Italian experiences

Cinghiale or wild boar Pappardelle recipe… Good things take a long time coming

PastaThis recipe is a speciality of the local area for La Collina del Sole an outstanding Lucca villa rental situated in the heart of the chestnut wood area of Garfagnana a region rich in experiences and activities, with beautiful places of interest that you can explore while enjoying your holiday villas in Lucca The mountains afford world class climbing, and mountain recreation like walking; a real treat in the heat of the summer when you rent a villa in Tuscany as the usual villas for rent in Tuscany have flatter surroundings. Here you find a rich landscape that changes with every passing hour … ideal to just sit and “chill” at your villa rentals in TuscanyThe recipe for cinghiale sauce requires time and skill and can feed 10 to 25 people. Whether you try your hand at it, get one of our chefs to cook it for you, or just order pappardelle al cinghiale at a local restaurant, this recipe reveals the work that goes into this seemingly simple Tuscan treasure. The sauce: start with a fresh cut of wild boar, and leave to age for at least three days at O degrees Centigrade. Bone out the leg parts and cut off what little fat you will find. Cut the ribs into chops and set aside to make the stew. Cut half of the meat into large squares and place in a big pot with lots of sprigs of freshly picked rosemary, sage, bay, peppercorns and parsley stalks. Dice up vegetables in the same manner: red onions, the white part of some leeks, celery, and a small quantity of carrots and add to the huge pot. Add lashings of good Tuscan red wine until it covers the cinghiale. You should work on 2/3 meat, 1/3 vegetables ratio, and for every two bottles of wine add one cup of olive oil. Leave the stew to rest in the fridge for two days, stirring when possible to help marinate all the flavours. Throw in a few peppercorns and juniper berries for good measure. After a couple of days drain off the liquid and set aside. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan and throw in a good amount of olive oil-then double it. Sautè the cinghiale and vegetables. This step can be done in stages, so you don't stew the meat, but brown it. Once all the meat has been browned, throw everything into the pot, adding the liquid marinade and a small amount of tomato pulp. Bring to a boil and simmer very slowly for at least four hours. Season with salt and taste for flavour and then smother you chosen pasta with the sauce. To accompany go for an aged pecorino cheese (not parmesan) and a bottle of Piastraia Bolgheri Rosso DOC Michele Satta which beautifully accompanies the rich, intensely gamey taste of the wild boar.If you would like other wine suggestions contact us and we or our freind Andrea at il Vecchio Mulino will be deligthed to help Enjoy! 360DegreefromPool

His father was a wild boar, his mother was surprised…

Mr PigIn the forest that surrounds la Collina del Sole there lives the Italian wild boar…and whilst most of you may know what to do when confronted by a grizzly bear, a lion, a tiger or a scorpion, one might be less aware of the protocol for a cinghiale (wild boar). Cinghiale is a favourite dish in the local restaurants of this Lucca villa rental as like some other holiday villas in Lucca it is situated overlooking the Apuan mountains in Garfagnana. Unlike many villas for rent in Tuscany commands the most extraordinary view. The last thing on your mind when you rent a villa in Tuscany is to come face to face with a cinghiale, to be honest, it is a rare occurrence with residents of villa rentals in Tuscany however if you are very quiet while walking in the woods near La Colina del Sole you may find one.These beasts are actually quite timid. They have a sharp sense of smell, but poor eyesight, so once they smell your presence they may get a little closer to see you, however, usually upon realising that you are a threat they will just run away in a fit of squeals and grunts. And they can run fast…so don’t think you’ll be able to outrun one.

In the rare occasion that a cinghiale should feel threatened (perhaps you are hunting it… in which case, that is fair enough), a wild boar does have the strength to harm you. In which case you should either talk loudly or yell. The boar will most likely want nothing to do with you and scoot off. I recommend vocalizing a recipe for “papardelle con cinghiale” just to really drive home the message …well that is my theory anyway! You could also back away slowly and steadily, this prevents the animal from feeling further threatened which means it is less likely to charge at you. Some sources even suggest trying to climb a nearby tree, which in my opinion is easier said than done, especially in Northern Tuscany where the trees tend to have thin branches where are next to impossible to scale!

