Guestbook


Here you find guests feedback from some of the websites we advertise on.



We had a lovely stay in this quiet and well equipped villa.
Thank you
Lynn and Bill

Olaf and Kate Akkerman, 

We really enjoyed every minute of our stay in this property. The owner Lynn gave us a call a couple of days before we arrived and offered any help we need with booking restaurants, etc. thankfully we manage ourselves, but it was good to know there was help if needed. By entering the postcode into the sat nav we had no problem finding the property. We loved the rural location and real Tuscan feel of the property with the addition of all the mod cons (TVs, Wifi, Pool, hot tub, gas fire outside, etc.) The house is very well equipped and had everything we needed for our stay. The large American style fridge has an ice machine and cold filtered drinking water on demand. The pizza oven was easy to master and the fact that the local supermarkets sold pizza bases made it easy to make some of the best pizza we ever had - the kids loved creating their own individual pizzas. The outside facilities to this property are outstanding and we spent most of our time there. The pool is a decent size and has a large canopy which can be raised to provide partial shade. We loved spending the evenings chilling out with a drink and book around the outside gas fire / seating area and the outside lighting helped created a relaxing setting. Listening to the wild boar rustle about was very amusing. The kids enjoyed toasting marshmallows on the fire. We took a walk down to the waterfall near the property. Its only about a mile walk and it marked with red arrows giving directions the whole way from the bottom of the village. It was a tough climb back up the hill as the terrain is rough and parts very steep (nearly 700ft of elevation) The guest book provided details on quite a number of local restaurants, we tried a few of these. The best by far was the country club in Pontremoli. We took a day trip to Portovenere. This is a beautiful part of the Italian coastline and has plenty of good restaurants and boat trips available. It was very busy here and would advise getting there early to get parked and to make the most of the day. We loved every minute of this holiday!!! And now have to invest in an outside gas fire, pizza oven, hot tub and a few wild boar for home.

Nigel Ward and family, 

We spent a week at the villa and enjoyed the fantastic facilities as well as the national park surroundings. The Villa is particularly well appointed for out door living with the pizza oven and traditional barbecue as week as a top of the range Weber Gas barbecue, where we cooked traditional bistecca Florentine. As we sat by the fire pit as dusk decided we were delighted to see the wild boar roaming around the woods nearby as well as deer and other wildlife. We would highly recommend the villa for that special getaway as a base to visit the surrounding area or just to chill out at the pool or in the hot tub.

Euan Robertson, 

We had a wonderful week. Lynn and Bill have a very spacious and comfortable home and have done very well to provide for their guests. The guest book is full of helpful information and recommendations for exploring the surrounding area. The pool and outdoor spaces are fantastic and we enjoyed making our own pizzas in the oven or just relaxing around the fire in the evenings. We would highly recommend this property.

Sara Breitzmann, 

Our family of 4 had a fantastic holiday in your amazing villa in the hills. It was very clean and very well equipped. I would recommend this villa to anyone considering a quite, away from it all holiday in this beautiful region of Italy.

Kate Akkerman, 

We spent a week at the villa and enjoyed the fantastic facilities as well as the national park surroundings.

The Villa is particularly well appointed for out door living with the pizza oven and traditional barbecue as week as a top of the range Weber Gas barbecue, where we cooked traditional bistecca Florentine.

As we sat by the fire pit as dusk decided we were delighted to see the wild boar roaming around the woods nearby as well as deer and other wildlife.

We would highly recommend the villa for that special getaway as a base to visit the surrounding area or just to chill out at the pool or in the hot tub.

Euan and Sandra robertson, 

Lynn and Bill, We had a fantastic holiday and your villa is beautiful. You are always worried when booking on line, but your villa probably exceeded our expectations. A lovely location, so peaceful. It was very clean when we arrived and is also very well equipped. This was a holiday to celebrate our 60th birthdays with our children and their partners, and everyone came back saying what a great time they’d had and will always remember it. We would definitely recommend this to anyone considering this type of holiday

Lindsay & Madeleine Russell, 

We had a lovely time in the villa. We love cooking gourmet food, which is especially easy in Italy with all the lovely high quality food and we had everything we needed in the very well equipped gourmet kitchen. The outdoor kitchen is also a wonderful addition, we made delicious pizzas in the wood fire pizza oven, absolutely loved it.
The quality of the beds in the villa is high, they are very comfortable. The villa is nicely decorated, very clean and spacious and then there is also the large garden, terrace and pool area. Many nice places in the area to explore, both small towns and larger cities. We went for a couple of day trips, to the beautiful Chinque Terre and also drove up to Genova. So many interesting places to visit within 2 hr. drive.
Villa Ariola fits well for a nice family vacation or 2 couples with children.
The owners are very helpful and quickly attended to all our needs. We had a wonderful and relaxing time.

