My father wanted to spend his 80th birthday in the Lucca area of Italy with all of his family. He has first cousins that live near Lucca and we've visited before, but because there were 13 of us staying together, finding the right home that would please everyone was a challenge. But we were lucky enough to stumble upon Casale Carla and couldn't have been happier. Juri and his mother Carla were incredibly welcoming and accommodating to our party. We were the first visitors to stay at this newly renovated property and while there were first time glitches, they couldn't have done more to make sure we were well taken care of and comfortable. The finishes in each room and on the outside of the house are top of the line and very beautiful. From Italian glass tiles in each of the beautifully appointed bathrooms (4 of which have showers with both rain heads and handhelds, the 5th has a Jacuzzi tub) to the top of the line appliances in both the main kitchen and the pool house kitchen. Each room is a mix of the old and new from Juri's grandparents furniture, perfectly restored, to the modern kitchen and lighting all blending together seamlessly.
The kitchens were fully stocked with dishes and silverware and they tried to think of everything a cook would need. We hosted a birthday party for 30 people and had no troubles. In fact, clean up was a breeze because of the two dishwashers.
We were there during the World Cup so we were able to enjoy the matches on the HD big screen tv. We had Carla cook a welcome dinner on our first night which was fantastic. She prepared a lasagna, with the lightest pasta any of us had ever tasted, along with a meat and vegetable in addition to the wines..all for a very reasonable price. This was a perfect segue to the cooking class we arranged with her a couple of nights later. She has a cute little "kitchen cottage" that stands above the house and 5 of us learned how to make her homemade pasta with a ragu in addition to a chicken cacciatore that we proudly served to the rest of the family for dinner, again for a very reasonable price. (less than what it would of cost for us to go out to dinner and 100x better!) Lucca is just a short distance from the house and we went in many times to shop, ride bikes and site see. It's also near the beaches and Cinque Terre was just a little over an hour away.
We've been to Italy several times and this is one of the nicest places we've stayed. Besides the fact that it was all brand new, the quality and the size of it would please anyone. The only downside, and it's really not even that, was that it is out in the countryside so you couldn't just walk into the village for dinner or a gelato. I would highly recommend this home, it really had everything anyone could ask for...and more!
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