‘Ital­ians have got life sussed, haven’t they?’

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Front Page -

boar), and health-con­scious guests hop­ing to get their 10,000 steps in be­fore break­fast could walk it in the early morn­ing, be­fore the sun is high and fierce.

Por­tions of the villa date back cen­turies, but the Floren­tine owner has re­stored it metic­u­lously and stocked it with high-end con­tem­po­rary com­forts. You feel like you have walked into the pages of The World of In­te­ri­ors, but not in an in­tim­i­dat­ing way. There is un­der­floor cool­ing, a gen­tler and less noisy an­swer to the dry and chilly gust of air-con­di­tion­ing. The kitchen is armed to the teeth, with a large cen­tral is­land that was piled high with the food I had been able to order in ad­vance. Ev­ery­one mocked me for the sheer quan­tity, but do you sup­pose there was a crumb left on our fi­nal day? Mummy 1, Rest of the Fam­ily Nil.

In the en­chant­ing rose-hued room next to the kitchen stands a vast cir­cu­lar din­ner ta­ble which, though flat, is ap­par­ently built from wine bar­rels; this is Chi­anti, af­ter all, where the green slopes are striped with vines, and ev­ery­thing around you seems to be steeped in wine. Sum­mer guests, like us, will be more likely to eat out­side, where a mag­i­cal din­ing area, per­gola-shaded, is tempt­ingly de­signed for lengthy lunches and even longer feasts in the gath­er­ing dusk.

The villa can ac­com­mo­date up to 20 guests, with an airy, chic an­nexe where you could park noc­tur­nal teenagers or the more de­mand­ing sort of rel­a­tive. We in­vited along our friends Tim and Sue and their son, Dan, who is Tom’s best mate, and Lot­tie, who has known nown Evie since school. Ev­ery­one had a play­mate, which meant we didn’t have to worry when some e of the group wanted to stay be­hind and en­joy the villa while oth­ers fan­cied ied an out­ing to Siena.

Fa­cil­i­ties in the grounds in­clude a boule court ourt and a ta­ble-ten­nis ta­ble. le. Dur­ing our visit, this proved es­pe­cially pop­u­lar in the very ry early hours of the morn­ing, long af­ter er creaky adults had gone to bed. There is also a gym, al­though I’d be ly­ing if I said it got used. We were a bit tied up eat­ing sub­lime pasta or laz­ing by the pool, which com­mands sump­tu­ous views of the val­ley be­yond, where Sting has his rock-star es­tate. We could al­most hear him singing Fields of Gold. Ba­si­cally, for any­one who turns up grey with overw over­work or other cares, and seized by a crav­ing to do al­most noth­ing at all all, here is the oa­sis you seek. With z zero ef­fort and no more than a pinch of guilt, you can quite eas­ily spend a week sprawled in the sun, loung­ing in the shade, e eat­ing, booz­ing, and leafin leaf­ing through those pap pa­pery things called bo books that you may have fo for­got­ten even ex­isted. Mer­ci­fully, our fam­ily’s heat in­com­pat­i­bil­ity prob­lem was solved by the fact that we were so high up there was al­ways a gen­tle breeze. Goldilocks would have ap­proved.

There is only one prob­lem with Villa Caprolo: you can’t leave. At the hol­i­day’s end, of course, you will have to go, drag­ging your­self up the cy­press-lined av­enue, through the iron gates, and back into the mor­tal world. Even mid-stay, how­ever, the place some­how holds you in its em­brace, as if to ask: where else would you want to be right now?

The kids, whom I as­sumed would be bored and want to seek night­clubs, point blank re­fused to go any­where. It was as if the Tus­can spell John Mor­timer de­scribed in his novel, Sum­mer’s Lease, had them in its power. Both boys, fraz­zled af­ter ex­ams, ditched their phones and made mu­sic on a key­board, im­pres­sively pro­vided by Tus­cany Now & More (your wish is

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.