On the foothills of the Apuan Alps, from which Michelangelo quarried his white marble, Castelnuovo Magra is a charming town that overlooks the plains of ancient Luni towards the Mediterranean and the Cinque Terre. The plains are now more developed, and the people of Luni have long been conquered by the Romans, but the remains of their ancient city have been found and excavated, and the carvings of their warriors, sporting an increasing number of spears as the Roman aggression became more pronounced, can be seen in the museum of Pontremoli. Luna Rossa is a little house tucked away on the side of a hill, looking out towards the sea. The owner's own house is higher up but not overlooking Luna Rossa and in between there is a small pool, flanked by a kitchen and sitting room. The pool is shared with the owenrs, but is rarely used by them. The owner is a keen windsurfer and spends most lunch times out on the water. He is also willing to coach beginners and can also find an excellent sailing teacher for those who would prefer to learn to sail, and a very good fisherman for Mediterranean fishing trips. The more lazy amongst may prefer to simply go out on his motorboat and find the hidden coves of the Cinque Terre.
One enters into the living/dining area, with a well equipped kitchen in the far left corner. To the right there are a shower room and a double bedroom. A spiral staircase leads to a mezzanine floor and a double bed, but headspace is low and this is more suited to teenagers or passing friends. The front of the house has a covered pergola running for the whole length, giving an excellent outside space for sitting with a glass of wine looking down at the plains. A path to the left of the house leads up to the pool, a small, bean shaped pool with a building housing a kitchen and dining area available for guests' use.
The area around Castlenuovo has a myriad hidden treasures: the active amongst us can swim, windsurf, sail and fish on the sea; or walk, cycle, climb and hike in the mountains behind, which reach up to 1750 metres above sea level. For the more relaxed, Sarzana, on the plain, took over Luni's bishopric during the middle-ages and has wonderful churches and a historic core to its sprawling appearance. The little towns on the coast road from Bocca di Magra to Lerici have wonderful fish restaurants, amongst which is Ciccio's outstanding establishment in bocca di magra itself. Genova is about an hour away, and the ancient centre and waterfront are fascinating to visit. Pisa is also around an hour away....Read more
Left on 12/06/2011 for a stay in September 2011 | A FlipKey verified reviewerReviewed Dec 6, 2011Stayed Sep 2011
This place is idyllic because it is a beautiful spot, out of the rat race and embedded in real Italy. We are quite happy to spend days self contained not moving from the spot or equally making a short drive for shopping, restaurant or sightseeing trips.
Franco, the landlord is friendly, caring and very hospitable and provides a wealth of guides and recommendations.
Left on 09/28/2011 for a stay in August 2011 | A FlipKey verified reviewerReviewed Sep 28, 2011Stayed Aug 2011
We visited Luna Rossa for a week at the end of august 2011. Luna Rossa is a cute privately owned house in the middle of an enormous hillside garden, near the medieval village of Castlenuovo Magra. The house is well equipped with everything you need, including airconditioning (due to the flat roof this is definately a necessity), kitchen and bathroom (although slightly outdated, everything functions well) . There is a double room which sleeps 2 people. Our boys slept up the winding metal stairs, which is a floor with a low ceiling, fine for kids but a little difficult to get in and out of bed if you are very tall. The private pool was lovely for our two boys aged 4 and 6. The house is well suied for children with loads of toys and games. The beach is about 20 minutes away, the beautiful Cinque Terre about an hour, which was well worth seeing. Franco the owner is extremely hospitable, with great tips for eating and drinking in the surroundings. The fresh figs from his garden were absolutely divine! On the downside, the surroundings are quite busy with the industrial Carrara (marble mining village) at about 20 km and the valley is densely populated. Up the hill you hear practically no noise and you can easily get away from everything.
Left on 06/15/2009 for a stay in July 2008 | A FlipKey verified reviewerReviewed Jun 15, 2009Stayed Jul 2008
Luna Rossa is a beautiful stone barn that from the outside looks like absolutely picturesque nestling in the edge of the hill but inside it is modern and spacious. The swimming pool is fantastic and the photo on the web doesnt do it justice. It isnt cleaned with chlorine either but some other chemical that doesnt irritate sensitive skin. Franco is a charming and inobtrusive host but if he does come down to join you be sure to ask him to play you some traditional Italian folk songs (especially the one about the revolutionary turkey!).The only down side I would say is that although the brochure says that you can learn to windsurf etc. with Franco, this is very, very expensive so dont book you holiday on this basis. Go snorkelling at the Cinque Terra instead. (see below)
The area of course offers all that you expect from Tuscanny. Florence and Pisa are both easy to get to by train and Lucca is also very pretty. What we hadnt heard of though was the Cinque Terra, five old fishing villages cut into the cliffs only accessible by train. Plan to go for at least two of your days here and stop at each village. We only went to the first one where you can hire a snorkel for a few pounds and swim over a marine national park which is so clear you can see the sorts of fish you might expect in the tropics. We are still talking about it at home a year later.
Also, tip for economy, we found it much cheaper to fly to Milan and hire a car than to fly to Pisa.
Thanks for this! I agree that both the boat and the sailing/windsurfing are expensive - it seems for good reasons (the boat uses a lot of fuel, the sailing instructor is the Italian champion, or was, etc.) but still - I think we should warn people. And thanks for the tip about snorkelling! Best regards, Dan W.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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