AT CARLA’S HOME                                 

“If you are looking for a quiet place, not too far from the center of Florence, this is the place to be! This wonderful house is situated on top of the hills surrounding Florence. The very large Renaissance house is amazing really, the rooms are restored in the typical Tuscan style and are very comfortable. In the beautiful garden you can enjoy the ‘dolce far niente’, lying down on a sunbed under a tree. At night you sleep like a baby, the neighbourhood is very quiet and even in the summer it is cool inside thanks to the thick walls. In this place you feel at home right away, thanks to the warm welcome of the hostess. Carla Sebastiani knows how to give her guests the perfect holiday! She speaks English and French fluently, so no problem if you don’t speak Italian. In this home you get the most delicious food, of course typically Italian. Carla is a great cook! Especially for her guests she even bought the so called ‘macchinina’, an electric golf cart, with which she brings her guests in no time to the center of Florence, where cars are not allowed. As a matter of fact it is more like a race into Florence. Like most Italians, Carla loves driving fast! For several years Carla was my summer teacher for Italian language. Her lessons were always interesting and adapted to each student’s level. She is very passionate about art and showed me lots of art treasures in Florence. With her background as a teacher in history of art, she is the perfect guide for tourists who want to discover the beauties of Florence. I can surely recommend this wonderful homestay!”  Hilde Van Bercklaer, Antwerp, Belgium

carla facciata buona2

“The villa sits among the olive and cypress in  a typical Tuscan landscape overlooking Florence. The garden, with the fruit trees and vegetables, and the interior of the villa, with its expansive sitting room, imparts a true sense of tranquility. Your friendly host, who speaks English, will give you a warm welcome and to maximise the enjoyment of your visit she will offer, on request, to take you on a cultural tour of the city. A pleasant walk to the centre  would take about half an hour.  Alternatively, the approach is easy by car and there is a regular bus service.”  Benedict Rubbra, Abbraccio  Ben

AT DESI’S HOME

“Staying at Desi’s is an unforgettable dream Tuscan experience….a must repeat! Desi is fluent in English and such a gracious hostess who provided attention to every detail during my stay there. Her culinary skills are divine…a must to experience her authentic, delicious Tuscan cuisine. The villa is meticulously beautiful and comfortable in every way. The gardens provide a most tranquil setting. Desi so generously shares experiences that a tourist would miss without her direction. My visit couldn’t have been more fun and meaningful. It would be difficult to not return after the peak experiences that Desi provided in her lovely villa.” Connie Ratliffe, PhD.Santa Barbara, CA

pasquini facciata

My stay at Desi’s house was unique, inspiring and relaxing. To actually live in the Tuscan countryside, not in a hotel, but in 18th century royal hunting lodge is a privilege few will ever experience. The lodge is set in the incomparable Tuscan landscape which has inspired painters and writers for centuries. It’s a lovely place to relax in it’s quiet gardens or wander amongst the surrounding farms and villas. The local markets are filled with the bounty Tuscany; luscious vine-ripened fruits and vegetables, traditional breads and pastries and local cheeses and wines. The location is very central. It is just 10 minutes to the designer outlets and half an hour from Florence, and it is surrounded by charming, historic medieval towns, wineries, fortresses and castles. It is easily accessible by train or car from Florence. If you treat yourself to this unique experience, you will also have the pleasure of meeting Desi.  Desi is a supremely gracious hostess. She will make you feel at home and at ease. She is also a delightful tour guide. She knows the surrounding area like the back of her hand and is willing to take you on tours in her own car or provide you with information and maps. Sincerely” Connie Early

AT MARISA’S HOME

“In October 2015 I stayed for one week with Marisa. She lives in Coverciano at the border of the city of Firenze, where the hills begin to rise to Fiesole and far beyond. She lives in a very comfortable house with a beautiful view at the surrounding Tuscan landscape. The guest room is very comfortable as well with its own private shower and toilet. Marisa is a very warm and very energetic person with an inexhaustible energy and knowledge of Firenze and its surroundings and the history of  Tuscany and the artists who were working there. In a week she guided me through the city, explained everything and advised me about the musea I should visit. Her advices were very very good. After a week I had the idea that another week might not be enough to see everything in Firenze, not to speak about the vicinity. At Marisa’s you feel warmly welcome and at home, during the breakfast coffee we made the plans for the same day, during the diner there was always a lot of conversation about Italy, about the town and about what we saw that day. Staying at Marisa”s is a privilege in which you learn a lot about the (art) history and the daily life of Firenze and in which your Italian is tested and improves. Highly recommended.” Emmanuel Weijnen

” I have stayed with Marisa on multiple occasions.  She is an excellent hostess, with a warm and vibrant personality. Marisa is very knowledgeable about Florence and its environs. As I was already familiar with the historic center of Florence, I was able to take advantage of her detailed knowledge of the many sights worth seeing in the hills and towns that surround the city.  She also introduced me to several of the minor churches and museums in Florence proper that I might otherwise have overlooked. The guest room is spacious with a well stocked library and a private bath next to it.  She has a small balcony with a view of the Florentine skyline. Her appartamento in villa is in a quiet neighborhood, and is surrounded by gardens.  For those who like to discover a city on their own, the bus stop is only a few steps away, where you can either travel to the City center (it will drop you off at Piazza San Marco for a sort walk to the Galleria dell’Accademia where Michelangelo’s David occupies the place of honor).  Or you may choose to go in the opposite direction to the old Etruscan town of Fiesole on the scenic heights above Florence. When you have had a full day of sightseeing, the best is yet to come.  Marisa is an excellent cook and features the best in the Tuscan tradition of fresh ingredients, prepared simply and eaten slowly over good conversation.  One of my fondest memories is the smell of coffee in the morning perking on the stove.  Even now when I stoke my own Bialetti Moka Express I am reminded of il profumo della cucina di Marisa – the smell of Marisa’s kitchen.  The memory makes me so happy that I almost want to cry. Marisa is located within a relatively short cab ride from the airport. Although it is on the outskirts of the City, just tell the cab driver that her street is located opposite the entrance to the Centro Tecnico Coverciano, which is where the Italian national soccer team trains.  Everyone knows where that is.  Remember this information in the unlikely event that you get lost when visiting the city on your own.”  John T. Del Negro  

ingresso marisa

“I have stayed several times at Marisa’s place. It is wonderfully located in a quiet area with easy access to the city / bus to Piazza San Marco. Through her guidance I have learned an enormous amount about Florence and neighbouring areas such as Fiesole, San Gemignano etc Marisa?!!!! Marisa taught me about their history, architecture, art, cultural life, daily life in various city quarters, etc. This she did in a very pleasant way and often with humour. Through our formal and informal lessons and conversations – many times over a delicious meal she had prepared – my Italian has improved substantially. And for that i am very grateful.” Jacqueline Peters