Agusta Johnson, 

This villa is a true gem of a find. It had everything that we were looking for and more - a beautiful pool, a BBQ grill (both gas and a wood-burning grills), a well-apportioned and very nice kitchen, clean and spacious bedrooms, plenty of bathrooms, a number of outdoor and indoor dining/seating options, and plenty of garden space. On top of that, there is a natural pizza oven, a hot tub, and outdoor kitchen and bar area. The villa is nestled with a few neighboring houses up top of the hills overlooking the Magra river valley below and served as a private retreat for our family. It was perfect.
We stayed for a week in late June, and while the temperature was quite warm during the day (which was perfect pool weather), it never got too hot in the house. The natural breeze that came up into the hills from the valley below provided a refreshing flow of air through the house that was quite nice. So, while there was an option to use the air con, we never had to, nor did we use any of the provided fans.
The groceries options were not too far of a drive away in the valley towns below. We would stop by them almost daily on our way back from visiting the lovely surrounding villages.
We never found ourselves wishing for more during our stay at this villa. We highly recommend it if you are looking for a true getaway into Tuscany.

Doug, 

The place is excellent; large and very well set out; you will need a car to get here.

The kitchen is amazing, very well equipped we cooked in it every night. The island is perfect for working on your pizza dough and pizza boards great for carrying the pizza to the oven. The dresser contains a book on Italian food, we used this for cooking some excellent local dishes.

The place is set up for you sitting outside and my wife and myself enjoyed most evenings in the hot tub watching the stars while waiting for the pizza ovan to finish; top tip is wait until the embers are burnt through, no flames will stop your pizza burning.

The table outside the back door is perfect for the morning sun and breakfast. The covered pool, was a little chilli in May but would be perfect in the summer. There are two BBQs and a pizza oven. There is a working SMEG fridge and running water so everything you need for outdoor cooking. The hot tube is kept at 37/38 degrees is was amazing and quickly back up to temp by putting the cover on.

There is a well equipped pool house with sun beds and chairs. We didn't spend much time around the pool as we went out each day but if you wanted a holiday next to the pool this is perfect. Back inside and the house is on three levels, downstairs basement has the lounge area with a bathroom and sofa bed, we didn't use this at all but would be a very cool place in the summer or cosy place in the winter. Upstairs are three great bedroom with genuine comfortable beds. The master bedroom is worth going out the doors and round the side of the house to watch the sun set and rise, a truely wonderful site over the Tuscan hills. The two other bedrooms are a great size and all come with AC which we found excellent for getting warmer or cooler very quickly.

Recommend:
Visit lucca - an excellent city about an hours drive away and a great place to sit and watch people or visit historical Italy without the crowds.

The chica terra is close and worth a visit. Make sure you get the 10:30 boat otherwise you won't have enough time to stop and visit all five ports.

Lynn and Bill are wonderful hosts and if you need anything before or during your stay just ask them.

The wine they supply is very drinkable, white and red would recommend getting a few extra bottles of each from them.

Downside:

Only one, a long way from Florence; over two hours drive.

Tim and Ali Ketton-locke, 

Amazing family holiday. Wonderful Villa
5 Stars
This Villa is a wonderful place to enjoy a family holiday. It sits at the top of a hill and there are lovely views from the many balconies.
It is immaculately kept, Lynn and Bill have put a lot of thought into the furnishings and the outside space is as spectacular as the photos look. The villa is very private and secluded yet the local supermarkets are all within a 10 minute drive (bearing in mind the access road takes around 8-9 minutes). It is also ideally situated to visit La Spezia (40 mins) Parma (1h10) Moderna (1h40) and Lucca (1h10).
Lynn and Bill also provide you with a list of restaurants both close by and slightly further afield and all of the ones we tried were very good.
We honestly can not fault the Villa or the service provided by Lynn and Bill and although we didn't need them once there, I'm sure we would have been able to contact them easily if we and any queries or issues.
We would thoroughly recommend staying at this Villa, and if one day we are looking to holiday in the same area again we would definitely stay here again.
Review Submitted: Aug 25, 2016 Date of Stay: Aug 2016 Source: HomeAway

