Versilian Hideaways

Near Camaiore, Tuscany, Italy Book from Book from £328 per night

Two well-appointed villas (sleeping 6-8) in the foothills of the Apuan Alps, with a pool, terraces and a garden apiece
Perched above the sweeping curve of Versilia (the west-facing coast near Pisa), these 2 lovely villas are a 15-minute drive apart - or less as the crow flies, given the winding roads. Both have a swimming pool, a well-equipped kitchen, and simply styled, immaculately presented interiors, with minimal clutter. Both will suit families and friends seeking a good value self-catering option with beaches only 15-20 minutes away.

Turn-of-the-century 3-bedroom, 3-storey Villa La Pieve comes with long views across the wooded valley, which cradles the charming village of Pieve di Camaiore; in the other direction are the jagged Apuan Alps. There are extensive gated and shaded gardens, plus a roof terrace and a sit-out terrace. Its good-sized swimming pool is several steps below.

Villa La Culla is tucked away in a mountain hamlet, at the end of an unremarkable cul-de-sac. But inside the gate, all is revealed: a handsome stone building set in a fenced garden, with swimming pool and pool house. Inside are 3 levels, with 4 double bedrooms on the top 2 floors and a sociable kitchen-diner off a flowering terrace below. The top floor has its own kitchen and separate living spaces so can work brilliantly for two families are holidaying together or for grandparents. Being at an elevation of 420m, its spectacular view down to the coast seals the deal for most.

Highs

  • Either villa is a good-value option for exploring beautiful and lesser visited northern Tuscany, with its mountains and beaches
  • We loved the wonderful views from the terraces of La Culla, and the delightful spacious gardens of La Pieve
  • Hands-on owner Thomas (who also runs nearby B&B Villa Montebello) and his team do all they can to ensure you have a wonderful stay
  • Only about half an hour from Pisa airport, and under 20 minutes from the coast
  • Both villas are walking distance to restaurants

Lows

  • A 7-night minimum stay (Friday or Saturday changeover); and availability is at a premium in July and August
  • No twin beds or extra beds (but baby cots are free of charge)
  • Villa La Culla is reached via hair-pin bends, and you'll have to drive to shops
  • Villa La Pieve only has a galley kitchen, and its ground floor lacks much natural light
  • Utilities are charged extra

Best time to go

If you can, visit during the shoulder seasons of May/June and September/October, when you'll be rewarded with lower temperatures and fewer crowds. That said, both villas are a good choice during the scorching summers, as they sit at elevation (Villa La Culla in particular is 420m above sea level). The villas are closed from November to Easter every year.

Our top tips

Don't miss lovely Lucca (only 30-40 minutes away), with its intact medieval walls, easily navigated pedestrianised centre, wonderful churches and long history.

We also loved the wild, sandy beach of La Lecciona, south of Viareggio - backed by woodland, relatively undeveloped and (unlike the organised lidi) totally free.

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique villas
  • 2 villas sleeping 6 and 8
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 14 Dec 2018 - 10 May 2019
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

Enter saffron-coloured Villa La Pieve from its lovely garden via French doors into the living/dining room. On the floors above are 3 double bedrooms with beamed ceilings, and 3 shower bathrooms (only the master bedroom is ensuite). Linens and throws come in soothing natural colours.

Stone Villa La Culla is at the end of a private cul-de-sac and sleeps up to 6 adults and 2 kids, or 7 adults (the fourth bedroom is too small for a couple). Enter on the upper level into a cosy living room with a kitchen/diner half a floor up; follow the corridor for 2 double bedrooms (the smaller sleeps 1 adult or 2 children) bookending a shower bathroom. Or head round the side to come into lower floor from the front terrace into a good-sized kitchen/diner. Stairs beside a fireplace lead to another 2 double bedrooms and a shower bathroom on the middle floor.