There is no need to panic about the likelihood of stumbling across a wild boar; you most likely will never see one. The most probable encounter you will have with one is when you sit down at El Pozzo restaurant down the road from La Collina del Sole about to tuck into a bowl of wild boar stew - a rare and deliciously intense dish that you must try if offered on the menu. LCDS Sunset from road leading to La Collina del Sole

Scents and sensibility…

Blog ImageThe history of perfume is as old as the existence of human beings. In the middle ages, the Royal House of Medici, whose legacy extends well beyond Tuscany was very fond of perfume. When you rent a villa in Tuscany you will be surrounded by many Medici buildings, including the medieval towns near La Collina del Sole that are nestled in the Apuan mountains, this beautiful Lucca villa rental overlooks the mountain range which has a perpetual source of ice, essential for keeping ingredients cool and making gelato, [itself invented by Catherine de Medici’s head cook] the woods and flowers found in this area with villas for rent in Tuscany are often used to make perfume, The woods around La Collina del Sole a jewel among Holiday villas in Lucca provide conifer resin, Violets and wild rose a flower commonly found around villa rentals in Tuscany are also used as are herbs like, thyme, rosemary, sage and basil which grow liberally in the verandas of La Collina del Sole Perfumes were initially used to appease the gods, they were considered to have divine value. In ancient times the skill needed to create perfume was considered a high-art form. People used herbs and spices, such as almond, coriander, myrtle, conifer resin, and bergamot, as well as flowers,  commonly found around La Collina del Sole The Arab chemist Al-Kindi even wrote a book called the “Book of the Chemistry of Perfume and Distillations”, which contained more than a hundred recipes for perfume-making! Today the perfume industry is one of the most dominant luxury industries in the world. The marketing strategies to appeal to such a large and demanding clientele are vast. It seems that almost every week a new pop star is launching their own sickly-sweet brand of perfume, from the likes of “wonder struck” by Talyor Swift to “our moment” by One Direction. The perfume industry blindly follows the fashion fads of the 21st century. Indeed, one could argue that this industry is fast losing the artistic side of the profession… the Medici’s would be surprised at “wonder struck”

However this is not the case with the shop AquaFlor found in Florence. This hidden gem completely takes your breath away. An intriguing perfumery set within a beautiful palazzo full of products crafted with passion. This is a space to be seen and smelt. The store harks back to a bygone era of Florence. Beneath glorious arched ceilings, large wooden cabinets contain rows of brown glass bottles filled with 1500 botanical ingredients. They take these sophisticated materials to create a small number of bespoke scents for clients to enjoy. To add an extra touch of luxury to this already decadent destination is their in-house laboratory, where new perfume concepts and individual bottles for clients are developed. They will create a bespoke perfume just for you should you desire a truly unique scent. When you enter Aqua Flor you experience the ambience of a true workshop dedicated to the fine art of crafting perfume. As Sileno explains, "perfume evokes memories and has a powerful effect on our senses", as did this truly remarkable store in Florence - a worthwhile trip to experience when you visit La Collina del Sole

AQUAFLOR at Via Borgo Santa Croce, 6, 50122 Firenze, Italia PHONE: (+39) 055 2343471 E-MAIL :

