Two families in a Tuscan Villa


Our dear friends from Melbourne came to share a week in a Tuscan villa with us this summer, that’s four adults & six kids ranging from two to ten! It was the first time we’d ever shared a holiday with another family, little did we know all hell would break loose….
Hahaha nah just kidding, it was awesome!!!

….Our friends had a lot of other stuff going on while they were in Europe (here’s the back story) so I took the responsibility of finding accommodation. We all agreed on a week in a Tuscan villa with a pool but that was about it apart from price. I found a small UK website called Friends Of Tuscany & chose a reasonably priced five bedroom house in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana in the Lucca region under 2 hours drive from Pisa. You’d need a car staying anywhere in Tuscany & we’d be spending the following 9 days in Cesenatico, on the Adriatic side of Italy, so we’d have to drive across anyway. We flew into Pisa with Ryan Air pretty cheaply (sadly my Mac compact didn’t make it in one piece) & collected our hire car from the airport. Word of warning – book your car hire early, it’s much cheaper but also because there’s little chance you’ll even get a car here in summer. The drive to our villa was made super easy by the detailed directions I’d printed from Friends of Tuscany. We did bring the sat nav but as usual she was temperamental finding her GPS signal.
There’s quite a lot to see & do in this area but as it turned out we were all pretty content to hang by the pool, besides the children craved down time having just broken up for the school year.

You’d think having 6 kids under 10 in one house would be chaos but in fact you’d be quite wrong.

It was delightful watching the different dynamics between them & their new friendships developing. I wasted hours observing all the big personalities interacting & soon lost track of time. There were never any fights & what’s more the usual sibling squabbles you get on holidays were greatly reduced, yay result!
What attracted me to this particular villa was the outside pizza oven, Mark is a keen pizza chef (read- I won’t have to cook) so was in his element making us pizza for breakfast, lunch & dinner! We pretty much lived off it & anything else that could be roasted in the oven (let me tell you that man roasts everything!) such as tomatoes & other veg. Of course we also ate a lot of anti pasta, cheese & tonnes of deliciously juicy fresh fruit. The scrumptious local produce is cheap & abundant & with a fully equipped cabana by the pool we ate outside the entire time, it was sheer bliss. However we did venture out occaisionally with the children to explore the local town & treat them to a gelato.

One day we all enjoyed an amazing lunch of handmade pasta, seafood & mouth watering cured meats at Bonini a restaurant highly regarded in the area. A relatively simple meal done Italian style is a crowd pleasing feast of the senses! Eating out in Italy with children is a completely different experience to the usual stressfest. Kids are free to roam the restaurant & are adored by staff & diners alike. Consequently they tend to behave, go figure…

Have you ever holidayed with another family? What else could I have added to this, my first travel post, that would’ve made it better?

Next up…. Our hotel part of the holiday in Cesenatico.
Followed by….A day in Lucca, just us Mamas.
Also I’ll be posting about the outfits I wore in Italy including my essential holiday beauty prep. Later in the month I’ll introduce a chic & stylish Italian woman over 40 guaranteed to give you handbag envy!

Lots of fun stuff happening here at RCM

so please do pop back soon, Mx

view of the hills from our villa in castelnuovo di garfagnana
The view from our pool of surrounding medieval villages

tuscan villa hydrangeas
Despite 30+ heat the villa garden was blooming.

tuscan villa outside pizza oven
A rare moment when the pizza oven was not in use!

tuscan seafood ravioli
Seafood Ravioli

tuscan seafood at bonini's

eating out tuscan style
Bonini’s lunch

tuscan style anti pasta
Tuscan anti pasta.

old men in piaza castelnuovo di garfagnana
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana council meeting.

walking through castelnuovo di garfagnana
Walking through Castenuovo di Garfagnana

taking a break in the piazza castelnuovo di garfagnana
JKL Taking a break in the piazza.

choosing gelato in castelnuovo di garfagnana
Stopping for gelato.

walking through the villa garden
The garden was a labrynth for the children to explore.

a tuscan sunset

panama hat with tommy hilfiger white shirt dress over cozzie
Nothing to do but relax.

  • Comments ( 13 )

  • avatar

    oh can’t wait to visit Europe again!

    • avatar

      Yay! Lovely to see you here Becky, yes your big move is very exciting. x

  • avatar

    Totally stunning…thanks for link to the property info – may have to try out my new packing skills there ☺️

    • avatar

      You’re welcome Susannah! Let me know if you end up going x

  • avatar

    OH wow, beautiful photos! One of my goals in life is to rent a Tuscan villa for like two weeks of vacation or something!


    • avatar

      Hi Celyn, thanks for popping by. I’m so happy you like my piccy’s I like your goal! Pop back next week, perhaps you’ll be inspired to add Emilia Romagna to the list x

  • avatar

    You had me at pizza oven.
    Tuscany has been on my to visit list for the longest time and you’re not helping!!! Looks completely beautiful, what a gorgeous place to catch up with old friends. Can’t wait to nose along with the rest of your hols.
    M x

    • avatar

      Hahaha you do have a way with words lady! Thanks for popping in to say hi, let me know what you think of next weeks Part 2. x

  • avatar

    Looks like a fantastic villa! Send me the details please! One for the future maybe…. Glad you had a great time πŸ™‚ Xx

    • avatar

      It really was brilliant Amy, you guys would love it! The house is called Villa Cavani, click on the Friends of Tuscany link for all the details x

  • avatar

    BRB, dying of jealousy.

    Okay, back. Fantastic post, Michelle! This was well worth the wait. I love your tips on traveling to this region. I need them, because we plan on taking a Tuscan trip in a few years. I honestly can’t think of anything that needs to be added to improve it. Well done!

    And those pictures. GAH! I don’t blame you for spending so much time poolside. We’ve taken a few vacations with friends or extended family, and for the most part, it worked out really well. One trip, however, not so much. One of the other women was a “Planner”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a planner too (in my everyday life), but trying to coerce ten people into scheduling every minute of their vacation didn’t go over quite so well. I think it’s all about finding like-minded vacationers. Us, we like to schedule the bare minimum, and then spend the rest of our free time either relaxing, or exploring.

    So happy this trip worked out so well for you ^_^

    • avatar

      Thanks Cory, I’m trying to make it informative in a conversational way & hope that the links give the reader the option for more detailed info. I’ll get the hang of it, still a few more to publish please do let me know what you think. You’re so right about sharing with like minded people, I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kinda chick πŸ˜‰

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