- 4 bedrooms
- 3 bathrooms
- Sleeps 8
Description from the owner
Perfect for up to 8 guests (and we can open up another 2 bedrooms for larger groups, please write). NBC's Today Show rented and filmed Villa Aquilea for a segment about life in the Tuscany countryside.
The villa's website and reviews on FlipKey have many letters and notes from guests who have vacationed at Villa Aquilea. "I have built this vacation up in my mind for years and never imagined that the actual trip could surpass my dreams. This place is beautifulâ€¦" Jennifer B., St. Louis (guest at Villa Aquilea)
If you want to organize a vacation in Tuscany with your friends or family, you can rent this villa near Lucca as... your base, and day trip to the best of Tuscany.
(1) Sleeps groups of up to eight
(2) Perfect location in Italy near the gorgeous medieval city of Lucca, Tuscany. Take easy day trips to visit Lucca, Florence, Pisa and the seaside villages of the Cinque Terre
(3) Affordable prices are for rental of the whole villa, pool and grounds for a week, and the experience surpasses any hotel
(4) On a beautiful Italian hillside of olive groves and vineyards, with spectacular views
(5) Four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, super kitchen, gardens, terraces, vine-covered pergolas, and
(6) A private beautiful infinity swimming pool.Read more
About the manager
James R Edmunds, DWL +1 708-759-8115 Full profile
Response rate: 100%
Response time: Within a day
Calendar updated: 10 days ago
Overall rating: 5.0 / 5.0 based on 107 reviews and 10 properties
Villa Aquilea (antique villa & pool) Lucca Tuscany
Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Additional Location Information
In Aquilea, just north of Lucca, in the first foothills
Lucca - 20 minutes
Pisa and Pisa airport - 45 minutes
Florence airport - 1 hour
Florence - 75 minutes
Cinque Terre - 90 minutes
Vinci - 1 hour
Volterra - 75 minutes
Abetone ski resort - 1 hour
Viareggio seaside - 50 minutes
Last updated on September 09, 2014
Not available for your dates? Check availability for 470 other Lucca rentalsCheck Availability for Lucca
Rates shown in $ USD
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- Internet Access
- Outdoor Grill
- Full range
- Full fridge
- Parking space
- Pet friendly - ask
- Smoking allowed - yes
- Suitable for children - yes
- Suitable for the elderly - ask
- Wheelchair accessible - no
What Past Guests Are Saying
Have you stayed here? Write a review
55 guest reviews
100% of guests would stay again
A Stay in Paradise
My family rented out Villa aquilea for two weeks. These two weeks were paradise. We had one of the best views of all of Tuscany! It was quite spacious, lots of sleeping area, many bathrooms and had a great vibe to the place.
James was extremely helpful in giving directions to the villa and explaining the history behind it. He was always there when you needed help and gave great advice on places to visit.
At the bottom of the hill is a great little village with wonderful local cuisine; extremely nice people.
My family had a lovely time, we felt we were our home away from home. It was very hard to leave what felt like paradise!
Villa aquilea has given us beautiful memories...
Our group of 8 (all mid 50's)had a fantastic one week stay recently at Villa aquilea. The villa was spacious, clean, homey and beautiful inside and out. We did day trips from the villa to Lucca, Siena, Florence, Viareggio, Cinque Terre and Pisa but always made sure we were back to enjoy some late afteroon sun on the terrace at the villa. We would stop at the Esselunga for our groceries and then another stop at the hardware store for our wine! The "cooks" in our group loved the well equipped modern kitchen and we enjoyed our evenings around the kitchen table planning our next day adventures. The evening views of the twinkling lights from the towns were just as enjoyable as the spectacular views during the day. We all slept great in the Villa..spacious bedrooms with very comfortable beds and linens and very rare to hear any noises. We had cyclists in our group and they loved their rides in the Tuscan area and even managed to cycle up and down the hill to and from the villa.(without stopping I might add!) Be sure to have James fill you in on the history of the villa and area..it makes it even more special! James also arranged for two local girls to give us a cooking lesson and that evening was a highlight of our stay. He also set up a pizza party for us and we enjoyed watching the outdoor oven being fired up and what followed...lots of pizza! Enjoyed the different varieties and pizza back home will never compare! Because we only had one day in Florence, James was very helpful in giving us suggestions of what to see with our limited time. Before the trip he was most helpful in answering any questions and always responded promptly to my emails.
Our group will highly recommend Villa aquilea to our friends and hope that maybe they invite us as we all want to come back! The Villa is in such a great location and there is so much to do and see in the area and we ran out of time. Thanks James and Villa aquilea for a trip we will always remember with very fond memories!
La familia en Italia
We took our 4 adult children and their "others" on a one week trip to Italy, using Villa aquilea as our base. Ten people is a lot of people to please, but everyone one of us thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The villa was large enough that each of us could carve out private, quiet space no matter what other activities were going on. The pool is not only beautiful, it is a requirement in the hear of the summer, and we spent hours laughing and having our own "summer olympics" in the water. The location is excellent - the views superb - and only a short drive to the train station for very speedy journeys to Pisa and Florence; or drives into the alps.
We had a chef come and give us a cooking class...which was superb! Were there downsides? Just to be balanced, let me think. One should know that the drive up the hill to the villa should not be done after a drink or two; but truly, that is the only thing I can think of. Thank you, James, Alessandra and Tamara, and Fredericka, for helping us plan and enjoy this trip.