Make the world better with a sweater…

Christmas JumpersItaly has launched a global campaign promoting wool, inspired by the "Live naturally, choose wool" moto. In these winter months, villa rentals in Tuscany can get fresh so… what better way to keep warm in your Lucca villa rental than a beautiful hand knitted woollen sweater, like the ones you get in Marias shop just down the road from La Collina del Sole where the sweater will be made for you within a couple of days - another unique experience and service when you rent a villa in Tuscany !! At La Collina del Sole a warm and welcoming addition to villas for rent in Tuscany skiing is just 1 ½ hour away, a visit to the sea shore is the same distance, and Milan well ... that is just over 3 hours - hence it is perfectly placed as a holiday villas in Lucca to enjoy Tuscany in all its natural splendour.Italians are promoting wool as a natural, biodegradable and renewable fibre, launched in Milan, the celebrations have united the textile community, the fashion industry and consumers all together for the first time. A flock of traditional Italian sheep were left grazing in a pen in front of the Duomo to highlight the natural origin of wool and offer consumers an unexpected wool experience. This campaign for the promotion of wool has caught the attention of Italians because, as the Prince of Wales explains: "You do not have to look too far back in history to see that wool was once the mainstay of the global economy. In recent years however, wool has been fighting to compete with man-made fibres. For too long we have managed to forget what a wonderful fibre wool is. Wool is empowered with exceptional natural elasticity so not only will a wool garment offer superior drape and handle, this elasticity also gives the wearer a durable and high quality garment that will last for many years. - Simply put, wool looks good for longer! One of the highlighted aspects of wool was the natural beauty of Merino wool. The Merino is an economically influential breed of sheep prized for its wool as the Merinos are still regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep. Although ‘fluffy’ in appearance, the fibres of a merino wool product are lighter than any other sheep’s wool, reducing the scratchy, heavy sensation that many people associate with a thick woollen jumpers. Therefore merino wool can be spun into a huge snuggly jumper or for “next to the skin” clothing such as socks, and underwear. Italians have a mission to convince consumers that opting for wool as opposed to synthetics in fashion and lifestyle will make a positive contribution to environmental sustainability around the world - give me the opportunity to snuggle up in a Marino wool jumper in front of the fire at La Collina del Sole with a cup of hot cocoa and I am sold!

Have you been naughty or nice?

Lady with HatIn Italian folklore the Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children and fills their socks with candy and presents if they are good, or a lump of coal if they are bad. A jolly handy piece of information if you happen to rent a villa in Tuscany during epiphany which is a spectacular time of year to stay at holiday villas in Lucca as the air is crisp and bright and Italians love to PARTY, for example the village inhabitants near La Collina del Sole will gather and if they are alerted that young children are staying at this beautiful Lucca villa rental will visit with sweets and treats and a brass band - a unique lifetime experience to enjoy while you stay at villa rentals in Tuscany In fact La Collina del Sole is one of the few places among the villas for rent in Tuscany where guests will be so warmly and wholeheartedly welcomedLa Befana travels throughout Italy on the night of January the 5th, delivering presents in a similar way to Santa Claus. Attention children, stay at the Italian villa La Collina del Sole during January because in Italy children get both gifts from Father Christmas and the Befana! The Befana is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick wearing a black shawl, and covered in soot because she enters the children's houses through the chimney. She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy and gifts. The broom that she carries is not only a mode of transport but signifies the sweeping away of the problems of the year. It is suggested that one should leave a small glass of wine and a plate with a few yummy treats on it ; otherwise she may not leave any presents for you! Legend says that the Befana was approached by the Three Wise Men a few days before the birth of Jesus. They asked for directions to where Jesus was, as they had seen his star in the sky, but she did not know the answer. She gave them shelter for a night, as she was considered to be the best housekeeper in the village, with the cleanest home as she swept all the time. The Three Wise Men invited her to join them on the journey to find baby Jesus, but she declined because she was too busy with her house cleaning. Later, La Befana changed her mind and went searching for baby Jesus. That night she had no luck in finding Him, so to this day, La Befana is still searching for the little baby, leaving presents for good children such as toys and candy, and for the bad children that she meets along her way...coal.

