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RENT A VILLA IN TUSCANY:  What Our Guests Are Saying  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 


 

My husband and I wanted to do something special to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We'd been to Italy several times but had not spent more than a few nights at a time in Tuscany. We learned about Villa Aquilea from an acquaintance in Chicago who knew the one-time owners and had stayed at the villa on several occasions with his family. Wow, what a great referral! We took 5 couples to Italy; spending the first week at Villa Aquilea and a long weekend in Cinque Terre. The villa was super roomy and comfortable for our group. We cooked several nights, delighted in the on-site "cooking class", wood burning oven pizza party and many restaurants that James recommended. James has surrounded himself with a tremendous support team. Paola was our guide on 2 tours - we could easily have adopted her. Allesandra dropped off a wonderful meal for us at the villa our first night and hosted the cooking class - the best! A different alessandra guided us on a bike tour of Lucca, which our guests just loved. It was truly a magnificent setting and villa with a wonderful group of locals to guide our experience. We're foodies, we're picky and we're adventurous. If you are too, start planning your trip to Villa Aquilea. - Lucy B, Chicago, guest October 2012

 

Everything was wonderful!  From the moment we arrived at the Villa until the day we left the family with a tearful goodbye, our vacation was a dream come true!! The Villa and the surrounding grounds were beautiful and wonderfully decorated and landscaped. Patrizia and her family could not have been more accommodating and helpful-from printing directions to giving advice on places to go- to cooking a delicious meal on our first evening there -to surprising us with homemade treats on several occasions. We were treated as family and felt as if we were. We miss them!! Have already recommended Casa Patrizia to family and friends!  - Elaine B, Abbeville LA, guest 2012

 

Our stay at Villa Nobile surpassed our expectations - it was everything we hoped and more. Don't let the relatively modest exterior fool you - this historic villa has been restored with great care to a level that would satisfy the most discerning guest. A few things come to mind: rustic, elegant simplicity but with all modern conveniences; carefully chosen and extremely tasteful classic and antique furniture; ceramic tile floors and beamed ceilings; new custom made doors, windows and screens all around; a fully equipped gourmet kitchen with high end appliances (and two dishwashers); intelligent floor plan with ensuite baths and closets in all bedrooms; hot water and wifi on demand; wonderful gardens and a great pool that you can really swim in; and a magnificent view of the Lucca valley below from almost all angles! Climbing the hill to Villa Nobile you feel like you are arriving home and you won't want to leave. Our stay was made even better by the personal attention we received from James Edmunds who knows and loves the area and has wonderful stories to tell about local and Italian history and is a wealth of knowledge. He really does love Tuscany and will help you fall in love with it too. We stayed at the villa with an extended family group, lounged around the pool, made day trips to Florence, Lucca, Cinque Terra and other destinations, attended a family reunion in Pisa, hiked around the area including into the quaint village of aquilea below and the church ruins at the top of the hill; and entertained several groups of friends. Villa Nobile accommodated all our needs and visitors and made every day a pleasure. My brother is a home renovater who paid the house a very high compliment when he said: "I can't think of a thing I would change". JW and family/friends, Toronto, guests July 2013 (here for a family reunion)

 

Io e il mio compagno abbiamo affittato questa proprietà [Casa Limoni] a fine giugno per una settimana per festeggiare il nostro matrimonio con amici (week end) e parenti stretti (resto della settimana). Tutti sono stati entusiasti di Casa Limoni! le case sono bellissime, arredate in stile toscano e molto curate. Le cucine sono super attrezzate! Il giardino e' spettacolare e la piscina fantastica! Ci sono tantissimi giochi per bambini sia da interno che da esterno. Le foto non riescono comunque a rendere la bellezza e l'atmosfera che si vive nella proprietà. Le grigliate in giardino, i pranzi sotto il portico sono ricordi meravigliosi! Il taglio della torta il giorno del nostro matrimonio indimenticabile! Peraltro la posizione è ottima: si trova a dieci minuti di macchina da Lucca, immersa nel verde e con a 5 minuti un supermercato esselunga! James e' stato veramente molto gentile e disponibile con noi! La consiglio vivamente per una vacanza da sogno!  - Silvia S and family/friends, from Milan, guests June 2013, the week of her wedding in Lucca.  Congratulations Silvia!

 

Our 48 guests over 3 weeks enjoyed these Villas [Casa Limoni] beyond description. James Edmunds (DWL) and his staff are the perfect hosts. James worked with us for a full year planning arrivals, departures, tours, dinners and cooking classes with perfect follow-up. David and Sylvia (resident caretakers) met our every need with tours of the estate, wine (too much) and local questions. David has remodeled these beautiful villas to make sure you appreciate Tuscany at its best. He is a true artist. Paola and Alisandra brought Italy to our kitchen with great expertise. Wonderful people. We will have memories for ever of sitting around the large dining room table or in front of the fireplace remembering our adventures of the day. Wish we could give this Villa and staff 10 (TEN) stars. - Mike M. family, Laguna Beach CA, guests April 2013

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What a perfect vacation experience. This beautiful villa is truly special. Fabulous panoramic views, peaceful and convenient location, and extensive extras provided throughout the home provided for a week that surpassed expectations. This home is more gorgeous then even the photos show, and the owners have ensured that every need and want is provided. Beyond what we knew was provided, we were spoiled with an abundant vegetable garden, gourmet spices and kitchen necessities, a high-end washing machine and appliances, and furnishings, books, videos and games that allowed us to feel completely and luxuriously at home. The outdoor "piggery" is a stand alone small all-window building with wetbar, large dining table, and gorgeous views. James was extremely helpful and responsive throughout the rental process, and Karolina ensured that all our needs were meet and questions answered while we were there. The only part we didn't like about Casa Fiori was leaving it. We can't wait to go back! - Christina M, New York, guest July 2012

 

Before we arrived at Casa Fiori, we had a taste of how fabulous it is by browsing James's gorgeous photos and from Google Street View. But nothing could prepare our group for just how incredible this house and the scenery really are. The house is huge, with an eclectic mix of Tuscan features, modern appliances and fixtures, and exotic artifacts from around the world. There is every luxury and comfort here, including beautiful outdoor spaces and the pool, beautiful dining spots, lovely bathrooms and more. As a group of foodies, we made great use of the gourmet kitchen, picking fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden every day to complement our many trips to the local Essalunga grocery store (which is itself divine). Then there were karaoke nights (complete with speaker, mic and instruments), with my five-year-old as hostess, in the TV room. Great fun! James gave us some terrific insider tips about where to shop, day trips (including excellent directions), restaurants and more. He helped us make the most of our way-too-short week at Casa Fiori. Karolina and Dawid also helped make our stay wonderful, with advice about local activities, keeping the grounds and pool immaculate and their warmth and friendliness. They all made sure we knew that, truly, Casa Fiori was our home for the week. I wish it could have been ours for longer. If you want a luxurious yet comfortable Tuscan villa experience that's great for groups and kids, close to many must-do day trips, and is "secluded" yet minutes from the walled city of Lucca, this is the place. Not just recommended: encouraged! You'll love it.  - DD and family/friends, Toronto, guests September 2012


The best holiday ever!!  We absolutely loved everythihg about Villa Limoni. A good time was had by all. James' recommendation of the Villa for our 2 families- 4 adults and 6 teenagers worked out beautifully. James was very helpful and always available to answer any questions every step of the way. David and Sylvia, the property caretakers, were very welcoming and helpful with suggestions of things to do. The Villa was meticulously maintained among the beautiful gardens, olive trees, fruit trees and vineyards. There was plenty of space for all to separate, roam, relax and have quiet time. At the same time it was wonderful for us all to gather in the spectacular kitchen to eat and share the days activities. We thoroughly enjoyed swimming in the private pool and walking down to the town square for gelato. The add on activities were amazing which included Pisa, Cinque Terra, and a Truffle tour. The highlights were the Personal Chef Dinner and the Cooking Class. Chef Sylvia and alessandra are awesome cooks! We loved the short drive to the charming city of Lucca and spending time shopping and strolling along the narrow streets. Villa Limonaia is truly a beautiful and peaceful place among the hills. Thank you James for everything. We will treasure the memories forever! Dreaming of our next trip back to the countryside.  - Debbie and Tony F., St. Louis, guests July-August 2012

 

We took our 4 adult children and their "others" on a one week trip to Italy, using Villa Aquilea as our base. Ten people is a lot of people to please, but everyone one of us thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The villa was large enough that each of us could carve out private, quiet space no matter what other activities were going on. The pool is not only beautiful, it is a requirement in the hear of the summer, and we spent hours laughing and having our own "summer olympics" in the water. The location is excellent - the views superb - and only a short drive to the train station for very speedy journeys to Pisa and Florence; or drives into the alps. We had a chef come and give us a cooking class...which was superb! Were there downsides? Just to be balanced, let me think. One should know that the drive up the hill to the villa should not be done after a drink or two; but truly, that is the only thing I can think of. Thank you, James, Alessandra and Tamara, and Fredericka, for helping us plan and enjoy this trip. - Deb A, Vermont, guest August 2012

