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August 3, 2019

Art Nouveau in Tuscany – The Liberty Style of Galileo Chini

Galileo Chini

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At the great Paris exhibition of 1900, a new art movement that had blossomed in Europe over the preceding years reached fruition. It produced a unique and magnificent form of painting, architecture and, above all, a modernist form of design that spread across the continent known as Art Nouveau or Liberty. It was art and design of a style that was greatly influential the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th.

Its inspiration from the earlier arts and crafts movement associated with William Morris and Burne-Jones , that stressed Art, Design and Architecture as a holistic enterprise in the naturalistic construction of the environment. The names of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Aubrey Beardsley and Gustav Klimt are perhaps familiar to us as well during this period.
In Tuscany, an artist perhaps less well known within the genre, but was highly influential on the local landscape of Tuscany. Is the artist Galileo Chini, sometimes thought of as the Italian Klimt.

Galileo Chini

Galileo Chini was born in Florence to Elio, a tailor and Aristea Bastiani in 1873. After his father’s death, he enrolled at the Santa Croce School of Art, in Florence, where he attended the courses in decoration.

From 1895 to 1897 he occasionally attended the Free School of the Nude at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence without obtaining any diploma, and always considering himself at the peak of his education he was otherwise self-taught. In this same period he met the young Elvira Pescetti who became his wife.

In 1899 he married Elvira. The first child, Isotta, was born in 1900 and a second son, Eros, in 1901.

Elvira Chini

He developed a specific interest in the design and manufacture of ceramics, firstly from 1896 at the Arte della ceramica” in Florence; and later, together with his cousin Chino, he founded the “Fornaci di San Lorenzo” in Mugello, at Borgo San Lorenzo, a small town north of Florence. They made ceramics and stained-glass windows but also interior furnishings and design of wooden furniture decorated with tiles, ceramics and glass.


Fornaci di San Lorenzo

He continued to exhibit on multiple occasions, both in Italy and abroad. Until 1905 he engaged in a series of decorations and restorations in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Florence , as well as in a series of frescoes at the Hotel Cavour, Florence and at the Grand Hotel La Pace in Montecatini Terme Tuscany .

The King & I

In 1910 King Chulalongkorn of Siam , Rama V , the son of Rama the IV who was the king in the film The King & I sent Carlo Allegri, then chief engineer at the Ministry of Public Works of Siam, to Italy, with the task of finding a painter for the new Palazzo del Trono in Bangkok. Signed the contract in Florence in 1910 between Galileo Chini and Carlo Allegri, in 1911 the artist embarked in Genoa, on the NDL Derfflinger steamship setting sail for the Far East. Rama V, who died on October 23, 1910, was succeeded by his son, the very cultivated King Vajiravudh, Rama VI . Chini frescoed the throne room at the new Ananta Samakhom palace and painted a series of portraits of Rama VI. He returned from the kingdom of Siam (today Thailand) in 1913 bringing back to Italy a series of landscape and environmental works, which he exhibited in 1914 at the Roman Secession Exhibition . 

Chini in Siam

He also reported a collection of oriental memorabilia that he donated to the Ethnographic Museum of the University of Florence in 1950 . The influence of Indo-chinese art is abundantly clear in much of his work from this point.

In 1915 he taught at the Ornato Course of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Florence . 

Meanwhile he diversified his artistic directions with his contemporary
Giacomo Puccini as a set designer, collaborating with him on productions of Gianni Schicchi in 1919 and Turandot in 1926.

In 1920-1923 in Salsomaggiore Terme he completed the decoration of the Terme Berzieri and, later, in 1926, in the Grand Hôtel des Thèrmes , His collaboration with architects Gaetano Orzali in several Lucca villas, and
also with Alfredo Belluomini on many building and design projects along the Versilia coast in Viareggio and Lido di Camaiore.

Terme Berzieri in Salsomaggiore Terme

He spent so much of his spare time with his extended family in his villa at Lido di Camaiore and, as many a home movie demonstrated, he was thoroughly immersed and engaged with them as a fun loving family. Though later on he suffered the great loss of his daughter Isotta in 1946 and, in the following years, his artistic activities were progressively reduced due to serious sight problems that led him to blindness.

Galileo Chini died on August 23 1951 at his home-studio in via del Ghirlandaio 52, in Florence. He is buried in the monumental cemetery of the Antella .

Where to see the influences and works of Chini

We visited an exhibition in April of works by Chini in Pontedera, a small town near Pisa. This was an extensive collection of paintings and ceramics, that illustrated the whole range of his independent artworks. There are some permanent pieces in the Uffizi and the Pitti palace in Florence. You can visit the website www.galileochini.it to view that range of his art works online. You can also register for access to the Chini archive.

