■ 23 July 2012 by James Martin
Back when I was a kid kicking around Europe I stayed at places I could afford. If it had an unoccupied bed, it was good. Bath down the hall? Bring it on.
But then, old(er) age struck. People started talking about slow travel. Or, perhaps, people had always talked about it, but I was just getting around to listening as my internal organs started deteriorating.
Now I enjoy luxury. Big, deep, bathtub with a view of the sea? Yeah, right on. Big, comfy sofa to lounge in? All the better.
Let’s talk about the word “splurge” for a moment. In these dark economic times a splurge can be cathartic. It’s a way to say “to hell with the financial institution gambling movement and their constant whining about how they have to pay dimwitted CEOs 15 million a year or else they wouldn’t be able to get good people to bankrupt their precious companies.” You deserve a break from all this madness. Take it.
I’m about to suggest a place, of course. Guide extraordinaire, wedding planner, and personal concierge Serena Giovannoni of Wish Versilia recommends Albergo Villa Casanova, one of those historic villas you find in the interesting countryside outside of Lucca, like Villa Torrigiani. She has a complete set of pictures on her facebook page.
The reason I like this place (or the idea of this place, I’ve never been there and am relying Serena’s fine judgement here) is that it’s smack between Lucca and another favorite chunk of “hidden Tuscany” I like, Lake Massaciuccoli, where you can climb up to an excavated villa to see the views of the countryside, or you can walk the raised walkways and watch the wetland birds flit to and fro.
Remember to splurge. Italy needs your money. You need a break, a slow and long break. Reality sucks these days, doesn’t it?
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