From My Tuscan Window

Places to Stay When Visiting
Gioviano and Nearby Towns
Casa Velia Casa Velia is an ancient house deep in the heart of the village that has been restored by our dear friend, Velia Fontannini. It can sleep up to five people. The views are largely of the village and of the wooded hills on the opposite side of the valley of the Sarita. One of the double bedrooms has extremely peaceful views of the mountain forests that hide the remains of Castelvecchio, a fortress that was destroyed nearly a thousand years ago. Some of my parents’ English friends find the house so charming that they return to it year after year.
Casetta Barsanti (Code 855) Yesterday, while chatting with Daria and her daughter Anna, they mentioned that if I had any American friends who wished to spend a week or two in Gioviano during the summer, they would like to offer the little house adjacent to their home to guests. I visited the little house and must say that it is the only accommodation in Gioviano that essentially has the same views as I describe in this book. The views from the little terrace and from the bedroom and bathroom windows are almost identical to those from the loggias of Palazzo Margherita. The house is small, but adequate for two people, with the kitchen area and terrace downstairs and the bedroom and bath upstairs. Daria suggested a weekly rate of 250 Euro plus cleaning and utilities. I told her that if she wanted to rent to non-Italian speakers that she would need to have a presence on the Internet in English. Daria’s daughter Anna, is in the process of making arrangements with the above web site. The Barsanti Palazzo in which the first martyr of the Republic, Pietro Barsanti was born in 1849, also shares the Piazza Barsanti with Casa Giorgio-Rosina.
Palazzo Roberto (under search type in I5197/10B) A 2,000-square foot apartment that sleeps six in three bedrooms is perhaps the most interesting Gioviano lodging in that it is in an ancient villa said to date as far back as the 1400s. It is located just a few meters out of town and is graced with gardens on one side and views over the valley of the Sarita on the other. The setting is extremely peaceful.

Azienda Agriturismo Berni Lionello Just down the hill from Gioviano and up a little unmarked side road from the highway to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is an agriturismo established by our friends, Lionello and Carla. The little drive up to the farm is unmarked, so you will have to get specific directions from Lionello or Carla, especially if arriving after dark. They both speak perfect English as they lived in Australia for a number of years. There is a swimming pool and the views up the Serchio Valley include Ghivizzano, as well as Barga and a glimpse of part of Gioviano
Nearby Towns
Albergo Bernabo The Albergo Bernabo is one of two places to stay that I have included despite the lack of a web site. It is located high above the Lima River with spectacular views. Four of the rooms have terraces overlooking the rapids which make a soothing sound as the water passes over the rocks. The Albergo is situated adjacent to the ancient baths of Bernabo which were constructed in 1593 and restored in 2006.
Hotel Corona The Hotel Corona, as described above in the “suggestions” section, almost hangs over the beautiful Lima River. Therefore, remember to ask for a room facing the Lima.
Hotel Regina The Regina is on the opposite bank of the Lima from the Corona and is not as close to the water which is a good thing since really stinky raw sewerage enters the river just at this point. Some of the rooms have loggias facing the river and the swimming pool. I really don’t understand why the mayor of Bagni di Lucca doesn’t do something about the sewers of the city emptying directly into the river.
Le Mura di Sotto The ancient farmhouse dates back to 1600 but has been restored preserving the original materials. It is only three kilometers from Bagni di Lucca and boasts a swimming pool.

Al Benefizio Please refer to the Chapter entitled “Maria’s Joke”, for a more complete description. Incidentally, Francesca, the proprietress, speaks English.
Liberty Villa This is a small apartment for two persons in an Art Nouveau villa just outside the walls of Barga. There is a terrace, garden, and swimming pool.
Santa Maria Just a 20-minute walk from Barga, Santa Maria offers outstanding views over the Apuanian Alps. There is also a swimming pool.
Villa Libano Villa Libano is an imposing structure with frescoed ceilings and beautiful views from the terrace.
Villa Pieroni
Villa Pieroni is a historic villa, set on four park-like acres. The rooms are stately, and a huge terrace overlooks a vast mountain panorama. Swimming pool.

Casa Martini Valentina For those wishing to stay directly across the roadway from the Devil’s Bridge, this is the place. For fans of The Da Vinci Code, the proper name for the bridge is Ponte della Maddalena.