The ceramics factory at Borgo San Lorenzo was destroyed by bombing in the Second World War. However, the most obvious and visible statements that can be seen in our region in main locations.

Villa Ducloz Lucca

Lucca – there are a number of villas in the ‘Liberty’ style that were built in the early part of the 20th century outside of the walls of Lucca that demonstrate Chini’s collaboration with the architect and contemporary artist Gaetano Orzali. The two most interesting are the Villa Ducloz and the Villa del Magro.

Villa Argentina

Viareggio & the Versilia Coast

With Alfredo Belluomini, Chini created many of the buildings on this coastline, including the Grand Caffè Margherita, the fabulous Villa Argentina, the Balena bagno, the Caffè Concerto Eden. See link www.wishversilia.com/tour/art-deco-viareggio

Grand Cafe Margherita

Lucca Villa del Magro Detail

Also in Lido di Camaiore is the house that Chini had built and spent many summer holidays with his family; the splendid Villa i Pini. Which since his death has become a hotel that you can stay in. See link www.clubipini.com

So in Tuscany there is a lot more art to see that is innovative, exciting and is not solely of the Renaissance.

Ceramics by Chini – Montecatini Terme Tuscany Italy
Vellano from Casa Verde

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April 23, 2019

Lambretta – Ferdinando Innocenti – A Son of Vellano

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Darren Hackett @ 5:43 pm

Vellano Pescia

Vellano near Pescia

Ferdinando Innocenti the inventor of the Lambretta and scaffolding was born in Vellano, Pescia, in the Valdinievole , to Zelinda Chiti and Dante Innocenti, a blacksmith. With his family he moved from Vellano to Grosseto where a hardware shop was opened by the family, which he then took over at the age of 18; after completing his technical studies. He expanded the turnover by purchasing scrap iron and exchanging them for lubricating oil to resell.

Gina Lollobrigida & Rock Hudson 1961 in the Film ‘Back in September’

From 1920 Ferdinando began to deepen his engineering knowledge and experiment the use of iron pipes and their applications, then opening a warehouse for the sale of seamless pipes produced by Dalmine in Rome. The workshop in 1930 took the name of Fratelli Innocenti and in 1933 began the production of tubular scaffolding and by adopting a particularly rapid assembly and disassembly system. Until then, steel pipes had only been used to convey liquid or gaseous substances. Ferdinando was the first to use them as a load-bearing structure.

The Lambretta
The Lambretta

Thanks to some important contacts with the Vatican, he was also able to carry out numerous contracts such as a sprinkler irrigation system for the gardens of the Villa of Castel Gandolfo ( 1931 ) and for the Vatican Gardens ( 1932 ), as well as a thermoelectric power plant and the fire prevention systems of the Sistine Chapel ( 1934 ). In addition, Ferdinando was responsible for expanding the capacity of football stadiums ahead of the 1934 soccer world championship, which were held in Italy.

Sistine Chapel
‘Lambrate‘ District Milan 1933
The Italian Resistance

From Rome he moved permanently to Milan to improve his business and here, in the ‘Lambrate’ district, he founded the Innocenti Company, with the construction in 1933 of a plant in Lambrate in Via Pitteri Milan for the manufacture of iron elements for scaffolding. These now famous Innocenti tubes, are still widely used today. During the Second World War, he was forced to change manufacture from a civil to a war production. After 8 September 1943 Ferdinando began to collaborate with the Allies and to finance the Resistance and it is for this reason that once the conflict was over, he manages to regain possession of his factories.

The Post-War Period

Scaffolding First Made by Innocenti

At the end of the Second World War he also became managing director of the Dalmine , a company with which he collaborated with for many years. In 1950  to dedicate himself to his factories in Lambrate which had been damaged by the war. The age of individual motorization had come, but based on a low-cost vehicle, this would allow a large percentage of the population to own one. The car was still too expensive for most people. Thus it was that in 1947 there was the creation of the first Innocenti scooter, the Lambretta , which competed with the Piaggio Vespa , designed and put into production the previous year.  After some initial difficulties and an following an unprecedented advertising campaign for the time, in 1952, at Lambrate, 96,000 examples of the “D” model were produced with a metal tube bearing frame, of which 16,000 were exported. The peak was reached in 1953 , when the “E” model was launched, with a production of 70,000 annual units associated with 50,000 units of the “LD” model.