I tried for years to plan a trip to Italy, but I always wound up getting intimidated or frustrated and I would put it on the back burner for another year. Friends told me about a trip they took to Villa aquilea and I knew this was the solution! Our group consisted of ten people, 6 adults and 4 teenage girls, with ages from 16-69! We all had a Great time! The Villa was beautiful and plenty big enough. The town of Lucca is a gem. We loved going to Lucca so much that we actually cancelled a day trip somewhere else to have one more day in Lucca. Highlights of our trip included the walking tour of Florence with the beautiful and intelligent alessandra(planned by James), Cinque Terre and the beautiful sea views, the wood fired pizza party at the villa(planned by James) which was so fun and so delicious, drinking homemade wine and singing on the terrace of the villa, and meeting some of our Italian neighbors who came by to visit! Having James as a resource was invaluable! We plan to go back to Italy in the near future and we will absolutely rent and plan our trip through James!
Barbara Budde (sister of Don Weber
St. Louis, Missouri
A Dream Week
What an Ideal Home for our family to share for a perfect week in May 2011!
Three generations shared the beautiful Villa. We arrived at different times and each group was thrilled to enjoy such a perfect venue. The home with its large common rooms and perfectly appointed guest rooms suited our group. The younger ones loved the pool and we all enjoyed the beautiful, manicured grounds.
The highlight of our visit was our oldest grandson proposing to his girl friend on the terrace. We staged a reenactment to share.
I will forward a picture under sseparate cover.
New Madrid, MO
Have taken several trips to Italy but never truly experienced
Tuscany like this! What a fantastic villa! The trips into Lucca for shopping and dining! The views from the vine covered patio- especially at night! The vineyards and olive orchards right out our bedroom window! A vacation that stands head and shoulders above all others!
Exceptional Villa Vacation
By far the best vacation we have ever had. Our family consisted of my wife and me, three of our adult children and 4 grandchildren. We were there for 2 weeks. Villa was terrific, furnished with everything you needed, great location for daily trips to other great cities. Swimming pool was super for the grandkids. James Edmunds was very easy to work with and had all the answers to our questions. A once in a lifetime experience.
outside New York City
A pretty part of Tuscany
It took one year to plan a two week vacation for nine people. However, I wish it took two weeks of planning for a one year vacation instead! Staying at Villa aquilea was a dream come true. It was certainly a vacation that will never be duplicated or forgotten. James is the ultimate innkeeper. We can't
thank him enough for all that he did for us and our families. He certainly added in making our stay so unique. We were greeted at the Villa with fresh baked bread, homemade olive oil, fresh flowers and a
warm smile. This welcome set the pace for the next 13 days. We felt as if we were the very first guests ever to stay at the house. Upon entering the villa this five hundred year old farmhouse is jaw-dropping. Its location sits high above the village of Lucca and has outstanding vistas all throughout the day. We happened to have a full moon while we were there and it was spectacular. The grounds surrounding the farmhouse are impeccably kept; olive trees, oranges, wisteria, infinity pool, ancient ruins, to mention a few. My mind and my thoughts are forever going back to the pizza making party, the drive up and down from the villa, the trip to the blacksmith, Alessandra and Paola, the wine from the hardware store and the warm hospitality we all received from James. I hope I will be blessed again with a return trip some time soon.
Ein rundum gelungener aufenthalt. Danke!
Wir k?nnen es nur weiterempfehlen. Wir kommen wieder.
This is an amazing place--would stay here again in a heartbeat!
This is an incredible place to stay--I can't say enough good things. Stayed there with eight other friends for a week, and it was perfect. Plenty of room for everyone, big kitchen, fantastic outdoor space, gorgeous pool that overlooks Tuscany. Lucca is a great town, and we loved being so close. The villa is pretty centrally located--we went to Florence one day, Cinque Terre another and Chianti another. Frankly, we all wish we just would have stayed put as the house was so nice. The owners are amazing--wonderfully helpful and kind. We had a pizza party the first night using the villa's 100-year old brick oven, and it still goes down as one of our best nights.
St. Louis, MO
Beautiful views in a very Tuscan setting. Great accomidations. Jim was a wounder host and went out of way to make our trip a great experience. Pizza night was a blast.
Lake Ozark, MO
Absolutely beautiful surroundings and gracious host
A memorable experience in a part of the world that needs to be explored. The area is extremely friendly and offers travelers interesting past, present and future - no matter the type of traveler you are. The Villa offers learning experiences along with rest and relaxation, shopping, and culture - whatever you choose. Definitely want to return in the future.
Perfect Tuscan Retreat
I can't say enough good things about my stay at Villa aquilea. I travelled there in May 2007 with 8 girlfriends and we had a perfect week at the Villa, my only regret is that we didn't stay for two weeks. Katie and Jim were welcoming and very attentive to our needs. We had a pizza party in the wood-burning oven out back and all of us felt that this was our favorite night of the trip. Though the drive up the hill was a bit daunting at first, we were zipping up and down by the end of the week. It was a great homebase and we did day trips to Florence, Lucca and Cinque Terrre. Staying around the villa was wonderful too; just exploring the little towns and beautiful countryside. I can't wait to get back!
New York, NY
10 times better than the website appeared...
I think we're all used to hotels and vacation destinations taking carefully angled photos to misrepresent the actual quality of the location.
My jaw hit the floor when we finally arrived at Villa aquilea when I realized it was perched high (900 feet) above the valley floor below with expansive views of Ponte di Moriano and other villages below. The views from the infinity edge pool (both in the pool and under the grapevine wrapped canopy) were also much better than I had anticipated.
The villa comfortably slept our large crew of 9 adults and 2 children (having 2 kitchens and 2 washing machines was key).
Physical structure and views aside, James was an unbelieveably gracious host helping us arrange day trips to Florence, Pisa and Cinque Terre, assisting in our use of the villa's wood fired pizza oven as well as suggesting magnificent local restaurants and shops (Vanny Wines wine tasting in Lucca is a can't miss).
You will not be disappointed if you choose to book...
(New York, New York)
A Midwest Family of 6
A Lovely Week at Villa aquilea
We have returned home from a fantastic week in Tuscany wishing that we had spent two weeks in Tuscany! The Villa aquilea was the perfect place for our busy family of 6 (2 adults and 4 kids: 16, 14, 12, 8) to relax, unwind, and enjoy the beauty of the Villa. Thanks to the loving care that James and Katie have put into this property, we hated to leave!
