Q: What is it? A: A villa in Lucca, Tuscany where you sleep and eat and get very well taken care of.
It’s just one of many Tuscan villas…
…but it does its job quite well, (being a villa, that is). It actually looks and feels very much like the quintessential Italian villa; a former 19th century hunting lodge that now has metamorphosed into a hotel and restaurant. It’s not big, only 11 rooms, and the fact that you can get married here in their little cappella per cerimonie, indicates what kind of clientele they are aiming for. With so few rooms the service better be outstanding and… well, already upon arrival it’s clear that the owners, Andrea and Alessia, has created an atmosphere where you feel very well taken care of.
Getting there is a little bit tricky.
Well, there are roads and all that. But the villa is located exactly when your mind start to go “Oh, sh_t… now I’ve driven too far!” and my GPS wasn’t particularly cooperative. Not being a local means that you will have to trust the tiny white signs with the hotel’s name on them, (and that takes a little time to get used to), or follow the driving directions below. And even with the driving directions you may feel a little bit out-of-place as the road narrows more and more, but trust me – the villa is there.
What is it like?
Apart from a charming welcome, you may expect traditionally furnished rooms with some modernities discreetly squeezed in. You may also expect an oversized bathroom with a monsoon shower. With that being said, the room #103 wasn’t the coziest I’ve stayed in, (the design feels somewhat cold…), but the bed was comfy and the WiFi worked and so did the AC, so who am I to complain? The thing about the Albergo Villa Marta that will make it better memory from the trip, is its staff, its location and its garden. The latter, they certainly know how to make the most of. It’s where you have dinner and breakfast.
And finally, it will probably not break your piggy bank.
Although it’s not a low-budget place, I found the final bill quite modest, especially considered the fact that one of the items on it was a four-course menu. The Botton d’Oro Restaurant is a blessing, since it makes it quite unnecessary to leave the premises. A special shout-out goes out to Simon, the young waiter who made dinner even more enjoyable. When planning my route to Tuscany, I was tempted to just drive past Lucca. Now I am pretty happy I didn’t.
Note to self: Stop driving past insignificant cities by the motorway, OK?
Albergo Villa Marta
Via del Ponte Guasperini, 873,
+39 0583 370101
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DRIVING DIRECTIONS: You are probably on your way to Florence, (Firenze on the signs). Exit the A12 motorway at LUCCA OVEST. Take it easy as the exit is kind of winding, (and the GPS may try to tell you things that sound illogical). Look out for the signs for PISA onto the SS12. From there, it’s time to follow those little black and white signs for the Hotel Albergo Villa Marta. After 3/4 km, in the village of San Lorenzo a Vaccoli, turn left onto the tiny road called Via del ponte Guasperini. Drive on that narrow piece of tarmac and keep your eyes open. Just about when you think “sh_t… et cetera”, you will see the Albergo Villa Marta on the left.
Can your GPS handle real coordinates? Good news, then type these in:
Latitude: 48.80001 N
Longitude: 10.49145 E