Chris K., 

Stunning property and fantastic location
5 Stars.
The villa is truly beautiful and set in a glorious location tucked away in the Tuscan hills. It was quiet and peaceful and yet within easy reach of good amenities and many fascinating towns and villages. The villa itself is spacious and beautifully furnished and provides all that you need to make your stay a comfortable one. I would agree with previous reviewers that it is so lovely it's is hard to tear yourself away. However, we did make a few excursions to Lerici, Lucca, Pisa and Portovenere a gorgeous port town that we particularly loved. We spent half our week at the villa by the fantastic pool and jacuzzi. The family especially enjoyed using the pizza oven and afterwards relaxing by the fire pit in the evening listening to the rustlings of the wild boar in the surrounding forests. Lynn and Bill made us feel very welcome and were helpful with any queries.
The whole family absolutely loved the holiday and we would highly recommend the villa to anyone considering staying there. Thank you.
Review Submitted: Aug 19, 2016 Date of Stay: Aug 2016 Source: HomeAway

Earl W., 

A fabulous place to stay
5 Stars.
• This house is amazing and if you are looking for a fabulous place to stay that affords fantastic degrees of privacy, first class facilities and a great base for exploring this bit of Italy then I honestly don't think you will find better than this. The house is clearly loved by the owners and has been restored to the highest of standards. It has everything you need and more. The outside space is truly superb. We shared the house with our friends so that meant three girls age 9,10 and 11 and four adults and we had acres of space. the kitchen is well kitted out and there is even an outdoor kitchen with Pizza oven which was great fun. The pool and hot tub were in constant use and brilliantly warm and well-appointed with an adequate number of loungers and shaded areas to escape the sun should you want to. AC in the bedrooms also ensured that everyone was happy at night and the beds were so comfortable, I had the best sleeps I have had for years. I have never taken to writing a review before but this house and location is special and has inspired me to contribute this. Just to give a slight touch of balance the road up to the property is steep but it only takes ten minutes and its oh so worth it. We hope to return many times and that’s the best recommendation I can give. Pete.
Review Submitted: Oct 18, 2016 Date of Stay: Aug 2016 Source: HomeAway

Peter A., 

Maison et extérieur très agréable
5 Stars.
Nous avons passé un très belle semaine dans cette maison avec nos 4 enfants. Les enfants ont bien apprécié la piscine chaufée, le jardin, et les sangliers et la biche qui descendaient tous les soirs de la forêt dans le champs d'à côté. Les adultes ont apprécié la cuisine extérieur et surtout le four à pizza, et le spa. La maison est très tranquille et agréable sauf le salon en rez de chaussé. Par contre elle est vraiment loin de tout (1h30 de Pises, 45min de la Spezia pour le départ des cinque terres) on a fait beaucoup de voiture... Mais on est tellement bien là haut, dans la maison, que nous la conseillons pour des vacances tranquilles en famille!!!
Review Submitted: Aug 1, 2016 Date of Stay: Jul 2016 Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Google translated English to French Nous sommes heureux que vous avez apprécié votre séjour à Villa Ariola et ravi que vous nous avez 5 étoiles . Nous sommes désolés d'entendre votre lecteur à Pise et La Spezia a été si longtemps , nous supposons que le trafic doit avoir été particulièrement mauvaise . Les temps de voyage que nous citons , Pise 1 heure et La Spezia 30 minutes conduisent à des vitesses moyennes confirmées par Google et dans notre expérience de 28 ans vivant dans cette partie de l'Italie facilement atteint. Nous vous remercions de votre rétroaction positive , nous espérons que vous nous examiner à nouveau. Best Wishes Lynn and Bill