Upon our arrival, we received a great orientation about the area and the rich history of the Villa. We were also given cell phones and a preprogrammed GPS (very helpful!) to use for the week. Thanks to Grazia, we had a delicious meal delivered to the villa to enjoy our first night. This was money well spent as we were tired from our long trip.
We took day trips to Lucca (very close), Florence, Pisa and Cinque Terre. James has all of the directions for these destinations at the villa. We enjoyed all of the day trips, but hated to leave the beautiful villa. After we returned from our day trips, the kids headed straight for the infinity pool with a view that is beyond words.
When we travel, we really enjoy getting to know the people who live in the area and seeing how they live. We enjoyed using our limited Italian to talk to the neighbors...they were very friendly and kind...one even brought us fresh figs from her garden...yum! Another group invited me to sit down with them as I was returning from my morning run.
A highlight of the trip was the pizza party at the villa. James fired up the pizza oven and taught us how to make the best pizza that we have ever had. It was fun to chat with him about life in Italy...a night that we will always remember.
Finally, we all slept like babies at the villa...it is quiet! The only sounds you hear in the morning are birds, roosters and an occasional dog barking...wonderful! The house stays very cool thanks to the thick walls. The beds were extremely comfortable with cool linen sheets.
We loved our visit and hope to stay at the Villa aquilea again.
Amazing villa & amazing memories!
Travelled to Villa aquilea with my husband's family in May 2010 and had an incredible time. The wine, the food, the setting, the view, and most of all, the villa itself and our wonderful host, made the trip one I'll never forget. It is a stunning house on stunning grounds, and although we didn't get a chance to enjoy the pool on this go-round (too much shopping and eating!), it was amazing. We will definitely recommend the villa to friends and family and are hoping for a return trip, as well!
Magical Week in aquilea
Our week in aquilea was magical in many respects. The most magical was the view we enjoyed along with the wonderful friends we went with. Our cooking class was definitely a highlight. The guys in our group will talk about the trip to the blacksmith forever!!
Foodies love it!
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 Jim 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!
Churchton, Maryland, USA
The vacation of a lifetime
This was our fourth visit to Villa Aquilea and, each time, we are further captivated by the serenity and comfort of this wonderful Tuscany gem. The house is spacious yet cozy and is beautifully furnished with all the amenities one could possibly need to enjoy a wonderful Italian holiday. The views of the valley from the house are stunning and there are marvelous places to explore on foot, bicycle or auto in the surrounding hillsides. Our hosts, James and Katie, have always gone above and beyond in making us feel right at home and provided much welcomed assistance in suggesting day trips and delicious local restaurants to visit. They also organized a fabulous "pizza night" by firing up Villa Aquilea's original brick oven and letting us prepare our own delicious pies. A unique Italian experience! For those who love to cook, the kitchen is well equipped and a large grocery store (Esselunga)is a 15 minute ride by car. Closer to the house in the village of Ponte a Moriano is a fabulous butcher shop, bakery and delicious coffee bar, all places not to be missed!
If you have the opportunity, plan your visit during the olive harvest. We had the pleasure of joining this centuries old tradition which included spreading the nets and "raking" the olive trees to capture the abundant fruit. The weather was superb and views across the hillsides (and our occasional wine and cheese breaks!)rejuvenated us as we moved from tree to tree. James then welcomed us to join him at the olive mill and witness the tranformation into oil. With warm bread in hand, we watched the olives churn through production and patiently waited for the delicious oil to pore from the spout. What a unique and fabulous way to experience Italian traditions and an experience that we will never forget! We hope to be back many times more!
Great week at Villa Aquilea
James and Katie did an outstanding job making our stay at the villa
absolutely superb. Time and again, all week long, they organized
activities == teaching us how to make pizza in the 500-year-old stone
oven in the rear of the villa, taking us up to meet a blacksmith/artisan
whose family forge had been operating for hundreds of years, and
connecting us with a local cook who prepard a fantastic Italian meal.
In the evenings, we enjoyed a variety of Italian wines looking out over
the city lights of Lucca and Florence from the patio. The
accommodations were first class -- and there was so much to see and do.
Our group of five couples found this the best week in over 15 years of
annual get togethers.
Enjoyed our stay at Villa Aquilea!
We wanted to thank you both for introducing us to your special part of the world and sharing it with us. All of us had such a wonderful time and can’t wait to relive it over and over again when we put all our photos together. We will definitely share them with you.
I don’t know if Gratzia and Ana Rita share recipes, but if they do, I would love their recipe for their Panzella……I have started looking for a recipe that looks the same, but none of the ones I have found so far have the tuna in them. The entire meal they prepared was unforgettable.
The two of you have done an amazing job in restoring the villa…..it’s easy to see why everyone who come there falls in love with it.
Thanks for a wonderful vacation….loved it
Dom and Marianne Leavitt
Christina, John, Alex, Elise & Kate
Park Ridge, Illinois
The Trip Our Kids Never Stop Talking About
Our stay at Katie and Jim's villa is the trip we and our three kids -- then ages 13, 12, and 8 -- still talk about today. The kids spent leisurely days swimming in the villa's infinity pool while we parents relaxed nearby and enjoyed the gorgeous view from villa's patio. Although the historical sites and gelato in Lucca beckoned us each morning, we felt like we never wanted to leave the comfort of the villa. Highlights of our trip included Jim's pizza-making in the villa's brick-oven and Grazia's amazing Italian meals. Our kids are begging to go back! With three floors with individual entrances, the villa is perfect for family reunions or for families or couples traveling together.
It was magical!
