the "packed lunches" were superb.

All in all, a perfect place to get away from it all for a week. Jamie and Ailsa have put a huge amount into their home and it really is a pleasure to be able to share it with them for a few days.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank MarshfieldMunchies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auburn, Massachusetts
1 review
Reviewed 26 May 2012

If it is possible to have loved my return visit to Lacacchio even more that my first visit, it would only be because the wildflowers were in unbelievable bloom. Ailsa and Jamie have created the perfect vacation spot - beautifully landscaped surroundings and wonderfully appointed accommodations. A fabuous place for friends or family to gather for a truly unique and exquisite Italian vacation. Check out their web site www.lavacchio.com for a taste of the many options available to you. Great hiking, fabulous food, exquisite setting - can't wait to visit again.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank linda f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level Contributor
52 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 June 2011

This farmhouse-villa is a beautiful spot for a small or large group to settle in for a few days of R and R or longer. The very welcoming low-key English-speaking couple who own, llive on, and run the property will organize hikes, gourmet meals, and local transport as needed for reasonable fees. The property has a spectacular view of the northwest Tuscan ridges, as the website photos suggest. On the property are lavender and other herbs, flowers, meadows and woods. The multi-bedroom renovated old farmhouse has its own country kitchen for "self-cooking," and both outdoor and indoor dining areas fit for a large group. The smaller two-bedroom apartment below the owners' house also has a kitchen and dining area, plus a veranda with hot tub (and wi-fi access). There is an outdoor pool and many other areas to enjoy the view and curl up with a book. Outings to do food market shopping or to visit the nearby towns of interest (eg Barga, Lucca, Garafagna) involve winding 15 minute drives down the hill, and then longer drives along major country roads or local train rides.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank deekaye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Col di Lavacchio

Property: Col di Lavacchio
Address: | Promiana, 55020 Molazzana, Italy
Region: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Lucca > Molazzana
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Speciality Lodging in Molazzana
Number of rooms: 2
Also Known As:
Col Di Lavacchio Tuscany/Molazzana, Italy

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