Tuscany Toskana Toscana Hotel



Hi Julie,

Thanks for your follow-up on my visit to Italy, and Club I Pini. My trip was great, and Italy was as warm and fascinating as ever. Since I was there near the end of the season, tourist sites weren't crowded and locals predominated in Lucca, the Cinque Terra and Pistoia. I found the hotel delightful, a fine location near the beach and shopping, a wonderful garden for hanging out, great food and wine. The best part about the hotel is the staff - warm, welcoming, helpful, dedicated to making sure guests have everything they need for a great visit. For example, one day Claudio had to visit the house the hotel rents, and invited me to go along to see it, and the view. Claudio also helped me find a way to get to the hotel from the Pisa airport, since I would be arriving after the last train of the night had left. The only thing unexpected about the hotel was the distance from the beach, which wasn't really a problem since the beach was pretty much closed down for the season. I would nominate the town of Pistoia as an undiscovered treasure - historic center close to the train station, a great food and produce market next to the Duomo, a store making a traditional candy called Confetti, and no tourist junk.

I would definitely return to the hotel, as a great base of operations for visiting Tuscany by train, since you can get to most everywhere from the train station in nearby Viareggio.

Elisabeth L.

Dear In Italy,

We are a group of 6 women friends (of a certain age, all ex-teachers) holidaying in Tuscany for the first time. Staying in I Pini certainly made our holiday. We loved the relaxed, friendly atmosphere and enjoyed the food. The staff could not have been more helpful. We were travelling around by public transport and Monica was frequently checking the internet for us for timetables and booking taxis. We found travelling around the area by rail quite cheap and easy, although we don't speak Italian. A special thanks to Giancarlo for getting Puccini opera tickets for us at very late notice. We would certainly visit again.

Good Wishes
Ann R.

Hi. I've been meaning to write to you since returning home to tell you that Club I Pini was fantastic! We loved the house, the rooms, the location, but mostly the people there. And parking is extremely convenient, easy and close by which is so unusual. What a wonderful experience. Monica brought us a bottle of wine, olives, and a little bruschetta in the afternoon and was such a doll. Her uncle offered us the computer free for e-mail, printed out train schedules for us, etc. Just a perfect place. We also enjoyed the town, and especially Viareggio which we didn't know about.

I will think about "hidden treasures" to share and get back to you. But I did want to thank you so much for I Pini - I would go back in a second and have already told several people to contact you about it.

Best, Nancy L.

Thank-you we had a lovely time. The Club I Pini was a bit ..... basic - but as other guests had said the welcome was friendly. It's very much a typical Italian family "pensione" and guests should remember that in Italy children are Kings so are generally allowed to run riot until late into the night around the hotel. We enjoyed the Ristorante del Mare on the way to the beach Isonzo.

Best regards,
Sarah S.

Dear In italy,

First off, thanks for all your help. At times it was invaluable!! Your quick responses to all my questions and concerns made planning this trip alot easier then it would have been without you.

Albergo Club I Pini was one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in. Now you may wonder how a 3 star hotel could be that great. First off let me say that because the hotel was an historic site, the home of the famous artist Galileo Chini, it offered a different flair. The rooms were not luxurious but that was ok because you really felt as if you were in someone's home. The rooms are not air conditioned which made for a few hot nights but this could easily be improved by adding a few ceiling fans. The real reason that the hotel was so great was because of the staff!! They were wonderful and attentive. Claudio, Loretta, Monica, GianCarlo and the rest of the staff treat their guests as if they are long lost family. They were always there to answer any questions you need answered, phone calls you need made or day trips you need help planning. One of the best features of the hotel is the dinner that is served in their front garden. We had all of our evening meals there. For a very reasonable price you get a 4-5 course authentic Tuscan meal. It was great having supper there because after a long very hot day at the beach or touring, you could spend 2-3 hours relaxing having dinner in a very relaxing family atmosphere. The best part was that when the kids were finished eating they played cards in another part of the garden while the adults continued to eat and talk. Again the food was delicious with everything home made. We would definitely stay here again and would recommend it to all our friends. Even though I can speak Italian I found that their english was also very good and clear, this is an added bonus for those who don't speak Italian. Sometimes the smaller hotels can be the most charming, warm and inviting and this is definitely the case with Albergo Club I Pini!!!!!!!

Doug M.

Hi Julie,

It is nice to be home again but could do without the work part. That is probably the most important part right now as I should pay off some bills from the trip. The trip was fantastic minus the heatwave factor. Especially in the places that didn't have any AC. Albergo Club I Pini was so quaint and Claudio was very hospitable. He lent us his bikes to cruise down the boardwalk to Viarregio train station and what a great meal they cook for dinner. Breakfast in the courtyard was wonderful. Unfortunately, when booking my stay there I wasn't aware of how long it would take to get back to Geneva. I wish Initaly had caught that as we ended up leaving a night early to take a night train. Guess that's where the travel insurance would have come in. But I think I did tell Initaly where I was starting off and where I would be departing from. Nevertheless, the night train was a kick. Printed out what Initaly had for the Cinque Terre and still messed up on the trains. Because we were in the last car, when it stopped at Riomaggiore we were in the tunnel and didn't realize we were at the train stop. So ended up doing it backwards from Monterosso, which actually was very nice. We got the steep climbs out of the way, and avoided probably alot of people on the trail.

