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Come and join us here in rural Tuscany where our picturesque getaway awaits you.



We are in northern Tuscany in a tiny hamlet called Fazzano in the municipality of Fivizzano and the province of Massa and Carrara. Please see the Contact Us page for a map and our address.


The easiest way to arrive is by car. You can hire vehicles at all airports if you’re flying in. Having a car will also give you the freedom to explore the surrounding areas should you wish. If you are coming for a retreat and/or will not wish to tour around but just enjoy the peace of the villa then we can collect you, by prior arrangement, from the nearest train station which is Gragnola, a 10 minute drive from the Villa. Trains in Italy tend to be rather good and much, much cheaper than in the UK. Please note that there are no local taxi services.


If you are travelling from the UK we would strongly recommend that you take out a travel insurance policy in line with your needs. As a UK resident you are currently entitled to free or low-cost emergency health care in Italy and you must travel with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) (formally known as an E111) in order to access it. You may apply at: Private travel insurance covers not only medical but travel issues and expenses and we strongly recommend you take a policy from the day you book your holiday/flights to Italy to cover you should you unfortunately need to cancel. For residents of other countries please check with a specialist insurance broker.


Personally, I prefer easy-peasy Pisa. BA offer daily flights from LHR T5 which makes it such a breeze if travelling from London, the South or the Home Counties. They also offer more flights from Gatwick into Pisa. If you book flights and car hire (AVIS) at the same time with BA you can find some very good deals and it’s all very streamlined. The even include 23kg hold luggage, plus the usual 23kg hand luggage, for free. Prices into Pisa tend to be low as all the major airlines fly here and there is stiff competition. EasyJet and Ryanair fly in daily (in the season) from most UK airports as do most of the charter/package holiday companies. Arriving at Pisa you can stretch your legs and walk the 400m to the car hire hall where all the major rental companies are represented. There is also a shuttlebus. Once you have your car, it’s onto the essentially straight motorway heading north along the coast for about 45 mins. It’s a toll road (€8.20) so much less busy than roads in the UK and you can generally put your foot down and really enjoy the drive. Then head inland for one junction, leaving the motorway at Aulla. Then it’s a 30minute drive on ever decreasing roads until you get to Villa Francini. I can go from the Villa gates to the check-in desk at Pisa in 1¼ hours precisely without breaking any speed limit, but if you’re not used to driving abroad please consider that you may drive more slowly and you should allow a little extra time. You may also choose to fly into Parma or Genoa which are really not much further away, but the road from either is rather more winding than from Pisa. All roads leading right up to the gates of Villa Francini are state or council owned and thus tarmac. You do not have to drive on any dirt tracks or uneven lanes as with many places. Full driving instructions can be provided.

Are you a Bed and Breakfast or a Retreat?

Both, and more. The beauty of Villa Francini is its extensive and immensely flexible accommodation. You may book for 2 or more nights on a B&B basis. You may come on a Retreat (no B&B during Retreat weeks). You may hire the whole house and garden and have exclusive and private use of everything (no B&B and no Retreats during Exclusive Villa Rentals)

How many people can you accommodate?

Currently (Spring 2018) we have 5 guest bedrooms & suites which can accommodate up to a maximum of 14 people sharing. Most rooms can have either two single beds or joined together to make a superking. One room has a king bed but can accommodate another two singles or a king size bed in the adjoining lounge. Another room has an emperor sized four poster bed but can also accommodate two singles or a king size in the same room to make up to a quad occupancy room. Outside dining on the terrace currently accommodates 14 adults comfortably. Bureaucracy and local craftsmen permitting, two additional double or twin bedrooms will be added to the available rooms by the end of Summer 2018. In the slightly longer term there is another part of the house (currently sealed off) for which there is a Phase II plan to renovate and create a further two suites. At the end of all the works the house will comfortably accommodate 20 adults plus up to 4 children/teens in suite lounges when booked for Exclusive Villa Rental.

What is the accommodation like?

Please see the Accommodation page for details of each of the bedrooms. All bedrooms have new luxury en-suite bath or shower rooms. All beds are brand new and wonderfully comfortable, linens are of a very high standard (White Company etc) with a choice of soft down or hypo-allergenic pillows & duvets. Bathroom towels are soft and fluffy and pool towels are provided. As we have sought to maintain as much of the charm, character and history of this old property as possible, please realise that some paintwork has been left in it’s authentic state. This means that the décor may be patchy as it has been repaired only where the plaster was beyond salvaging and the paint effects have been unfortunately lost. This is intentional and a desired effect. Some pieces of furniture are vintage or antique in order to be appropriate to the house and may have scratches,knocks, fading etc commensurate to their history and as to be expected of antiques, but all are clean and fully functioning. The kitchen (for Exclusive Villa Rental) is again the original kitchen with all the original features. Although we have now moved away from wood and embers and are now cooking on gas, modern appliances have been installed alongside the big old hearth and ‘hob’ and the fabulous terracotta ‘washing machine’ which, in reality, take up a lot of space in what is, fortunately, a decent sized room, so this is absolutely not a sleek modern fitted kitchen. It is a rural country house working kitchen, as you would expect (just with all mod-cons). The kitchen is actually two rooms, the main ‘food kitchen’ with range cooker, fridge-freezer, sink etc and then the ante-cucina with dishwasher, rinsing sink, all the crockery, glasses and cutlery conveniently placed just off the terrace and rather handy for clearing away after al fresco dining on the terrace.

