Villa La Bianca is like staying with your much loved Italian relations for a big family and friends weekend in the country. I had driven from northern France the day I arrived so I was shredded and irritable, but all that lifted within a couple of hours at Villa La Bianca. For a start the beautiful Elga greets you with an enormous smile and makes you feel immediately and genuinely welcome. Our bedroom was one of the larger suites and with its personal library, old paintings and antique furniture you felt exactly as if you were in someone's home. I had dinner at the Villa in the candle lit conservatory on the first night and it was superb. There were only a dozen things on the menu across four courses because that was what was being cooked from fresh produce that day. It was real Italian home cooking - fresh pasta, a big salad and delicious char grilled chicken with chick peas - along with a bottle of ridiculously inexpensive but excellent local wine - buonissimo! I picked up my wife from the airport the next morning and we started to explore this unique part of Tuscany - and there is so much to do. It is far more mountainous that southern Tuscany and a walk in the foothills, that start at the Villa, reveals some breathtaking views down to the sea, where there are miles and miles of riviera style beaches. There are some wonderful Italian towns and cities to visit in the area, from the obvious Pisa and Lucca to the unexpected and stunningly beautiful Pietrasanta. There are also some great restaurants and one that we loved was called osteria Candalla. it's a converted water mill with outstanding regional food and wine and it's only a ten minute walk from the Villa. The bed at the villa was comfortable and the views from our room to the mountains were idyllic. Breakfast was generous and served outside in the sun lit garden. Overall a deeply enjoyable and engaging experience that reminded us why we love Italy - we'll definitely be returning.