Past Guest Letters
Thank you Susana for giving me an incredible glimpse into Tuscan life lived both in the past and the present on my recent trip with 9 other women to a lovely Italian villa located on a large estate complete with abbey and church. We refreshed ourselves each morning with an hour of relaxation exercises and mediation followed by a delicious breakfast. Then it was off to absorb some of the lush beauty of the Tuscan countryside dotted with medieval hill towns where churches offer frescoes by Renaissance artists and castles invite one to enter by drawbridges still lifted by centuries old chains, or where the high mass still is sung in an ancient monastery and a feudal agricultural town has been transformed into an astoundingly beautiful luxury hotel. After a wonderful lunch in one of these spots each day, we would return to our villa, but not before soaking our sore feet in the natural sulfur springs of a lovely spa town or visiting local wineries along the way. Back at the villa, we retreated to wines and apertivos followed by truly remarkable dinners of pastas with seafood, Florentine steaks, fennel salads, and naughty desserts. And did I mention our cooking lesson of homemade pasta topped with a heavenly Tuscan ragu sauce that we later devoured at dinner, or our midweek escape to a Tuscan spa?
Thank you, Susana, for giving me a little bit of heaven on the Tuscan roads little traveled by most tourists!
I spent a week at Susana's villa and it was one of the most amazing of my life. Thanks to her deep knowledge and brilliant curatorial skills, I got to savor the best of Tuscany and live the good Tuscan life. From the villa and its staff, to the food, special events and mindfulness training, every detail was perfectly tended to. Susana turned a vacation into a glimpse of an entirely different life - and made it hard to return to reality! I will always treasure the memory of that perfect week.
Jill and I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciated all you did to make our trip special and memorable. We haven’t stopped talking about you, Maria Luisa and Ivo and your staff since we arrived home. When comparing stories with other wedding guests, our visit to Tuscany was certainly more enjoyable because of your hospitality. The sightseeing, the food and drinks, and the villa were incredible. You definitely went the extra mile ( literally ) for us and we thank-you for that.
Take care and give our best to Maria Luisa and Ivo.
Jill and Brenda….Barry, Andrew, Lynn and Russel, too.
Hi Susana and Maria Luisa and Ivo,
We made it home safely, took us 26 hours from the villa to Wilmington, De! A long ride to say the least. Just to thank-you for the wonderful time spent with you, it was like a dream come true! We will cherish our delicious meals, the fabulous sights you took us to and all the very special things you showed us. Your wonderful conversation and all the laughs we had, truly unique. Your warmth and incredible hospitality were so much appreciated you made us feel truly cared for. We definitely want to keep in touch and hope to come again in the future.
Again, thanks for making our trip to Tuscany so magical. Hugs to all of you! You’re the best
Charlotte and Jim
We made it back to the United States and are back at work, (ugh!) We had a really wonderful time in Tuscany and much appreciate your and Maria Luisa and Ivo’s hospitality. We all had a wonderful time and are still walking down memory lane. We are still talking about the wonderful meals that you prepared for us, as well as the great wine. And to eat outside every night with cocktails by the pool and dinner overlooking the beautiful countryside was just amazing. So thank-you for all that. It truly was an experience of a lifetime. Thanks again for everything.
We will be talking for years to come about our vacation experience. Good luck with the rest of the year.
We are now back in Australia, and wanted to thank-you for a wonderful and very special stay at the villa. Your hospitality and thoughtful attention to detail, not to mention your patient responses to our endless questions about life in Tuscany, made the stay very special. I will have no hesitation recommending you to our friends and colleagues!
Please pass on our thanks to Maria Luisa and Ivo, especially for his superb cooking.