Do you have access for people with disabilities?

Our main regret with Villa Francini is that, as an ancient property, it is not suitable for those with motor disabilities. All the rooms are on the first and second floors and access is exclusively via stone stairs. Please contact us if you wish to discuss the suitability for any other disability.

Is there a pool at the Villa?

Oh yes! There is a lovely circular pool in the garden for you to enjoy. It’s deep enough to swim in and at 4.8m you’ll all be able to take a dip. You won’t be doing exhaustive lengths every morning but for cooling off, dangling your feet or just a bit of glamorous posing it’s just the ticket. The pool isn’t heated but you’ll be grateful for that come the summer!

Do you have WiFi?

We certainly do! Because of the rather enormous, thick, solid stone walls the house is constructed with we do not currently have wifi in all bedrooms. There is excellent access in Reception, the Hallway, the activity space relaxation room and part of the garden. It is our aim to improve access to all common areas, and maybe, eventually, all the bedrooms but then we are a retreat away from the modern world…

Can I bring Children?

Children over the age of 5 are welcome at Villa Francini. Some Retreats are adults only and you must check with your group leader/tutor whether it is appropriate to bring minors along. Their decision will be final. Due to the historic nature of the house (stone stairs, fragile glass, hard flooring, antique furniture etc) and all rooms being on first and second floors, we do not feel that children under 5 would be safe or comfortable nor their parents relaxed.

Can I bring my dog?

Unfortunately we ask you to not bring your pet on a B&B holiday out of respect for other guests who may have allergies or other issues. We do have one double room, to be opened in early summer 2018, which will be appropriate for dogs sharing with owner(s). However, if you are booking exclusive use of the Villa then you may bring dogs and we will work with you to decide which rooms will be appropriate for pets to use. If coming on a Retreat you may bring dogs with the permission from your group leader/tutor and the other members of the group. If you are bringing a dog, please see the Terms and Conditions.

Can I be contacted in case of emergency?

Of course. Mobile phone reception at the Villa is reasonable, sometimes dipping out but only momentarily. We also have e-mail and you are welcome to give loved ones back home the Villa’s contact details for use in case of emergency. Some retreats will encourage you to strictly limit the use of any digital device, especially if you are attending a Digital Detox Retreat. ‘Rules’ regarding phone usage will be set by the group leader/tutor and explained to you by him/her.

How do I book Massages or other Holistic & Beauty Therapies?

Prior booking is advised, especially if you are on a retreat with a large group of people and/or you have limited free time. If you would like to book ahead please wait until your accommodation is confirmed and then contact me. The therapist is fully UK qualified and is proud to have been awarded the credential of Fellow of the Federation of Holistic Therapists. Please see the separate page for the list of available therapies and prices. All therapies are payable in situ.

What happens if I have to cancel?

If you have booked via AirBnB you will be bound by their cancellation policy. If you have booked Bed and Breakfast directly with Villa Francini then you are bound by a 48hr cancellation policy. If you are booked onto a Retreat then contact your group leader/tutor as they will have defined the Terms and Conditions. Generally you are able to substitute another person in your place. For Exclusive Use Villa Rental you are bound by a 30 day cancellation policy but will lose your deposit and admin fees with less than 90 days notice. If you are unfortunate enough to have to cancel then I shall of course be happy to cooperate with your insurance company to ensure that you are not out of pocket.

Is my personal data protected?

Yes, it is covered by all laws and by-laws.

Can I stay extra days?

If we have availability you are more than welcome to. Please contact us to know whether the Villa is available or already committed to another retreat or other bookings.

What should I wear/bring?

We recommend comfortable clothes, cool cottons and linens in the summer with maybe a shawl/wrap for early morning dawn meditation and a cardigan/jacket/fleece in early season and towards autumn. . This is not a glamorous area per se (we’re in rural countryside not the centre of Milano…) but if you would like to bring a gorgeous dress for dinner then do feel free – they deserve to be worn! Comfortable shoes are a must for your countryside walks. Bring a swimsuit and flip-flops for the pool. In the summer do not forget: Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen (SPF 30+ minimum July and August if you plan to be outside) and some mozzie lotion if you’re extra tasty. Don’t bother to pack: Pool towels, bath towels, shower gel, hand-wash, hair-dryer (unless you really prefer your own). Most people forget how cold it can get in Italy in the winter but we are only two mountains away from the ski-resort so if you’re coming for Christmas and/or New Year then please pack accordingly! (Hot water bottles for bed-time provided).

What food is provided?

