Villa Riviera Toscana

Authentic Italy - Family Vacations - Historic Residence - Airport Hotel
Character: Family-run inn occupying the former home of a famous Italian artist.
Advantages: Friendly owners and staff; nice shady garden; close to the beach.
Location: In Lido di Camaiore, a beach resort about 15 minutes from Pisa Airport. Great for seeing Lucca, Pisa, and the Cinqueterre, 40 minutes away by train (the station is a 5-minute walk from the hotel). Also a good base for an Italian beach holiday. Click here to see the map for Villa Riviera Toscana.
Size: This former mansion is so idiosyncratic that perhaps even the owner doesn't know how many rooms there are! About 20, including doubles, triples, quadruples and suites for 2, 3, or 4 people.
Features: Simple but pretty furnishings, private bathroom, air conditioning, telephone, DSL or wireless Internet access in some rooms and in the lobby, satellite TV. The suites have balconies with views of the "Tuscan Alps." Artwork by the original owner, Galileo Chini, one of the founders of Art Nuoveau, are everywhere. Very good and incredibly economical restaurant which moves out to the beautiful garden in summertime. Price includes breakfast.
Minimum stay: One night.
Disadvantages: Not fancy.
Car needed: No, but if you plan to tour the cities of Tuscany from here, it is much easier with a car.

Versilia is a part of Tuscany that Europeans have known and loved for decades. Unlike the Chianti, Florence and Siena, which tempt the visitor to rush from one renowned artistic treasure to another, this coastal region invites you to slow down and relax. Those who love it dream of it on dreary northern days, feeling the warm breezes as they waft through the pine forests, picturing the sun-drenched Liberty-style villas and hearing the lazy buzz of crickets. Versilia is a uniquely European type of resort area, a tranquil combination of beauty, culture, history, nature and great food that has been the beloved retreat of many fine artists beginning with maestro Giacomo Puccini, who built a home you can still visit today in nearby Torre del Lago.

Another artist who made his home here was Galileo Chini. You may never have heard of this Florentine, nor seen any of his works, but you have witnessed the effects of his talent all over the country. In the early part of this century, Chini was largely responsible for introducing the art nouveau style into Italy (where it is usually referred to as "Liberty"). He founded a ceramics factory that created colorful objects which soon made their way into thousands of homes, he painted canvases that were hung in museums ranging from the Uffizi to Rome's Modern Art Gallery, and he designed sets for his close friend Puccini. Chini's stage designs for Turandot are the epitome of the Liberty style; perhaps because of them he was asked to fresco the Royal Palace of the King of Siam. Chini lived in the Orient for two years. When he returned to Italy he built a vacation retreat in Versilia and called it Villa Chini. Its large sunny rooms, delightful ornamentation and century-old park were the height of luxury.

Today the estate is a charming small hotel where guests return faithfully year after year to enjoy warm family-type hospitality. Many of Chini's paintings, frescoes and decorations, such as a colorful stained-glass fruit basket, are displayed throughout the common rooms where guests can congregate in several sitting areas. His furniture and personal belongings are everywhere, including in the simple guest rooms, all of which have private bathroom, telephone, satellite TV, air conditioning, wireless Internet connection, laptop safe, lots of closet and drawer space, and mini bar on request. There are many solutions for families here. For instance, the top floor (36 steps up from the garden) has two large double rooms that can each have a third bed for a child, making a private unit with two brand-new bathrooms for up to six people. In the other wing of this floor there are two rooms with queen bed and daybed and balcony facing the mountains, plus a suite that has a living room with good double sofa bed, a queen bedroom, a balcony accessed from both rooms, plus a big bathroom with stall shower. On the lower floor there are several lovely queen bedrooms furnished with local antiques; some have single daybeds or even bunk beds. For those who prefer not to climb the stairs, there are also some double rooms on the ground floor (6 steps up from the garden); and this is also where you can stay in the artist's own room, which is big enough for three people. All the rooms in the villa overlook the spectacular garden, whose towering trees and profuse sweet-smelling flowers make it a tranquil oasis completely protected from the bustling seaside resort town of Lido di Camaiore.

At Villa Riviera Toscana, each day starts with a hearty buffet breakfast. Afterwards, you can stroll a short 200 yards to the broad sandy beach, which stretches for miles in each direction. The villa's private beach is furnished with all the amenities you could desire (a small daily fee is charged). Or you might take a pleasant hike through the pine forests that line the shore.

If you're ready to travel farther afield, jump in the car and drive inland to the Apuan Alps (a breathtaking spectacle few people know about) or the Garfagnana Mountains (one of the last remaining off-the-beaten-path parts of Tuscany). Or drive less than an hour south to the quasi-deserted, pristine nature reserve beaches between Castiglioncello and Punta Ala. Also within an hour's drive are Lucca (20km), the Cinqueterre (65km), Pisa (20km) and the marble quarries of Carrara (25km). If you're here in the summer, be sure to take in an outdoor opera performance at the home of Giacomo Puccini. Or stop in at a night club, discotheque or cocktail lounge in the neighborhood.


For this property:
There is no elevator at the villa; if you do not wish to climb stairs please be sure to ask for one of the four ground floor rooms.
All beds are queen sized.
Parking is on the hotel grounds and costs 10 Euro/day.
Villa Riviera Toscana's private beach is 200 yards from the hotel. The charge to use the beach is about 12 Euro/day in high season and 6 Euro/day in low season; it includes beach chairs and umbrellas.

Click here for information about private transfers to the property.

Please note that it is not possible to guarantee Internet access at any property, because the property does not generate the service, it merely provides access from a server. If the server experiences any kind of problem at all, the property regrets it cannot be responsible for any inconvenience caused by subsequent lack of service.