I wanted to take a moment to drop you a note to express how much we enjoyed our stay with you at the villa. I was a little apprehensive about this kind of vacation because we are accustomed to five-star hotel travel. Your knowledge of what I can only refer to as “Native” Italy made our trip so much more meaningful than just following typical guides or guide books. We never would have been exposed to the true beauty of the small towns that you are so familiar with, nor would we have known about obscure local festivals. The restaurants that you took us to were magnificent. Another service that I truly appreciated was the car and driver. Touring through the countryside and the cities without the hassle of getting lost or the annoyance of searching for parking made for stress free traveling. We loved being able to come home and relax by the pool and enjoy wonderful food and wine your staff prepared. It was one of the most memorable and enjoyable vacations we have ever experienced.
Thank-you so much. Fondly,
Now that we are back in the “real world” facing work, deadlines, and rush hour traffic, it’s nice to know that we have memories of our wonderful week at the villa to conjure up whenever we need to think peaceful thoughts. Every place else we stayed in Italy had been recommended to us- we felt that we were taking a chance choosing to stay at the villa based solely on your internet description. How happy we are that we trusted our instincts. The week with you was the best part of our vacation. The villa was beautiful and comfortable, and your staff provided the perfect attentiveness without being in the way. But most of all, your graciousness, warmth and expert suggestions made the stay truly memorable.
Thank-you once more, and we hope to see you again.
Marti and Lenny Green
Our stay in Tuscany was by far the most uplifting experience both Jim and I and the family have ever experienced. Your elegance and warmth was evident the minute you picked us up from the airport and whisked us up to Tuscany in your beautiful Mercedes. Maria Luisa’s wonderful greeting with prosecco and appetizers by the pool on arrival at the villa, was such a lovely touch. We at once felt at home and very special. The fabulous lunch you served al fresco after we settled in was superb. Our siesta after lunch in that heavenly silence was just what we needed after our long flight. The swim in the gorgeous pool was refreshing and dinner by candle light under the grape arbor was so romantic. The days flew by, each unique and each one-in-a lifetime happening. From Ivo’s fantastic cooking class and dinner, to the high fashion shopping day, the charming villages, museums and churches.
Susana, you gave us the gift of a most amazing travel experience of our lives.
With our deep appreciation,
Sally and Jim and the family
Dear Susana, Maria Luisa and Ivo,
Of all the vacations we have had, this stands out as one of the very best. Despite Joe Holtzberg’s enthusiastic recommendations, we really had no idea what to expect. Needless to say, our visit exceeded our wildest expectations. We fell in love with Tuscany, as you can well imagine- the beautiful countryside, the small towns and villages, and the sights. But we know it would not have been a 1/10th the enjoyment without you and Ivo to invite us into your home, make us so comfortable and welcome, and to shepherd us around. We are grateful for your wonderful hospitality, the fine food, and the excursions you planned.
Thank-you again for such a wonderful anniversary celebration.
Larry and Marna Baskir
Dear Susana, It has been very hard getting back to “normal” after our wonderful days with you in Tuscany. You gently immersed us in the history, culture, food and language in slow subtle ways-which we shall never forget. To have all ten us in your house was a masterful undertaking, and you did it with charm and patience! We would all come back tomorrow! The Tuscan meals that you, Maria Luisa and Ivo put on the table for us were superb! Very special, and much appreciated by all.I have thrown out my butter and use my wonderful present of the monastery olive oil on everything I can ! I have a wonderful photo of you and Ivo, which I shall send along- Ivo should have his portrait painted, or a study made! Such a fine face and such a gentle human spirit that shines through! He is very modest.
I do hope you will keep in touch-and we would always be happy to have you in our midst. With appreciation,
Dear Susana, I want you to know that our week with you and Ivo and Maria Luisa was the best vacation I have ever had! We will be back, if you will have us. We’ve touted your praises to everyone, so you will have lots of business if you want it. Enclosed are some special pictures that you might enjoy-mostly your villa and the road to Chiusure. We had an emergency landing in Halifax on our trip from Rome, but that was a small wrinkle in an otherwise perfect trip.
Thanks for making it so special!