VILLAGE TREASURES of the Lucca hills - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Led by our friend Paola (see her biography below). Many little hidden villages in the Lucca area are rich with treasures. The locals are proud of their villages, with centuries of tradition underpinning their way of life. This tour gives you the opportunity to be part of their world for one day, to discover how this aspect of Italian culture has been well-preserved, far from the typical tourist trek.



This tour takes you to a beautiful valley where you'll visit three villages, each more beautiful than the next, and each with its own treasure of local culture. It is like a trip back in time and we highly recommend this tour. You'll visit...
(1) The “Lodovica” provincial road on your way to the “Pedogna” valley.
(2) A small village to see "the smallest theatre in the world," recently restored by the Italian Environmental Fund.
(3) A memorable guided visit to another small medieval village with twisting stone steets so small that the locals park their cars below the village and walk. Here, you'll visit another hidde gem, the museum of chestnut and rural culture.
(4) Lunch of very traditional cuisine in a typical family-run restaurant (price not included).
(5) Visit another really beautiful tiny village, the birthplace of the most famous opera composer of all time, Giacomo Puccini. Here is a national Puccini museum, with the original Puccini family furnishings of 1700, a splendid example of the old country kitchens of that period, and the piano where Puccini composed part of Madama Butterfly and many other treasures, including a rich collection of autographed letters.
This tour lasts about 6 hours and half, from 10,30 a.m. Until 5,00 p.m. Paola will accompany you throughout.



Paola is a friend who was born in Tuscany and lives in Lucca with her husband, a journalist, and their young son. She spent 20 years in the fashion industry, becoming fluent in English, and meeting people from all over the world, who all wanted to visit her in Lucca. She enjoyed showing them her town so much that she went back to school and graduated from the Italian school for tour leaders and operators. She has been leading groups for 5 years, and her philosophy is to show others what she likes to find when she travels: not only the important monuments, but also the 'real' life of the Italy, its local people and culture.


Price include private driver (if requested) and guide to accompany you throughout. Not included is price of lunch, miniature theater entrance or Puccini Museum entrance (about 5euros). The Chestnut Museum has a free entrance – but a few euro donation is welcome for the museum.




We are a group of 8 adults who enjoy cooking and drinking wine. What a perfect match to Villa Aquilea! The cooking class and pizza night with James were highlights at the villa, and "Butterfly" restaurant was spectacular! We enjoyed other culinary finds on our day trips in the area. The view from the villa is the best in Tuscany!

- Cindy B, Rochester Minnesota, guest 2010

My husband and I visited the Villa last August and I still can't believe the vivid memories of the house, flowers, the pool and the wonderful people in the surrounding town of Lucca. I can actually say to friends that I cooked an Italian meal in Tuscany. We visited Florence and Pisa during the day and then cmae back to this beautiful place in the evening. We watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun while visiting and then looked around and it was not a movie it was real. We would recommend the experience to anyone.

- Bob and Edna P, Palatine, Illinois, guests 2009