Paul Newman 1950s Lambretta
Piaggio Vespa 1946

The 1960’s

The 50’s & 60’s economic boom led the Italians to switch from two to four wheels. In 1960 with Lambretta sales stagnant and despite not being very convinced of entering the world of cars or competing with the likes of Fiat. Ferdinando now old and sick was pushed by his son Luigi , who became the company’s vice president in 1958 to build cars for leading car makers of the time under licence. The first car built – the A40 – is none other than the British Austin A40 produced under license by the British Motor Corporation. Shortly thereafter, the Innocenti 950 Spider was born – an Austin-Healey Sprite engine and a Ghia body, designed by Tom Tjaarda, and an IM3 model, reworked with a Pininfarina bodywork, this allowed the inclusion of Innocenti in the 1100 Series as a quality vehicle.

950 Spider

While the assembly of the British Mini under license dates back to 1965 , which was better finished to meet the tastes of the Italian market but despite the success commercial of the Italian version launched in 1966 , all attempts at autonomous design of a car by Innocenti failed.

The A40
Austin- Healey

His Death

On June 20, 1966, while he was at rest in his Varese villa , Ferdinando Innocenti was taken ill and was transported to his home in Piazza San Babila in Milan, where he died the following day of a heart attack.

Private life

He didn’t have a car license, he didn’t know how to drive a car and he didn’t even ride a scooter. From his marriage he had a single son, Luigi , who on his death inherited the entire business complex and which he held until 1971,

Today

In the same year, all plants and Lambrate machinery for the production of Lambretta were purchased by Scooters India Ltd. in 1971.

Scooters India Ltd

Prizes & Awards

Ferdinando

Mayor of Pescia Rolando Anzilotti
  • In 1939 Ferdinando was appointed Cavaliere del Lavoro.
  • In 1953 he was awarded the “honoris causa” degree in Engineering [by the Milan Polytechnic .
  • With Deliberation of the Municipal Council dated December 26, 1953 , No. 179, he was granted the honorary citizenship of Pescia, his hometown, for the high merits acquired in the industrial field. The bestowal ceremony was held at the Palazzo dei Vicari on 8 September 1954 , the tenth anniversary of the liberation of the city of the flower from the fascist Nazi , in the presence of Innocenti himself, the mayor Rolando Anzilotti and the bishop of Pescia Monsignor Dino Luigi Romoli .
  • On August 4, 2011 , at the Palagio palace in Pescia , an exhibition was dedicated to him.
  • On 1 September 2011 , on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of his birth, a marble plaque was placed on the facade of his birthplace in Via Fiorentina, Pescia.

Thanks paid to:

Wikipedia

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Collodi in the Pescia District – Home of Pinocchio

January 26, 2019

Some Things Change in a Timeless Landscape

Some Things Change in a Timeless Landscape

I suppose this, our 10th year at Casa Verde in Vellano, is a story about all the work we have completed on the land.  It is also a story about the whole of the local landscape here and the most obvious features that any guests and visitors will notice when they stay here.  Essentially this landscape is part of a very hilly past medieval world, fortified over the centuries to protect people from invasion and conquest (usually from armed local neighbours from Florence, Lucca or Pisa!).

Manero or ‘La Tosca’ with Casa Verde visible on the Hillside

They are also places of sanctuary from what was the dangers of flood, pestilence and starvation from the underdeveloped Arno flood plain below; with it’s dangers from malaria and typhoid. The Etruscans first drained the Valdinievole and then the Romans. Here in the mountains, water, woods, plants, rocks and trees provided food, shelter and heat in the winter. Our first winters here were a surprise and joy with it’s unexpected dry weather and bright sunshine, however it could also be incredibly cold with the sweeping Tramontana winds (northwind) but only for short periods of time.

 

Before

After!

Today

Restored 200 Year Old Terraces

On the lower slopes of the hills that is the Valleriana are covered in hand-made terraces.  These are south/southwest facing and benefit from the heat of the sun, and are sheltered from the wind.  Ideal for olive trees and oil production.  In the higher part of the hills traditionally, the chestnut and walnut trees provide an abundance of essential food. Chestnuts can be milled to make flour, which is sweet, great to crumble! As well as food from the forest, such as wild boar (cinghiale), deer, rabbits and wild fowl.  In January, as I write, the main activities of the valley are the hunting of wild boar and the cutting and felling of trees. 

