The Surrounding Area

The villa is situated in the midst of verdant countryside, yet it is only about 50 minutes from the beautiful Mediterranean towns of Lerici and Portovenere, renowned for their waterfront seafood restaurants. Boats leave from both these ports for trips to the picturesque fishing villages of the Cinque Terre, and to Portofino. Locally, there are a multitude of ancient towns and villages to explore, each with their own personality, and often with a country restaurant or bar for a welcome pit-stop. The Mediterranean beaches of the Versilia coast are about an hour away, and provide a typically Italian seaside experience, with beach clubs, sun umbrellas, and beachfront bars and restaurants.

Shops & Services

Resua is close to essential services; it is just five minutes from the town of Casola, which has a cafe, restaurant, bank, post office, chemist, and several grocery stores; 17 mins from the picturesque market town of Fivizzano; and 30 minutes from Aulla, with railway station, major shops, cinema, supermarkets (Conad), and the Autostrada to La Spezia/Parma/Genoa/Livorno/Firenze.
  Shops usually close from about 12:30 or 1:00 to 3:00 or 3:30, but the Conad supermarkets in Aulla are open all day. There is also a small supermarket in Pallerone, about 20 minutes, and new one has recently opened in the center of Fivizzano.

Street Markets

TUESDAY – Fivizzano (mornings until 12:30 in the Piazza di Medicea)
THURSDAY – Sarzana has an all day market, great for clothes stalls, but you have to get there early to get a parking space; there's also an all-day market in Castelnuovo in Garfagnana (about an hour’s drive along the road to Lucca)
FRIDAY – La Spezia (all day), a big market, about 50 mins. away
SATURDAY – Aulla (mornings until 12:30, 1/2 hour drive) Worth going to, parking usually no problem, a really fun market where you can buy fresh produce, local cheeses and meat, fish, flowers, clothes, just about everything.

Airports

From Reusa, it is about one-and-a-quarter to one-and-a-half hours to Pisa airport, depending on the traffic. On Saturdays, the traffic is no problem, but on a week day, allow longer for possible traffic delays. Genoa airport is about the same distance as Pisa, and Florence Airport is about 30 mins. further.

Places of Interest Nearby

The nearest town is Casola (3 miles), a medieval village with an antico borgo, an ancient town center of narrow cobbled streets and winding stone stairways connecting the different levels. There is a bank and ATM machine, a post office, and a handful of shops, including two green grocers, a restaurant/pizza parlor, and cafe. This cafe also sells interesting edibles, such as local jams and honey, chestnut bread and pasta, and local wine and olive oil. Next door is a delicatessen, owned by the same people. A stroll through Casola is delightful, and you can walk down to the bridge over the river to the other side and ramble along the various footpaths. The museum in Casola is open by appointment.

Fivizzano, about 15 to 20 mins. away (depending on how fast you like to drive on mountain roads), is a beautiful Renaissance market town with a large square, the Piazza Medicea, dotted with outdoor cafes centered around a large fountain. This is a good place to go for food shopping; there are three butchers on Via Roma, who will chop, slice, fillet, and de-bone the meat you choose. They also bake daily a delicious local delicacy, torta verde, a kind of spinach tart, which you can take home for a treat. There are also several greengrocers on this same street. Down Via Roma a little further is the Antica Pharmacia, a pharmacy with antique fixtures which is worth a look, and it also sells really nice Italian smelly stuff, soaps etc, which make great gifts.
  Market day in Fivizzano is Tuesday, when the square fills up with stalls, including a fish stall that sells really fresh fish—the fishmonger will gut, fillet and bone your fish for you, but  you must ask. There's also a fishmonger on Via Roma, next to the newspaper stand. You can usually get English-language newspapers in Fivizzano at the edicola (newsstand) by the main parking lot.

Sarzana is a beautiful medieval town about 45 minutes from Reusa. The ancient center is closed to all but local traffic, making it a delightful place to stroll through narrow cobbled streets full of small boutiques, outdoor cafes, and little restaurants tucked down alleyways. Our favorite is a cafe serving homemade (artisanale) ice cream. You can also take a walk along the top of the old town wall and the main gate (see photo) which affords great views of the castle on the hill above and the narrow streets of the town below.

Lucca (50 miles) is beautifull city to visit, known world-wide as the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, born there in 1858. You can get to Lucca along the old mountain road through Castelnuovo in Garfagnana, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours—it’s a beautiful drive through the wild landscape of the Garfagnana, though the road is windy and narrow in places. On the way there is an interesting town to visit, Barga, just a few miles off the main road. You can return via the Autostrada, which is further in miles, but takes about the same amount of time. Lucca is the only major Tuscan city center not built on a hilltop, and you can rent bicycles as a fun and relaxing way to tour the town, since most of it is pedestrian-only.

