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A ‘Tennis Retreat’ in Tuscany

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An exhibition match at the May 2024 re-opening of the Bagni di Lucca Tennis & Padel Club – if you look closely enough you might pick out your Casale di Clio hosts in the audience! (image credit: Tennis Club facebook page)

Bagni di Lucca’s Tennis and Padel Club re-opened at the start of May 2024, after a thorough re-vamp – its three clay tennis courts are soon to be supplemented by a padel court (padel is the new ‘big thing’ that is apparently simpler to pick up and play then tennis), with rumours of a pickleball court (no, we hadn’t heard of that one either! Possibly easier again to pick up and play as a beginner? … and nothing to do with sandwiches, although the club does boast a great-looking and licensed clubhouse too!). While Adrian is possibly more excited than Tiziana at this development, both believe that the club’s reopening adds a new inducement to draw guests to Bagni di Lucca – and especially to Casale di Clio. We envisage three different ‘tennis retreat’ propositions for our beautiful corner of Tuscany:

  1. the usual Creative Getaway at Casale di Clio – augmented by one or more sessions down at the Tennis Club – either receiving some coaching or enjoying a game; in this proposition, court-time serves as an alternative to local hiking, swimming etc. for those retreat guests who like to keep active between stints on their creative projects;
  2. a ‘tennis retreat/holiday’ that is more focused on enjoying the facilities down at the tennis club – again, either arranging sessions with the resident (English-speaking) coach, or enjoying a pre-arranged match – while between games enjoying the relaxing ambience and facilities of Casale di Clio and the surrounding countryside (your own transport would be ideal for this if you were not content to rely on the 20 minute bus down and up to Bagni di Lucca);
  3. a tennis group getaway: maybe you could get together with a small number of fellow members of your tennis club (or tennis-crazy family!) for a week enjoying a holiday in this lovely area – while fitting in as many matches down at the club as you are able to handle (again, your own transport would be ideal if you were not content to rely on the 20 minute bus down and up to Bagni di Lucca).

Let’s look at each of these in turn, and look at some relaxing (and stimulating) local activities to consider alongside the tennis.

Action from the exhibition match at the Tennis Club’s May 2024 opening event

1. A ‘Creative Getaway’ in Tuscany – with added Tennis

As part of our ‘Retreat with a Treat’ proposition, why not consider coming to stay in Tuscany to focus on some writing, drawing/painting, other creative endeavours, or to study – while setting aside some time for playing tennis?! (other ‘Treats’ to fit in with a stay here might include a performance of your favourite musician/band at Lucca’s Summer Festival). Perhaps you are a keen player, maybe a member of a tennis club at home, or perhaps just an occasional player. Maybe you would just like to try and arrange a social game or two while here – or maybe you would like to spend focused time with a tennis coach over a number of days, so as to take your game to the next level. Whatever your level of interest and ability, the club can meet your needs. There is a WhatsApp group for arranging matches with club members – Adrian is a member, and might step in to play if required. Between court-time, though, you have the facilities of Casale di Clio at your disposal, allowing you to focus on your creative project(s): the library, with all of its creative resources; the various study/relaxation spots, including outdoor areas – and, of course, the lovely surrounding countryside that can provide both exercise and inspiration.

2. A ‘Tennis Retreat’ in Tuscany

We are happy to host people who would like to spend a significant time on the tennis court during their stay, maybe in combination with hiking, general sightseeing, and relaxing – though who are not so interested in the creative retreat aspect of staying at Casale di Clio . If you are coming solo to Casale di Clio and are considering getting some tennis in while here, it should be possible to arrange some coaching at the club and/or a social game or two. The library and its resources will be available too, of course, in case you are tempted to explore creative avenues while here.

If this type of getaway appeals – i.e., spending more time in outdoor pursuits than at the Casale working on a project – then you are likely to need to have your own transport arranged – or else be reliant on the local public transport.

Courts 2 and 3 at the club – if you fancy a quiet game without the appreciation of those enjoying the facilities at the clubhouse!

3. A Small Group (or Family) ‘Tennis Holiday’

If you have friends or family who also enjoy playing tennis then why not come as a group? Between you, you can get in as much court-time as you can handle – striking a balance between some ‘focus-time’ on court with the local English-speaking coach, and matches arranged amongst yourselves or with local club members. You might decide to arrange court time for 3 or 4 days of the week, with the remaining days dedicated to local sight-seeing: Florence, Pisa, Vinci, and the coast are all within day-trip range (easier with your own transport), with the beautiful and widely-undiscovered walled city of Lucca and pretty Barga, ‘the most Scottish town in Italy’, even closer. And at the end of the day come back to your base at Casale di Clio to relax in beautiful surroundings.

As a group who know one another, you are likely to be more relaxed about sharing bathroom facilities, and we can consequently be flexible about how many guests we receive, with the option of opening more bedroom space than we might otherwise do when guests who do not know one another come to stay.

Court Fees and Lesson Prices

Below are details of court fees (singles/doubles; members/non-members; with/without court lights; with/without lesson). There is a lot of information set out in the table, and to understand it you’ll need a few Italian words – see below (some are quite obvious!); if you get stuck we can assist with bookings.

  • Soci/non soci: members/non members
  • Campo; court
  • Lezione: lesson
  • Senza/con illuminazione: without/with lighting
  • Singolo/dopio: singles/doubles
  • 1 ora/1 ora e mezza: 1 hour/1 and a half hours
Court and lesson fees at Bagni di Lucca Tennis & Padel Club, May 2024

For those wanting a package of lessons, you’ll need a few more Italian words to understand the pricing (below). These prices are for club members (tariffe riservate ai soci); membership is 40 Euros for a year, but we have been told that there will be shorter duration memberships for tourists/visitors, at an appropriately cheaper price:

  • Pacchetti lezioni: package of lessons
Prices for Lesson Packages (for one, two, three people) at the Tennis Club – we are told short-duration memberships will be available for visitors/tourists

Post-Tennis Relaxation

After an hour of two of tennis (or three, four or more days!) there are likely to be some tired bodies in need of relaxation and recuperation. Bagni di Lucca offers the ideal range of facilities, including:

Thermal Bath/Spa

Just one of the offerings at the local Thermal Spa Baths

The Terme Bagno Bernabo at Bagni di Lucca offers a great range of options and treatments for pampering tired bodies, including:

  • Thermal Bath
  • ‘Steam Cave’
  • Face/Body Massage
  • Mud Bath
  • Holistic Treatments

Booking in advance is recommended!

Swimming

Whether you are into river swimming or fancy enjoying the facilities offered by a swimming pool complex, both options are available locally in the Summer. What better way to cool off after a game of tennis than dipping into the clear waters of the river Lima? Maybe avail your self of a shower at the club’s facilities, though, if planning an heading to the public pool! (Bagni di Lucca swimming pool opening dates for 2024 to be confirmed as of May 2024 – please check this if you are hoping to visit the pools during a stay here).

Yoga

Yoga on the water at nearby Canyon Park – forest yoga is also available

If yoga is your thing, the nearby Canyon Park offers weekend yoga classes from April to September, with daily classes for the first three weeks of August; there is the option of yoga in the forest or yoga on the water – massage is also available. The same venue offers some more stimulating outdoor activities – such as zip-lines and high-wires.

Alternative outdoor exercise is offered by Val di Lima Off-Road – including mountain biking with e-bikes – they are not far from Casale di Clio.

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