Isabella B, 

A Wonderful Family Villa!
5 Stars.
My family and I spent a glorious week in the villa. The facilities are seriously top notch - pristine pool, brand new spa, excellent bbq and pizza oven, with very comfortable seating, bathing and eating areas around the pool. A vast garden which is excellent for children, all very safe and secure and a great space to run off the pizzas. The villa itself is very comfortable, everything and more you could need in the kitchen. The bedrooms and bathrooms are all a very good size and very comfortable.The villa is a great place to spend the day but also a good point to reach beach / port locations (we visited Portovenere and Lerici). The owners Lynn and Bill were very helpful in getting together everything you could need for the villa and surrounding areas, and very easy to contact should you need. A fantastic villa with wonderful facilities and space, I'd highly recommend
Review Submitted: Aug 1, 2016 Date of Stay: Jul 2016 Source: HomeAway

Matthew N., 

The best holiday ever!!
5 Stars.
The villa is situated in a small Tuscan village not too far from the stunning area of the Cinque Terre. Pisa and Florence are also just a stone throw away but believe it, once you get to the villa you'll feel in Heaven and won't want to go anywhere else. The house is spacious but cosy, the open space kitchen dining area is great if you like to cook and entertain family and friends. The outside area is probably the best part of the property. the outdoor oven/barbecue is massive and very well equipped, we cooked fab barbecues and made our own pizza. The kids really enjoyed the pool and playing in the gardens which are very well positioned and safe for the little ones, whilst us grownups made the most of the hot tub! A big thank you to Lynn and Bill ,the owners, who were very helpful in organising our stay. We will be back soon!
Review Submitted: Jun 10, 2016 Date of Stay: May 2016 Source: HomeAway

Natasha S, 

Muriel
5 Stars.
First visit to Italy .so glad we chose this villa beautiful very well equipped with everything you need in doors and out. Beautiful garden with swimming pool, hot tub and outdoor kitchen. Very beautiful villages to visit in surrounding area and of course Florence is well worth a visit such a beautiful city. Bill and Lynn were very helpful in any questions we had. Would highly recommend this villa which is beautiful.
Review Submitted: Apr 30, 2016 Date of Stay: Mar 2016 Source: HomeAway

Muriel, 

An excellent let!
5 Stars.
Our first visit to this area of Italy gave us great difficulties in choice. The number of villas available for rent were enormous, so of course we decided on villas both private and accessible to our desire of seeing places of cultural interest. Villa Ariola was decided upon, and we hoped it would be OK! On arrival in Irola, after a rather nervous journey thinking of 'did we make the right choice?'. We were immediately thrilled with the villa, the rooms inside were of a very high standard, clean, and everything well maintained. We even had our own bath robes! The outside area with swimming pool and hot tub , the barbecue area and general feeling of tranquility and large open spaces gave us a real feeling of 'getting away from it all'! The surrounding countryside and the freedom of being able to walk through the wooded hillside near to the villa was much appreciated. During our three week stay we had many days out, with early starts we visited Florence, Siena, the Chianti area, Genova and so many other places. The owners were most helpful when we telephoned them, and their information booklet "Guide to get" was excellent, with information of the local area, how to get around, and guiding us to superb local restaurants. For us, we were very contented that we had made a choice that was 'cinque stelle' for us! We would certainly recommend this property.
John & Kathy Arnott.
Review Submitted: Dec 11, 2015 Date of Stay: Nov 2015 Source: HomeAway

John A., 

“Great Vacation House”
5 Stars.
Reviewed June 15, 2015 for a stay in June 2015

The villa has everything that you need for your vacation. You must have a car as the house is in the tiny village of Irola di Sopra at the top of a very large hill. My GPS says 534 meters above sea level. The Taylors have left nothing to chance with complete instructions and a book of attractions and restaurants in the area. Lucca and Cinque Terre are day trips from here. The location defines the term, "peace and quiet."
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would I recommend this vacation rental to my best friend? Yes.

