Podere La Serra is a lovely quiet, private villa, where you can spend lazy days gazing at the view and enjoying the pool. However, for the more adventurous our local area offers lots of interesting day trips, here are just a few:
Pisa – an hour’s drive from the villa is beautiful Pisa, of course the Leaning Tower is a must visit, but you can also explore the Duomo, the Battistero, Piazza dei Miracoli and all sorts of interesting museums. Plus good pizza and lots of cafes and bars to watch the world go by.
Lucca – 50 minutes drive from La Serra is the lovely medieval walled town of Lucca. Every June/July Lucca holds a fantastic music festival with big name acts from Tom Jones to Stevie Wonder all performing throughout the early summer months. These days you can buy ticketsin advance online and find out what’s coming up – we used to have to visit one particular music shop and read their posters! Lucca is also the home of Puccini, and there are wonderful art galleries as well as regular concerts. You can hire bikes (even electric ones if you wish) to cycle round the ancient walls or just potter around the boutique shops and cafes of the town itself.
Florence – an hour and a half from the house is Florence, plenty to see and do of course! Visit the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery, climb the Duomo, admire the Basilica di Santa Croce and the Palazzo Vecchio and soak up the culture and atmosphere of this fantastic city. Always lots going on, great shopping and so much to see.
Cinque Terre – our local world heritage site, the Cinque Terre is just 40 minutes drive from the villa and is an absolutely wonderful visit. Catch the water taxi from Lerici or the train from La Spezia, then explore these 5 picturesque cliffside villages with their charming multicolour houses, higgledy piggledy alleyways and gorgeous restaurants. If you’re feeling really brave there’s an exquisite diving wreck just off the coastline and you can hire scuba gear in the villages to explore. You can buy a multi-ticket which covers you on the water taxi & trains, and combining this with the Lovers’ Walk (if it’s open) makes for a fun and varied day.
Lerici – 40 minutes from La Serra this seaside town has 2 beaches, one of which is free, the other with comfy sun loungers and shades. Here you can stroll along the sea front to the harbour and eat amazing food at the fish restaurants, sitting outside in the main square. There are playgrounds, a weekly market, and you can catch the water taxi out to the Cinque Terre or Portovenere.
San Terenzo – 40 minutes from the villa, and next door to Lerici, is San Terenzo, a perfect little beach resort with a little castle, beach, playground and great restaurants, as well as a weekly market.
Portovenere – the ‘gateway to the Cinqueterre’, Portovenere is drivable but better to arrive in the water taxi from Lerici, just for the fun of it! Lots of great restaurants, boat trips out to secret beaches, a castle, rocks to climb and cocktail bars… you can hire a boat and explore the area yourself or carry on with the water taxi to the Cinque Terre which is just round the corner.
Equiterme – 40 minutes from La Serra is this fantastic cave complex and health spa. Once the home of cave bears and neanderthal man there’s a museum and a wonderful guided tour of the magical caves, that lasts for an hour. They do specify that the tour is not for the mobility impaired, pregnant or children under 3 and all guests must wear trainers. One of our favourite restaurants is on the way back from Equiterme – Da Remo – best antipasti in the region.
Verrucola – 10 minutes drive from the villa is this medieval walled village where you can find a fantastic little restaurant run by our friend Mauro, they do a ‘workers lunch’ but also have a menu and in the evening they do great tagliata and pizzas.
Aulla – 20 minutes drive, our biggest local town has banks, a large playground, large supermarkets and plenty of restaurants, including our favourite – Pasquinos.
Fivizzano – 10 minutes drive just down the hill from the villa, Fivizzano has an excellent hospital, banks, delis, a supermarket, a weekly market and lots of bars and restaurants. It’s rather lovely to pop into Fivizzano for breakfast and sit out at one of the cafes watching Italian life go by.