Don’t get your knickers in a twist…

Image of girlItalians have managed to make the otherwise innocent New Year's Eve celebration a little bit naughty. Tradition dictates that everyone must wear red underwear on New Year's Eve - from boxer shorts to sexy lace panties - anything goes, as long as it's red. Shortly after Christmas, red underwear is stocked exclusively all over the country, so there is no excuse not to join in! When you rent a villa in Tuscany which we highly recommend as Italian New Year’s celebrations are legendary! With a great deal of feasting and fireworks that can be brilliantly overlooked in the valley below from La Collina del Sole one of the best located Villa rentals in Tuscany as it is placed overlooking the Serchio valley. This superb Lucca villa rental has a commanding view of the Apuane hills, where more fireworks can be seen from high altitude villages and refugios where long distance walkers have accomplished a once in a lifetime experience and trekked from their holiday villas in Lucca to the top of the Apuane range, with its beautiful Monte Forato a mountain that has a huge circular hole through the middle,  a highlight to view from the villas for rent in TuscanyIn Spain and Chile there is a similar custom of wearing unusual underwear in case you thought that it sounded a little odd, in Japan locals consume large amounts of a chewy, sweet rice cake, called Mochi, in order to guarantee a long and happy life. This sounds innocent enough, however this tradition has been known to lead to people choking to death – I’m not sure if it’s worth the hassle, to be honest…best to stick to red underwear! Italians also eat “cotechino e lenticchie” (pig’s feet and lentils) during New Years. According to tradition this bizarre ritual will bring good luck to the Italian’s finances in the coming year. The economical abundance wished for is symbolised through the hoof because the meat has a high fat content and a superior richness in flavour to other cuts of meat. Equally symbolic are the lentils, as their ovular shape is reminiscent of gold coins and the money the Italians hope to earn in the coming year. Needless to say, the more you eat, the better off you will be financially! The traditional recipe that you will come across in the surrounding area of la Collina del Sole will be pig’s feet in a tomato sauce. Nicely browned pig trotter will simmer in a sauce composed of sautéed and thinly sliced onion and chopped garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, oregano and Italian seasonings. Chefs will cook the pig’s feet in the sauce for up to four hours until the meat in incredibly succulent and tender, and it falls off the bone easily – sounds pretty delicious to me!

LCDS Sunset from road leading to La Collina del Sole

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth…

Winter evening sceneChristmas season begins in Italy on the 30th of November! In the cold winter weather of the northern Tuscan mountains where you can rent a villa in Tuscany Christmas fairs feature fireworks, bonfires, hot chocolate, sugary pastries and piping bowls of pasta. Near Lucca villa rental Christmas markets overflow with new figurines for the manger scene and Christmas baubles to decorate the Christmas tree. If you would like to savour the Christmas spirit earlier than most; we suggest you visit La Collina del Sole one of the few Villas for rent in Tuscany which is designed for both winter and summer living. With a welcoming living room complete with open log fire, high beamed ceilings typical of the best Holiday villas in Lucca and a plethora of speciality food shops bursting with truffles and funghi porcini and fabulously well priced restaurants that serve the best local fare all of them found near our villa rentals in Tuscany Nine days before Christmas it is traditional for Italian families to sing Christmas carols and re-create the manger scene in their homes (some families put life-size figures of Mary and Joseph in their front yard) where they will gather to pray every morning and light candles. Interestingly both the concept of manger scenes and Christmas carols originated in Italy! During the run up to Christmas, children will write letters to their parents wishing them a merry Christmas, promising good behaviour, and making a list of the gifts they hope to receive – much like we do in England. However, in Italy the parents read these letters aloud at dinner. Then they toss them in the fireplace! The children chant to La Befana, the Christmas Spirit, [who when she turns up looks like an old lady] as their wishes go up the chimney – this certainly makes it a little bit trickier for Santa or the Befana when remembering what the children asked for! Once the first star appears on Christmas Eve Italian families light candles in their windows to light the way for the Christ Child. They light candles around their manger and pass the figure of the Baby Jesus from person to person, kissing it, before finally placing it tenderly in its crib. Then they enjoy a lavish supper based on seafood, vegetables, salads, antipasto, bread, pasta, and sweets – no meat will feature in this meal. After dinner the town will gather at church for a midnight Christmas Eve mass. Christmas Day is reserved for church, presents, family, and – in true Italian style – feasting! Foods which feature heavily at Christmas are Pannettone, a yeast cake filled with fruit, and panforte, a dense honey cake spiced with cloves and cinnamon, and cassata, which includes ice cream and fruit. So in the words of a young man “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!”..