 

Fabulous!  Thank you so much for a wonderful week!!! Casa Patrizia surpassed our expectations--what a beautiful villa set in an unbelievable Tuscan countryside with plenty of room for 11 people (5 couples and one daughter). Everyone had their own bedroom with private bath. We will never forget the wonderful hospitality shown to us by Patrizia and her family. Everything was perfect. Upon arrival we were treated to a scruptuous (and very bountiful) meal prepared by our hosts. We booked a pizza party and cooking class where we prepared the entire meal from scratch in Partizia's outdoor kitchen--so much fun! We were treated often to Patrizia's homemade treats. Any questions are help needed were taken care of quickly by our hosts. We shall never have another vacation that will be better than this one!  - Kim B, Lafayette LA, guest October 2012

 

We celebrated two wedding anniversaries, our 20th and my sister and brother-in-law's 25th by taking our family on a trip to Italy. There were 4 adults and 6 teenagers and after a week touring Rome and Florence, we spent our second week relaxing at Villa Limoni. We took a few day trips to Lucca, Cinque Terre, and Pisa. Everyone enjoyed their stay so much that it was hard to leave the Villa and come back to reality. There were enough bikes for all of us to take a bike ride along the river down to Lucca. The grounds were/are absolutely beautiful. There are olive trees, plum trees, pear trees, and vineyard. We were welcomed with several bottles of olive oil, wine, fresh fruit and vegetables, all of which came from the grounds at Casa Limonaia. There is a beautiful pool which we swam in everyday. Chef Sylvia and alessandra cooked some fabulous Italian meals during our stay -- thank you James for helping us plan a trip of a lifetime! What a beautiful trip and such wonderful people that we met -- we hope to come back! - Steve and Becky A, St. Louis, guests August 2012

 

I tried for years to plan a trip to Italy, but I always wound up getting intimidated or frustrated and I would put it on the back burner for another year. Friends told me about a trip they took to Villa Aquilea and I knew this was the solution! Our group consisted of ten people, 6 adults and 4 teenage girls, with ages from 16-69! We all had a Great time! The Villa was beautiful and plenty big enough. The town of Lucca is a gem. We loved going to Lucca so much that we actually cancelled a day trip somewhere else to have one more day in Lucca. Highlights of our trip included the walking tour of Florence with the beautiful and intelligent alessandra (planned by James), Cinque Terre and the beautiful sea views, the wood fired pizza party at the villa (planned by James) which was so fun and so delicious, drinking homemade wine and singing on the terrace of the villa, and meeting some of our Italian neighbors who came by to visit! Having James as a resource was invaluable! We plan to go back to Italy in the near future and we will absolutely rent and plan our trip through James! - Andrea D, Doylestown OH, guest July 2012

 

Sono stata un week end ospite di amici che hanno affittato Casa Limoni a Lucca. Sono stati 3 giorni spettacolari, le case sono bellissime, curate nei minimi particolari e con gusto, fornite di tutto ciò che serve per soggiornarvi come ad esempio lenzuola, asciugamani, tovaglie, stoviglie. Tutto ciò di cui si può aver bisogno in una casa, anche il primo soccorso se si sta male! C'è un giardino da favola ed una piscina posta in angolo esterno della casa molto riservato al di fuori di sguardi indiscreti. Lo consiglio a tutti coloro che cercano il relax in un bel posto in Toscana.  Roberta F, Milan, guest June 2013

 

Just a note to say how much we enjoyed ourselves in Lucca last week. The apartment is truly a charm and certainly lives up to its expectation from the pics on the website. We had the most wonderful time and hated to leave. Marina was so sweet and willing to help with anything we asked. I want her job, LOL. It was so good to meet you as well. Our vacation, with your help, was spectacular. We will be back.

This apartment is the most magnificent accommodation I have ever stayed in. The location is perfect, right in the heart of the walled city of Lucca. From the main floor living room to the top tower room and everything in between, we couldnt have wanted more. It is beautifully furnished and clean. Marina was so helpful and made us feel right at home. I only wish we could have stayed longer. It is truly a gem. We will be back. - Brenda P, Toronto Canada, guest Sept 2012

 

This place [Casa Limoni] is even more beautiful than the photos. The grounds are impeccable, and perfect for kids to run around on or just have a leisurely walk. The villa itself was exactly the Tuscan experience we were looking for - tranquil, has it's own vineyard, beautiful views and near walking distance to a lovely little village with great restaurants. The kitchen is awesome and fully equipped to cook yourself a Tuscan meal to eat al fresco. The caretakers are awesome and so helpful. My entire family loved the place, and dream of coming back bringing more people to enjoy it. Highly highly recommend this place.  - Amy C, Los Angeles, guest, August 2012

 

We had the opportunity to stay at Villa Nobile for some lovely days in September. As soon as we entered into the villa, we knew we had arrived to a very special place. The villa is just beautiful and gives you a wonderful "royal" feeling in an understated kind of way. You have spectacular views of Lucca and surrounding valley from almost every room and to open up the windows from your bedroom in the morning was a "Tuscan dream come true"! We have three younger children and they also enjoyed very much to spend time in the beautiful gardens and in the pool as well as in the nicely arranged family and game room. We loved spending time here and would always like to come back. - Nina and Michael S., guests, September 2012

 

We spent a week at this wonderful villa in Oct., a week that we will never forget. Casa Patrizia is beautifully decorated and so comfortable. The owners are wonderful people that make you feel like family. They went out of their way to make us feel welcome; cooking a delicious dinner for us, setting a beautiful table, making homemade desserts for us, providing helpful info, and just having fun with us. We visited Siena, Montepulciano, Pienza, Orvieto and assisi during our week. We also spent 2 days just hanging out, enjoying the beautiful scenery and weather. We were so sad to say goodbye to Patrizia and her family. We hope to one day visit again. - Martha R, Louisiana, guest 2012

 

I finally have a few minues to write and tell you how much we all enjoyed our stay at the lovely Villa Aquilea and surrounding areas of Lucca, etc.  The villa itself really grows on you and I felt quite sad when we left - very charming, comfortable and gorgeous views.  We spent time in Florence, Borga,Montecarlo, Pisa, Cinque Terre and of course Lucca. The bike trip with Allessandra was my favourite! Staying in Lucca would appeal to me perhaps next time. That apartment looks very attractive although a totally different expeience than staying at the villa!  The people we met have to be the highlight of the trip - Pauola, Agathe, Sylvia, Wolfgang and Ricardo the drivers - they were all so wonderful to us!!  We were fed a great deal of food however and could not begin to get through it all at one sitting!!  Thanks so much for taking such great care of the detail planning on our behalf, we would recommend you to all of our friends travelling to Tuscany.  We shall stay in touch....  We will definately be back in the future - Sally and Michael S., Bermuda, guests August 2012

Just spent 4 days in this apartment [Deluxe Lucca Historic Center Apartment]. It is beautifully decorated, spotlessly clean, spacious and perfectly located in the centre of Lucca. Would certainly come back again. - Julie G, France guest July 2012


My family and I have been expats for 18 years. We stay all over the world. Vigna Vecchia, run by James Edmunds is an absolute gem, thankfully hidden high in the hills surrounding Lucca. One of the great family debates each day was, " do we want to leave to travel around the district, or stay and just absorb the ever changing stunning views?". We did both as there is so much to see around the area. We also did the home cooking classes organized by James. The house is great, but it is just the location and those views that draw you in. If you need a break from a hectic life, go to Vigna Vecchia. - Anthony F, Hong Kong, guests July 2012

 

We celebrated out 30th anniversary (Oct. 15) with family & friends at Casa Patrizia. Upon arrival, Oct. 13) we were greeted w/drinks, appetizers and a wonderful tuscan dinner. The villa is something out of a story book---attention to detail in every room! Patrizia surprised us w/homemade pastries, cakes and ice cream! Of course, there was plenty of wine! While we were there, we had a pizza party and a chef came in to teach us how to cook a tuscan meal! Never had so much fun in my life---we laughed and sang while preparing our meals! On our last day, Patrizia and family presented each family with a duck---their symbol! The next morning we left very early and Patrizia was there to send us off! Of course, we all had tears in our eyes when saying good-by! Such a beautiful family and memories we'll never forget! This experience will be remembered the rest of our lives!  - Doug and Sharon D, guests October 2012

 

We stayed in this fourth floor apartment [Deluxe Lucca Historic Center Apartment] that has a elevator for two weeks in May.  Key pick was easy as the contact is in the building. Three terraces, kitchen has it all, wi-fi works great, no more than a 4 min walk to any food store that you will need, extremely clean. We loved it. We hope to be back next year. - F.R., guests May 2012, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

 

As always, the pizza party was the highlight, a night of music and laughter we'll never forget...  
- Mike G, Churchon, MD, guest 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

 

The best vacation we have ever had. Our family consisted of my wife and me, three of our adult children and 4 grandchildren. We were there for 2 weeks. Villa was terrific, furnished with everything you needed, great location for daily trips to other great cities. Swimming pool was super for the grandkids. James was very easy to work with and had all the answers to our questions. A once in a lifetime experience. - George T, Fresno California, guest 2011