From the windng roads until the moment you pass through the gates of the villa, you are transported to another world. We were three generations sharing the villa as we celebrated our 40th wedding annniversary. Each of us walked away with the most vivid memories - the vistas, the cup of espresso enjoyed while sitting on the patio, and of course, "pizza night" using the ancient, outdoor pizza oven (Jim was the best pizza chef and instructor)!
Jim and Katie made our stay so personal - mapping out the best of the best - we WILL return - perhaps only to sit on the hillside and enjoy what the Villa Aquilea affords its guests.
Louisville, KY, USA
Once in a lifetime experience... or maybe twice...
This was the perfect place for our family reunion. It comfortably housed 11 of us for a week. The house was immaculate, with all the modern features and rustic charm. Jim, the owner, was available to us 24/7 and hosted a pizza party one night. We definitely felt his presence but never felt intruded upon or "watched". The home is a bit of a drive to Lucca, but not so much so that you would hesitate to venture in to town for a few hours. There are plenty of stores and restaurants close to the house if you didn't want to take a long drive.
We had young 3 children with us during our visit. We never felt they were not welcomed. There was plenty of toys, cribs, highchairs and other child necessities. The house was very "child-friendly" and no one felt the need to watch them every second.
We are an active family and enjoyed the remoteness of the house best. My brother bikes and he was able to just head out and bike the famous roads of Italy without traveling to a biking area or dealing with masses of traffic. My sister and I hiked and ran. Again, we were able to just leave the house and run through the beautiful vineyards and olive plantations.
This is truly a picture perfect vacation arena for those new to Europe or frequent travelers who seek solitude without being in the middle of nowhere.
Bob and Edna
Once you visit, you will remember the beauty forever.
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.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Villa Aquila; was beautiful, peaceful, enchanting, captivati
In my mind I am sitting by the window on the third floor of the villa, overlooking the Village of Aquila...
Sipping a glass of Vino “da la Casa,” (that we purchased from the local hardware store fill in the liter bottles brought from the Villa.) I can see the vineyards, the greenery, and Mediterranean homes in my sight. The villa is five star; with beautiful furniture, art, fresh flowers, many sitting areas to read or nap, and a stunning pool. There is so much more but, I can not find the words to write that would give you the authentic experience you have wondering around the villa and its grounds.
Our evenings began with vino and antipasti (appetizers) of salamis, cheeses, breads, and local olive oil, by the pool, that would ended with dinner outside under the gazebo.
When renting the Villa, do not plan on to many outings... because you will not want to leave this paradise!
Enjoy we did!
A week in Heaven
Climbing the "hill" to Villa Aquilea you begin to realize that you are entering a
slice of Tuscan reality. As you see the farmers tending their gardens or olive
trees, the grape vines growing along the hill sides, and the local dogs
lounging in the road you know that you are climbing to some place special.
Don"t be frightened by the winding road and hairpin turns, they are quickly
mastered and the destination is worth your while. Our group was immediately
in love with the Villa and feel even deeper after hearing of its rich history and
the love and romance that it holds within it walls. The views are breath taking
and be sure to make the climb behind the Villa to the back side of the
mountain to be even more pleasantly surprised. The Villa is conveniently
located to to many of the must see sites of Italy so get ready for an adventure
of a life time. I look forward to my next visit to Villa Aquilea!
From beginning to end, this was by far the most perfect vacation anyone could ever imagine. Our group of 12 did not have one moment at Villa Aquilea that was less than magical. Upon entering the Villa itself, it was as if we were walking into a fairytale. And the view - out of every window, from the terrace, from the pool - continues to be a part of my dreams.
I had been to Italy several times, always as part of a tour group. I had never visited another country without someone else taking care of the details, and it was a bit daunting. Jim and Katie calmed my fears, always responded to my emails filled with unending questions, and provided all of the information that we would ever need.
The location is exquisite, and our host was above and beyond our expectations. You simply cannot find a more perfect place for mental and spiritual renewal.
Bristol, Indiana US wishing it was Villa Aquilea
Our visit under the Tuscan Sun.
We arranged a vacation to the villa for ourselves and four other couples. After several days in Rome we headed to Lucca and "our" villa. The drive up to the villa only enhanced our excitment. Once there, we recieved outstanding personal service from the Edmonds family. Jim welcomed us when we arrived at the villa and helped us get comfortable. He returned the next morning with breakfast and provided us with the colorful history of the villa and surrounding area. We all felt like we had made a lasting friendship. Jim also provided many tips about travel in the area. We were given cell phones (to use), train information,maps, restaurant recommendations, along with tons of tidbits that were very helpful.
The villa itself is everything you imagine a tuscan villa should be. It has a great history and authenticity along with all the comforts travelers love. (especially Americans) Every room in this home is warm and inviting with a spectacular view! On the practical side the bathrooms and kitchens are well appointed. Each of these rooms with its own sense to style and comfort. By far my favorite place is the outdoor dining area directly off the kitchen. Beautiful flowers accent the dining area and continue through out the property. The view from this area is unsurpassed except maybe by the view from the pool! The infinity pool is a welcome place after a day of site seeing or to spend the entire day. Next to the pool is a great covered patio and a view that is intoxicating all amoungest the olive trees!
This was my third trip to Italy and my husbands second. We love Italy and all the place we have visited. The Villa Aquilea by far remains our favorite. I can't think of a thing we were unhappy with except that we are not there now!
Northbrook, IL USA
We can't wait to return in 2010!
Villa Aquilea is absolute paradise! We are counting the days until our return in July 2010. The views from the villa and the pool took my breath away - several times a day! The accommodations are quite comfortable in the simple Tuscan style. Jim and Katie are welcoming and provided a wealth of information about the surrounding area - from local history and restaurant recommendations to all the directions and information needed for our day trips around Tuscany. We plan to spend more time exploring Lucca this trip. My only complaint...we had to leave!
This was the best vacation I have ever taken!