These men built the Strada di State to Vellano & on to Abetone

These are activities that go back centuries, and mean that the local communities are very used to a sense of self sufficiency that is long gone in other parts of Italy and Western Europe.  Indeed many young people, frustrated through the lack of employment in towns and cities, are returning to more traditional rural activities.  Of course there are now modern methods of food production that are less physically demanding.  However, you may use electric machines to tease the olives from the trees, but there is still something elemental and pleasurable about using a long cane to tap, shake and stroke the precious  olives from the trees.  This agrarian traditional culture means that there is always something fresh and local on the menu at anytime of the year; artichokes in April, fresh asparagus in May, figs in July, and chestnuts in October.

Stone Works at Vellano

Local Skills on Display

 

 

 

 

 

Another element of the local landscape are the local quarries this produce one important local stone. This is known as Pietra Serena, a hard and durable stone from which many of the local houses have been constructed.  Casa Verde, like many others has in it’s grounds, it’s own small quarry, from which we assume that much of it’s stone came to build Casa Verde and our neighbours house. Neighbours remember stone being ‘sledged’ down the paths behind Casa Verde in the 1940’s. It is also a stone that is easy to carve and sculpt and there are a number of highly talented sculptors (scalpellini) who have produced a number of art works around the village.  In the summer they also hold an international exhibition of sculpting in the Nardini Quarry in Vellano.

Vellano Santi Martino & Sisto 1900?

In the 9 years we have been in Vellano at Casa Verde we have completed a lot of work restoring and improving the steep terraces.  Discovering and planting new olive trees. Clearing and cleaning the terraces that were covered in overgrown briars, ivy and out of control acacia trees.  We have cut down many of these to reveal long lost olive trees. There were a number of large fir trees that were planted, we think, during the Depression and also after the last war as a cash crop. Thesetrees are actually very unsuitable for these steep slopes with their shallow roots.  They were planted to provide a quick reforestation of the hills, but these are gradually being replaced and the wood used at power stations to make electricity. This is making way for more traditional plantations of chestnut and mediterranean oak trees.

New Olives at Casa Verde

New Olive Tree at Casa Verde

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we now have some 60 olive trees and another 20 to plant later this spring.  The views from the house have become, as a result of our tree felling, even more dramatic and extensive. We hope this will be a legacy for the property for ourselves and others for many years to come.

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We, as always, welcome visitors to Casa Verde in 2019, to explore this fabulous landscape.

Malcolm & Darren

See Casa Verde Here: www.tuscanyholidays-casaverde.com

The Bell of San Michele Vellano

January 6, 2019

Casa Verde Holiday Apartment 2019. Our 10th Year!

Casa Verde – Our 10th Year! – 2019

Welcome to 2019 and this our 10th Season providing holiday accommodation in our Tuscan Apartment.

Casa Verde

The Walls are Coming Down

Decoration – Winter 2009

Without doubt over the years we have had fantastic guests from all over the world and with the internet this has meant that we are now accessible to more and more new places.  In 2018 we have had visitors from South America, Russia, Mexico and Indonesia, new international boundaries in the life of our house in Vellano.  650 people from 23 different country’s have stayed at Casa Verde ranging from Peru to Portugal.  Yet the village remains the same timeless, peaceful and sunny escape from the troubles of the world.

On the Move 2010

Florence

At Casa Verde we have developed our own special features for those who choose a destination, which while not being at all distant from the main Northern Tuscan attractions of Florence, Pisa and Lucca, also seems to attract those that wish to explore and relax in the peace and history of rural Tuscany.  Spectacular and beautiful at any time of the year.

What have we achieved in these last nine years? Well we have been rated as No 1 by Trip Advisor for most of these years for the Pescia region in the category in which we feature.  We have rented our Apartment for 160 weeks for those years.  We estimate that this means more than 800 people have laid their heads at Casa Verde, and probably having the most peaceful sleep possible in the mountain air of Vellano.

Vellano from Casa Verde

Ponte Vecchio

We are both very keen walkers who have explored and learnt a lot about the trails and tracks of both our local area in the Valleriana, the hills above us, but also those in the higher Appenines and the other areas of  Tuscany.

So many fantastic ways to discover the history and classic scenery of this part of the world.  Also many visitors come just to sit read and relax on the terraces with it’s wonderful outstanding views down the valley towards the Pisan Hills. Listening to the sounds of the birds, the swifts dipping and diving from roof to roof, the falcons and buzzards gliding serenely on the warm air currents above the villages of the valley, this is far away from the urban noise.  This is a place to be still as well as explore Renaissance wonders.

Luca Della Robbia

Lucca

We have, we hope, also become a trusted destination for visitors.  The way in which travellers book their journeys across the world has changed; many now use well known, booking and travel sites, as they feel their booking and money is more secure. We hope that you will visit us and celebrate our 10th year. Try our site at www.tuscanyholidays-casaverde.com you can pay safely via credit card with PayPal. Its the cheapest way to book with us.

