Wednesday, July 30, 2008

TUSCANY - Lucchesia: a super holiday rental villa & pottery

La Cappella – the chapel. This is the door to the small chapel from which the villa and the property takes its name. The seventeenth century villa used to be a convent and was completely restored, with excellent taste, by the owners, Pietro Monticelli and Vicky Ceschi a Santa Croce. Part of the villa is available for holiday rentals and sleeps eighteen people. In the low season, rooms are available with breakfast. La Cappella, is in one of the most beautiful hillside areas of the Lucchesia and is only seven km from Lucca and it's also close to Florence, Pisa, Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi.

La Cappella – the pool and the view. The terraced swimming pool overlooks the valley. From it’s panoramic position you can see Lucca, the surrounding hills with the olive groves, the vineyards, the woods and beyond. I have notice that in the Lucchesia the countryside is particularly un-spoilt by ugly buildings and all the pools are hidden by trees, hedges or other greenery and therefore don’t spoil the landscape.

A detail: A detail of the rental communal big kitchen. Note, the big marble sink and old-fashioned taps, as well as, the marble table-top and the authentic stone walls of this gigantic big kitchen and dinning room. It is here that breakfast is served for the Bed and Breakfast guests. It is also here, on request, that cooking classes of Tuscan cuisine are organized. Vicky says, that “He who eats enjoys, he who enjoys loves…he who loves is happy.”

A detail: A detail of the communal rental big kitchen. old-fashioned scales are just one of the charming features in this big kitchen and dinning room.

Vicky’s style. Vicky Ceschi a Santa Croce, is a freelance make-up artist and also owns and runs with Pietro Monticelli, La Cappella, a converted old convent in the Tuscan hills near Lucca. She is taking a phone call before going off for her morning walk with her dog Jack San Le Beau.
Vicky’s style – a detail. Vicky is wearing beige shorts with a comfortable white cotton shirt. Striped socks, dark green Aigle Wellington boots and a Hamilton wrist watch on a red cotton strap.

Vicky’s style: Vicky gave a dinner party for us and I particularly liked the way she set the dinning room table. I loved the simplicity of each dish on the table with no fuss or tablecloth. Vicky is a very good cook. Her mother, has always entertained and has taught her daughters how to whip up dinners for many people without any effort or notice.
The Menu: For fourteen; two tarts, pasta salad, chicken salad (in the foreground) and tomato and egg salad followed by peaches marinated in Muscat wine.

Vicky’s style: Vicky and Pietro own some of my favorite cars: a Vespa, a vintage Fiat Cinquecento and a Land Rover.

Vicky’s style: The table setting for a quick lunch. On a crisp white hemp tablecloth, luke warm tomato and basil pasta salad is served with a big horn spoon.
Note: the flower arrangement of wild flowers with fruits and leaves picked in the hillside above the house.
Also note: the maiolica (rough clay) plates Vicky designed with Stefano Gambogi. They are all orange but each plate has different circles and swirls on it. And, each underneath is painted a different color; blues, greens, dark reds etc. Very country chic.

The olive groves. You can’t get away from the olive groves in Lucchesia, they are everywhere, up and down the terraced hillsides and bordering the small country roads. The trees with their rough and twisted century old trunks and pale green leaves look fabulous against the landscape.
Note: these are the olive groves of Villa Massei.

Ceramica Artistica Stefano Gambogi. Tuscany is one of the major producers of olive oil, where it is also know as “liquid gold”. It is therefore natural for Stefano Gambogi to make these pretty colorful olive oil bottles suitable to grace any elegant country table.

Ceramica Artistica Stefano Gambogi. The husband and wife team, Federica and Stefano Gambogi create beautiful pottery. Stefano studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara and then later at the Montelupo Fiorentino School of Ceramics, but it was during a trip to Spain and Morocco that he became interested in ceramics. He was fascinated by the bold colors of the Southern Mediterranean. In 2005 he opened a small workshop in the countryside near Lucca where he works with his wife Federica, who does most of the painting on the clay objects.

Ceramica Artistica Stefano Gambogi. These pretty Japanese inspired thumb dented cups were designed especially for the Tea Festival in Lucca. The thumb dent on the side makes the cups so much easier to hold.
Pin It