G W Engineer. on Tripadvisor, 

Italian country-side at its best.
4 Stars.
We had seen a lot of pictures of Villa ariola - but could it really be true? and yes all our expectations was fulfilled - the house is fantastic and we enjoyed every moment in this tiny village. The pool was clean and we used it from day one. The lovely quietness was just what we needed. and with only 35 minutes to Lucca or Forte Dei Marmi we could not ask for more. Our local town Villafranca have some very nice food stores, butcher, baker you name it.
We will be back.
Review Submitted: Aug 11, 2014 Date of Stay: Jul 2014 Source: HomeAway

Anonymous, 

A fabulous Villa, & we fell in love with Lunigiana
5 Stars.
We all had a brilliant holiday. The house was wonderful, very homely and very comfortable; it was everything described, and a great base to enjoy the area. The kitchen is great, fantastically well equipped; we have really enjoyed cooking here, especially the wild mushroom risotto from the Tuscan cookbook, which is now one of our favourite dishes! We really loved the area as there was so much to see and do, and we have a lot of wonderful memories. Unfortunately 2 weeks just isn't long enough. I think some of our best memories are of sitting on the terrace eating and drinking as the sun goes down behind the mountain and the deer feeding in the forest just beyond the garden. Thank you Lynn and Bill for allowing us to stay in your beautiful villa, we hope to return one day. Best wishes Peter
Review Submitted: Jan 21, 2014 Date of Stay: Sep 2013 Source: HomeAway

Peter C., 

A True Tuscan experience
5 Stars.
My partner and I went out for a week last September The whole holiday was fantastic and much needed. The villa was so luxurious and completely equipped with everything we could have wished for. The pool and gardens was lovely and private. With the forest behind giving the perfect backdrop for the alfresco dining. The internal accommodation was second to none. All the bedrooms are really good sizes with comfortable beds and good quality linen and the bathrooms all ooze Italian chic.
We were close enough to visit Florence Pisa and Lucca on days and visited 2 excellent restaurants recommended in the guide for guests, Candella Rayna on the island and Ca di Muro in Pontremoli.
The owners were very helpful and nothing was too much trouble when we were planning our holiday.
We would definitely go back,
Thank you so much.
G.A
Newport shrops
Review Submitted: Feb 13, 2014 Date of Stay: Sep 2013 Source: HomeAway

Gareth A., 

Great Villa, Lovely Holiday
5 Stars.
My family and I have had two fabulous weeks at Villa Ariola. The house is beautiful, located on the edge of Irola village which is delightful, peaceful and relaxing, truly a step back in time. The interior of the house is lovely, very well equipped and very clean. The linen and towels were 5 star, in fact everything was 5 star.
We have returned home with many fabulous memories of relaxing by the pool and enjoying meals on the terrace in the evenings. I really couldn't criticise the house at all, and we intend to return again for more of the same! The owners Lynn and Bill were very helpful, answering queries promptly and providing lots of useful information before our holiday so we could plan. Thanks for everything Jo, Tim and boys.
Review Submitted: Jan 20, 2014 Date of Stay: Jun 2013 Source: HomeAway

Joanne C., 

Wonderful stay in large, beautiful house
5 Stars.
My group of friends (6 women) rented this house as a home base for exploring Cinque Terre and some of the smaller Italian towns after a week in Florence. It's up in the hills off the main highway between La Spezia and Parma. The house was huge, clean and well appointed. There was plenty of room for 6 (or more) adults to be on the property all together for a meal or to each have space to do our own thing. It was still a little chilly most of the day to enjoy the pool when we were there, but we were able to grill, sit by the fire at night, and enjoy the quiet of the outdoors. It feels nicely remote when you are there, but you aren't far from all the basic shopping you'd need and some restaurants in neighboring towns - 15-30 by car from plenty of options. Irola di Sopra and di Sotto were nice to explore on foot. I think we doubled the population with our arrival, but we met some nice neighbors on a walk through the tiny villages. Bagnone (a larger nearby town) was a beautiful place to explore with some nice walks. We took day trips to Cinque Terre and Parma and sometimes just sat at "home" with wine, our own food, and relaxation. The internet was spotty, but after a day or so, we decided it didn't matter. The owners were easy to deal with. We had a minor plumbing issue in the downstairs bathroom. One phone call, and it was taken care of within a day. We received our deposit back promptly after our return. They provided an extensive notebook with tips for places to eat and information about the surrounding area, which was incredibly helpful. Highly recommended for a group of friends or a family looking for an alternative to the urban experience in Italy, but with relatively easy access to some tourist destinations.
Review Submitted: Sep 3, 2012 Date of Stay: May 2011 Source: HomeAway