We look forward to meeting you, or meeting with you again!

Here’s hoping you have a very Happy New Year in 2019.

Malcolm & Darren

Casa Verde

Vellano

1st January 2019

 

December 1, 2018

Pistoia – A Jewel in Our Regions Crown

Filed under: Uncategorized — Darren Hackett @ 1:57 pm

Pistoia – A Jewel in The Region’s Crown

 

 

Many people visiting Tuscany are naturally dazzled by the glories of the Renaissance at Florence, Siena, Lucca and Pisa. I would suggest that you can spend a day of your holiday discovering the wonders of a lesser known city like Pistoia.

According to one theory, Pistoia lent its name to the pistol, which started to be manufactured in Pistoia during the 16th century. Today, it is notable for new industries such as the building of trains and for the extensive plant nurseries surrounding the city, producing plants and trees delivered around the world. Pistoia is also famous for its flower markets, as is at our nearby city of Pescia.

Catiline & His Slain Men

Pistoria in Latin other possible forms are Pistorium or Pistoriae and was a centre of GallicLigurian and Etruscan settlements before becoming a Roman colony in the 6th century BC, sitting along the important road Via Cassia:

Via Cassia

In 62 BC the demagogue Catiline, not a nice chap it would seem, but very popular with the poor and his fellow conspirators were slain in a battle near Pistoia. From the 5th century the city was a bishopric, and during the Lombardic kingdom it was a royal city and had certain privileges. Pistoia’s most splendid age began in 1177 when it proclaimed itself a free commune, or city state: in the following years it became an important political centre, erecting walls and several public and religious buildings such as it’s hospital, cathedral, city hall and baptistry.

Cathederal.

City Hall at The Palio

Baptistry

The river that ran through the city was converd over and the dry riverbed can now be visited beneith the city streets and acient buildings. It is an interesting Tour with quite an insight into the city’s workings and history. A wheel that would have pressed olives can seen which used the water as a power source.

As was very common, a war in 1254 saw the taking of ‘Ghibelline Pistoia’ by Guelph Florence, it good to ‘hiss’ here as Florence is not part of our Region! Pistoia remained a Florentine holding except for a brief period in the 14th century, when Castruccio Castracani captured it for Luccaagain ‘hissing’ is good because Lucca is a regional rival, but a great Tuscan city to visit.

Water wheel that would have pressed olives.

Dante mentioned in his Divina Commedia, the free town of Pistoia as the home town of Vanni Fucci, a thief who is thrown into the Inferno tangled up in a knot of snakes and burnt to death. Nice!

 

 

One of the most famous families of the city was that of the Rospigliosi, cloth and wollen  merchants and owners of agricultural estates. The Rospigliosi family provided a pope in 1667 with Giulio Rospigliosi, who briefly reigned as Clement IX (1667–69), and gave several cardinals to the church. One cardinal Rospigliosi named “Il bambino Rospigliosi”.

Pope Clement IX

The 11th Prince Rospigliosi, Filippo, is the present (12th) Earl of Newburgh in the peerage of Scotland. The family have palaces in Rome and Pistoia, which can be    visited. The current Earl & Price Rospigliosi live in Milan.

‘Il Bambino’

 

 

 

11th Prince Rospigliosi

 

 

 

 

 

Eating in Pistoia is a delight. Its a relaxed afair with fantastic local food businesses who have a great pride in making such delicious food for locals and visitors alike.

Image result for Resaurants and streets in Pistoia

 

 

 

 

 

There are many fantasitc places to visit in Pistoia not least the Cathedral and the Baptistry. However smaller churches have fantastic works by Pisano for example at San Andrea.

San Andrea with Pisano Pulpit

Della Robbia at San Leone

We hope you will visit Pistoia and Casa Verde its a joy to see.

www.tuscanyholidays-casaverde.com

www.pistoiaturismo.it

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May 21, 2018

Restoration at Parco Villa Reale Lucca

Visit ParcoVilla Reale & Casa Verde

www.tuscanyholiday-casaverde.com

An Hour from Lucca Florence Pisa & the Coast

A visit to the Park of Villa Reale will surprise and delight you. A chance to immerse yourself in an ancient past with roots stretching back to the Medieval age. The extraordinary history of the Villa Reale estate has unfolded across the centuries with a series of transformations, witnessed by illustrious figures and royal dynasties. The first building was formed from a fortress, where the Duke of Tuscia lived during the early Medieval age.