It took one year to plan a two week vacation for nine people. However, I wish it took two weeks of planning for a one year vacation instead! Staying at Villa Aquilea was a dream come true. It was certainly a vacation that will never be duplicated or forgotten. James is the ultimate innkeeper. We can't thank him enough for all that he did for us and our families. He certainly added in making our stay so unique. We were greeted at the Villa with fresh baked bread, homemade olive oil, fresh flowers and a warm smile. This welcome set the pace for the next 13 days. We felt as if we were the very first guests ever to stay at the house. Upon entering the villa this five hundred year old farmhouse is jaw-dropping. Its location sits high above the village of Lucca and has outstanding vistas all throughout the day. We happened to have a full moon while we were there and it was spectacular. The grounds surrounding the farmhouse are impeccably kept; olive trees, oranges, wisteria, infinity pool, ancient ruins, to mention a few. My mind and my thoughts are forever going back to the pizza making party, the drive up and down from the villa, the trip to the blacksmith, Alessandra and Paola, the wine from the hardware store and the warm hospitality we all received from James. I hope I will be blessed again with a return trip some time soon... I recently heard from my cousin in Milan that her sister has reserved the villa for Oct., 2012 ........ all I can say is "I wish it were me". May the desires of your heart be fulfilled.  Kathleen C, New York City, guest 2011

 

Ein rundum gelungener aufenthalt. Danke! Wir k?nnen es nur weiterempfehlen. Wir kommen wieder. - Ernst v.D., Hamburg, Germany, guest 2010

 

This is an incredible place to stay--I can't say enough good things. Stayed there with eight other friends for a week, and it was perfect. Plenty of room for everyone, big kitchen, fantastic outdoor space, gorgeous pool that overlooks Tuscany. Lucca is a great town, and we loved being so close. The villa is pretty centrally located--we went to Florence one day, Cinque Terre another and Chianti another. Frankly, we all wish we just would have stayed put as the house was so nice. The owners are amazing--wonderfully helpful and kind. We had a pizza party the first night using the villa's 100-year old brick oven, and it still goes down as one of our best nights. - Aarti K, Chicago Illinois, guest 2007

 

Beautiful views in a very Tuscan setting. Great accomidations. James was a wonderful host and went out of way to make our trip a great experience. Pizza night was a blast. - Paul H, St. Louis, Missouri, guest 2010

 

A memorable experience in a part of the world that needs to be explored. The area is extremely friendly and offers travelers interesting past, present and future - no matter the type of traveler you are. The Villa offers learning experiences along with rest and relaxation, shopping, and culture - whatever you choose. Definitely want to return in the future. - Sue B, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, guest 2010

 

I can't say enough good things about my stay... I travelled there in May 2007 with 8 girlfriends and we had a perfect week at the villa, my only regret is that we didn't stay for two weeks. We had a pizza party in the wood-burning oven out back and all of us felt that this was our favorite night of the trip. Though the drive up the hill was a bit daunting at first, we were zipping up and down by the end of the week. It was a great homebase and we did day trips to Florence, Lucca and Cinque Terrre. Staying around the villa was wonderful too; just exploring the little towns and beautiful countryside. I can't wait to get back! - Kate D, Evanston, Illinios, guest 2007

 

I think we're all used to hotels and vacation destinations taking carefully angled photos to misrepresent the actual quality of the location. My jaw hit the floor when we finally arrived at Villa Aquilea when I realized it was perched high (900 feet) above the valley floor below with expansive views of Ponte di Moriano and other villages below. The views from the infinity edge pool (both in the pool and under the grapevine wrapped canopy) were also much better than I had anticipated. The villa comfortably slept our large crew of 9 adults and 2 children (having 2 kitchens and 2 washing machines was key). Physical structure and views aside, James was an unbelieveably gracious host helping us arrange day trips to Florence, Pisa and Cinque Terre, assisting in our use of the villa's wood fired pizza oven as well as suggesting magnificent local restaurants and shops (Vanny Wines wine tasting in Lucca is a can't miss). You will not be disappointed if you choose to book... - Michael F, New York city, guest 2010

 

We have returned home from a fantastic week in Tuscany wishing that we had spent two weeks in Tuscany! The Villa Aquilea was the perfect place for our busy family of 6 (2 adults and 4 kids: 16, 14, 12, 8) to relax, unwind, and enjoy the beauty of the Villa. Thanks to the loving care that James put into this property, we hated to leave! Upon our arrival, we received a great orientation about the area and the rich history of the Villa. We were also given cell phones and a preprogrammed GPS (very helpful!) to use for the week. Thanks to Grazia, we had a delicious meal delivered to the villa to enjoy our first night. This was money well spent as we were tired from our long trip. We took day trips to Lucca (very close), Florence, Pisa and Cinque Terre. James has all of the directions for these destinations at the villa. We enjoyed all of the day trips, but hated to leave the beautiful villa. After we returned from our day trips, the kids headed straight for the infinity pool with a view that is beyond words. When we travel, we really enjoy getting to know the people who live in the area and seeing how they live. We enjoyed using our limited Italian to talk to the neighbors...they were very friendly and kind...one even brought us fresh figs from her garden...yum! Another group invited me to sit down with them as I was returning from my morning run. A highlight of the trip was the pizza party at the villa. James fired up the pizza oven and taught us how to make the best pizza that we have ever had. It was fun to chat with him about life in Italy...a night that we will always remember. Finally, we all slept like babies at the villa...it is quiet! The only sounds you hear in the morning are birds, roosters and an occasional dog barking...wonderful! The house stays very cool thanks to the thick walls. The beds were extremely comfortable with cool linen sheets.We loved our visit... - Karen D, Chicago, Illinois, guest 2010

 

Travelled to Villa Aquilea with my husband's family in May 2010 and had an incredible time. The wine, the food, the setting, the view, and most of all, the villa itself and our wonderful host, made the trip one I'll never forget. It is a stunning house on stunning grounds, and although we didn't get a chance to enjoy the pool on this go-round (too much shopping and eating!), it was amazing. We will definitely recommend the villa to friends and family and are hoping for a return trip, as well! - Sarah C, New Hampshire, guest 2010

 

The villa was amazing. The views and the architectural detail was nothing short of breathtaking! James took care of everything,and after a magical day of exploring the hill towns, we arrived home to the villa just in time for a glass of wine under the stars, and a heart warming, home-cooked meal right at our very own villa table. Italy shouldn’t be traveled any other way!
- Sunni C., guest, 2010



The villa was amazing. We loved everything. The best vacation we've ever had. We will be back!
- Jim S., guest 2009, 2011

 

We are a group of 8 adults who enjoy cooking and drinking wine. What a perfect match to Villa Aquilea! The cooking class and pizza night with James were highlights at the villa, and "Butterfly" restaurant was spectacular! We enjoyed other culinary finds on our day trips in the area. The view from the villa is the best in Tuscany! - Cindy B, Rochester Minnesota, guest 2010

 

This was our fourth visit to Villa Aquilea and, each time, we are further captivated by the serenity and comfort of this wonderful Tuscany gem. The house is spacious yet cozy and is beautifully furnished with all the amenities one could possibly need to enjoy a wonderful Italian holiday. The views of the valley from the house are stunning and there are marvelous places to explore on foot, bicycle or auto in the surrounding hillsides. Our host James has always gone above and beyond in making us feel right at home and provided much welcomed assistance in suggesting day trips and delicious local restaurants to visit. He also organized a fabulous "pizza night" by firing up Villa Aquilea's original brick oven and letting us prepare our own delicious pies. A unique Italian experience! For those who love to cook, the kitchen is well equipped and a large grocery store (Esselunga)is a 15 minute ride by car. Closer to the house in the village of Ponte a Moriano is a fabulous butcher shop, bakery and delicious coffee bar, all places not to be missed! If you have the opportunity, plan your visit during the olive harvest. We had the pleasure of joining this centuries old tradition which included spreading the nets and "raking" the olive trees to capture the abundant fruit. The weather was superb and views across the hillsides (and our occasional wine and cheese breaks!)rejuvenated us as we moved from tree to tree. James then welcomed us to join him at the olive mill and witness the tranformation into oil. With warm bread in hand, we watched the olives churn through production and patiently waited for the delicious oil to pore from the spout. What a unique and fabulous way to experience Italian traditions and an experience that we will never forget! We hope to be back many times more! - Anne G, Churchton Maryland, guest 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

 

James did an outstanding job making our stay at the villa absolutely superb. Time and again, all week long, he organized activities == teaching us how to make pizza in the 500-year-old stone oven in the rear of the villa, taking us up to meet a blacksmith/artisan whose family forge had been operating for hundreds of years, and connecting us with a local cook who prepard a fantastic Italian meal. In the evenings, we enjoyed a variety of Italian wines looking out over the city lights of Lucca and Florence from the patio. The accommodations were first class -- and there was so much to see and do. Our group of five couples found this the best week in over 15 years of annual get togethers. - Jack H, Reston Virginia, guest 2007