Christina J., 

A True Tuscan Gem!
5 Stars
What a fantastic place! Bill and Lynn have created a beautiful, serene yet luxurious hideaway. They really seem to have thought of everything, the villa itself is absolutely gorgeous, in a true Tuscan village. It is everything you imagine when you think of Tuscany.
This is a big house [especially by European standards] with lots of space, with 6 adults travelling we were worried we may feel a bit cramped, but not so at all in Villa Ariola. We've travelled in Europe before & know that space can often be at a premium, but there was so much space here we felt quite spoiled. Each bedroom has its own beautiful marble bathroom, & each also has its own terrace with lovely mountain views, so there was no fighting over who got the “room with a view”.
We lived in the lap of luxury eating outside each night on the terrace [no bugs], we were able to make good use of the BBQ & enjoyed sipping our wine while watching the deer come down from the forest to feed at the edge of the property. The pool was fantastic, sparklingly clean with wide sun terraces that caught the sun all day.
We didn’t leave the villa much at all during our 1st week because we were having so much fun just lounging around the pool & grounds of the villa. The 2nd week we visited the area where Carrara marble comes from in the mountains - really interesting brought a piece home too as a souvenir! We went into Lucca & cycled around the walls, that was hilarious as it was quite a while since some of us had been on a bicycle! I saw my very first opera in Parma - think John Grisham’s novel Playing for Pizza. In Pontremoli we did the local thing sitting in the piazza [again with a glass of wine] people watching. We spent a day visiting the Cinque Terra by boat & ate lunch on the island of Palmaria.
The guide for guests was invaluable giving us with real “insider” knowledge & making us feel like locals. This was one of the best holidays we’ve had - ever! Villa Ariola was above & beyond our expectations, the photos almost don’t do it justice. Everything was very clean, in excellent condition & the kitchen was so well equipped [a real treat for me the self-designated cook] often rental kitchens are a bit sparse to say the least, whereas here, I had everything I could possibly ask for.
Thank you Bill and Lynn so much for sharing your beautiful Villa Ariola with us, we will be back!

Best regards,
Daniella & Steve, Samantha & Mark, Lesley & David.
Williamsburg, VA, USA Sept 2009
Review Submitted: Apr 13, 2010 Date of Stay: Sep 2009 Source: HomeAway

Daniella & Steve, Samantha & Mark, Lesley & David. Source: Homeaway property ID 830932, 

Perfect Relaxation
5 Stars.
We were very lucky to book Villa Ariola for just 4 days before a visit to Rome.
We visited Pisa on our way to the Villa and that was all the sight seeing we did, because once we'ed arrived at the Villa we couldn't bring ourselves to leave. The house is beautiful and feels more like an elegant home than a holiday villa.
Just what we were after and more.
Many Thanks, Karin & Jon
Review Submitted: Jul 25, 2010 Date of Stay: Jul 2010 Source: HomeAway

Karin & Jon. Source: Homeaway Property ID 830932, 

The Real Italy
5 Stars.
Villa Ariola, its position and surroundings offer something for everybody. The Villa itself is beautifully spacious and well appointed – there’s enough of everything and everything works, which has not been my experience in other holiday villas. I also really appreciated the number of bathrooms; I hate having people waiting for me and this never happened. My sister is a keen (and excellent) cook and she was in her element in the lovely Ariola kitchen.
My sister and brother-in-law and their little daughter spent most of the time at ‘home’, sunbathing, swimming, playing, pottering and soaking up the peace and beauty of the place. It was a joy to watch all their stress dissolve during our stay.
My husband and I, on the other hand, covered a great deal of ground. We did a lot of walking through the stunning countryside right on Ariola’s doorstep, we checked out the beaches and made a couple of very satisfying day trips, one to Firenze and one to the Cinque Terre. We also visited a vineyard recommended by Lynn & Bill and couldn’t leave without buying a few gallons of local wine to take home (just as well we’d come to Italy by car!).
I know and love Italy but I’ve made a few mistakes with holiday destinations in the past. Irola, however, is the real deal: off the tourist track and immersed in the best of rural Italian culture.
If we can possibly coordinate our work schedules again, I know we’d all love to go back to the Villa Ariola this summer.

Italophile adventure seeker Manchester, UK. Source: HomeAway,