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REVIEWS


COSELLI COLLECTION Tuscany, Italy


LOCATION: This family-owned estate is in the heart of Tuscany – a 20-minute drive from Pisa airport and 10 minutes from the


historic walled city of Lucca. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Think of Tuscany and roaming hills, cypress trees and vineyards come to mind. The landscape of this most romantic of Italian regions needs little selling, but finding the perfect villa requires a bit more work. Fortunately, the Coselli Collection offers


four of the finest in the region, and it’s no surprise these properties have made their way onto Abercrombie & Kent’s handpicked villa collection. A&K is the main operator through which they can be booked in the UK.


Of all of the villas on the estate, Casa


Felice Matteucci is perhaps the most modest, but also the most intimate and welcoming. The thought and care that has gone into the decor is perhaps what makes this and the other properties on the estate stand out. Bold colours fill every room, from the walls to the furnishings, while every fixture, fitting and ornament begs to be admired. Minimal this is not. This is sumptuous and lavish interior design


3


at its very best, while at the same time


retaining an old world Mediterranean feel. THE FACTS: A former farmhouse offering six en suite bedrooms, banquet hall, large Tuscan-style kitchen, spacious living area and floodlit swimming pool, this picture- postcard property is ideal for families or a group of friends.


Outside, a small lake with its own tree- shaded island and bridge and a jasmine- covered gazebo surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens are the key highlights. Casa Felice Matteucci also holds a special place in history. It was home to Felice Matteucci, who in 1854 invented the first stroke engine (prototype to the modern day car) in his workshop. He spent most of his life looking after this and neighbouring property, Villa Controni. Somewhat grander in both features and


scale, Controni offers 11 bedrooms, a wine cellar and tasting room, its own chapel,


castle ruins and fountains. A GOOD BASE FOR: It’s tempting not to leave the idyllic surroundings and


excellent service laid on by the owners, the Fanucchi family, who describe the offering as “villas providing a hotel service”. Indeed, full concierge services are


available and include private transfers, a maid, in-house chef and on-site cookery classes. Day trips, wine-tasting, horse riding and helicopter tours are among the tailor-made activities available on request. However, it’s worth venturing to nearby Lucca to see its renaissance walls and cobblestone streets for a coffee or glass of wine in one of the piazzas. Drive 40 minutes west and you’ll hit the coast with a number of beach options with crystal clear water and sandy shores like


those at Versilla. WOW: The food served up by the cooks was deliciously authentic and as good, if not better, than what you’ll find elsewhere.


BOOK IT: From £10,835 for seven days. AKVILLAS.COM


Amie Keeley aspire september 2017 — 91


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