With the Covid-19 pandemic still creating havoc around travel plans and the possibilities of more lockdowns in cities, many people are looking for houses with plenty of outdoor space. Some want a week-long stay but others are wanting a stay for 1 to 6 months and use the house as a base for remote working. I and my family are doing a two-month stay at the Fattoria Mansi Bernardini estate in the hills just 20 minutes from Lucca in Tuscany, Italy.
Here is my report of the first month at Casa Maria, one of the three individual villas for rent at Fattoria Mansi Bernardini.
Fattoria Mansi Bernardini
The estate which has over 5000 olive trees consists of three individual villas for rent and with their own private pool and pristine gardens.
- Villa Buonvisi, a 16th-century stately home with 8 double rooms;
- Casa Maria, an old farmhouse with 5 double rooms’
- Il Leccio, a building from 1600 built for the head farmer of the estate which has 6 double bedrooms.
There is also a fourth villa for rent that doubles as a B&B or a 5-bedroom house, and that is Villa Bernardini. This 16th-century house offers spectacular views over Lucca from its terrace as well as the pool.
Five Smaller Homes
There are also five smaller houses for rent ranging from 2 to 5 double bedrooms. These houses share a swimming pool together.
The estate has beautiful communal gardens for the residents to enjoy, offering views of the valley and the surrounding wineries. You can also take walks among the olive trees that are growing on the estate. You can buy the estate’s locally made olive oil. I have spent plenty of hours walking around the estate and the neighboring wineries and villages. I have tasted locally made wine, cheese, and salami.
If you fancy a good workout there is a community grass tennis court among the olive trees.
If you want more privacy, all individual villas come with massive private gardens perfect for letting your children play outside and explore. In my own garden, I have learned the art of dining outside, with the perfect Italian Al fresco setting. If you love dressing up, the setting is a picture-perfect place to entertain you and your family. The size of the estate and the total amount of rooms that it offers, make this an ideal wedding venue as well.
Fattoria Mansi Bernardini is a 20-minute drive from the historic district of Lucca, famous for its intact city ramparts and Guinigi Tower, a Romanesque-Gothic wonder with oak trees sprouting on the roof. The coast is about 45 minutes away and the city centre of Florence can be reached in one hour by car. The nearest airports are in Pisa and Florence, both about 50 minutes’ drive away.
“We’re about a 5 minute drive from Matria, a town that makes its own salami, bread, wine and goat cheeses, but we’re in a totally private and secluded area,” Marcello Salom – the owner says. “You feel like you’re in the countryside, without the disadvantages of being in the countryside.”
The local scenery is stunning, you will find many Italian cypress trees, so typical of Tuscany, both on the estate and in the surrounding countryside. I like my morning walks and evening ones when there are stunning sunsets.
Casa Maria – Five Bedroom Rustic Farmhouse
Have you always wanted to experience an Italian Farmhouse? Then Casa Maria is the perfect place to rent for a short or long period. For me, it has been the best experience in Italy so far, after having stayed for one month in Venice and another month in Florence. I grew up on a farm so love nature and what it can do to the soul.
I love cooking inside and peering out this window into my private garden view, I also like to sit in the window and just soak up Casa Maria’s ambience.
This modern kitchen has everything one needs for a large family. With its rustic charm and flooring my family is loving what I am cooking here. The stainless steel workbench is easy to keep clean. What I liked is that there are two fridges so you can stock and store for a large group.
There are cleaning facilities you can opt for and it is something I use, so I stay relaxed during my stay. Casa Maria is a massive house to keep clean.
Two Lounge Rooms
Casa Maria has two dedicated lounges both with a fireplace. The first one is large and has two sofas and two chairs, ideal to chat with family or friends.
The second one is smaller and has a TV and a small desk area ideal to do some work. This has a very cosy feel. There is also a toilet attached to this room.
Four Upstairs Bedrooms With Ensuite Bathrooms
There are four bedrooms upstairs each with their own ensuite bathroom. All rooms are large with plenty of storage. Lovely decorated with antique furniture to complete that Tuscan rustic ambiance.
The endless corridor gives an indication of how large the house is. The house is detached so you can look out the windows and open them for that cool Tuscan fresh air.
Bedroom One – Two single beds
The headboards in this room are over 200 years old. The old stone floors are great in the bathroom, you can splash away with water and it dries up very quickly.
Bedroom Two – Double Bed
This room comes with a double poster bed and the bathroom here has a dedicated shower.
Bedroom Three – Double Bed
This bedroom is the largest and has a lovely low ceiling here and the cosy lighting. It has plenty of drawers and cupboards for storage.
Bedroom Four – Double Bed
The views and lighting make this the perfect room for my daughter. She has so many toys and the stunning antique mirror wardrobe is where she plays dress-up. The tiny bath is perfect for her to bathe and relax.
Downstair Bedroom Five – Double Bed
This is my favourite bedroom, and I claimed it immediately for me, as it has double doors overlooking the gardens. This large spacious room has a dedicated bathroom which is designed for disabled people with wheelchair access.
The large mirror wardrobes are where I work, dress up, and soak up the rustic indoor way of living at Casa Maria. It is my creative space for fashion. Waking up to the glaring sun and birds chirping is wonderful for the soul and mind.
Casa Maria Outdoor Space, Garden, and Pool
My favourite feature of Casa Maria has to be the cover outside the eating area. There is a huge marble table that can easily seat 12 people. Here I learned to appreciate outdoor alfresco dining. I sit at this table almost the whole day, as I also used it as a working desk during the day.
There is excellent Wifi both in the house and outside, it covers the whole garden area. The garden itself is massive and is mainly grass and a mix of olive and cypress trees. The pool comes with plenty of chairs and sun loungers and has its own covered eating area. The garden state is maintained daily.
You can park one car next to Casa Maria and there is a larger dedicated parking lot for your guests at the end of the garden.
Fattoria Mansi Bernardini is in a beautiful location full of natural richness. Just ten minutes down the road are The Villa Marlia or Villa Reale di Marlia a late renaissance palazzo or villa, and its estate’s property that includes renowned gardens and adjacent villas and follies within the compound. This Italian Renaissance is a great example of baroque neoclassical history.
In 1806 Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister and Princess of Lucca, bought the property.
The owner of the estate Marcello Salom has great attention to detail on all levels, this is why guests flock to return year after year. Casa Maria with its five bedrooms and a private garden and pool is large enough for my family to stay in, and also to welcome some overnight visitors. The house is furnished with great detail and style. The gardens are maintained almost on a daily basis and are immaculate.
The walks I take every morning to access local produce make it all the more special walking through the valley of vineyards and olive trees.
This place is soothing to my soul and I feel safe during an unsettling 2020.
My creativity has never been so high and that is down to staying here. As for my children, they are happy to have the space to play, swim, play tennis, or chill out in their rooms.
- Villa reviewed: Casa Maria
- Website: fattoriamansibernardini.com
- Address: Via di Valgiano, 34 – 55018 – Segromigno in Monte – Lucca – Toscana – Italia
- Phone: +39 0583 921721