 

We wanted to thank you for introducing us to your special part of the world and sharing it with us. All of us had such a wonderful time and can’t wait to relive it over and over again when we put all our photos together. We will definitely share them with you. I don’t know if Gratzia and Ana Rita share recipes, but if they do, I would love their recipe for their Panzella……I have started looking for a recipe that looks the same, but none of the ones I have found so far have the tuna in them. The entire meal they prepared was unforgettable. You have done an amazing job in restoring the villa…..it’s easy to see why everyone who come there falls in love with it. Thanks for a wonderful vacation….loved it - Dom and Marianne L, Atlanta, GA, guests 2008

 

The trip we and our three kids -- then ages 13, 12, and 8 -- still talk about today. The kids spent leisurely days swimming in the villa's infinity pool while we parents relaxed nearby and enjoyed the gorgeous view from villa's patio. Although the historical sites and gelato in Lucca beckoned us each morning, we felt like we never wanted to leave the comfort of the villa. Highlights of our trip included James' pizza-making in the villa's brick-oven and Grazia's amazing Italian meals. Our kids are begging to go back! With three floors with individual entrances, the villa is perfect for family reunions or for families or couples traveling together. - Christina, John, Alex, Elise and Katie H, Park Ridge, Illinois, guests 2008

 

Absolute paradise. We are counting the days until our return in July 2010. The views from the villa and the pool took my breath away - several times a day! The accommodations are quite comfortable in the simple Tuscan style. [James] provided a wealth of information about the surrounding area - from local history and restaurant recommendations to all the directions and information needed for our day trips around Tuscany. We plan to spend more time exploring Lucca this trip. My only complaint...we had to leave! - Natalie A, guest 2007, 2008 and 2010

 

Upon arrival at Villa Aquilea all I could say was Wow! The villa was beautiful, way above my expectations. After staying there I came to realize that the beauty was not only in the villa but also in the owners. James did everything possible to make our stay in Italy a dream vacation. The villa was clean, homey, and very relaxing. If we had any questions James was never more than a phone call away, literally a phone call, because they even supplied us with a cell phone that we could use to get ahold of them with no matter where we were. James had put together packets of things to do in the area and maps on how to get there. Every one of their suggestions was wonderful. The food was amazing and if you want to go to the local eateries James has great taste and we were never disappointed in their suggestions. They even supplied us our first bottle of authentic Italian wine and chocolates. Some mornings James would even show up with delicious fresh pastries for breakfast. The kitchens at the villa had every modern appliance that you would need if you just wanted to stay in and relax. The grounds at the villa were very well kept and gorgeous with flowers and fruit trees everywhere. The pool was very refreshing with a beautiful arbor in which you could just relax and soak in the Italian air. The villa was definitely the best part of the vacation, after a long day sightseeing it was nice to come home to someplace that was stress-free and welcoming. - Yevonne F, Albuquerque, New Mexico, guest 2009

 

From the windng roads until the moment you pass through the gates of the villa, you are transported to another world. We were three generations sharing the villa as we celebrated our 40th wedding annniversary. Each of us walked away with the most vivid memories - the vistas, the cup of espresso enjoyed while sitting on the patio, and of course, "pizza night" using the ancient, outdoor pizza oven (James was the best pizza chef and instructor)! James made our stay so personal - mapping out the best of the best - we WILL return. - Lois B, Ann Arbor, Michigan, guest 2008

 

My husband and I spent a fabulous time here [Villa Nobile] celebrating our 20th anniversary with friends. The house and grounds are beautifully appointed, with magnificent views in every direction. It was especially nice to be able to take a short ride into the city of Lucca to go bike riding around the ancient walls, attend an Eric Clapton conert in the town square, and take a fun day trip to the charming beach resort of Forte dei Marni. All in all, it was the perfect combination of rest and relaxation with stimulating and active adventures in this region of Italy - Susanna L and Dean A, Gladwyne, PA, guests August 2008

 

 

This was the perfect place for our family reunion. It comfortably housed 11 of us for a week. The house was immaculate, with all the modern features and rustic charm. James, the owner, was available to us 24/7 and hosted a pizza party one night. The home is a bit of a drive to Lucca, but not so much so that you would hesitate to venture in to town for a few hours. There are plenty of stores and restaurants close to the house if you didn't want to take a long drive. We had young 3 children with us during our visit. We never felt they were not welcomed. There was plenty of toys, cribs, highchairs and other child necessities. The house was very "child-friendly" and no one felt the need to watch them every second. We are an active family and enjoyed the remoteness of the house best. My brother bikes and he was able to just head out and bike the famous roads of Italy without traveling to a biking area or dealing with masses of traffic. My sister and I hiked and ran. Again, we were able to just leave the house and run through the beautiful vineyards and olive plantations. This is truly a picture perfect vacation arena for those new to Europe or frequent travelers who seek solitude without being in the middle of nowhere. - Abbi F Louisville Kentucky, guest 2008

 

My husband and I visited the Villa last August and I still can't believe the vivid memories of the house, flowers, the pool and the wonderful people in the surrounding town of Lucca. I can actually say to friends that I cooked an Italian meal in Tuscany. We visited Florence and Pisa during the day and then cmae back to this beautiful place in the evening. We watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun while visiting and then looked around and it was not a movie it was real. We would recommend the experience to anyone. - Bob and Edna P, Palatine, Illinois, guests 2009

 

In my mind I am sitting by the window on the third floor of the villa, overlooking the Village of Aquila...Sipping a glass of Vino “da la Casa,” (that we purchased from the local hardware store fill in the liter bottles brought from the Villa.) I can see the vineyards, the greenery, and Mediterranean homes in my sight. The villa is five star; with beautiful furniture, art, fresh flowers, many sitting areas to read or nap, and a stunning pool. There is so much more but, I can not find the words to write that would give you the authentic experience you have wondering around the villa and its grounds. Our evenings began with vino and antipasti (appetizers) of salamis, cheeses, breads, and local olive oil, by the pool, that would ended with dinner outside under the gazebo. When renting the Villa, do not plan on to many outings... because you will not want to leave this paradise! Enjoy we did! Ciao! - Lorraine R, Sante Fe, New Mexico, guest 2009

 

Climbing the "hill" to Villa Aquilea you begin to realize that you are entering a slice of Tuscan reality. As you see the farmers tending their gardens or olive trees, the grape vines growing along the hill sides, and the local dogs lounging in the road you know that you are climbing to some place special. Don"t be frightened by the winding road and hairpin turns, they are quickly mastered and the destination is worth your while. Our group was immediately in love with the Villa and feel even deeper after hearing of its rich history and the love and romance that it holds within it walls. The views are breath taking and be sure to make the climb behind the Villa to the back side of the mountain to be even more pleasantly surprised. The Villa is conveniently located to to many of the must see sites of Italy so get ready for an adventure of a life time. - Donna W, Columbia ,South Carolina, guest 2010

 

From beginning to end, this was by far the most perfect vacation anyone could ever imagine. Our group of 12 did not have one moment at Villa Aquilea that was less than magical. Upon entering the Villa itself, it was as if we were walking into a fairytale. And the view - out of every window, from the terrace, from the pool - continues to be a part of my dreams. I had been to Italy several times, always as part of a tour group. I had never visited another country without someone else taking care of the details, and it was a bit daunting. James calmed my fears, always responded to my emails filled with unending questions, and provided all of the information that we would ever need. The location is exquisite, and our host was above and beyond our expectations. You simply cannot find a more perfect place for mental and spiritual renewal. - Beth W, Montgomery NY, guest 2008

 

We arranged a vacation to the villa for ourselves and four other couples. After several days in Rome we headed to Lucca and "our" villa. The drive up to the villa only enhanced our excitment. Once there, we recieved outstanding personal service.... James welcomed us when we arrived at the villa and helped us get comfortable. He returned the next morning with breakfast and provided us with the colorful history of the villa and surrounding area. We all felt like we had made a lasting friendship. James also provided many tips about travel in the area. We were given cell phones (to use), train information,maps, restaurant recommendations, along with tons of tidbits that were very helpful. The villa itself is everything you imagine a tuscan villa should be. It has a great history and authenticity along with all the comforts travelers love. (especially Americans) Every room in this home is warm and inviting with a spectacular view! On the practical side the bathrooms and kitchens are well appointed. Each of these rooms with its own sense to style and comfort. By far my favorite place is the outdoor dining area directly off the kitchen. Beautiful flowers accent the dining area and continue through out the property. The view from this area is unsurpassed except maybe by the view from the pool! The infinity pool is a welcome place after a day of site seeing or to spend the entire day. Next to the pool is a great covered patio and a view that is intoxicating all amoungest the olive trees! This was my third trip to Italy and my husbands second. We love Italy and all the place we have visited. The Villa Aquilea by far remains our favorite. I can't think of a thing we were unhappy with except that we are not there now! - Jennifer B, Bristol, Indiana, guest 2008

 