If you are staying as a B&B guest then breakfast only is provided. Breakfast will vary daily but will generally include bread/toast, oats/muesli, fresh fruit, cheese, jam, delicious local honey, yogurt, juice, tea, herbal infusions and coffee. Eggs/omlette, French toast, vegetables etc will be included from time to time to vary the choice. If you are staying on a Retreat then your group leader/tutor will have all the details. Naturally we will do whatever possible to accommodate particular diets but please do give us plenty of advance warning. The Italian shops have a surprisingly good selection of gluten-free alternatives to pasta but choice in other areas is extremely limited still. If you are booking the Villa for Exclusive Use then you will be here on a Self-Catering basis. You will have full use of the kitchen and details of local supermarkets, food shops and food markets will be sent to you ahead of time should you wish to do a shop en-route to the Villa. A cook and a housekeeper may be hired to take care of everything for you, if you wish. Please let us know if you would like to do this.

What are check in/out times?

Check in is 3pm – Check out is 11am, unless by prior arrangement.

Is smoking and drinking allowed?

Villa Francini is strictly smoke-free anywhere on site. If you must smoke you will be asked to do so in an area just outside where provision will be made for the safe collection of ash and cigarette ends. Vaping is permitted, but we ask you to respect others and to refrain whilst at the table. Responsible drinking of alcohol is allowed although if you are attending a Retreat alcohol may, however, not be available depending on the type of Retreat. Do check with your Retreat Leader or organiser for clarification. Drugs are not tolerated.

What does a Typical Retreat Involve?

All Retreats are uniquely tailored to the individual group leader/tutor’s wishes and you will need to get a final schedule or plan from them. As a general overview a typical retreat day may look something like this



Yoga/Pilates/Mindfulness in the garden


Healthy breakfast on the terrace


Retreat Topic session #1


Light lunch


Siesta or quiet time


Retreat Topic session #2


Tea and Cake / juice in the garden

Free time to enjoy a walk, dip in the pool, reading, massage etc


Supper on the terrace

Post dinner

Evening activities, learning new skills, talks etc

It is up to your group leader/tutor how many sessions they will lead each day and whether additional activities to complement or diversify their specialism will be introduced. There is usually a fair degree of relaxation time included – that is a big part of why you’re here!

Can I just turn up for a Retreat & how do I get a space on one?

All participants must be booked onto a retreat well ahead of time. Usually you will already be a member or participant of an activity or interest group and your tutor will invite you to attend a Retreat that he or she has decided to organise and host at Villa Francini. Occasionally there may be a space remaining on a Retreat and the tutor will be happy to open up the group to anyone else who would like to participate. These opportunities will be clearly advertised on this website so please do check back if you are interested or let me know if you would like to join a waiting list for a particular type of Retreat

Can I go out while I am on a Retreat?

There is nothing to stop you leaving the villa or the grounds and most retreats will have either excursions scheduled throughout the week or quiet time allocated when you can go off and walk in the local countryside, either getting to know your fellow participants or in contemplative solitude.

How do I book a Retreat?

As each Retreat truly is custom built for each tutor and his/her group it isn’t possible to simply book online. Please contact me to discuss availability, and we will work together to plan every detail for a wonderful retreat that is just right for you.

What does it cost to attend a retreat?

Please contact your Retreat leader, tutor or organiser. The cost of each retreat is based on how many participants there are, what activities are being provided, whether excursions are included and what the catering arrangements are and it is ultimately the organiser who decides the price point. As a rule of thumb most simple retreats cost around £990 per person per week in shared accommodation including activities and catering… excluding flights or other travel. This can vary enormously so do check with your organiser.

I’m a solo traveller, can I still come?

Yes, Kathryn, the owner, has spent some of her travels solo too and understands how just tricky it is, even when it shouldn’t be. She was fortunate enough to go on a female-only retreat on Maui over 20yrs ago where she experienced instantly what a wonderful way of travelling this is for solo travellers, especially us ladies. That’s exactly why she has wanted, for all those intervening years, to create a safe, friendly, supportive venue in which to hold Retreats. So, no cheesy waiters trying to chat you up and no-one trying to match-make. Just relax with the rest of your group, enjoy your common interests and make new friends. If you are a solo traveller staying on a B&B booking you are equally welcome and I’ll try to make you feel as comfortable as possible in either exploring the area or just lounging around the house. Some rooms are more suited to single occupancy and these are noted under the accommodation section as they show the single occupancy discount that will be applied.

Can I be guaranteed a private room?

At Villa Francini we will do our best to accommodate everyone in the room or configuration they prefer but ultimately your group leader/tutor will have decided how many single rooms will be available at any retreat. Some very specialised or intense retreats will have only single occupancy rooms whilst other organisers will choose all shared accommodation in order to guarantee the best price for all participants. If you book single occupancy room as a B&B stay then don’t worry, it’s all just for you.

Never done pilates etc or have an illness or condition?

You should seek the advice of your Retreat leader, tutor or organiser. If you are staying as a B&B guest or are taking Exclusive Use of the Villa and wish to arrange local classes then please contact me with your details and I shall ask a teacher to contact you to discuss.