All in all it was a very relaxing vacation. I think we probably did too much. Should have just visited two places and taken more day trips but we know for next time.

Thanks for all your help,
Samantha T.

Dear Julie,

I had a wonderful trip, thank you. I appreciated your help in choosing the two places where I stayed. I went over to Italy with confidence that I would be pleased with the accommodations, and I was! I tell everyone about your website! But I also love that I can reach you by phone to discuss things.

Albergo I Pini was an oasis. I would come back at the end of a day's exploring and know that there were people who cared what I was doing. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. I enjoyed the experience of being in a small "hotel" with other international guests. Twice I ate dinner there and found it very relaxing to sit in the garden. It was so much easier than trying to find a place to eat in town, it was quiet and peaceful and tasty. I did find the location great for day trips- the autostrada was right there and there were amazing sites within a two hour radius.

I find your website dense with helpful information and fun to explore. I am grateful for your expertise and guidance. As I said in the beginning, I knew I didn't have to worry about where I was staying and was it going to be all right, and, because I was traveling alone, that made the trip less stressful. So thank you! Hopefully I'll get over there again soon and will definitely be asking for your help again.

Barbara B.

Dear In Italy,

Yes, we did have a marvellous trip to Italy and our 2 nights at Albergo Club I Pini lived up to all expectations, coupled too with wonderful weather and superb hospitality from the hosts. The food was so superb we did not feel the need to search out anything else locally. In fact the first night was some sort of banquet/wine tasting night for residents and locals. We started eating at 8.15 and finished at 11.15. Quite the best meal I have ever had. What a way to celebrate your fiftieth birthday!

We found that the railway station in Camaiore is quite a way from the hotel and trains do not run quite as frequently as to Viareggio. We found it was better to have a taxi to Viareggio, cost about 10 euros, and catch the train from there. We will be back!! Regards, and thanks for your help.

Jane B.

Dear In Italy,

At Club I Pini we felt like we were visiting the home of friends. The hospitality was tremendous and we were sad to leave. We took a boat ride to Cinque Terre (thanks to the recommendation of our host) and spent what might have been the nicest day of our vacation touring a couple of towns and relaxing AWAY from the weekend traffic. We also saw "Madama Butterfly" at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, the next town over. What a treat! Lucky for us, Andrea Bocelli was performing that night!

Thanks for all your help and recommendations. The literature you provided to us was invaluable. We have already recommended your web site to friends planning trips to Italy.

Joanne G

Dear In Italy,

Well I was just getting round to saying thank you when your message came! We had an excellent holiday and loved both accommodations. The food in Albergo i pini was superb and they catered for my veggie daughter very well. That made it good value as well as a lovely place. We were just getting to know the folks in Lucca when it was time to go. The situation is ideal and very good instructions for finding it. Thank you again for all your help. I had a wonderful 50th birthday!

Maria M.

Dear In Italy,

Albergo Club I Pini was also very nice. Claudio was a friendly and most helpful host. He and the rest of the staff were wonderful. We particularly enjoyed dinner at the club and the interaction again with guests from around the world.

Joe P.

Dear In Italy,

Albergo Club I Pini was, by far, the friendliest place we stayed at. It was akin to spending a couple of nights with the Italian relatives. Getting the car into the driveway takes some maneuvering. You may want to let the hotel staff give it a try. The room was small and we had to hike up 2 flights of stairs everyday but we were all comfortable. We ate at the hotel both nights and it was pretty good food. During this part of the trip we opted to get our laundry done. It was a pain but it is possible. Here is what you do: Drive south to the next beach town. (I forgot the name.) Drive until the main drag along the beach begins to veer left. There will be a city park on the left-hand side across from the beach. Park the car. Walk one block in to find a small self-serve laundromat on the right. I am not bothering to give the street names because you won't see them from the car anyway. You can try asking the hotel staff for directions but following directions from Italians can be a whole new adventure. Good luck.

Stephen J.

Dear Cynthia,

Thank you. We did have an amazing time in Italy, yes. Everything was so beautiful. Albergo Club I Pini was more than we hoped for. The hotel and rooms were very beautiful, probably the best room on our trip. The owners were very nice, and helpful. On their advice, we went to Cinque Terra. We followed a footpath from Monterossa to Vernazza, and that was some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. Definitely worth the trip.

In town, we twice visited Ferruccio (Focacceria-Pizzeria located on Viale Colombo, 58). That was by far the best pizza we had anywhere in Italy, with a great atmosphere. The owners were very nice, and even didn't seem to mind our attempts at Italian. We had alot of fun there.

Thank you for your service - it made our trip all the easier!!

Amy V.

Dear In Italy,

Our trip to Italy was wonderful. Palazzo Bandino was beyond any expectations. The staff there is top notch. We toured Venice, Rome and Ischia besides the Tuscany region.