Words can not describe my vacation of a life time. After my first trip to Italy I knew I wanted to go back to the Tuscany area and rent a villa on the top of the mountain. When I did this I had no idea what a spectacular place I have picked. Of course I had some help from my daughter from NY who knew someone that said there is no other place to go. How true those words were. I am 69 years old and I have no desire to go anywhere else in the world after taking this trip. I truly thought I had died and gone to heaven. Oh, I would go back in a skinny minute. Villa Aquilia was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. There were 12 of us from ages 5 to 69 (family, family friends and friends)and what a wonderful time we all had. James, the owner, was a delightful young man that saw after all our needs and helped us with everything. We had massages, Italian dinners cooked in the home, (one meal was French as we had a family that came from France to be with us) directions to wherever we wanted to go and nights on the town with music in the streets. There was not one minute of our vacation that I did not enjoy. I know I have rambled, but like I said in the beginning there are no words to describe this place. You must go there and see for yourself. - Emily H, Atlanta Georgia, guest 2008

 

What's not to like? The Villa is beautiful, spacious and immaculate. The hosts are generous with their time and advice. Relax by the pool and enjoy the tremendous view or explore Tuscany from this home base. Many days trips available from this central location (Pisa, Florence, Carrara, Siena, Cinque Terre, etc). Loved it. Coming back in 2010. - Jack B, Chicago Illinois, guest 2007, 2008, 2010

 

Villa Aquilea is situated on a Tuscan hillside with gorgeous views. We had one of our best holidays here with three other families. The villa is spacious and kid friendly. The pizza oven was a huge hit. One evening we had a delicious dinner prepared by a local chef. My best memory is drinking wine on the veranda while listening to the music from the village festival. Fantastic - highly recommend! - Leslie G, London UK, guest 2006

 

Our group of 5 couples drove to Lucca from Venice or Rome and the Edmunds' directions took us right to the Villa. We got settled in our respective rooms and James arrived to tell us about the local area, places to visit, and included a couple of special activities we might want to participate in: a make-your-own pizza party at the Villa, a visit to a local blacksmith, dinner provided by a local cook, etc. We wanted to see the walled city of Lucca, Cinque Terrea, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the statue of David in Florence. We took advantage of all of James' suggested activities, and really enjoyed each of them. We followed James' suggestions on the day trips to Florence, Cinque Terre, and Pisa and had no trouble getting around the cities and seeing the sights. In and around the Villa we visited the city of Lucca for shopping and food, crossed the valley to attend a local church festival, and visited the blacksmith. Because of the steep, winding road up to the Villa, we decided to have all of our dinners at the Villa, including one cooked by a local lady, and for a couple of meals we bought several dishes from a local deli/food shop and sampled the local food and wine and beer. The pizza party was a great event for our group and James provided all the fixings and showed us how to make our own pizzas. The Villa itself is beautiful, with wonderful views of the local area. Some of us even got out and tried the swimming pool and hiked up above the Villa to the church that was destroyed during WWII. Our entire visit was relaxing and quite enjoyable--we hated to leave. James was very helpful and had suggestions and answers for all of our questions -- it was clear he was happy to have us experience this piece of heaven. - Paul and Leslie D, Julian PA, guests 2008

 

I was surprised with a trip to Italy (Thank you AGAIN Mark & Curt) and had no idea what to expect.I was so happy when we walked through the big wooden doors of Villa Aquilea.It felt like home.The owners/restorers/gracious American inn-keepers at VillaAquilea and are perfect hosts. Fly directly into Pisa international airport & drive to the villa 1 hour away.The initial drive up the mountain to V.A. is scary the 1st time, then not so much. The3-floor Villa is clean, gorgeous & vast:2 full-service kitchens have everything you need. I'm a chef & have been looking to buy an ovenexactly like the one in the villa's main kitchen. 4 full baths, 5bedrooms + sleeping areas, Internet on the Villa's PC,TV, clotheswasher,dishwasher, HUGE common areas,more outdoor areas than we hadtime to utilize, & a real brick pizza oven are at the ready forthose who actually want to cook. If you don't want to cook, eating outis fantastic-ask for recommendations. My favorite was James's recommend:Da Pinzo Deli at the base of the mountain (Via Nazionale, 1025,Lucca. Tel 0583 577760). The gorgeous infinity pool was up & running in mid-April. It was the first-choice-hang-spot every sunset.... The views from the Villa are spectacular! The silvery olives groves &bright flowers that dot the mountainside, the Di Marco Ettore Honey Factory just across the valley, & winding river below are everydayeyecandy so bring lots of memory + extra batteries for your camera. To do: -RELAX at the villa, -shop, -hike, -oliveharvest, -swim, -day trips like Cinque Terre,Florence,Pisa, -winetours, -James' history of the villa tour, cooking class that highlights local cuisine using ingredients that grow WILD on the mountain- -Just great! Pat H, Chicago Illinois guest 2009

 

The anticipation grew palpably as our car climbed the winding mountain road to Villa Aquilea. My eyes widened gleefully as we turned into the rustic driveway, past the olive grove. My first sight of this special place was through my lowered car window. The first sound was from already arrived family members, ecstatically greeting us, almost shouting with wonder at the perfection of our villa choice. Thus began a three-week stay at Villa Aquliea. The service is first class, the villa is spectacular.At each discovery of an new amenity, we were amazed at magazine-like beauty, almost too good to be really, really real. The gazebo at the mountain top pool, the warm and nurturing kitchen, the walk to the top of the mountain, the villages nestled into the hillside, the friendly people, and the spectacular views, fading 80 miles into infinity. My mind is replete with lavender colored wisteria, draping the outdoor dining area. Local wine quenching eager thirst, mountain top Tuscan vistas beckoning from any open window,any where in the villa. My delighted family expressing their awe at the entire experience that is Villa Aquilea: laughing, Joyful people, luscious landscapes, love, food, wine and overpowering memories of Tuscany. A special part of my heart resides there, awaiting my return.- Clyde “Claudio” B, Durham NC, guest 2006, 2007 and 2008

 

If I had known that celebrating my 50th would be this wonderful, I would have looked forward to it long before we booked this villa! Our family of 8 spent the most relaxing week touring the hillsides and panoramic views of Villa Aquilea! It is truly breathtaking just sitting by the pool and drinking some of the local wine from the "hardware store" :) We were intriqued by the history of the villa and the majestic mountains and ruins just a short hike away. James provided us with wonderful recommendations as far as restaurants, day trips, GPS devices loaded with destinations and beautiful Italian music to fill our days and nights while relaxing at the Villa. My favorite day was visiting Cinque Terre and hiking along the path from seaside town-to-town. One day we just walked to the local store for some cold drinks and spent the afternoon chatting with locals...if you catch the produce truck you'll be in for another treat! Everything about this scenic wonder was just perfect - I don't think James could do anything more to make our vacation such a memory maker for years to come!! We talk amongst ourselves frequently about that trip...and long to go back!! - Eileen H, Raleigh NC, guest 2008

 

The villa is historic and beautiful. The location is fantastic, the staff and owner gracious and helpful, cannot do enough for your comfort and enjoyment. A perfect location. Near Florence and Cinque Terrae as well as the Ligurian Sea and beaches. An easy drive to the historic mountain towns or to wonderful Chianti country. It is even easy to make a run for Rome for a few days. Maybe the best was sitting by or in the pool reading a good book and enjoying a glass of delicious red and the Tuscan sun in complete solitude on the big hill overlooking Lucca. - John B, St. Louis MO, guest 2009

 

Villa Aquilea is a 500+ year old, completely restored villa nestled in the hills near the walled city of Lucca. Our 5 couples enjoyed complete comfort. The property has several acres with fig and other fruit trees, and the spiffy infinity pool overlooks a spectacular valley below with Lucca in the center, flanked by Pisa to one side and Florence to the other. The Villa is a beautiful spot to rest and relax, and a perfect location for day trips to many surrounding towns and historic sites. The owners could not have been more helpful in helping us plan and enjoy our trip. 5 star - can't wait to go back! - Bill B, St. Louis MO, guest 2009

 

This villa exceeded all of our group's expectations (and that is saying quite a bit as our group of 7 ladies were away from our families for 10 days and wanted a top notch vacation!) The host, James, met us upon our arrival with fresh pastries, a history of the villa and maps with key points of interest. He coordinated our first night's meal by a local woman, gave us information to local favorite restaurants and sites, took us to several behind-the-scenes destinations such as the local smithy, olive press and family-owned vineyard as well as massages at the villa. The villa was very comfortable, neat and had many special touches like a welcome basket filled with local delights. It was ample for a party our size with room to spare. I can not say enough about how truly wonderful our visit was and only wish we were going again this year. Here's to returing for our 50th or sooner if we can sneak away from our husbands and children!- Kimaleigh A, Costa Mesa CA, guest 2007

 

