Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Where to stay for the family reunion

Wow, so many places to choose from! I’m compiling a list of places classified by location, with a few comments that might help guests prioritize. I’m not putting down contact info here, but most of these can be easily found by putting in the name and adding the search term “Montecarlo, Lucca.”

While it is usually recommended that visitors do not rent a car when visiting the major and moderately sized cities such as Venice, Florence, Rome, Milan, Naples, Padova, Lucca, Orvieto, etc., a car is usually the best choice to visit the small hill towns of Tuscany. However, it is possible to come to the family reunion without renting a car, with some careful planning. It is highly likely that I will be renting a bus or vans (with drivers) to take everyone on family history tours and other events, so if you can make it by train to a central location—the central piazza in San Salvatore, near the Montecarlo/San Salvatore train station, you’ll be able to save money by not renting a car. Daily activities on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all begin in San Salvatore at 8 a.m. On the other days, you can walk to the train station.

The farm of Giustina


NO CAR RENTAL NEEDED

Il Podere di Giustina B&B: This is one kilometer from the San Salvatore central piazza, about a 12-minute walk. This B&B actually does have breakfast, the hosts are wonderful and helpful people, and the price can’t be matched. Marco speaks Italian, English and French. If you let him know when you are coming, he will pick you up at the train station in Pescia or Montecarlo. There is also a shortcut trail that will make the walk only 10 minutes. Unfortunately, they have only one room.

La Valinfiore Charming Home: This one is even closer to San Salvatore piazza, only 600 meters. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, maximum six guests.

The “train house” of our Norwegian friends: This is not a formal guest house, but our friends have offered to rent out their three upstairs guest rooms at an excellent price. They only rent to friends and friends of friends. They are excellent hosts, speak English well, and will include a breakfast. Lucy and I once dreamed of buying this house when it was a broken-down ruin. We called it the “train house” then, because it was near the train track. It is now completely refinished with a beautiful yard where our friends grow fruits, vegetables and flowers, and the chickens provide fresh eggs. It is about 1200 meters from the piazza, a 15-minute walk. Contact me for more info.

Villa del Dottore Country House, Antico Casale La Piaggia: These two are also close to the train station, just 850 meters and 1100 meters, respectively.


Hotel/Albergo Natucci
: Does the name Natucci sound familiar? Members of this family intermarried with the Spadoni/Seghieri clan in Washington three times, and cousin Gina Natucci can arrange for you to stay at this comfortable and homey hotel in Montecatini Terme. While this is about a half hour from Montecarlo by car or train, a car and driver can be added to your arrangements at a bargain price. You can contact Gina (she lives in Tacoma and is a state Sons and Daughters of Italy officer) to assist with the arrangements.

Hotel Paola: This is just three minutes by foot from the Altopascio train station, and there is a daily train from Altopascio to Montecarlo/San Salvatore from 7:57 to 8:01 a.m., which would bring you to Montecarlo at just the right time for morning activities.

SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE

Casolare dei Fiori


Casolare dei Fiore:
 This agriturismo is owned by Gilda Seghieri & Enzo Pasquinelli and their family. Gilda is an 8th cousin to many of us who had a Seghieri (Egidio, Dante, Anita, Jim, Roger, Rosina) as grandparent. Lucy and I stayed here every winter/spring from 2011-15. It is located in the heart of the Seghieri neighborhood of via Mattonaia. It’s about 2 kilometers from the San Salvatore piazza, so it’s probably best to have a car, though it’s a pleasant 21-minute walk.

IN THE HEART OF MONTECARLO

You will need a car to climb the hill to Montecarlo, and the rooms are probably more expensive, but there are good reasons to consider this option. It is a gorgeous medieval city with great views of the plain of Lucca and the Valdinievole. It has a plethora of fine restaurants and places to shop for clothing, shoes, ceramics, art and souvenirs. For the first three places, you can step outside your door and enjoy a morning cappuccino or evening aperitivo. Here are places where you can inquire for reservations:
Antica Casa dei Rassicurati B&B
Antica Casa Naldi
Antica Dimora Patrizia B&B
Villa Centoni B&B (outside the walls, about 8 minutes by foot)
Fattoria La Torre (about 12 minutes by foot)

Antica Dimora Patrizia

SO MANY OTHERS . . .

If you have a car, there are dozens of fabulous places to stay. You can easily find their websites and see where they are located by map. You can also find even more places by joining Vrbo.com or Airbnb.com. And if you expand the search to Pescia, Chiesina Uzzanese, Altopascio, Ponte Buggianese and Borgo a Buggiano—all only a short drive from Montecarlo—the list becomes even longer. Here is a short list of the places closest to Montecarlo:
Al Gattosaggio
Villa La Nina
Agriturismo San Gallo
Agricola Posapiano
Fattoria Vigna del Greppo
Fattoria Cercatoia Alta
Villa il Guffo
Agriturismo Tori Alberto
B&B La Casetta
Agriturismo Casa Fontanino
Tenuta degli Obizzi
Residence il Sole
Villa Monica

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