Right now I’m in the middle of planning our Thailand trip set for this September (is this seriously real life?) and while researching a place to stay I find myself repeating in my mind “I want La Torre, I just want to stay in La Torre again.” I don’t know if a La Torre experience exists in Thailand, but I’m not going to stop researching until I find something as close to it as possible.
While planning our trip I emailed back and forth with a girl who has spent time living in Italy, and she suggested I look into staying at an agriturismo at some point during our trip. Agriturismi are working farms described really well by About.com:
Agriturismo – a combination of the words for “agriculture” and “tourism” in Italian – is a style of vacationing in farm house resorts codified into Italian law in 1985. An agriturismo vacation is suitable for the whole family and some places even be very romantic or luxurious. An Italian agriturismo will usually serve foods to guests prepared from raw materials produced on the farm or at least locally. Some will allow the guest to actually participate in the activities surrounding the farm. Despite the rural nature of the lodging, one might expect a rustic experience; yet many agriturismi (the plural form of agriturismo) feature rather luxurious accommodation as well as swimming pools.
A farm out in the middle of nowhere that would serve me homemade food grown on the property and in the surrounding area? Hello dream vacation experience, nice to meet you. Unfortunately all of the agristurismi my friend recommended were unavailable during our available dates. I spent hours and hours researching, and decided to take a chance on a tiny place in an area of Tuscany known as Bagni di Lucca called La Torre. Paolo and Laura quit their 9-5 office jobs, bought a run-down property in the middle of the Tuscan countryside, and spent years restoring the property to its present state. As if the whole quit-your-job-and-start-a-bed-and-breakfast part of the story wasn’t romantic enough, they were actually married in the small ancient chapel on the property in 2005.
As you already know from my opening paragraph, La Torre was heaven and I want every vacation experience to be an exact replica of that marvelous time from now on. I hope my pictures can do it justice in some small way.
The view from the property
The building where our room was located
At La Torre you have the option of staying in either an apartment, or a room. We stayed in a small room, accessed by a steep set of stairs with a thick rope as a guardrail, and a bathroom set up with everything you need (toiletries and hairdryer).
Some of the bugs were big, but we never had any make their way into our room
The computer room (ancient computer with ancient internet speeds), the apartment house, and a playground.
This picture is for my dad. Look dad, they use drip irrigation!
Along with the breathtaking views we had two of the best dinners of my life. Paolo acts as waiter, giving you several choices for each course prepared downstairs. Over two dinners we ate:
Eggplant in oil
Mixed vegetable crostini
Porcini mushroom pasta
Panna cotta with chocolate
Panna cotta with fruit
Salami with wild boar
Lucca specialty meat, starts with a B
Beans and onions
Cheese and sausage
Toasted polenta with mushrooms
Spinach and cheese ravioli with butter sage sauce
Zucchine in green pasta
Butter fried potatoes
Panna cotta with fruit
Highlights include the porcini mushroom pasta, salumi, spinach and cheese ravioli with butter sage sauce, and the panna cotta with fruit. If you go, and they have the panna cotta with fruit. GET IT. Dinner is 20 euros per person, and in my opinion worth much more.
Breakfast. Delicious as well.
This is the kind of place you go to relax and drink in nature. We did some light hiking (which injured TH’s achilles tendon and put a damper on the rest of our trip, unfortunately) and there is a dark and scary cave you can explore if you’re not a scaredy-cat like me.
Doggy graves. A very sweet tribute.
On our last morning there I woke up before sunrise to spend some time photographing the property in the soft light of early morning. I plan to wake before sunrise and do a photo walk wherever we travel from now on. The memory is a cherished one of mine.
As I was about to walk back into the door to our room, I looked back and saw the sun breaking through the clouds in this very ethereal way. My photographs don’t do it justice, but it was certainly majestic.
If I am lucky, very very lucky, I will return here again and bask in the beauty and the bounty of La Torre.