Image may contain: outdoor and nature

Arno & Circio At Villa Reale

 

 

 

 

 

The property subsequently passed to the Avvocati family and then to the Buonvisi, a noble Lucchese family of merchants and bankers who transformed the fortress into a magnificent building. After their downfall, the Buonvisi sold the majority of the family properties, including the Villa in Marlia near Lucca.

The historic residence was bought by Olivieri and Lelio Orsetti in 1651, who carried out modifications to the Villa and recreated the Park in a baroque style with the creation of courtyards, avenues and spectacular gardens, including the Green Theatre and the Lemon Garden. 

 

marlia orsetti

 

During the 18th century, the Orsetti brothers also constructed the elegant Palazzina dell’Orologio, with its pillared loggia situated above the portico.

 

Palazzina dellìOrologio_Villa Reale

It was around this time, in 1806, that Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister and Princess of Lucca, bought the property. From this point on, the Villa took the name “Reale” (Royal) from Elisa’s title as Queen of Etruria. The Princess had a strong bond with the residence in Marlia, proceeding with major works which transformed the structure of the building and the gardens. Shortly after the purchase, the Princess incorporated the Villa del Vescovo into the estate, and modernised the façade of the ancient Orsetti Palazzo in a neoclassical style. The entrance to the property was moved laterally, along with the creation of an impressive semicircular space, flanked by two small matching buildings designed by the architect Lazzarini. The Park was also partially redesigned in line with the 18th century fashion for English gardens. The most significant change was the elongation of perspective in the space in front of the Villa. This is characterised by a slight incline to highlight a sense of movement, as per the Romantic taste. The Park of Villa Reale was also adorned with statues and vases created with precious white marble from the Eugeniana Academy of Carrara.

Carrara Marble

The Lemonia with 200 Citrus

 

Elisa had to leave the kingdom in February 1814, after the fall of Napoleon. The Princedom of Lucca was transformed into the Duchy, assigned to Carlo Ludovico of Bourbon, and to the mother of Maria Luisa Infanta of Spain. Villa Reale then became the summer residence of the new court, who delighted in organising splendid dances, often hosting distinguished individuals, noblemen and royalty. In 1847, Carlo Ludovico of Bourbon abdicated, bringing an end to Lucca’s political autonomy, when it was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In the second half of the 1800s, the historic residence passed into the hands of the King of Italy, becoming the property of Vittorio Emanuele II, who decided to transfer it to Penelope Carolina, the widow of Carlo of Bourbon, Prince of Capua. When she died in 1882, the estate was passed to the two children, Vittoria Augusta and Francesco Carlo, whose mental illness earned him the name “The Mad Prince”. When his sister Vittoria died, the prince was aided by a guardian who dealt with the management of the family property. The Villa Reale estate was put up for sale. Many items of furniture were sold at auction, and many trees within the Park were cut down for timber.

 

Teatro Verzura_Villa Reale

 

The Count and Countess Pecci-Blunt bought the estate in 1923. The next year they commissioned the famous French architect Jacques Greber for the restoration of the Park and gardens, with the aim of uniting tradition and innovation. Woodland, streams, a lake, and other bucolic features were created to complete and enrich the existing romantic picture created by the classic Italian gardens.

The Villa Reale Lucca

Almost a century later, in 2015, a young Swiss couple bought the by then neglected estate, having fallen hopelessly in love with it. A mere two months later, a terrible storm hit the estate and uprooted many centuries-old trees, complicating the ongoing renovation of the park. Despite the numerous difficulties, the owners decided to accept the challenge of bringing the Villa Reale back to its former glory, initiating significant restoration.

 

 

 

 

Visit us & Villa Reale www.tuscanyholiday-casaverde.com an Hour from Lucca Florence Pisa & the Coast

See Villa Reale @ www.parcovillareale.it

Entry to the Park 8 Euros’ (The Villa is not open to the public at the moment.)

 

From CASA VERDE near LUCCA

Casa Verde Vellano near Lucca

February 2, 2018

A New Look Around Casa Verde Apartment, Vellano

A New Look Around Casa Verde

Here are some photographs showing the changes we have made to our lovely Apartment here at Casa Verde in recent times.

Sitting area with log fire (stufa).

These photographs will soon be updated on our own website, www.tuscanyholidays-casaverde.com , however we have already been changed on other sites where Casa Verde is advertised and listed. We are so looking forward to another great holiday season with guests from around the world. It is a great pleasure for us to greet so many interesting people and helping to provide them with a home-from-home and to enjoy the fabulous visitor attractions at Florence, with its art culture, Pisa with the astounding Leaning Tower, Lucca and its medieval center and stupendous walls , Viareggio with the beach, at the foot of the Massa-Cararra Mountains. All this here in Tuscany within an hour of Casa Verde.

