Tuscany for all the family – Part 2

Celle After our great adventure through France and Switzerland we finally arrived at the tiny hamlet of Celle Dei Puccini, perched on the mountainside a few miles from Lucca. Its claim to fame is as the ancestral home of the composer Giocomo Puccini and the village boasts a small museum and hosts summer concerts in his honour.

Owners Ken & Gill Clay have brought this small hamlet back to life. They came across their first dilapidated property whilst on holiday in the area. They couldn’t resist the temptation of living in such a beautiful spot, and decided then and there to renovate and move in.

As other houses became available, all needing a huge amount of love and attention, they slowly expanded, adding landscaped gardens, a croquet lawn and a heated swimming pool, and building up a self-catering holiday home business.

They now have 5 individual dwellings, all tastefully restored and extremely comfortable. Each one has amazing views across the mountains, and each is a little different. Designed with families in mind, cots are available and some properties have built in stair gates.

Celle Celle offers great walking opportunities with trails leading directly from the village. The hills of Lucca, Pescaglia and the Garfagnana region are all on the doorstep. It is a sleepy place and away from the road that winds up the mountain, so a safe haven for children to run around and explore.

Lucca is half an hour away by car and is a pretty town with a good selection of bars, restaurants and shops. With children in tow we found an excellent way of seeing the city was to hire bikes and cycle around the city walls. An hours hire is €5-6 and in an hour you may be able to do 2 circuits – if you are fit enough!

This is definitely Puccini country and in Lucca concerts are often held, particularly in summer months, and not all classical, as Elton John and Paul McCartney have been known to perform in the past.

Further afield is Pisa, half an hour by train, taking the train is the best way to visit as it saves worrying about parking. Everyone loves having their photo taken beside the tower and you will jostle for the best position with hundreds of others.

A full day excursion would be to Florence, about 1-½ hours by train and guaranteed to be an unforgettable day out. There is so much to see that it is worth planning in advance. Avoid going on a Monday as many museums are closed. Be prepared for crowds and queues at all the major sites, but this is a small price to pay for a visit to such an amazing city.

An important tip for Italian train journeys – once you have your ticket you MUST validate it in the machine by the platform, otherwise you may incur an on the spot fine.

Lucca Finally one thing the Italians love is to eat and in this part of Italy the food is memorable.

We all enjoyed a Sunday lunch in a remote hilltop restaurant which lasted all afternoon and consisted of 7 courses for just €21 per person including drinks, coffee and obligatory Grappa.

Small family run restaurants are hidden away, but well known to the locals and to Gill & Ken, who can give you many recommendations and delicious pizzas, costing about €7, are available everywhere.

Celle is a definite recommendation for any age,  as we proved – from 5 to 80.

•  Read Part 1: Planning

263 people found this helpful
16709

Share Article:

Sally Dowling

Travel writer

Leave a comment

*

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

From a restored mansion in the Scottish Highlands to a stylish villa in Southern Spain, becoming an HPB Bondholder allows…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.