After a hard years working in Australia we were lucky to include a weeks stay at Villa Aquilea in our European trip. My wife, son and myself joined some other friends at the Villa for the week. The Villa itself,and the surrounding rural setting of Aquilea perched on the mountain side, are superb. The hospitality and friendliness of the owner James ensured our stay ran smoothly and exceeded our highest expectations. This is an experience you wont get staying in any hotels. The Villa is beautifully appointed and decorated with lots of room for our group of ten. Whether lazing in the pool with its infinity edge and breathtaking, floating, views across the valley around Lucca, or sharing a pizza prepared on the ancient woodfired oven or a glass of wine (sourced from the barrels in the local hardware store, bring your own containers!)while sitting on the outdoor terrace overlooking the valley, this is one relaxing destination. The surrounding hills and charming country roads with their small villages, villas and churches provide an unforgettable opportunity to explore. If you would prefere to walk, the trek through the olive groves and ancient chestnut trees to the top of the hill and the old church ruins teetering on the cliff face high above the villa are an experience you will always remember. The Villa is central to all that Tuscany has to offer (the old walled town of Lucca, Pisa, Florence, The Cinque Terra etc.). The only worry is making the time to see it all. But dont forget to relax....it is soooo easy. While our week at Villa Aquilea seemed like a month, it still wasn't long enough. Back to work with the batteries recharged and to dream of the next opportunity to visit. Soon....!
- Doug L. Newcastle, Australia, guest 2007

 

Seven family members and I rented Villa Aquilea for a week in the fall of 2007. It was a wonderful place, large enough for all eight of us to feel very comfortable--lots of space, plenty of privacy but with many places in which to spend time together. The vine covered terrace outside the kitchen was a favorite spot. We also spent many hours around the big antique table in the kitchen, not only eating but reconnecting as a family--we live in 4 different states. The property around the villa is great for relaxing, hiking or just taking in the view. The pool is beautiful and situated on a hill overlooking a vast valley and shares the same view as most of the villa windows--vinyards and olive orchards dotting the hill sides. You can see for miles, the morning mist hangs above the valley floor before the sun burns it away. It is so quiet that you can hear roosters crow all over the valley and not just at dawn! James greeted us with fresh olive oil, wine, pastries, local bread and cheese. He arranged a cooking class (highly recommended) for us at the villa and found a photographer to help document our Italian adventure. He was always available when we had a question. The villa is located in a spot that is convenient for sightseeing; not far from the sea, close to Lucca and an easy drive to Florence, Pisa, the mountains, Cinque Terra and many small villages. We enjoyed Lucca and spent several afternoons exploring the shops, restaurants and talking to the local people. The villa kitchen is very well equipped and we had a lot of fun cooking several meals together. We planned to make a day trip to Florence but decided to just spend that time enjoying the countryside and the villa. I would return to Villa Aquilea every year if I could but I definitely plan to make another visit in the next couple of years. It's a wonderful, peaceful place to spend time with family and friends. I absolutely love it! - Gennie H., Indianapolis, Indiana, guest 2007

 

For three glorious vacations (July 2005, July 2007 & Nov 2009), my family and I traveled to Italy and stayed in this delightful home. Villa Aquilea has all the charm of the Tuscan countryside: sunshine on your face, open fields to roam and culinary experiences to share. The villa gave our family (3 generations) plenty of room to congregate and enough places for a little privacy. All three years I traveled with my bicycle, wandering through many of the villages that surround Lucca and never did get to see all the places I wanted to. The house is situated between the flatlands of the coastal waters and the mountainous region of the Garfagnana; an excellent location for the true cyclist. My family and I were particularly pleased with our host, James who shared with us the Italian way besides providing an immaculate home. From harvesting olives to a performance of a Puccini opera to a local blacksmith making tools, they gave us an insider’s look at this beautiful country. We learned how to make pizza in a stone oven, tasted wine only the locals know about and stepped onto the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge). So bring your book if you need some down time by the pool, bring your appetite to eat all the delicious offerings, bring your intellect to study the arts and don’t forget your sense of adventure to discover all that Italy that is known for. This is THE place!- Kay D, Atlanta Georgia, guest 2005, 2007, and 2009

 

Stayed in Villa for 3 week. Villa is huge with great views from high on top on Aquilea mountain. Only 1/2 hour drive to Lucca, 40 minutes to Pisa and 1 hour to Florence. Made arrangements for tours, cooking class with Villa owners which were great. Also Pizza night using Villa's own wood burning outside oven was a memory for lifetime. Infinity pool was great way to cool off after a long day of touring. Host provided maps, navigation and phones which made finding places to see/eat easy. If you are staying in Tuscany you can't find a better place. - Joe F, New York City, guest 2009

 

There is no doubt in the over 30 years of traveling for business and for vacations, that no experience matches the comfort and care of Villa Aquilea. The 2009 Olive Harvest was our 4th trip to the Villa and each one provided vivid and lasting memories. The Villa feels like home, the amenities on every floor, in every room are just what you need to make it a relaxing stay. From cool summer nights on the Patio and Pergola to great fall fires, there is always a place to feel comfortable. Your surrounded by the aroma of every season from the spring plantings to the fall harvest, your senses will be alive with the rhythm of the classic Tuscan experience. From walks through the historic countryside to visits to the local towns, everything we needed was within a short walk or drive. Then there is James. No better host, period. You just have to take that leap of faith as we did and make this trip, it most likely wont be your last. - Mike G., Churchton Maryland, guest 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

 

I must begin by saying that this say was our third year in a row at the Villa, and we are preparing to visit again this July and August. The service and attention to our needs was above and beyond that of the norm. The Villa is fantastic, and we really feel like it's our home, it has all the aminities you would want or need. The location is perfect the view is out of this world, so nice and quiet. The locals welcome you with a smile and a wave. There is nothing we disliked about our visits to the Villa, we would not have returned if it wasn't great. Ciao - Jim & Pat A, Milton Georgia, guests 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.

 

Villa Aquilea is one of the most beautiful places we have ever stayed at. The villa overlooks the Tuscan countryside which is some of the most beautiful land I've ever seen! But the Villa itself? Wow! So gorgeous! Truth be told, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, drinking grappa and laughing. Our hosts told us of all of the places where we could visit, places to eat, and places to tour. One of those places in the town is called Da Pinza. They had the most incredible braised beef we have ever eaten! And, although the owners didn't speak English and we didn't speak Italian, we got our point across to each other. They were amazing and gracious. The town of Lucca is old and very interesting and we highly recommend visiting. There's a place there that makes handmade shoes according to your design. I can't remember the name but I'm sure that if you ask, you'll find it. We could have spent a lot more time in Lucca but ended up going to Florence and Pisa and spending lots of time at the Villa. The pool is beautiful and overlooks the countryside. We spent a lot of time outside at the pool having wine and cheese and chatting. I should mention the pizza party...wow! I think my pizza won...well, as far as I'm concerned. James showed us how to use the pizza oven and how to prepare the crusts and put together ingredients. But we were certainly free to do our own, which we did! I made a provolone, mozzarella, parmesan pizza with a garlic and olive oil sauce and capers dotting the top. It was fabulous if I do say so myself. Overall, it was a great time and a beautiful place to stay. I highly recommend it! - Kathleen A, Chicago Illinois, guest 2009

 

When my family gets together to reminisce about our favorite travel memories, we all agree that the highlight was our week at Villa Aquilea. The spacious and comfortable house, authentic Italian setting, spectacular views and fantastic location for seeing Tuscany all made Villa Aquilea an ideal vacation spot for us. Add to that the gracious and warm hospitality shown to us by the owners and the visit was perfect. Whether it was al fresco dining on the patio, sitting by the beautiful pool or baking pizza in the outdoor pizza oven, the experience was unmatched by anything our family had enjoyed before. I would say that a visit to Villa Aquilea is like "coming home". Gail C, Marietta GA, guest 2005 and 2009

 

I was privileged enough to visit Villa Aquilea not once, but twice in both 2006 and 2007. I must say each precious moment spent in this charming, luxurious villa was a moment I forever hold in my heart! From the delicious food prepared by one of the local women, to the astounding scenery, to the "garden shop" wine, my experiences at Villa Aquillea were some of the most memorable of my life. Our gracious host James provided endless opportunities to revel in authentic Italian culture and experiences. If I could go nowhere else in all my travels, I would be quite content to lay around at Villa Aquillea and luxuriate in the Tuscan sun, food, wine, and culture!- Caitlin B, Raleigh NC, guest 2006 and 2007

 

To say the least, Villa Aquillea is a very special place. We celebrated my mother-in-laws 70th birthday here with a group that included her children and spouses, grandchildren and her niece. After a tiresome journey from Rome, the villa greets you like an oasis. The setting alone is breathtaking, taking in views of rolling hills, vineyards and the local village. This all can be enjoyed by the fabulous pool that provided hours of entertainment for the little ones and relaxation for the adults. The villa itself is all that you would want a Tuscan villa to be, equipped with modern conveniences. From it's bright exterior walls, to the warm and inviting kitchen perfect for the whole family to help prepare meals, to the al fresco dining under the pergula, to the comfortable sitting rooms and bedrooms and the wood burning oven outside, Villa Aqulliea does not disappoint. There is SO much to do in the area-including easy access to the fame walled city of Lucca. We took day trips to Cinque Terra, Florence and Pisa. However, you do not have to go far to experience Italy. In your own backyard, there are ruins to explore, a lovely church to attend services at, local grocer offering wonderful cheeses and provisions and the local hardware store where you can fill up jugs of the local wine! James "Jim" Edmunds the owner is the BEST host. He provides a wealth of information and ideas to make your experience all the more special. He is involved as you want him to be but by the end of our too short one week stay, we considered him our friend. Do not hesitate for one moment to book here. It was the trip of a lifetime. We are already planning to go back! Megan M, Lake Forest IL, guest