A sneak-peak into the decadent lives of Italy’s high society…

The Great BeautyPaolo Sorrentino’s film La Grande Bellezza is an incredible film which I fully recommend. It is a compelling tragicomedy which focuses on Italy's upper class. It is an overload for the senses, with richness, strangeness and sadness all mixed into one film. However in a most vibrant manner the film proves that the middle-aged rich do hedonism better than the young with the party still going as the night sky pales over the beautiful Roman skyline through Sorrentino's favourite glassy electro-pop lens. We have a brief insight into Europe’s wealthy party scene with bronzed, botoxed women and sweaty, bejewelled men.  Italy is the "grand stage" of life that develops before your eyes when you stay at holiday villas in Lucca thankfully, there are few botoxed women, in Garfagnana where La Collina del Sole is located, however you do find that even the gardeners are elegant in the villas for rent in Tuscany How the Italians accomplish this “listless elegance” is a true Italian secret. Is it their posture? Which you can observe as you watch the world go by when you rent a villa in Tuscany - Italians saunter holding alternating wrists behind their back and gently pull, stretching their backs as they do this. Is it their innate sense of colour? Being surrounded by such classical beauty easily observable from your villa rentals in Tuscany Whatever it is “La Dolce Vita” attitude is the vital ingredient that makes a holiday in Lucca villa rental such an amazing experience.Going back to our film; La Grande Bellezza reunites Sorrentino with his favourite actor Toni Servillo. He plays Jep, an ageing man-about-town at the centre of Rome's fashionable nightlife, whose face is a mask of polite disenchantment whilst he enjoys beauty in all its forms. This could mean in the form of love, or sex, or art, or death, but above all it means Rome. The film is rich in incredible camera shots of hidden parts of Rome giving an air of mystery to the city. A dramatic sense of passion, unbearable melancholy, a sense of love and loss, and a sharp sense of the varying forms of power and prestige that enrich the film. Go on … Watch the film in the comfort of the Lucca Villa Rental and then, having watched it at la Collina del Sole take a day trip to Rome. In Rome you will be able to revisit some of the epic architecture captured on film and bask in the hedonistic, rich atmosphere that Sorrentino manages to capture in his film. LCDS Pool360Degree

Old wines and friends improve with age...

Lady drinking wineItaly varies widely when it comes to climate and terrain. The northern regions have very hot summers and super-cold winters and are therefore excellent for villa rentals in Tuscany . At La Collina del Sole set in the middle of a stunning vineyard, overlooking the Carrara mountain hills, luscious grapes ripen gently near the award winning infinity pool and produce the organic wine given to each guest… Rather a treat when you rent a villa in Tuscany ! This Lucca villa rental also offers a once in a lifetime experience which consists of joining the vendemmia during the wine harvest. You could be part of the team, pick some of these glorious Sangiovese grapes and be involved in the wine production. The vendemmia usually takes place in September or early October and gets booked up so if this is an experience you would enjoy while appreciating your holiday villas in Lucca It is best to contact the owners in good time for rather a special vedemmia instruction while you stay at villas for rent in Tuscany Italian wines are world renown:Tuscany is the most enduringly famous of all Italian wine regions, thanks to the romantic glamor of its endless rolling hills, snaking country roads and hilltop villages. Tuscan wines have a fantastic reputation founded on such iconic wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Factors that contribute to this ideal environment for the cultivation of grapes are the coastal and mountain climates, the mixture of well-drained and dry soils and the moderately hilly terrain extending towards the Apennine Mountains, which collectively help maintain the grape’s balance of sugars, acidity and aromatic qualities. The Sangiovese is a red grape that particularly thrives on these Tuscan hillside vineyards, performing best in direct sunlight. Another Tuscan treasure is the notable sweet red wine called Elba Aleatico Passito, which features the Aleatico grape. As well as being famed for its reds, Tuscany produces some distinguished whites such as the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Tuscany is also home to the renowned dessert wine Vin Santo – “holy wine”. It is called “holy wine” because it is usually comprised of the Trebbiano grape which has been air-dried until the start of Holy Week before being produced into wine. In the north of Italy the high altitude vineyards near the Alps produce wines with a high degree of acidity and freshness, due to the huge fluctuation in temperature from day to night. As you travel southwards the Mediterranean Sea becomes the principal influence on agricultural regions, the winters are mild and the summers are hot and dry creating a ripe, lush wine crop. Whichever is your favourite tipple … Salute !