Agriturismo Campolaia Visit the slide show on the web site. There are two restored farmhouses located within this agriturismo with a swimming pool, which seems very inviting.

Il Ciocco Il Ciocco is an amazing luxury holiday resort on the flanks of the Apennines above Barga. The grounds extend for thousands of acres. The best part of all is that not only can you see Gioviano perched on its hilltop on the flanks of the Apuanian Alps, but you can hover over our village in a rented helicopter from Il Ciocco’s heliport.

La Casa di Tosca-Il Belvedere Built in 1594, the historic house has been divided into four apartments. Celle is the ancestral home of the Puccini family, the most famous member of which was the Giacomo Puccini, the last of the great Italian composers.

La Casa Torre La Casa Torre is one of the most ancient houses in Diecimo, said to have been built by the Contessa Matilda of Canossa in the 13th century, and it is said to have been visited by Castruccio Castracani and his soldiers.

Azienda Agriturismo Chioi or The little agriturismo consists of two restored houses, one sleeping four and the other six. There is also a swimming pool.

Azienda Agriturismo La Torre The Agriturismo La Torre had, until recent years, belonged to the University of Bologna and was used as an agricultural research center. When the university discontinued use of the villa and its extensive grounds, it might have fallen into ruin. Fortunately the university sold it, and it has been extensively restored. Just down the hill is the village of Fornoli where we do our banking and where some of the best gelato in the region can be sampled.

Borgo Bernardini, near Lucca. If Price Is No Object : If you don’t mind staying more than five crow-flight miles from Gioviano, and if you have enough money to have your own helicopter to bring you to our fair city for a visit, then you might want to consider this. The establishment sleeps 24 and rents for only $43,200.00 a week during the summer.
Borgo Giusto Today, (June 12, 2006) we decided to visit a nearby 17th-century village that had been entirely abandoned for half a century until it was restored just a few years ago and turned into a touristic complex. I didn’t want to recommend any hotel, agriturismo, or bed and breakfast, that I didn’t feel at least approached my sometimes unreasonable standards, so felt it necessary to not rely on slick brochures in order to make my assessment. After walking through the village I feel comfortable adding it to the short list of places to stay within five miles of Gioviano (as the crow flies). Actually, the village is almost exactly 10 miles by road from Gioviano but the crow can make it by just flying five miles if he isn’t distracted by an owl, an eagle or a fox.

Casa di Campagna Dating back to 1715, the farmhouse, which has been modernized with the addition of indoor plumbing for example, retains its traditional architectural features. Its hillside position offers sweeping views of the Apuanian Alps.

Casetta di Butia Oneta is a tiny village located in the hills just above Borgo a Mozzano. I haven’t visited the “casetta” but from the web site I gather that the accommodations are adequate and the setting lovely. I am not sure about how panoramic the view is since the little house is said to be “immerso nel verde”, which sometimes means all you can see is trees.

Pian di Fiume This agriturismo has its own private bridge over the Lima River. We were given the grand tour, and the achievements of the owner are remarkable. For over fifty years, the little hamlet with its own church was virtually abandoned and falling into ruin. The four times great-grandson of the original owner is a pharmacist who believes in natural healing and self-sufficient communities. He raises bees for honey, and rare pigs for meat. All ingredients are natural and cooked on wood fires on the premises. The road is one of those narrow lanes that were formally only mule paths, but the distance to the hamlet is short and thus one can reach Bagni di Lucca in only a matter of a few minutes. There is a swimming pool as well as a private beach on the Lima River below.
Casale Il Ruscello Just across the highway from the bridge to Pian Di Fiume is the Casale il Ruscello. It might be the perfect place for horse lovers.

La Casa di Livizzano The century-old villa stands on a hillside near the village of San Cassiano, near Bagni di Lucca. The 2,000 square-foot house sleeps seven in four bedrooms and has a private swimming pool with a sun terrace.

Hotel Milano The Hotel Milano is run by a very dear friend of our family, Marco Baldaccini. There is a choice of staying in the modern hotel with elevator and all the modern conveniences or in a restored rustic farmhouse adjacent to the modern hotel. The hotel is just across the Serchio from Borgo and on toward Lucca a short distance.
Updated December 22, 2009
Copyright 2005-2009 George H. Russell
Previous Chapter
Back to the Table of Contents
Next Chapter