 

We had the most wonderful holiday at Villa Aquilea. The next step is to figure out how we can come back! James helped facilitate all the logistics and was a dream to deal with. One of our friends commented that this was one case where the reality was superior to the photos on the website. The work put into restoring Villa Aquilea has resulted in the perfect holiday home that ticks all the boxes when it comes to mixing beauty and comfort. We were a party of 6 adults and 4 teenagers, with a couple of visitors over the week. There is lots of space to either get together as a group or break away for some quiet time. The downstairs was the kids' retreat. They loved the pool and climbing up the mountain to the ruined church. The kitchen was fully equipped and we cooked some fantastic food with the produce we bought in the local village and the markets in Lucca. James also made us reservations at a local pizzeria which only opens on Saturday nights for the locals. To sum up, we had a superb time at the Villa and haven’t stopped talking about it. Each of the kids have nominated their stay as the highlight of the holiday. The only con I can think of is that a week isn't enough. I recommend you must stay two weeks so you can fully enjoy the villa and do a little bit of sightseeing. Each time we left the villa, we felt we were being short changed. - Julie C, Sydney Australia, guest 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

 

We stayed at Villa Aquilea for a week in June 2008 with our two young daughters and two other families. The villa and grounds are absolutely beautiful, the furnishings are comfortable, and the pool is magnificent. James was a wonderful host who helped us to organize day trips and excursions into the surrounding countryside. He also helped us hire a local babysitter and a local cook who made dinner for us several nights. The views from the villa, high in the Tuscan hills, are breathtaking. It was the vacation of a lifetime, and I will never forget it. I can't recommend this villa highly enough. It is a true treasure. - Elizabeth I, Chicago Illinois, guest 2008

 

Our 2009 Thanksgiving visit to Villa Aquilea was truly an authentic experience. We joined eight friends, two of whom had visited the Villa twice before. Not only were the accommodations lovely, but we felt as though we were an integral part of the Tuscan experience. The view of the valley from Villa Aquilea was awesome. Everyday there was something new to discover. Our only regret was that we did not stay longer.- Abbi C, Lafayette Louisiana, guest 2009.

 

I wanted to take just a moment to let you know what a great time we enjoyed in Villa Aquilea. We all had been looking forward to this trip for many months and it did not disappoint. Lucca was wonderful and very charming and we had a great time on some of our side trips to Florence and Cinque Terre. We also had a great experience one day with a tour, wine tasting, and traditional Tuscan lunch at Tenuta Del Buonamico in Montecarlo. I would highly recommend it to any of your guests. One day while the women shopped, we ended up eating lunch in the bar/grocery store in the village thinking it was a restaurant and the owner and her daughter (Elizabeth?) were so very gracious and served us lunch even though we realized it was not a restaurant. We had a very pleasant afternoon drinking wine and trying to converse with them. They might mention your wayward house guests next time you see them. One of the biggest highlights was the cooking class with Alessandra. Great food and a great learning experience. In fact, I was hoping that you could provide me with her email as my wife would love to contact her to see if she would be willing to share a couple more of her recipes. Lastly, I wanted to let you know that when we arrived at the house, there was only one of the cell phones (the red one). It did not present a problem for us as we had cell service on existing phones, but I wanted to make sure you knew that we did not inadvertently leave with the other cell phone. Thanks again for a wonderfully relaxing week in a beautiful villa and for all of the information and assistance provided while planning the trip. I hope that we can return before too long. - David J, Knoxville Tennessee, guest 2011

 

My name is Beth and I am currently staying at your MOST lovely Villa with the Delmonico party...Thank you so much for your help... It is so beautiful here - we have enjoyed the pool everyday with the beautiful sun and gorgeous weather. This evening before our vino we walked to the cemetary - quite amazing!! - Beth G, Minneapolis MN, guest 2011

 

We enjoyed ourselves greatly in October at Villa Aquilea. Perfect weather and a big comfortable villa made for a lovely family time as we are geographically separated by career opportunities Thank you James.- Max and Kay L, Lugarno Australia, guests 2011

 

Just a quick thank you and to let you know that we had a fabulous time at the villa. It is very special place. - Merel K, London, guest 2011

 

I have built this vacation up in my mind for years and never imagined that the actual trip could surpass my dreams. This place is beautiful…- Jennifer B., St. Louis, guest 2005

 

The villa was just outstanding, the view was unbelievable, and the company, was as always, superb... Paul and Leslie D., Nebraska, guests 2008

 

Florence was fun, but I think we were so spoiled from our amazing week at your beautiful villa that it paled in comparison. We truly had the most amazing vacation. The villa is so special... Lindsay and John P., New York, guests 2007

 

Joe and I spent a week in arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth, Tuscany, Italy. More specifically Villa Aquilea ... All I can say is the pictures on the website do NOT do it justice. We had a glorious week - a perfect vacation… Beth and Joe W, upstate NY, guests 2008

 

Thank you so much for sharing your home and beautiful story with us. I know you treasure these moments; just know we are all jealous… Natalie Morales, anchor for the Today show, NBC television, New York (guest, with Today show crew, 2006, when NBC rented and filmed the vacation villa and an interview in the villa's kitchen for a Today show segment about life in the countryside of Tuscany Italy)

 

We had a great time. Your hospitality was wonderful – we felt so welcome. Villa Aquilea is simply awesome. We had so much fun sitting by the pool, eating dinners around the table and touring around Tuscany… Pictures will never show the beauty of the view and Lucca is such a unique place… Dick and Linda L., St. Louis, guests 2006

 

Many thanks for all of your hospitality. We all agreed you made the trip very special for us. From the wine you had waiting on our arrival to Mario with the olive oil on the last day and, in between, the pastries, the maps, the dinner suggestions, the pizzas and the roasted chickens. We truly enjoyed the week we spent in your beautiful villa. Edward C., Chicago, guest 2005

 

Just a quick note of appreciation for all you did during our recent visit...we will be back soon!...We were so excited to see you on television this year during the Olympics but concerned that our secret of the best place in Italy was discovered!   - Mike and Anne G., Churchton Maryland (guests 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

 

Everyone is home safely and we can't begin to tell you how much we enjoyed Villa Aquilea and Lucca. Special thanks to you for your extra special hospitality. This was a trip of a lifetime for all of us and was more than we could have ever hoped it could be… Special thanks for the blacksmith tour. Tom is still talking about how incredible it was… Tom and Judy R., St. Louis, guests 2007

 

The [enclosed] DVD [about our vacation] was a 3-week project of love that kept me looping back to the vacation, not wanting to let it go. I guess I got carried away… Please feel free to use any part of it you want. I would like everyone to know what a wonderful experience can be enjoyed at the Villa…. The B. family is definitely coming in May. That is OUR week, so don't get any funny ideas about renting it out to anyone else!  -  Clyde B., Raleigh Durham North Carolina, guest 2006, 2007 and 2008.

 

Thank you for the absolutely wonderful time. We loved it...We will be back.. Steven L., Lt. Col. USAF (guest 2005)...

 

Everyone had an absolutely wonderful time! Once again, Villa Aquilea and the E. family come together to produce something truly special! One other thing...the pizza party was an absolute smash hit with everyone… Steve L., Lt. Col. USAF, Azores Portugal, guest 2005 and 2007

 

Just a quick note to say thanks for the wonderful holiday we had at your villa. We had a great time, which was in no small way due to your terrific hospitality. We’re now back in the swing of things here in East Bridgford, but with the photos just back from the printers, our thoughts keep turning back to Tuscany...Gerry H., Nottinghamshire England, guest 2005

 

Loved the villa, so peaceful and beautiful ....Jacob & Georgie are still talking about it. Georgie asks me all the time where we can find a cherry tree so we can pick and eat the cherries like at our house in Italy... Peter F., Cincinnati, guest 2004

 

I have thought of Aquilea often since my visit. It remains the highlight of the year for me. I so enjoyed it; the camaraderie, dining al fresco, the wine and coffee, the trips to Lucca and the few errands (always completed with a cappuccino stop), meeting Mario and Rafaella, my travels to Cinque Terre, the house and garden and—best of all—card games on the terrace. It was brilliant. Thank you ... Please keep me informed about the wine and/or olive harvest. I may well be back again soon. - Thomas O’Malley, Dingle, Ireland, guest 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This was just what we needed! We so appreciate your hospitality. Vicki W., Chicago, guest 2001 and 2003

 

We still dream about being at Aquilea…we had the best time... the pictures are beautiful... We can't wait to come back… Barbara and David L., Tarboro North Carolina, guests 2007