Where the wild things are...

Pumpkin CakeHalloween as we know it does not exist in Italy so if you are at Lucca villa rental expecting to go trick or treating you are in for a surprise!!! Italians celebrate all hallows day with a church service to commemorate the memory of dead relatives. A beautiful celebration is held at Santuario the local monastery to La Collina del Sole . A really worthwhile “dress up day” to enjoy when you rent a villa in Tuscany is the Carnevale a true highlight during the Italian special dates calendar. During this Italian fun day, people dress up and play practical jokes. The 'Carnevale' is usually in February, as it is held 40 days before Easter, a beautifully cool and crisp time of year to enjoy villa rentals in Tuscany. It is celebrated with parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties. Kids dress up, go out and throw confetti and play innocent practical jokes on everyone. In true Italian decadent fashion they celebrate Carnevale for roughly one week. Children in Italy stuff themselves with pumpkin risotto and porcini mushrooms and Castagnole - instead of sugar filled candies – a healthier way to feast.If during your stay at holiday villas in Lucca you would like to learn the darker lore of the area, we found out from our guide when we stayed at La Collina del Sole that you can still find elements of the macabre, the famous Devil’s Bridge is a stone’s throw away from this beautiful villas for rent in Tuscany - Ponte della Maddalena, which translates as the Bridge of Mary Magdalene, is a bridge crossing the Serchio river near the town of Borgo a Mozzano in the Italian province of Lucca. It is more widely known as the Bridge of the Devil as legend has it that the villages on either side of the river made a deal with the devil in order to gain his help to construct the architecturally magnificent stone arch bridge that still stands today despite over 500 years of use, in order to facilitate the crossing of the river which was vital for the continuation of a medieval pilgrimage route. The devil agreed to build the bridge, but in return he asked to take the first soul to cross the bridge back to hell with him. After building the bridge overnight the devil was outwitted by his adversaries, the townspeople threw bread to lure a dog over the bridge first, which was last seen descending into the water, bringing peace to the community. The high arch in the bridge is supposedly due to the devil jumping in rage at being outsmarted by the townsfolk. It takes great wit to outsmart Italians ! Devils bridge Ponte del Diavolo

If I could marry pastry cream I would...