Upon arrival at Villa Aquilea all I could say was Wow! The villa was beautiful, way above my expectations. After staying there I came to realize that the beauty was not only in the villa but also in the owners. James and Katie did everything possible to make our stay in Italy a dream vacation. The villa was clean, homey, and very relaxing. If we had any questions James or Katie were never more than a phone call away, literally a phone call, because they even supplied us with a cell phone that we could use to get ahold of them with no matter where we were. James and Katie had put together packets of things to do in the area and maps on how to get there. Every one of their suggestions was wonderful. The food was amazing and if you want to go to the local eateries James and Katie have great taste and we were never disappointed in their suggestions. They even supplied us our first bottle of authentic Italian wine and chocolates. Some mornings James would even show up with delicious fresh pastries for breakfast. The kitchens at the villa had every modern appliance that you would need if you just wanted to stay in and relax. The grounds at the villa were very well kept and gorgeous with flowers and fruit trees everywhere. The pool was very refreshing with a beautiful arbor in which you could just relax and soak in the Italian air. The villa was definitely the best part of the vacation, after a long day sightseeing it was nice to come home to someplace that was stress-free and welcoming.
The Vacation of a Life Time - There will never be another like i
Words can not describe my vacation of a life time. After my first trip to Italy I knew I wanted to go back to the Tuscany area and rent a villa on the top of the mountain. When I did this I had no idea what a spectacular place I have picked. Of course I had some help from my daughter from NY who knew someone that said there is no other place to go. How true those words were. I am 69 years old and I have no desire to go anywhere else in the world after taking this trip. I truly thought I had died and gone to heaven. Oh, I would go back in a skinny minute. Villa Aquilia was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. There were 12 of us from ages 5 to 69 (family, family friends and friends)and what a wonderful time we all had. Jim, the owner, was a delightful young man that saw after all our needs and helped us with everything. We had massages, Italian dinners cooked in the home, (one meal was French as we had a family that came from France to be with us) directions to wherever we wanted to go and nights on the town with music in the streets. There was not one minute of our vacation that I did not enjoy. I was sorry I did not get to meet Katie, Jim's wife, and children as they were in the USA on summer vacation. But I understand they are a delightful family. I know I have rambled, but like I said in the beginning there are no words to describe this place. You must go there and see for yourself. I highly recommend Villa Aquiles!
Chicago IL USA
What's not to like? The Villa is beautiful, spacious and immaculate. The hosts are generous with their time and advice.
Relax by the pool and enjoy the tremendous view or explore Tuscany from this home base. Many days trips available from this central location (Pisa, Florence, Carrara, Siena, Cinque Terre, etc).
Loved it. Coming back in 2010.
Lovely Villa outside Lucca
Villa Aquilea is situated on a Tuscan hillside with gorgeous views. We had one of our best holidays here with three other families. The villa is spacious and kid friendly. The pizza oven was a huge hit. One evening we had a delicious dinner prepared by a local chef. My best memory is drinking wine on the veranda while listening to the music from the village festival. Fantastic - highly recommend!
Paul and Leslie D
Group Visit to Villa Aquilea
Our group of 5 couples drove to Lucca from Venice or Rome and the Edmunds' directions took us right to the Villa. We were met at the Villa by Katie Edmunds who gave a quick rundown on the Villa and explained her husband, James, would be down that evening to give us a more detailed introduction. We got settled in our respective rooms and James arrived to tell us about the local area, places to visit, and included a couple of special activities we might want to participate in: a make-your-own pizza party at the Villa, a visit to a local blacksmith, dinner provided by a local cook, etc. We wanted to see the walled city of Lucca, Cinque Terrea, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the statue of David in Florence. We took advantage of all of James' suggested activities, and really enjoyed each of them. We followed James' suggestions on the day trips to Florence, Cinque Terre, and Pisa and had no trouble getting around the cities and seeing the sights. In and around the Villa we visited the city of Lucca for shopping and food, crossed the valley to attend a local church festival, and visited the blacksmith. Because of the steep, winding road up to the Villa, we decided to have all of our dinners at the Villa, including one cooked by a local lady, and for a couple of meals we bought several dishes from a local deli/food shop and sampled the local food and wine and beer. The pizza party was a great event for our group and James provided all the fixings and showed us how to make our own pizzas. The Villa itself is beautiful, with wonderful views of the local area. Some of us even got out and tried the swimming pool and hiked up above the Villa to the church that was destroyed during WWII. Our entire visit was relaxing and quite enjoyable--we hated to leave. Katie and James were very helpful and had suggestions and answers for all of our questions. They were perfect hosts and it was clear they were happy to have us experience their piece of heaven.
Home away from home in Tuscany
I was surprised with a trip to Italy (Thank you AGAIN Mark & Curt)andhad no idea what to expect.I was so happy when we walked through thebig wooden doors of Villa Aquilea.It felt like home.
Katie & Jimare the owners/restorers/gracious American inn-keepers at VillaAquilea and are perfect hosts.
Fly directly into Pisa internationalairport & drive to the villa 1 hour away.The initial drive up themountain to V.A. is scary the 1st time, then not so much.
The3-floor Villa is clean, gorgeous & vast:2 full-service kitchens haveeverything you need. I'm a chef & have been looking to buy an ovenexactly like the one in the villa's main kitchen. 4 full baths, 5bedrooms + sleeping areas, Internet on the Villa's PC,TV, clotheswasher,dishwasher, HUGE common areas,more outdoor areas than we hadtime to utilize, & a real brick pizza oven are at the ready forthose who actually want to cook. If you don't want to cook, eating outis fantastic-ask for recommendations. My favorite was Jim's recommend:Da Pinzo Deli at the base of the mountain (Via Nazionale, 1025,Lucca. Tel 0583 577760).
