The villa is situated within over twenty-eight hectares of land, which guests are invited to explore. Low walls surround garden grottos with tinkling fountains set amongst the irises and wisteria. The jewel of the property, the Secret Garden, is tucked away behind a hedge on the sprawling rear lawn; a winding path leads to the charming stone pergola and flourishing rose garden. From April to June, the wall of wisteria is in full bloom and the scent of jasmine filters throughout the rooms of the house. Wildflowers including orchids, anemones and cyclamen can be found throughout the grounds, along with a rich variety of local wildlife such as wild boar, deer, foxes and porcupines, in addition to swallows, golden orioles, hoopoes, owls, buzzards and other birdlife.
Adjoining the kitchen, the herb garden carries rosemary, basil, parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, lemon balm and mint at the disposal of guests with a fondness for cooking. These are interplanted with spring bulbs and bedding plants which flower intermittently throughout the year, rendering an attractive view from the french windows. Nearby, the vegetable garden (or orto) supplies the villa with Mediterranean vegetables: tomatoes, courgette (zucchini), aubergine (melanzane), dark-leaved kale (cavolo nero), lettuce, celery, chillies, potatoes and a variety of Tuscan beans.
Our vineyard grows typical Luccan grapes which produce a red and a white wine, which are affectionately named Dragone after the current owners' Welsh family roots. Dragone Rosso is made with a blend of San Giovese, Merlot, Moscato d’Amburgo, Aleatico and Canaiolo grapes. Dragone Bianco uses Trebbiano, Tuscan Malvasia and Vermentino grapes. Both are lighter than well-known robust Tuscan wines such as Chianti, Maremma and Montepulciano, and are characterised by their easy drinking and the absence of additives. Under the eye of local oenologist Massimo Motroni and resident farm manager Franco, the vineyard produces roughly three hundred litres per year, with the harvest typically in mid-September.
The estate also produces its own olive oil. Olives are harvested in early winter and processed at a local olive press. Dragone Verde olive oil is included along with estate wine as a welcome gift for our guests, and more can be provided on request. Tours and tastings guided by Franco can be arranged on request, and residential Cookery courses coincide with each harvest for those eager for a hands-on experience.