Remember it is always costs you less to book with us direct from our own website.

Twin Bedroom

Chestnut Room

Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Also:

Vinci the Home of Leonardo

Da Vinci’s Birthplace at Anchiano

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viareggio Carnival

 

 

 

Pescia near Vellano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volterra

 

 

Montecarlo near Lucca

 

 

January 1, 2018

Vellano Summer 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Darren Hackett @ 7:18 pm

The summer of 2017 in Tuscany will be recorded as one of the hottest and driest on record, however a memorable one at Casa Verde.  Here for the New Year is a record of the summer 2017 and we look forward to your visit here to Vellano and to our website:

www.tuscanyholidays-casaverde.com.

Vellano has had a very festive Summer too with 10 days of the local Ferragosto event at the local village center with dancing both traditional, contemporary and ever so slightly crazy.  Plus an entertaining and very popular evening with a very plausible Freddie Mercury impersonator that we all enjoyed singing along with.

 

‘Freddie Mercury’ at Ferragosto

Several Friday evenings in the Piazza at the top of the village were filled by visitors and locals alike for Pizza, music and catching up with friends and local Vellanese. Darren won first prize in the tombola, salami and cheese selection, fantastic!

Pizza in the Piazza at Vellano

The Vellanese crowd in our local Piazza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tuscan coast shimmered in the summer haze and a visit to the peninsular near Bocca del Magro, and the local town of Sarzana on the Tuscany/Ligurian border was a delight. This area provides us with outstanding vistas and views of charming villas and coves around the coast Lerici.  A Roman Villa near Lago Massacciucoli is the ancient backdrop to the lake as it looks over towards Torre del Lago and the coast, again walking in the area provides the best insights into what this location has to offer.  Walking is the theme again as we ventured to the rocky edges of Tuscan and Emilia Romagna and just over the Appennine ridge we climbed the mighty Monte Cimone, at 2165 m it is the highest peak hereabouts and mighty long climb up from Abetone through forests and then along the mountain ridge.  Most walking here, be it short or long, eventaully takes you through a beautiful olive grove somewhere, and this warm year has provided us with a bumper olive harvest at Casa Verde to savour and remember.  This olive oil is to keep us stocked maybe for several years and marks the end 0f 2017 as a long hot season that has been mightily fruitful.

Monte Cimone

 

Massaciuccoli

Bocca del Magro, Tuscan Coast

Casa Verde Olive Oil 2017

Olive Grove

Casa Verde can be seen on the hillside of this old photo

 Happy New Year from Casa Verde.

June 22, 2017

Cappuccino Rules! Early Summer in Tuscany & The Francigena

That Cappuccino !

The thorny issue of drinking a Cappuccino! When you arrive in Italy this is an issue to consider seriously. Firstly there are very few of your ‘favourite’ coffee haunts; you are unlikely to find the regular high street coffee bars found, for instance, in the UK. A bar in Italy is a community facility used by every Italian, so listen up and think about the ‘regulations’. Do not expect a Cappuccino with the extras of straws, cream, cocoa, chocolate chips, strawberries or whatever…..they do not exist.  A Cappuccino will only cost you 1.20 from the bar (most bars do not have waiter service and based and our experience from long ago taking a seat and waiting for one is fruitless); collect from the bar and take a seat.  In some tourist areas of Lucca and Florence they will charge you for taking a seat, but it is not usual anywhere else. Do as the Italians do if you wish and just drink it at the bar, take your pastry in a paper knapkin and dip it in the froth if you wish.  Remember a cappuccino is a breakfast drink here, so Italians do not take one after 11 am.  Indeed the drinking of milk in any form is considered bad for the digestion after lunchtime..uhm!  Other coffee varieties are simple and few, an espresso (anytime of the day), an americano (a large coffee with milk), a macchiato (an espresso with a small amount of steamed milk) taken up to lunch and that is about it, it is cheap, functional, simple and a pleasurable ritual….join in!

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The Second Stage – Via Francigena – The Alps

Meanwhile the next stage of our Via Francigena walk continued in the spectacular Valle d’Aosta and the Italian Alps, from Great St.Bernard’s Pass to Ivrea.

This was an exacting stage of our walk to Rome but also one of great and varied scenery albeit that the back drop was always the snow topped mountains with the stunning and rugged alpine villages that we walked through on the way down to the Piedmonte valley near Turin.