The gorgeous infinity pool was up & runningin mid-April. It was the first-choice-hang-spot every sunset. Andwhat's an ancient Villa without a few fantasma? I counted 2 nice ones.Mary asked them (sweetly) to leave... in Italian, of course.
Theviews from the Villa are spectacular! The silvery olives groves &bright flowers that dot the mountainside, the Di Marco Ettore HoneyFactory just across the valley, & winding river below are everydayeyecandy so bring lots of memory + extra batteries for yourcamera.
-RELAX at the villa
-day trips like Cinque Terre,Florence,Pisa
-Jim's history of the villa tour
-cooking class that highlightslocal cuisine using
ingredients that grow WILD on the mountain-ask Katie
Viva Villa Aquilea!
The anticipation grew palpably as our car climbed the winding mountain road to Villa Aquilea. My eyes widened gleefully as we turned into the rustic driveway, past the olive grove. My first sight of this special place was through my lowered car window. The first sound was from already arrived family members, ecstatically greeting us, almost shouting with wonder at the perfection of our villa choice.
Thus began a three-week stay at Villa Aquliea. The service is first class, the villa is spectacular.At each discovery of an new amenity, we were amazed at magazine-like beauty, almost too good to be really, really real. The gazebo at the mountain top pool, the warm and nurturing kitchen, the walk to the top of the mountain, the villages nestled into the hillside, the friendly people, and the spectacular views, fading 80 miles into infinity.
My mind is replete with lavender colored wisteria, draping the outdoor dining area. Local wine quenching eager thirst, mountain top Tuscan vistas beckoning from any open window,any where in the villa. My delighted family expressing their awe at the entire experience that is Villa Aquilea: laughing, Joyful people, luscious landscapes, love, food, wine and overpowering memories of Tuscany.
A special part of my heart resides there, awaiting my return
The best place in the world to spend your 50th birthday!!
If I had known that celebrating my 50th would be this wonderful, I would have looked forward to it long before we booked this villa! Our family of 8 spent the most relaxing week touring the hillsides and panoramic views of Villa Aquilea! It is truly breathtaking just sitting by the pool and drinking some of the local wine from the "hardware store" :) We were intriqued by the history of the villa and the majestic mountains and ruins just a short hike away. Jim provided us with wonderful recommendations as far as restaurants, day trips, GPS devices loaded with destinations and beautiful Italian music to fill our days and nights while relaxing at the Villa. My favorite day was visiting Cinque Terre and hiking along the path from seaside town-to-town. One day we just walked to the local store for some cold drinks and spent the afternoon chatting with locals...if you catch the produce truck you'll be in for another treat! Everything about this scenic wonder was just perfect - I don't think Jim and Katie could do anything more to make our vacation such a memory maker for years to come!! We talk amongst ourselves frequently about that trip...and long to go back!!
The most amazing place to spend time in Italy is Villa Aquilea
I have been to Villa Aquilea three separate times and each time, my love for the place grows. From the minute you walk into the villa, you cannot help but be amazed at how beautiful everything is. There are the amazing kitchens, the huge gathering rooms, the unique bedrooms, the patio off the main floor and finally, the unreal infinity pool. From every window of the house and from the patio and pool, you have the most breathtaking views of Tuscany and all that it offers. Really words cannot describe the feeling you get when relaxing on the patio, drinking some wine, eating some cheese and staring out at the Italian landscape for miles. You feel like this is life in Italy. Truly there is no other place in Europe that I would rather spend a week at than at Villa Aquilea.
far beyond my expectations
The villa is historic and beautiful. The location is fantastic, the staff and owner gracious and helpful, cannot do enough for your comfort and enjoyment. A perfect location. Near Florence and Cinque Terrae as well as the Ligurian Sea and beaches. An easy drive to the historic mountain towns or to wonderful Chianti country. It is even easy to make a run for Rome for a few days. Maybe the best was sitting by or in the pool reading a good book and enjoying a glass of delicious red and the Tuscan sun in complete solitude on the big hill overlooking Lucca.
St. Louis, Missouri
Our amazing two weeks in an incredible Tuscan villa
Villa Aquilea is a 500+ year old, completely restored villa nestled in
the hills near the walled city of Lucca. Our 5 couples enjoyed
complete comfort. The property has several acres with fig and other
fruit trees, and the spiffy infinity pool overlooks a spectacular valley
below with Lucca in the center, flanked by Pisa to one side and Florence
to the other. The Villa is a beautiful spot to rest and relax, and a
perfect location for day trips to many surrounding towns and historic
sites. The owners could not have been more helpful in helping us plan
and enjoy our trip. 5 star - can't wait to go back!
Costa Mesa, California
Girl's 40th Birthday Vacation
This villa exceeded all of our group's expectations (and that is saying quite a bit as our group of 7 ladies were away from our families for 10 days and wanted a top notch vacation!) The host, James, met us upon our arrival with fresh pastries, a history of the villa and maps with key points of interest. He coordinated our first night's meal by a local woman, gave us information to local favorite restaurants and sites, took us to several behind-the-scenes destinations such as the local smithy, olive press and family-owned vineyard as well as massages at the villa. The villa was very comfortable, neat and had many special touches like a welcome basket filled with local delights. It was ample for a party our size with room to spare. I can not say enough about how truly wonderful our visit was and only wish we were going again this year. Here's to returing for our 50th or sooner if we can sneak away from our husbands and children!
A true holiday - scenery, culture, hospitality and a real chance
After a hard years working in Australia we were lucky to include a weeks stay at Villa Aquilea in our European trip. My wife, son and myself joined some other friends at the Villa for the week.
The Villa itself,and the surrounding rural setting of Aquilea perched on the mountain side, are superb.
The hospitality and friendliness of the owners Jim and Katie ensured our stay ran smoothly and exceeded our highest expectations. This is an experience you wont get staying in any hotels.