Florence is about a 2 hour drive on the motorway, and not really recommended for a day trip, it really requires more time there. It is of particular interest for art lovers and museum goers, but for general sightseeing, visitors will find it is packed with tourists, especially in summer.

The Italian Riviera

Lerici, Tellaro, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) are picturesque fishing villages set along the southern-most end of the Italian Riviera, all with great seafood restaurants. You can park at both Lerici (45 mins. away) and Portovenere (50 mins.) and take the boat to the villages of the Cinque Terre.

Lerici is an especially attractive town with a beautiful harbor full of colorful boats and edged with palm trees. It has a promenade the length of the town, and the harbor’s entrance is dominated by a magnificent castle. There is a parking lot in Lerici on the hill before you drive down into the town, and from here you can walk down the narrow streets to the shore. The best seafood restaurant in Lerici is Il Pescatore—there is no menu, they will bring you dish after dish of delicious seafood with as much white wine as you can drink. From here you can take a boat to Portovenere and the towns of the Cinque Terre, and as far as Portofino if you wish.

Portovenere (Port of Venus) is the gateway to the Cinque Terre, consisting of five tiny fishing villages clinging to the cliffs of the rocky coastline. There’s usually plenty of street-side parking in Portovenere, but weekends in summer are busy, and all the good restaurants will be booked for lunch. You can take a boat from here to the Cinque Terre villages, stopping for lunch at one of them if you like (our favorite is Vernazza); from here there is a cliff path where you can walk to the next village. This boat trip is highly recommended on a sunny day.

Other Places of Interest

Other places of interest: Equi Terme, for the caves and hot springs, about 30 mins; Carrara and Pietra Santa for the marble mines, about 45 mins; Forte dei Marmi, for the typically Italian beach-life, fancy boutiques, and Mediterranean atmosphere, about 1 hr (also a great outdoor clothes market on Wednesdays); Pontremoli, the capital of Lunigiana, a lovely ancient town on a river, about 45 mins; Fosdinovo, which has a castle with fabulous views of the Mediterranean, about 40 mins, on the mountain road over the mountains to Carrara.

Suggested reading

A Small Place in Italy by Eric Newby, set in and around Fosdinovo. A book about his experiences during the war, and later when he and his Italian wife, whom he met while a prisoner-of-war in Italy, buy a house near Fosdinovo, her home town.

A Tuscan Childhood by Kinta Beevor—the reminiscences of a young girl whose father buys the Fortress della Brunella, an ancient Malaspina stronghold in Aulla, in 1916. The castle can be visited today, and has magnificent views of the Magra Valley. It also now features a natural history museum, with a playground for children (see photo on right).

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Casa della Quercia
The House & Village
Pool and Grounds
Accommodations
Local Restaurants
Surrounding Area
Directions etc.

Distances:
Casola 2 miles
Fivizzano 7 miles
Aulla 15 miles

Carrara 25 miles
Cinque Terre 25-30 miles
Pisa 60 miles
Lucca 50 miles
Florence 80 miles

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"A lovely, restful trip back in time at a charming but modern place. Your restoration is a treasure. The kindness and thoughtfulness will always be remembered."

—Connie and Steve, USA, Spetember 2013

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"This week we had the most wonderful holiday since a very long time. I'm sure that we will come back. Thank you for this lovely week! The house is fantastic . . . it's a pity that we could only stay for one week! Next time we will stay longer!"

—Carmen, Paul & Family, Belgium, July 2013

 

 

 

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Casa della Quercia
Gillian Drake • Ronald James
Via della Quercia 12, Reusa, Casola in Lunigiana, MS 54014, Toscana, Italia
Italy telephone: 0-585-949-155 • Italy cell: 331-332-1935 • USA: (508) 255-5084

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From top left:
Terenzano, a tiny village on the mountain road between Fivizzano and Reusa.

Casola, perched on a bluff overlooking the river Aullella.

The castle at Lerici.

Portovenere, gateway to the Cinque Terre.

The Church in Portovenere.

The archery festival in Fivizzano,  held every July.

Market day in Fivizzano, and
the Medici fountain in the center of the main sqaure.

The main entrance gate to the ancient borgo of Sarzana, and the square in the center of town.

One of the bridges in Pontremoli.

Market day in Aulla.

The Fortezza della Brunella in Aulla.

The marble mines in Carrara.