It was difficult going from Palazzo Bandino to Albergo Club I Pini. After being in a rural beautiful setting and than going to a closed in city/town environment I don't want to judge to harshly on Club I Pini. The accommodations were adequate - not above average. The food was good and staff was helpful. We did leave a day early - the weather was the final decision maker in that there was no reason to stay if it was raining. I would have to say that based on the what I remembered reading on the website and what the end result was - there was a difference. I have not had time yet to go back to website and see if my memory was wrong on the perception. The comments above are not meant to be critical of you or your staff. I was giving my honest reactions. I appreciated everything that InItaly did in the short time you had to work. I have recommended your site to many people already and would not hesitate one minute to utilize your services on our next trip.

Thanks again.
Greg M.

Dear In Italy,

I did enjoy my trip to Italy, and it's good to be home. My friend and I enjoyed our stay at the Albergo Club I Pini. The food was quite good. The owners and staff were very friendly and efficient. It's a lovely setting, in a convenient location.

If I could offer any suggestion, it would be that they spend a little money to upgrade the rooms, even if it meant charging a bit more. The linens were a bit threadbare and the rooms need painting.

Cheryl T.

Dear In Italy,

Albergo Club I Pini was one of our favorite places during our 3 week trip to Europe. The home itself was a nice relief after staying in some larger hotels. The home atmosphere and comfort and attention to the details made it special. We would definitely come back again. It is about an 1.5 hour drive to Cinque Terre, which I would highly recommend to anyone coming to your place. The breakfast was delightful and our friends had dinner one night and said it was absolutely fantastic. Again, the setting and the whole experience here was wonderful. Hope these comments help.

Please give our best regards to the managers of Albergo Club I Pini. They do a fantastic job!!! Thanks again. Happily satisfied and back in Minnesota (USA) and missing Italy greatly,

The Hamanns

Dear In Italy,

My husband and I just returned from our vacation and I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the Albergo Club I Pini in Lido Di Camaiore. The accommodations were superb and the service terrific. Claudio and Loretta the owners are very personable and attentive to your needs. Monica, their niece and the coordinator of the dining room is a delight. The food was exquisite. We did not sign on for board but found ourselves eating at the Albergo all but two nights of our stay because the food was excellent and the service wonderful. It is close to everything but not in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. A terrific spot that I strongly recommend.

Marilyn M.

Dear In Italy,

Albergo Club I Pini was a treat. I think the warmth and helpfulness of the host and hostess are the biggest asset this place has. The food (I had breakfast and dinner there every night) was tasty and well prepared, and there was a nice selection of wines. It was warm enough to sit outside the first night I got there, and the garden in front of the Albergo is peaceful and pleasant.

I used the Albergo as a base from which to explore Pisa and Lucca. Both cities have intriguing streets and squares, beautiful cathedrals and other church-related structures. The cathedral in Lucca in particular has a truly exquisite tomb and an unforgettable Ghirlandaio. San Michele in Foro must also be seen and houses an amazing painting by Filippino Lippi. There is also a very complete street market by San Michele; I sampled the silks and the nougat candy.

Anne F.

Hello Natasha!

We had an incredible trip thank you, returning just over a week ago. It started in Rome and ended in Paris, covering roughly 4000km by car.

After staying with relatives in Rome, we drove north to I Pini which was the first of our numerous stops along the way. If we'd had more time we would definitely have stayed here longer.

Claudio is a charming host. Ever-present, he never seems to stop from morning to night, and clealry enjoys what he does. This can also be seen in his staff, all of whom greet you with a warm smile and are very eager to be helpful and make your stay enjoyable.

The house is a wonderfully maintained old mansion, which conjures up visions of past splendour. It was our first exposure to european accommodation and a very positive one.

It's also well situated, just a short walk to the beach, which stretches up and down the coast - forever! We didn't really do any exploring, but rather took the two days to relax on the beach.

All in all a most enjoyable stay - we'd do it again.

John & Tara M.

Dear Cynthia,

Thank you for your welcome home letter and interest in my travels. We enjoyed our stay at Albegro Club I Pini. Claudio is a wonderful host. He recommended a great restaurant in a mountain town nearby that was one of our best dining experiences during our trip. It was a prix fixe menu and the food kept coming and coming from unique appetizers, three pastas, and several meat dishes. The name escapes me but it was run by a friend of Claudio's.

A couple of suggestions for your advertising however is that you may want to mention that there are lots of children staying there as well, which made for a very noisy stay. It didn't occur to me that there would be a houseful of kids. Also, I expected it to be on the beach from the descriptions. But overall the food was good, and we felt very welcomed despite the language barrier. Thanks again.

Renee B.

Dear In Italy,

Albergo Club I Pini was a very different experience, although wonderful in its own way. We had a wonderful room on top floor. The meals were exceptional! We ate at the hotel all three nights of our stay. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. We felt very much at home during our three days' stay.

Although it may be a few years before we can plan a return trip to Italy, I will continue to visit your website to dream in the meantime. Thank you for your contribution to a most memorable trip.

Jeane R.