After leaving the hustle and bustle of city life in Berlin, and two very intensive career paths, we needed to escape to a place where life was framed by a more natural perspective. We needed nature, sunlight and above all, peace. Via della Pace is how we have since affectionately named this house. A house enfolded within the breathtaking, serene hills above Lucca city, where more alpine nuances infuse the traditional Tuscan olive groves and chestnut woods. It is also a place where you can almost smell the sea air from the nearby Versilian Coast, (which can be seen a short walk from the house), and the cosmopolitan, historic walled city Lucca, standing proud as of one of Tuscany’s true gems.
Its previous proprietor’s mother named the house Casa Casino, the messy house, thanks to a family with 4 young children keeping the house lively! It is no longer a ‘messy’ house, but a more serene, tranquil space, decorated with Provençal neutral interior colours, textures and furnishings. This is subtly combined with the more traditional Tuscan features, such as the terracotta floors, huge chestnut beams, exposed original stone feature walls, large feature fireplace and the traditional Carrara white marble sink and worktops in the kitchen. There are also the original stone water trough features at the front and back of the house and engravings from a previous family as far back as 1500 etc.
From one bedroom you can see the snow-capped mountains of the Apennines, and a red glow that softens them at dusk. From the other side, at dawn, you can see the sun, lighting up Lucca city that is nestled neatly below at the bottom of the valley. You can also see the magical birthplace of Lucca’s most famous saint, Santa Zita. A sweet, buttercup yellow oratorio, rebuilt on the remains of the original building. There is a ‘snow-white’ like glass coffin within, with a replica of the cherished saint. The locals celebrate every year with a dedicated festival to her. The church is always open. The other church is the Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista, dedicated to saints Reparata and John the Baptist. It dates back to the Lombard era, but the church was rebuilt around 1100. The tabernacle dates to the 15th century, around the time the restorations were carried out by Benefetto Nobili.
From the Eden garden you can appreciate more magic. You can feel enclosed and protected and surrounded by olive trees, varied species of beautiful roses, fruit and nut trees, pretty flowers and herbs, there is something in every little corner to satisfy the senses. Be it the rushing sound of the bamboo garden, enclosed on a stone platform, or the splash of the swimming pool’s fountain upon the waters surface, glittering in the sunlight. The sound of the church bells, ringing through the air, the chatter of nearby children playing in the small road, or neighbors walking their dogs, or visitors making their way down to the nearby restaurant. At night everything is silent except the rush of a nearby waterfall that echoes over towards us, or the quiet, faint hum of life from the city below and the nearby forests, whispering.
It is a magical house, a house where you can be inspired, where you can study and work, you can sing and paint, you can enjoy your children and a life in peace. Every guest that has stayed here has commented on the magic. It is everywhere, in the charming, bohemian soul that the house possesses and the natural, historic beauty. A safe haven, a strong, stone farmhouse, that once protected the locals during the Second World War, where they said people gathered in our cantina (now a studio space), as it was the strongest house in the village. Where you feel only peace and a sense of joy at the good energy that can be felt here. The neighbors in this village are also one of its main assets. People here are kind. I say, Santa Zita is watching over this place, and she left some of her kind spirit here.
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