After leaving Ponte a Serraglio, the next two weeks were spent in the village of Benabbio at Villa San Rocco. The 10 bedroom villa would be home to the five budding luthiers attending the guitar making course and their partners. Villa San Rocco dates back to the 14th century and is believed to have been a seminary and pilgrims’ rest. In 1688, it was purchased and remodeled by a rich merchant family from Lucca and became Villa Bendetti.
In 1960, it was bequeathed to an orphans’ association in Lucca and for the next twenty five years it became a summer residence for orphans and abandoned children. By the late 1980s, the villa was derelict and for two decades it was left to rot. In 2004, it was restored using local materials and traditional workmanship. The name was inspired by the chapel opposite the main gate dedicated to San Rocco, a patron saint of illnesses.
The entrance hall gives a hint of what lies within the walls of this amazing home.
The main salon was warm and inviting and many a musical evening was shared in here.
Some wondrous meals were created in the rustic kitchen
and enjoyed in the spacious dining room.
The smaller sitting room was decorated exquisitely.
A glass pane on the first floor landing looked down to the chairs below
and along the hall was a lovely view to the front courtyard and chapel.
On this floor, as well as many bedrooms, was a very peaceful yoga room with warming, ambient light.
The hallway on the top floor
led to more bedrooms.
I think ours was the best
and the scenery on opening the shutters was breathtaking.
The bathroom was quaint
with more stunning views.
A doorway across the hall from our bedroom opened to a balcony where we would gather for beverages at the end of the day.
The courtyard garden was a perfect spot to relax and enjoy lunch.
Intriguing alleys led to the workshop where the guitar course took place.
The night time glow was welcoming on returning from dinner in the village.
Villa San Rocco was a beautiful introduction to the two fabulous weeks that lay ahead.