Bourg St Rhemy

Scaling the final part of the mountain up to St. Bernard’s Pass (the road was still closed for the winter and we could not begin the walk from the top), we were met by an 8 metre wall of snow at the Pass in misty freezing temperatures 500 metres from the Italian border.

Road to Nowhere!

We then began our decent and spent the last few days climbing steep hillsides in 30 degree heat with a 10 kilo pack…what wonderful madness; exacting but rewarding. We walked through many of the steep terraced vineyards that line the Aosta valley as it descends from Aosta itself, fountains in small quiet squares ensured a plentiful supply of water for the thirsty journey.

Window boxes full of spring flowers added to the colour of the journey, goats and cows with bells around their necks providing the soundscape to our footsteps on this ancient road. The central point of the valley is the old Roman staging post of Aosta with a number of Roman remains still demonstrating the importance of the town at the point where three alpine passes descend into the valley. The town is often by-passed by travellers on the motorway down form Mont Blanc, but is definitely a town worth visiting. Along the valley there are also numerous romantic-looking castles and forts that guard and protect the entrance to the Italian peninsula.

Looking Towards Monte Bianco      )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

 

Pont St. Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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& in Vellano?

Meanwhile back in the Village in Tuscany and the lovely hills of the Pesciatina Svizzeria the weather is hotter and drier than usual for early summer but we have still enjoyed the perfumes of the plants at this time year, the jasmine and the lilies in particular.

The villages and hills already seem quieter and sleepier as the terraces change from green to light brown and the cutting, strimming of grass and vegetation begins to decrease.

Casa Verde – www.tuscanyholidays-casaverde.com

The lovely nearby villages are wonderful for an early morning stroll in the incredible light of the rising day, among the olive groves and narrow streets before we pause and take in our pastry and cappuccino at the civilised hour of 10 am precisely.

 

 

 

 

All Hot & Dry at Casa Verde

 

 

 

 

Olives a concern as they may drop their olives if the dry weather continues!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The River Pescia Running Low!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 31, 2017

Pistoia Italian City of Culture 2017

The city is small but has a number of wonderful historical features.  In particular the splendid romanesque ‘duomo’, with attached to it one of the loveliest baptistries in Italy.  The grand piazza in which the cathedral stands in it’s unpretentious corner will be host to many as the summer events on offer this year.   This includes the annual Pistoia Blues Festival, with the band Jesus and Mary Chain, as well as opera and ballet.  Outdoor concerts include The Chorus of Maggio Musicale of Florence, The Royal Philaharmonic Orchestra and British singer Tom Odell. Here is a link to the many events on offer here through the year….www.pistoia17.it/en/.

Pistoia City of Culture 2017 This year our provincial capital Pistoia is celebrating it’s status as Italian City of Culture 2017 www.pistoia17.it.  This is a highly prestigious event  for our local city that sits in the shadow of it’s much more famous neighbours Florence and Pisa.  Pistoia is only a 40 minutes drive from Casa Verde, either by the beautiful mountain route across Svizzeria Pesciatina above Vellano; or otherwise down the valley to Pescia and a quick run along the Autostrada.

Pistoia has many good restaurants in the old city centre, a great place to wander and explore with some fine Gelaterie. In the summer along the many old side streets the dining tables outdoors create a special, friendly and intimate atmosphere to enjoy your evening passeggiata, followed by delicious local food.

The other highlights of the city also include the lovely Romanesque church of San Bartolomeo, with a splendid carved pulpit from 125o by Guido da Como.  The Ospedale del Ceppo with a famous tiled frieze above the colonnaded portico by Andrea della Robbia.  Close by the Ospedale marks the entrance to the Pistoia Sottoterreneo– these are the underground passages under the city.  These vaults and cellars existed for the purpose of protecting the city from flooding due to the large river beds on which it was built, so they provided storage, warehouse, workshops, a sewage system and perhaps escapes from invaders even.

Underground Pistoia

Underground Pistoia

They even hold concerts in the vaults from time to time!

The Fondazione Marino Marini celebrates the work of the local artist and contemporary sculptur Marino Marini, who has a museum in Florence but is a native of the city.  Pistoia is a city of flowers and plants and all to the south in the flat marshlands, there thousands of acres of plants nurseries selling plants to all over the world.  To the north of the City there are the lower and higher Appenines reaching all the way to walking paths and the ski resorts at Abetone.

 

 

The Apennines Pistoia

If you have been to Tuscany before and missed this quiet neighbour to the more famous places in the area then now is the time to go.

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Pistoia City of Culture 2017: Click Here: www.pistoia17.it

Open Week’s great video: Click Here: Open Week

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