Ultimate Tuscany Villa Rental – What To Do With That Extra €200,000.00 (Circa $320.000.00) You Have Laying Around!

If you have been on my website www.toscanamia.biz in the Italy villa rental section, you may have seen the ultra-luxury villas of the Coselli collection.If you have been on my website www.toscanamia.biz in the Italy villa rental section, you may have seen the ultra-luxury villas of the Coselli collection. These are very impressive Tuscan villa rentals situated on two hillsides near Lucca. They have been restored with the utmost care: each bedroom is painted in a different color, the walls are hand-decorated, the latest high-tech equipment is available, there is a chef available for each property and many 5 star services are offered for guests.

These villa rentals in Tuscany are truly luxurious and range in price from €11,000 to €45,000 per week (depending on the time of year). All of this was made possible because Mr. Fanucchi (the owner) who made his fortune with mozzarella had the vision and means to convert some crumbling estates into luxury resorts.

Needless to say, many of the rich and famous have crossed these thresholds.

The villas and grounds are truly beautifulWith this in mind, you may imagine how curious I was to see the new villa being added to their collection that will rent for €50,000 per week, for a minimum of 4 weeks!

I spent about half a day with Nicola Fanucchi (one of the owner’s sons now CEO of the Coselli business) going through all the villas again to see the latest upgrades for myself. I must say the villas and grounds are truly beautiful and the maintenance is top-of-the-line.

The last villa we viewed on our tour was Villa Lenka (named after Mrs. Fanucchi, Nicola’s mother) which is the actual family home in the winter. The family has decided to offer this property for rent during the summer.

The outdoors could not be more breathtaking.So what does €50,000/week for four weeks get you? The grounds are amazing. The park spreads over 13 Hectares (around 32 acres) of manicured grounds, beautiful trees, two large ponds (they call them lakes) and a pool. The outdoors could not be more breathtaking.

The villa itself is beautifully restored and is a classic Lucca “Villa Padronale.” (Villas occupied by rich landowners of the past centuries). There is antique furniture, signature paintings, beautiful ceilings and floors, custom draperies and high-end finishings. I noticed both a Maserati and another car with the “Diplomatic Corps” emblem on the back parked under the car port. This is not a place for the faint of wallet!

The villa is incredibly beautiful and the surrounding area unparalleled among any properties in Italian Villa rental portfoliosNow for my honest opinion: While the villa is incredibly beautiful and the surrounding area unparalleled among any properties in Italian Villa rental portfolios, I am hesitant to say it is the best of the best. If I had my choice of high-level villas in the Coselli Group, I would be looking at Villa Controni or Borgo Bernardini. Why?

While this is a very subjective opinion, the main villa felt “lived in.” I did not feel like I was stepping into a space that was prepared specifically to welcome me. All through the villas were signs of the family that occupies it – pictures, closed-off armoires, and, to be honest, a bit of clutter. This is very different from the other properties Coselli offers.

This takes away nothing from the fact that Villa Lenka is an amazing property and is my own personal reaction. If you like the idea of stepping into the home of a very wealthy family for a few weeks, then this may could be the property for you.

As always, I welcome your comments, reactions and opinions.


“Italy – The Best Travel Destination” is a Jeopardy Answer

On tonight’s Jeopardy game show (June 23), contestant Tom Koch from Seattle was interviewed by Alex Trebek. It seems Tom is an avid traveler and has visited over 60 countries.

Alex asked Tom to reveal his favorite destination. Without hesitation, Tom responded, “Italy – I’d go there any day. Any part of Italy is great.” To this Alex commented, “That’s right, you can’t get a bad meal there.” Tom concurred and added, “You can’t find a bad museum there either!”

You see, any well-traveled person will admit that there’s no place like Italy!

Ciao for now, Serenella

Barco Reale, Carmignano – A Restaurant Treasure

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Current “In” Italian Words and Phrases

Each time I visit Italy I notice new words currently in use. I always have fun at the italianization of English terms too. Here are a few current ones:

  • S.U.V. (sports utility vehicle): SUV (pronounced soov)
  • Feeling: feeling
  • Muffin: muffin (pronounced mooffeen), very popular in Italy right now
  • The Bold and the Beautiful (soap opera): Beautiful (pronounced bee you’ tee ful)
  • Sunny and vivacious (referred to a person): solare
  • Pod/pods (as in coffee pods for espresso machines): cialda/cialde
  • Could not be nicer (or more gracious): carinissima/carinissimo
  • Martini aperitivo: refers to a vermouth drink, not the martini served in the USA. That is “Martini Americano”
  • Caffe Americano: This is ordered by many English and American visitors as a substitue for their own coffee. It is an espresso with enough hot water added for a large cup.
  • Americano: Ordered at a bar/caffe, this is a (strong) aperitif with bitter Campari, red vermouth and soda water. Do not confuse this with a caffe Americano as a lovely lady in one of my groups did at 10:00am one morning. I must say, she was a good sport and drank it all anyway!

I hope this helps with your Italian. Ciao, Serenella

I Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven! (Tuscany Winery Visit)

Valiano Winery and Villa Residence

On June 9. I met Francesco Andreotti (son of Martina Piccini, an italian winery owner) in Florence and headed down to Siena to “Fattoria di Valiano” (one of their several wineries).

Martina Piccini’s family has been in the wine business since 1882 and theirs is still a family-run business. They have this winery in Siena, one in Montalcino, one in Sicily and a couple of others.

Words and pictures cannot do justice to the beauty of the landscape to, from and at the actual winery. The positive part about so much rain this year is that the valleys are even more verdant than usual. This property was immaculate and very well cared for. Some of their wines have won international prizes and they have often been in Wine Spectator. Their variety of wines runs from family style to high end. Read more

Supermarket Shopping – Italian Style

Welcome to the Toscana Mia blog where you can experience a slice of Tuscan life!

Local supermarket deliThis morning I went shopping at the local supermarket. There are similarities to shopping at a U.S. supermarket but there are some things unique to Italy (of course).

When you get a cart, you must insert a coin (usually 0.50 Euros) into a slot to release the cart. The coin will be returned to you when you return the cart at the end of your shopping.

Upon entering the supermarket, you usually come upon the wonderful produce section featuring whatever is in season. This morning there were all different types of fresh beans for shelling – borlotti, cannellini and schiaccioni – beautifully displayed. The smell of summer fruits – peaches, cherries, apricots, etc. filled the air. Read more