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