The Villa is beautifully appointed and decorated with lots of room for our group of ten. Whether lazing in the pool with its infinity edge and breathtaking, floating, views across the valley around Lucca, or sharing a pizza prepared on the ancient woodfired oven or a glass of wine (sourced from the barrels in the local hardware store, bring your own containers!)while sitting on the outdoor terrace overlooking the valley, this is one relaxing destination.
The surrounding hills and charming country roads with their small villages, villas and churches provide an unforgettable opportunity to explore. If you would prefere to walk, the trek through the olive groves and ancient chestnut trees to the top of the hill and the old church ruins teetering on the cliff face high above the villa are an experience you will always remember.
The Villa is central to all that Tuscany has to offer (the old walled town of Lucca, Pisa, Florence, The Cinque Terra etc.). The only worry is making the time to see it all. But dont forget to relax....it is soooo easy.
While our week at Villa Aquilea seemed like a month, it still wasn't long enough. Back to work with the batteries recharged and to dream of the next opportunity to visit. Soon....!
The best family vacation EVER
Seven family members and I rented Villa Aquilea for a week in the fall of 2007. It was a wonderful place, large enough for all eight of us to feel very comfortable--lots of space, plenty of privacy but with many places in which to spend time together. The vine covered terrace outside the kitchen was a favorite spot. We also spent many hours around the big antique table in the kitchen, not only eating but reconnecting as a family--we live in 4 different states. The property around the villa is great for relaxing, hiking or just taking in the view.
The pool is beautiful and situated on a hill overlooking a vast valley and shares the same view as most of the villa windows--vinyards and olive orchards dotting the hill sides. You can see for miles, the morning mist hangs above the valley floor before the sun burns it away. It is so quiet that you can hear roosters crow all over the valley and not just at dawn!
Jacamo (James) and Katie were great! They greeted us with fresh olive oil, wine, pastries, local bread and cheese. They arranged a cooking class (highly recommended) for us at the villa and found a photographer to help document our Italian adventure. They were always available when we had a question.
The villa is located in a spot that is convenient for sightseeing; not far from the sea, close to Lucca and an easy drive to Florence, Pisa, the mountains, Cinque Terra and many small villages. We enjoyed Lucca and spent several afternoons exploring the shops, restaurants and talking to the local people.
The villa kitchen is very well equipped and we had a lot of fun cooking several meals together. We planned to make a day trip to Florence but decided to just spend that time enjoying the countryside and the villa.
I would return to Villa Aquilea every year if I could but I definitely plan to make another visit in the next couple of years. It's a wonderful, peaceful place to spend time with family and friends. I absolutely love it!
Amore, Amore, Amore!
For three glorious vacations (July 2005, July 2007 & Nov 2009), my family and I traveled to Italy and stayed in this delightful home. Villa Aquilea has all the charm of the Tuscan countryside: sunshine on your face, open fields to roam and culinary experiences to share. The villa gave our family (3 generations) plenty of room to congregate and enough places for a little privacy. All three years I traveled with my bicycle, wandering through many of the villages that surround Lucca and never did get to see all the places I wanted to. The house is situated between the flatlands of the coastal waters and the mountainous region of the Garfagnana; an excellent location for the true cyclist.
My family and I were particularly pleased with our hosts, James and Katie, who shared with us the Italian way besides providing an immaculate home. From harvesting olives to a performance of a Puccini opera to a local blacksmith making tools, they gave us an insider’s look at this beautiful country. We learned how to make pizza in a stone oven, tasted wine only the locals know about and stepped onto the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge).
So bring your book if you need some down time by the pool, bring your appetite to eat all the delicious offerings, bring your intellect to study the arts and don’t forget your sense of adventure to discover all that Italy that is known for. This is THE place!
New York, USA
Huge Villa in Tuscany
Stayed in Villa for 3 week. Villa is huge with great views from high on top on Aquilea mountain. Only 1/2 hour drive to Lucca, 40 minutes to Pisa and 1 hour to Florence. Made arrangements for tours, cooking class with Villa owners which were great. Also Pizza night using Villa's own wood burning outside oven was a memory for lifetime. Infinity pool was great way to cool off after a long day of touring. Host provided maps, navigation and phones which made finding places to see/eat easy. If you are staying in Tuscany you can't find a better place.
The Best Of Italy
There is no doubt in the over 30 years of traveling for business and for vacations, that an experience matches the comfort and care of Villa Aquilea. The 2009 Olive Harvest was our 4th trip to the Villa and each one provided vivid and lasting memories. The Villa feels like home, the amenities on every floor, in every room are just what you need to make it a relaxing stay. From cool summer nights on the Patio and Pergola to great fall fires, there is always a place to feel comfortable.
Your surrounded by the aroma of every season from the spring plantings to the fall harvest, your senses will be alive with the rhythm of the classic Tuscan experience. From walks through the historic countryside to visits to the local towns, everything we needed was within a short walk or drive.
Then there is James. No better host, period. You just have to take that leap of faith as we did and make this trip, it most likely wont be your last.
Jim & Pat Avena
Our Dreams Come True
I must begin by saying that this say was our third year in a row at the Villa, and we are preparing to visit again this July and August. The service and attention to our needs was above and beyond that of the norm. The Villa is fantastic, and we really feel like it's our home, it has all the aminities you would want or need. The location is perfect the view is out of this world, so nice and quiet. The locals welcome you with a smile and a wave. There is nothing we disliked about our visits to the Villa, we would not have returned if it wasn't great. Ciao Jim & Pat Avena Milton Georgia (USA)
If I could live there always, I would!
Villa Aquilea is one of the most beautiful places we have ever stayed at. The villa overlooks the Tuscan countryside which is some of the most beautiful land I've ever seen!