Raspberry sliceThe unique Italian art for making pastry: Tradition, Technique and Taste! We have discovered where to learn these secrets while enjoying a Lucca villa rental overlooking the Carrara marble hills! It is called La Collina del Sole and has a variety of exclusive experiences that are only available at this villas for rent in Tuscany one of the best "unique to La Collina del Sole" experiences is cooking lessons with Maria you can choose what you want to learn from the suggested menu at this holiday villas in Lucca or send your request by contacting the owners of this award winning villa rentals in Tuscany and really get stuck in to the Italian culinary tradition which as you will discover when you rent a villa in Tuscany has been influenced by different populations such as the Roman, Greek, Arabian and Norman, this influence is particularly noticeable in the art of Italian pastries. The use of nuts and caramelised sweets folded into their all butter, sweet, light textured pastries are mouth-watering.In the past, the dessert course was created for the family to enjoy purely for special occasions, such as a religious festivity. Nowadays, however, as Italian food is considered one of the best all over the world, these deserts (luckily for us) are widely available! So why not pop down to one of the cafes and pasticcerias that surround La Collina del Sole this Special Italian villa for rent in Tuscany, and try a... GIANDUIOTTO - a milk chocolate sweet. Originally from Torino, it is descended from a traditional chocolate pudding recipe involving crushed hazelnut s and lady fingers. The concept of mixing hazelnut pieces and chocolates was born during Napoleon’s reign, when importing cocoa from South America became extremely difficult and was “bulked up” with hazelnuts. BACI DI DAMA – a "ladies Kiss". As legend has it they were created by a chef who worked for the Royal family of Savoia as he wished to impress King Vittorio Emanuele. The name most probably represents a kiss between two lovers and the shape of the “baci di dama” itself resembles a lady’s lips. These baci combine hazelnuts with butter flour and sugar until a rich, smooth and luscious texture is achieved. CASTAGNOLE - little fried dough balls flavoured with aniseed liqueur. Castagnole are made with an egg enriched dough, which contains baking powder, aniseed liqueur, lemon zest which is fried until golden. Crunchy and sweet on the outside; soft and warm on the inside. They are the typical carnival pastry. SFOGLIATELLE - shell-shaped filled pastries native to Italian cuisine. "Sfogliatelle" means "small, thin leaves/layers," as the pastry's texture resembles stacked leaves. Recipes for the dough and filling of sfogliatelle vary and include orange-flavoured ricotta, almond paste, and candied peel of citron. These desserts are well known for giving a sweet and powerful taste whilst retaining a light texture. Buon Apetito !Botega del Gelate YUMmmm by Rebecca Jensen

Let’s clean up our act!

With natural soap! At Lucca Villa Rental we show you how to make all manner of beauty La Collina del Sole viewproducts using vegan ingredients. First up the handmade soap workshop held at La Collina del Sole will keep you smelling fresh well after you have returned from your holiday villas in Lucca Using olive oils from our region, you will be reminded daily of your villa rentals in Tuscany the fun you had and all the experiences you lived at La Collina del Sole for example making soap as though you were making cake! using the same recipe our ancestors used and making sure you don’t use the same utensils! Otherwise the lovely gifts you bring back from your villas for rent in Tuscany might be a little more interesting than you bargained for. It is always a treat to bring home a souvenir when you rent a villa in Tuscany and what better than a soap which has been perfumed with IMG_7430flowers and herbs from the very hills you enjoyed walking in!Natural soap does not strip your skin of its natural protective oils due to its high glycerine content which itself has a deep cleansing effect and high moisturizing qualities, as such it is the best soap for people who suffer skin allergies or have sensitive skin. Another bonus point for natural soap is that it uses only natural vegetable oils, no animal fat, no detergents, no chemicals like phosphates, sulphates, chemical colouring agents or petroleum hence natural soaps are high on the eco-friendly scale with no animal testing and by using ingredients that don't cause any harm to the environment. What I love about the natural soap that is made at the La Collina del Sole workshop is IMG_7432that the colouring and fragrance ingredients come from dry plants and flowers from the very hills that you enjoy walking in, it is so special knowing that as you bathe with these soaps your skin is absorbing the flowers, and beauty that surrounds you. The workshop normally lasts for 2 hours and your instructor will bring all the materials, equipment, and complete instructions for soap making in hard copy. Some theory will be covered like the basic chemistry principles of soap making, the difference between commercial soap and handmade soap and the different types of soaps available for specific needs. The practical side gets YOU making soap from scratch, using basic kitchen equipment in a procedure rather like cake making, but with special attention to certain details due to the chemical IMG_7442reactions that occur.  Once ready the soap needs 7 weeks to  harden and season, particularly as the first 48 hours it is jelly-like hence not very practical for travelling, however our instructor  brings  a variety of soap bars which are seasoned and ready  to travel.  Such a treat to know that with this soap what you see is what you get! So if you would like to make olive oil soap that is particularly suitable for those with sensitive skins following a traditional recipe then book our soap making experience and create delicate soaps, the cost for this workshop is €30 for a group, it includes all the materials needed, equipment and complete instructions for soap making plus information on the difference between commercial and handmade soap, the workshop lasts for about 2 hours. The group also gets to take three 100 gram bars of soap home ... unless you would like more!