Both villas have pale colours and beamed ceilings; each has a swimming pool, gardens and terraces.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Microwave
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Washing machine

Eating

Both villas have all you need for self-catering. Villa La Pieve's galley kitchen leads onto the living/dining room with its sociable French doors opening up to the main garden. There's a wonderful deli in nearby Camaiore which sells Tuscan fare from pasta sauce to pre-cooked vegetables, plus a choice of supermarkets in the vicinity. Just a 3-minute walk from the house are other grocery shops and a small selection of local restaurants.

Villa La Culla has 2 kitchens. Its ground-floor kitchen-diner opens to the terrace for spectacular coastal views. A compact second kitchen is by the top floor entrance too. As the property is halfway up a mountain, shops are farther away; Thomas recommends the Lido di Camaiore superstore as the best (9km), with others a 4km drive. There is a restaurant only 100m or so away, though.

Both houses come with a directory listing excellent eateries in the vicinity.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Check out the beach clubs on the Versilian Coast, just 20 minutes away by car; or to escape the crowds, head to sandy Lecciona Beach just south of Viareggio (take snacks and drinks as there are no facilities)
  • Explore the majestic Apuan Alps with their switchback roads. They offer cycling and hiking, and much of the area is forested national park. There are caves at Carrara, too
  • Take a day trip to the iconic Tuscan towns of Lucca, Pisa and Florence, all within easy reach
  • Or head northwards for the colourful coastal villages and dramatic cliffs of the Cinque Terre
  • Olive oil and wine-tasting are popular nearby

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Both villas are family-friendly, with a pool and gardens. Although the beach is a 20-minute drive, being elevated in the foothills of the Apuan Alps is actually a godsend, especially in the summer months, as those cooler temperatures really make a difference. And there are lots of fun things to do in the mountains, from cycling to visiting caves. That said, teens may get bored with the natural and cultural attractions of northern Tuscany.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Villa La Culla has 4 double bedrooms across two floors, the smaller of which on each floor would be best for children; this villa a great option for extended families as grandparents could take the top floor and have the benefit of having their own kitchen and living space. Villa La Pieve has 3 double bedrooms, and the smaller bedroom on the first floor is probably best for kids. Each villa and apartment can take 1 baby cot, but note there are no extra beds.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cot
  • High chair

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool (unheated) at each villa
  • Gardens to play in

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches
  • Mountain biking in the Apuan Alps
  • Caves at Carrara
  • Day trips to Lucca, Pisa and Florence

Families Should Know:

The gardens at both villas are enclosed. There are several steps down to the pool at Villa La Pieve so be careful with small ones, and an adult should accompany the children at all times as it is below the house

Distances:

  • Airport: from Villa La Pieve 30 minutes; from Villa La Culla 35 minutes (Pisa)
  • Hospital: from Villa La Pieve 15 minutes; from Villa La Culla 12 minutes
  • Shops: from Villa La Pieve 2 minutes; from Villa La Culla 10 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

The villas are both north of Lucca, in the foothills of the Apuan Alps. Villa La Pieve is outside the small town of Camaiore; Villa La Culla is on the outskirts of a hamlet found further up the slopes. The coast is a 15-20 minute drive away.

By Air:
The nearest airport is Pisa (35-38km), a 30-35-minute drive; you can also fly to Florence and Rome. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

From the Airport
You'll need a car here; see our car rental recommendations. There is gated parking at Villa La Pieve, but note that you will need to park on the mountain road to access Villa La Culla, as it is at the end of a small cul-de-sac.

By Train:
The nearest station is Pietrasanta, which is served by trains from Genoa, Florence, Pisa, La Spezia and Rome (it is 2.5 hours to Rome on the fast Frecce Rossa service which bypasses Pisa). From there, it's about 15 minutes by car/taxi to the villas.

Detailed directions will be provided when you confirm your booking through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Italy and getting around

Airports:

  • Pisa Galileo Galilei 35.0 km PSA
  • Florence Amerigo Vespucci 100.0 km FLR

Other:

  • Beach 10.0 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
9/10
Overall

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