 

We had a wonderful time at Villa Aquilea… The villa was perfect for children including infants, and you did everything possible to make it a memorable experience including organizing local activities. Our vacation was wonderful… Mary and Jim M., Washington DC, guests 2006

 

Thanks again for your generous hospitality. We had a great time, and your guidance during the week made all the difference for us. Robert S., St. Louis, guest 2005

 

Thanks for all your help. We are having a ball and love this place…Jerry S., St. Louis, guest 2006

 

We had such a good time and thought Lucca was beautiful and your villa was beautiful... Kim N., London England, guest 2005

 

Thank you so much for a great vacation. We had a touch of Tuscany that we will never forget. The kids had such a great time they are still talking about Italy... Doug Miller, Chicago, guest 2004

 

We still talk about our stay quite often. The other day we were sitting around discussing our favorite places, and my dad immediately said “I know what mine is – Villa Aquilea!” Hopefully we will be back before too long. Gail C. Marietta, Georgia, guest 2005

 

We would like to thank you for perfect holiday accommodation in Villa Aquilea. The villa combines in an excellent way modern comfort and traditional building technology. The very thick stone walls ensure a pleasant constant temperature inside, day and night which is much more comfortable than what can be achieved with air-condition in modern buildings. The large bedrooms and the very well equipped kitchens and bathrooms more than met our requirements and expectations. Even if we were 12 people, the house never felt crowded. The terrace with the pergola was definitely the place where we spent most of the time and we were fascinated by the fantastic view of the Lucca valley. We would like to thank you again for the perfect service you offered us during our stay. We hope to be able to revisit Villa Aquilea and will definitely recommend your lovely house to family and friends. Per G. Oslo, Norway, guest 2004

 

Greetings from America. It’s been some time since we communicated. Don’t take that as anything other than it’s like taunting to remember how wonderful a time we had while knowing we won’t be back as soon as we would like… I’ve attached a few photos from our visit for your viewing pleasure. We bragged so much about the Villa that some people actually listened. John B. has a group interested in a couple of weeks next June… Oh, our group is talking about returning in 2008, so don’t go anywhere and please alert the local wineries. Scott S., Indianapolis, guest 2006 and 2008

 

We miss your wonderful villa... We really had a great time. Thank you for being a great host for all of us - we already look forward to next year. Lars S., Oslo, Norway, guest, 2004

 

Wanted to say thank you for your hospitality and sharing your villa with the B. gang. We had a tremendous time and hope to return soon. … Judy M., Gainesville Georgia, guest 2006, 2007 and 2008)

 

Just wanted to say thanks for the terrific hospitality you gave us... Kay D., Berkeley Lake GA, guest 2005

 

Villa Aquilea---what a beautiful place it is! It far exceeds our expectations. It is an absolute paradise sitting high on a hillside in Tuscany. The vistas from its many terraces and poolside cabana are spectacular! ... The Villa’s Internet site gave us only a hint of the beauty... Mary C., Lafayette Louisiana, guest 2006, 2008 and 2009

 

Aquilea was a dream, and I have passed it on to many friends, including the link to your website. We enjoyed it so much. Thank you…. in wiser years, we find ourselves in beautiful places like “downtown” Aquilea, enjoying caffe and pane, with our own butter and marmellata that Vanda kept in her refrigerator just for us. Unbelievable. Staying at the Villa gave us the chance to live, just a little, as a native. I call it the advanced experience. Our families have seen many of the beautiful highlights the cities Italy have to offer. Now, we have stayed in a home, in a village, among great people. The question I got most often on our return was, “How was the wine of Tuscany?” My response never varied: “incredible, and it only cost 1 euro for a refill.” I thank you also for the insight into the history of the area. Aquilea’s ordeal during WWII was frightening. One of the women we usually met at Vanda’s each morning remains thankful to this day to the British and Americans for rescuing her during that time. She is the woman in photo #4 that I have attached... As you said in your email to Ernie, it’s about the people… we will return soon. Vincent “Pino” C., New Hope Pennsylvania, guest 2006

 

We are still thinking and talking about our time in Italy. It was so very special. Dana and I would like to get something blocked on the calendar for 2009. We will get back to you… Megan and Rob M., Lake Forest Illinois, guest 2007

 

Just wanted to say thank-you again for a wonderful week at Villa Aquilea. Our family had a wonderful time, and your hospitality during our visit made all the difference… Dana and Brendan F., Lake Forest Illinois, guest 2007

 

Our wonderful week at your lovely villa ended all too soon. We cannot hegin to thank you enough for you most gracious hospitality, helpful information, and outstanding accommodation. We enjoyed the local restaurants, wine, most of all, the friendly people. Your GPS was so helpful and all we had to do after a long day was touch “home” on the screen and it brought us there safely. We saw and experienced Tuscany at its best. Jane and Paul, Donna and Greg, Arlene and Fred, Babs and Dick, Hilton Head Island, guests 2007

 

We had a fabulous time, largely due to your attention and company… Lesley G., London, guest 2006

 

Your insights were very helpful and made our trip all the more enjoyable. The Villa was all that we had imagined it would be. We all had a great time… Ernie M., New Hope Pennsylvania, guest 2006

 

Well, reality has struck hard... we're totally settled back in to life in St. Louis. It was a hard re-entry, going from carefree bliss at the Villa, to 24/7 activities here. I just got all of my pictures back… and I am working on a scrapbook for Irene... Thank you again for everything. It was a trip of a lifetime! Pam T., St. Louis, guest 2007

 

Steve and I sit on my balcony every night with a glass of wine, using someone else's wireless to visit/look for/at properties in Italy. We are also working on a glowing report of your place. We figure inside 2 years we should be able to save enough to spend a year over there… Mary Ann W., Charlotte North Carolina, guest 2007

 

Of all the miles traveled in these shoes, this place in the world is the most beautiful so we decided to retire them here; we wish we could stay with them! Always, Jess and Ryder L.(who left their shoes) Atlanta, guests 2007

 

Thank you for the best holiday ever. I know we will be back next year... Trond-Ivar O., Oslo Norway, guest 2004

 

Just a quick thank you for everything. Really, it was a grand adventure. Your home and the country around you guys are beautiful. Having the home base made for easy exploring. Matt Kelly, Alton, IL, guest 2002 and 2006

 

Thank you so much for possibly the best time in my life. I have "withdrawal" or whatever you want to call it. I'm still constantly thinking about Italy, the Villa, the surroundings, etc. And I do want to return in the Fall of 08. I need to talk with some friends to find out if they will commit… I will keep checking the availability of the Villa and talk with my friends… (do you need a cleaning lady? maybe that is my calling to return to Italy!!!)… I truly left my heart there…Donna M., Lake Forest Illinois, guest 2007

 

We could not have enjoyed ourselves more! Last week was a highlight in our lives. Swimming, playing, cooking, eating Pinzo pizza — what a wonderful experience. Thanks for all you did to make us comfortable. Sue M, Indianapolis, guest 2003

 

I’m sure Angie won’t mind giving a reference. The problem may be getting her to stop raving about the time we spent thereAngie and Scott S., Indianapolis, guests 2006

 

 

 

Questions? Ask James!

"Words can not describe my vacation of a life time. After my first trip to Italy I knew I wanted to go back to the Tuscany area and rent a villa on the top of the mountain. When I did this I had no idea what a spectacular place I have picked. Of course I had some help from my daughter from NY who knew someone that said there is no other place to go. How true those words were. I am 69 years old and I have no desire to go anywhere else in the world after taking this trip. I truly thought I had died and gone to heaven. Oh, I would go back in a skinny minute... There were 12 of us from ages 5 to 69 (family, family friends and friends)and what a wonderful time we all had.

James, the owner, was a delightful young man that saw after all our needs and helped us with everything. We had massages, Italian dinners cooked in the home, (one meal was French as we had a family that came from France to be with us) directions to wherever we wanted to go and nights on the town with music in the streets. There was not one minute of our vacation that I did not enjoy. I know I have rambled, but like I said in the beginning there are no words to describe this place. You must go there and see for yourself."

- Emily H, Atlanta Georgia, guest 2008

 

 

 

"The best vacation we have ever had. Our family consisted of my wife and me, three of our adult children and 4 grandchildren. We were there for 2 weeks. Villa was terrific, furnished with everything you needed, great location for daily trips to other great cities. Swimming pool was super for the grandkids. James was very easy to work with and had all the answers to our questions. A once in a lifetime experience."
- George T, Fresno California, guest 2011

"I can actually say to friends that I cooked an Italian meal in Tuscany. We visited Florence and Pisa during the day and then came back to this beautiful place in the evening. We watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun while visiting and then looked around and it was not a movie it was real. We would recommend the experience to anyone."
- Bob and Edna P, Palatine, Illinois, guests 2009


"Our week in aquilea was magical in many respects. The most magical was the view we enjoyed along with the wonderful friends we went with. Our cooking class was definitely a highlight. The guys in our group will talk about the trip to the blacksmith forever!!"
-Carol L, Rochester Minnesota, guest 2010



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