But the Villa itself? Wow! So gorgeous! Truth be told, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, drinking grappa and laughing. Katie and Jim couldn't have been more gracious. They are excellent hosts and told us of all of the places where we could visit, places to eat, and places to tour. One of those places in the town is called Da Pinza. They had the most incredible braised beef we have ever eaten! And, although the owners didn't speak English and we didn't speak Italian, we got our point across to each other. They were amazing and gracious.
The town of Lucca is old and very interesting and we highly recommend visiting. There's a place there that makes handmade shoes according to your design. I can't remember the name but I'm sure that if you ask, you'll find it. We could have spent a lot more time in Lucca but ended up going to Florence and Pisa and spending lots of time at the Villa.
The pool is beautiful and overlooks the countryside. We spent a lot of time outside at the pool having wine and cheese and chatting.
I should mention the pizza party...wow! I think my pizza won...well, as far as I'm concerned. Jim showed us how to use the pizza oven and how to prepare the crusts and put together ingredients. But we were certainly free to do our own, which we did! I made a provolone, mozzarella, parmesan pizza with a garlic and olive oil sauce and capers dotting the top. It was fabulous if I do say so myself.
Overall, it was a great time and a beautiful place to stay.
I highly recommend it!
It doesn't get any better than this!
When my family gets together to reminisce about our favorite travel memories,
we all agree that the highlight was our week at Villa Aquilea. The spacious and
comfortable house, authentic Italian setting, spectacular views and fantastic
location for seeing Tuscany all made Villa Aquilea an ideal vacation spot for us.
Add to that the gracious and warm hospitality shown to us by the owners and
the visit was perfect. Whether it was al fresco dining on the patio, sitting by
the beautiful pool or baking pizza in the outdoor pizza oven, the experience
was unmatched by anything our family had enjoyed before. I would say that a
visit to Villa Aquilea is like "coming home".
My dream vacation!
I was privileged enough to visit Villa Aquilea not once, but twice in both 2006 and 2007. I must say each precious moment spent in this charming, luxurious villa was a moment I forever hold in my heart! From the delicious food prepared by one of the local women, to the astounding scenery, to the "garden shop" wine, my experiences at Villa Aquillea were some of the most memorable of my life. Our gracious hosts, Jim and Katie Edmunds provided endless opportunities to revel in authentic Italian culture and experiences. If I could go nowhere else in all my travels, I would be quite content to lay around at Villa Aquillea and luxuriate in the Tuscan sun, food, wine, and culture!
Lake Forest, IL
Trip of a lifetime!
To say the least, Villa Aquillea is a very special place. We celebrated my
mother-in-laws 70th birthday here with a group that included her children
and spouses, grandchildren and her niece. After a tiresome journey from
Rome, the villa greets you like an oasis. The setting alone is breathtaking,
taking in views of rolling hills, vineyards and the local village. This all can
be enjoyed by the fabulous pool that provided hours of entertainment for
the little ones and relaxation for the adults. The villa itself is all that you
would want a Tuscan villa to be, equipped with modern conveniences. From
it's bright exterior walls, to the warm and inviting kitchen perfect for the
whole family to help prepare meals, to the al fresco dining under the
pergula, to the comfortable sitting rooms and bedrooms and the wood
burning oven outside, Villa Aqulliea does not disappoint. There is SO much
to do in the area-including easy access to the fame walled city of Lucca. We
took day trips to Cinque Terra, Florence and Pisa. However, you do not
have to go far to experience Italy. In your own backyard, there are ruins to
explore, a lovely church to attend services at, local grocer offering
wonderful cheeses and provisions and the local hardware store where you
can fill up jugs of the local wine! James "Jim" Edmunds the owner is the
BEST host. He provides a wealth of information and ideas to make your
experience all the more special. He is involved as you want him to be but by
the end of our too short one week stay, we considered him our friend. Do
not hesitate for one moment to book here. It was the trip of a lifetime. We
are already planning to go back!
Wonderful villa looking over the valleys of Lucca
We had the most wonderful holiday at Villa Aquilea.
The next step is to figure out how we can come
James and Katie helped facilitate all the logistics
and were a dream to deal with. One of our friends
commented that this was one case where the reality
was superior to the photos on the website.
The work they put into restoring Villa Aquilea has
resulted in the perfect holiday home that ticks all
the boxes when it comes to mixing beauty and
comfort. We were a party of 6 adults and 4
teenagers, with a couple of visitors over the week.
There is lots of space to either get together as a
group or break away for some quiet time. The
downstairs was the kids' retreat. They loved the
pool and climbing up the mountain to the ruined
The kitchen was fully equipped and we cooked some
fantastic food with the produce we bought in the
local village and the markets in Lucca. Jim also
made us reservations at a local pizzeria which only
opens on Saturday nights for the locals.
To sum up, we had a superb time at the Villa and
haven’t stopped talking about it. Each of the kids
have nominated their stay as the highlight of the
The only con I can think of is that a week isn't
enough. I recommend you must stay two weeks so you
can fully enjoy the villa and do a little bit of
sightseeing. Each time we left the villa, we felt
we were being short changed.
Fabulous, wonderful villa and service
We stayed at Villa Aquilea for a week in June 2008 with our two young daughters and two other families. The villa and grounds are absolutely beautiful, the furnishings are comfortable, and the pool is magnificent. Jim Edmunds was a wonderful host who helped us to organize day trips and excursions into the surrounding countryside. He also helped us hire a local babysitter and a local cook who made dinner for us several nights. The views from the villa, high in the Tuscan hills, are breathtaking. It was the vacation of a lifetime, and I will never forget it. I can't recommend this villa highly enough. It is a true treasure.
A True Tuscan Experience
Our 2009 Thanksgiving visit to Villa Aquilea was truly an authentic experience. We joined eight friends, two of whom had visited the Villa twice before. Not only were the accommodations lovely, but we felt as though we were an integral part of the Tuscan experience. The view of the valley from Villa Aquilea was awesome. Everyday there was something new to discover. Our only regret was that we did not stay longer.