Italy was planned for about 5 years as our retirement dream holiday in 2013. We arrived mid March for a couple of weeks to finalise our paperwork for the required Permesso di Soggiorno and then headed over to France for two months.

During our time here in Italy we have stayed in the northern Tuscan area in Villa Isabella in Ponte a Serraglio which is part of Bagni di Lucca. The beautiful walled city of Lucca is only 30 kms away, the cities of Florence and Pisa are just over an hours drive from here, and the Cinque Terra just two hours away, making it the ideal location to base ourselves.

Below is a quick link to our Italian blogs.

Milan – what a great last day posted on 23 November 2013

Addio ai nostri nuovi amici – Farewell to our new friends posted on 22 November 2013

A white winter farewell posted on 21 November 2013

Handsome Italian men posted on 21 November 2013

The local food is excellent – Part 3 posted on 19 November 2013

From of Italian cucina posted on 18 November 2013

Our final Sunday Drive posted on 17 November 2013

Meet Luciano Volpi posted on 16 November 2013

Some of natures best posted on 15 November 2013

Volterra – an Etruscan village posted on 14 November 2013

Florence has many hidden secrets! posted on 13 November 2013

The seasons first dusting of snow posted on 11 November 2013

The villages of Casoli and Barga posted on 9 November 2013

Portofino – positively perfect! posted on 7 November 2013

On the paper trail posted on 5 November 2013

Beautiful Lucca posted on 3 November 2013

Happy Honeymoon Zora & Will posted on 1 November 2013

A day of celebrations! posted on 29 October 2013

Lucchio, Ponte Sospeso, lunch of course and Cherry’s farewell! posted on 27 October 2013

A stroll around our block in Ponte a Serraglio posted on 26 October 2013

The villages of Guzzano, San Gemignano & Montefegatesi posted on 24 October 2013

Vico Pancellorum posted on 22 October 2013

Thunder, lightning and rain…..rain…..rain posted on 21 October 2013

Orvieto and Pitigliano posted on 20 October 2013

Chestnut Festival & Mushroom Exhibition posted on 14 October 2013

Siena & San Gimignano posted on 13 October 2013

Felicity’s visit was mostly about the food! posted on 12 October 2013

Cherry & Ethan’s Doer-Upperer posted on 5 October 2013

A glimpse of Umbria posted on 3 October 2013

The local food is excellent – Part 2 posted on 30 September 2013

Vicky’s Visit posted on 28 September 2013

Autumn’s treasures posted on 28 September 2013

Cinque Terra then Lucca Hospital posted on 24 September 2013

Isola d’Elba posted on 17 September 2013

Jim ventures out with the local hiking club posted on 15 September 2013

Vicky has arrived posted on 14 September 2013

The chequered flag at Monza posted on 9 September 2013

Autumn, butterflies, bees and other beauties posted on 7 September 2013

The local food is excellent – Part 1 posted on 2 September 2013

See my ‘Guest Post’ on Bella Bagni di Lucca posted on 1 September 2013

Pienza in Chianti posted on 30 August 2013

Cune & Benabbio posted on 27 August 2013

Changing seasons in Forte dei Marmi posted on 25 August 2013

Overnight Thunderstorm posted on 25 August 2013

Bologna – city of colonnades posted on 23 August 2013

Cherry’s beautiful summer garden posted on 20 August 2013

August is a festive time posted on 19 August 2013

The two Monti’s posted on 18 August 2013

The Tuscan Montecarlo and Winery posted on 13 August 2013

Lugliano & Granaiola posted on 12 August 2013

Some Italian things! posted on 10 August 2013

Pisa posted on 20 July 2013

A day on the ‘Med’ posted on 17 July 2013

The Arts in Ponte a Serraglio posted on 15 July 2013

Road trip to Modena & the Ferrari Museums posted on 15 July 2013

Chianti for a day posted on 11 July 2013

Knobs & Knockers posted on 9 July 2013

Dinner on the tower posted on 6 July 2013

Our Permesso di Soggiorno has been granted posted on 3 July 2013

A morning at Agostino & Carla’s posted on 2 July 2013

Another very interesting lunch & local industry posted on 24 June 2013

The Fly Fishing Comp posted on 23 June 2013

Impromptu Lunch at Cherry’s posted on 22 June 2013

Florence was hot posted on 21 June 2013

Casa Debbio at Vergemoli posted on 18 June 2013

Weekend Warriors! posted on 16 June 2013

Cooking with Chef Paolo posted on 13 June 2013

Villa Isabella posted on 1 June 2013

We think we are Visa’d! posted on 5 April 2013

The beautiful city of Genova (Genoa) posted on 27 March 2013

Photo Fix posted on 23 March 2013

We have arrived in Bagni di Lucca posted on 22 March 2013

Nearly There posted on 18 February 2013

The Hassles posted on 23 December 2012


  1. You mention the following in your travel guide. “We chose to come to Ponte a Serraglio after some lengthy communications with Debra, who I must say has been very generous with her assistance, time and knowledge of the Italian system for those wanting to stay for more than 3 months. Getting our Permesso di Soggiorno would have been very difficult without Debra.” Is it possible for you to share what Debra advised..

    • We applied for our Permesso di Soggiorno in Lucca with Debra’s assistance. Unfortunately our Italian language skills did not extend to filling out forms or communicating with the Questura (where they only spoke Italian). I am sure there are services available to assist in these matters but our friend Debra was there to assist us.

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