We stayed four nights at Il Paradiso and enjoyed the visit immensely. The highlight is the communal dinner each night. There are usually 10 guests at the table and Adriana cooks a different meal each night for all of us. There is antipasti, fresh pasta primi, a hearty secondi and a dolci. Dinner starts about 9 pm and often goes til midnight. When we were there the other guests were from Germany, Poland, Holland and Milan. Many languages being spoken, many views of the world, but all joined by the incredible food. All made with local, organic ingredients, and all done in absolutely traditional country Tuscan style.
Dinner is usually served on the veranda and the view is unmatched. You look out between two other mountains over the towns on the plain to the Mediterranean. As night falls, the lights come on in the towns, matching the stars popping out in the sky above. One night the moon came up behind one of the mountains and etched the side of it with silver light.
The mountain to the left has marble being carved out of it for the sculptors and other applications, just like the more famous Carrara hills just north of there. The villages at the base of the mountain that Il Paradiso is on, Seravezza and Pietrasanta, are famous for their marble sculpting workshops and often artists who are studying there stay up at Il Paradiso, because Lido, one of the owners, is himself an artist.
Il Paradiso is rustic, but the rooms are very comfortable and the bathrooms are completely modern (and finished with local marble). It was an inn halfway down the rocky mule path that was the connection between the town on the top of the mountain and Servavezza at the bottom. The path is still there, and Il Paradiso hosts a horse riding club that accesses the beautiful trails through the ancient terraces on the side of the mountain. Some folks who enjoy single track mountain biking also pass by from time to time. However, most of the bikers are racing teams who do interval training on the paved road.
That road goes from the bottom to the top of the mountain, but it also has to travel the old terraces to make its way up. As anyone who has driven in rural Italy knows, most roads don't have shoulders. The trip from Seravezza up to Il Paradiso is 6 km. It takes about 15 minutes. We counted about 60 turns of 90 degrees or greater in the route up. The road is about a lane and a half wide and you have to be alert going up and coming down, but once we got used to it, it was fine. The first time going up was, however, an adventure.
My wife is afraid of heights and when we went up the first afternoon, she wasn't sure she'd be able to make another run. But after that first dinner, she said it was worth a the fear just to come back for more meals. Her family is from Tuscany and she grew up with her grandmother (who as a young woman had cooked in a mountain inn similar to this one) cooking the same sort of delicacies that Adriana was producing each night. Fantastic.
Day trips from Il Paradiso include the little town of Pietrasana at the base of the mountain - definitely worth the visit, Lucca, Pisa, the Cinque Terre, the Appuan Alps and Carrara. Skip Viareggio and Camaiore, but Lido can tell you other places to go to spend time at the beach. For Cinque Terre, drive to La Spezia and take the train up.
Since Il Paradiso is carved into the side of the mountain, parking is challenging. There are a couple of spaces on the road, but sometimes you have to parallel park on a sloping gravel driveway. Its all a part of the adventure. Relearning your old stick shift skills. So that you don't have to carry your bags down the stone mule path, the owners have installed a mini-fincular that you load you bags on and run them down the hill to the front of the inn.
We loved Il Paradiso and still savor our memory of the diners, the view and the kindness of our hosts.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- AGRITURISMO BIOLOGICO "IL PARADISO" IN VERSILIA(TOSCANA)a pochi km dal mare di cui ne gode una bellissima vista, e nel Parco delle Alpi Apuane.Casa toscana ristrutturata con materiali tipici antichi e camere arredate con mobili d'antiquariato con vista mare.L' ottima qualità della Cena servita nel portico vista Mare è nell'esclusivo ambiente del"PARADISO" un elemento che ci contradistingue e ci rende veramente UNICI.... All'interno abbiamo anche un maneggio per scuola d'Equitazione e passeggiate a cavallo. Ideale per vacanze al mare e nel totale Relax del verde del nostro Parco Naturale in cui l'Agriturismo è inserito.Zona baricentrica tra città d'arte toscane(Lucca,Pisa,Firenze...)e note località balneari come:(Viareggio, FortedeiMarmi,Lerici,Portovenere,Le 5 terre)La casa è stata ristrutturata con cura, usando vecchi materiali come legno di castagno, pietra e terracotta mantenendo le caratteristiche della fattoria toscana. Tutte le camere sono arredate con mobili antichi toscani.Nell'Azienda si coltiva: uva, olive, limoni, ortaggi, frutta tutto con metodo biologico e si alleva: conigli, galline, tacchini, vitelli e maiali di razza "cinta senese".Specialità: la cucina di Adriana con piatti tipici toscani.Scegli la tua Vacanza ideale al "PARADISO"............da anni in Versilia un VERO AGRITURISMO in cui la CUCINA è veramente una SPECIALITA' UNICA INTROVABILE..... ... more less