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  • Tuscan treat – Albergo Villa Marta
    Tuscan treat – Albergo Villa Marta
  • De-lish room service eats
    De-lish room service eats
  • Peaceful afternoons spent reading
    Peaceful afternoons spent reading
  • Lucca's best pizza!
    Lucca's best pizza!

Gemma Bolton falls under the spell of Albergo Villa Marta

After booking our Venice honeymoon with Room for Romance (magical!), we decided to hit Tuscany in search of a few days relaxation in this lovely part of Italy.

I have to confess I love looking through the Room for Romance site at all the handpicked and reviewer-tested Italian hideaways. They really are perfect for anyone wanting something chic and boutique, with a good dose of luxe living.

Our holiday wish-list was short and simple: peace, good views, plenty of walking and good food. It didn't take long to find the right place – Albergo Villa Marta, set in the Tuscan hills just outside the medieval walled town of Lucca, complete with mountain views to be enjoyed from the outdoor pool. As you can see from our pictures, we were not disappointed!!

Even inside, you couldn’t – and wouldn’t want to – escape the surrounding nature. Every window frames a glorious scene that gets you itching to get back out. Not to say the rooms themselves aren't beautiful, which they most certainly are.

Lucca is best reached by car, but, as non-drivers and keen walkers, we found our way on foot and by using the local bus service. It all added a sense of adventure.

Lucca’s medieval walls are tall and the streets narrow and ripe for exploring. I was struck by the beauty of the architecture and spent plenty of time admiring the mish-mash of old stonework that abounds. I also found my curious (AKA nosey) self wondering what lurked behind those old gates... and who lived within those ancient walls. The side-streets house some real treasures.

Out came the iPhone to send friends a little collage of one of Lucca’s finest offerings, pizza! Pizza Da Felice is a small family run pizzeria and gets first prize in my book. It’s so popular, you sometimes have to eat out on the street, using stools for tables.

With walking on our holiday checklist, we had the best opportunity to get out and get hiking just moments from Albergo Villa Marta: steep, tree-lined and wooded paths that meander far into the hills.

As for that pool I mentioned with its mountain views... I could be back there now! Albergo Villa Marta provided ample opportunity to read before lunch (that someone else was making), sip coffee and tea in the garden after a big breakfast, chat under a tree, read some more, lounge and doze in the sun.

It also has the best room service ever. A big statement you may say, but after sampling the fresh and wonderful ragu was and the juicy Greek salad, I stand by it! And that's not to mention the breakfast doggie bags...

OK, so these are only provided for early departures (of course you’d make good use of the delectable buffet otherwise), but what a great touch. We hit the road home happy in the knowledge that we had our bagged breakfast goodies safely wrapped up.

Our Italian mini-break has now given me wanderlust to revisit stunning Ca Maria Adele in Venice, where we stayed on our honeymoon,  and the super homely (but luxuriously so) Relais La Magioca, near Verona. The latter has the best restaurant tucked away in the wine cellar of the house next door. You wouldn’t know it was there but you’d be sorry to miss it. Another good reason to retrace our steps to Italy again this year!

Tempted by Tuscany? Take a look at .

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