We have set out FAQs below, and will add more as they occur. If you have a question not answered below then please get in touch via the form on our Contact page – having first checked the information provided on our Bookings Enquiries page and our Terms and Conditions page in case your question is answered there.
Q: What is the retreat schedule?
A: There is no schedule fixed by us; as a resident here you manage your own time and ‘build your own retreat‘. Bring your own project to work on – or discover one here. Because this is self-catering accommodation you don’t need to get up early for breakfast if you don’t want to, and you can take your meals when you wish; if there are other residents saying here you may want to coordinate some meals together, of course, depending on your (and their) dietary requirements and wishes.
Although we do not run classes or provide courses ourselves, it is possible to coordinate these with a stay here. In 2024 we will be building a directory of local classes and teachers so that you can enjoy a stay here that allows you to arrange instruction in the following (NB – this will be at additional expense, although you might be able to spread the cost with other residents). These are the areas we will look at first, but do get in touch if you are interested in other things:
- Creative Writing;
- Drawing and Painting;
- Italian Language;
- Yoga (there is a very special venue nearby that offers Yoga Classes in the Summer months).
Contact us if this is something that interests you.
Otherwise, write/study/paint when you want to – maybe learn to play the keyboard/compose a work on our Yamaha PSR 400 (self-study materials available); walk, daydream, relax when you want to – we just ask that if you want to watch a DVD (or stream a theatre performance etc) in the library (or elsewhere at the property on your own device), or use the keyboard, then please respect the Quiet Hours if there are other people in residence working on their projects (it is recommended to bring headphones/earbuds for laptops/tablets/smartphones).
Q: Do you provide art materials?
A: The library contains two wooden painting/drawing easels of different sizes: a smaller table-top version, and a larger floor-standing one. While we would expect experienced artists to bring their own preferred materials, the library may also contain some water-colour paints, and possibly other materials, depending on what has been left by previous residents. Otherwise, if you might like to paint or draw while here then you should consider bringing materials – especially more expensive or specialist products. Art supplies can be purchased locally, in Bagni di Lucca, or in Lucca for more specialist items. For those wishing to try painting or drawing as a beginner, the library contains self-instruction books, including Painter’s Progress: An art school year in twelve lessons – as well as introductory drawing books by Adrian Hill. Contact us for more details. The views are free of course! – and there is plenty of subject matter in the hills and mountains, by the rivers, and in the villages and towns in the area.
Occupancy Numbers/Other Residents
Q: How many other residents will there be staying at the same time as me?
A: There is no way of saying in advance for sure, unless you decide to either block-book the three rooms for yourself (it’s cheaper to do this out of High Season, especially with special offers) so as to ensure that you are the only resident (or residents, if you book a room for double occupancy), and have exclusive use of the bathroom!; or arrange to have others book at the same time as you (e.g., fellow members of a writing circle, book club, history group, hiking club) – there may be a financial incentive for doing this in the quiet time of the year. Contact us if you would like to discuss either of these options.
There will, though, be some weeks throughout the year when we suggest ‘Social Retreat’ sessions, which are likely to be more actively marketed through various channels, so as to make multiple-occupancy of Casale di Clio more likely – Slow Christmas & New Year for example, and the New Year, New Start weeks (dates for 2024-25 to be announced); in 2024 we are setting aside one week each month for active marketing thorough a retreat directory company, so book to come during one of these weeks for a greater chance of a full complement of residents at Casale di Clio:
- 20 to 27 January
- 17 to 24 February
- 16 to 23 March
- 20 to 27 April
- 18 to 25 May
- 22 to 29 June
- 20 to 27 July
- 17 to 24 August
- 21 to 28 September
- 19 to 26 October
- 16 to 23 November
- 13 to 20 December (to be closely followed by our 2024 ‘Slow Christmas’ and ‘Slow New Year’ weeks!).
If you think you would prefer that there are other residents here at the same time as you then you can always get in touch to check with us when that might be more likely – though of course if you are here as the sole resident you will have exclusive use of the bathroom! And a sole resident should not feel isolated or lonely as the proprietors, Adrian and Tiziana, will be around – using the kitchen to prepare meals and occasionally popping into the main house at other times (more or less, depending of the dynamics, sensitivities and wishes of residents staying here).
Unlike when we accept bookings though one of the retreat directories we work with, for direct bookings with us we do not require residents to schedule their stays with fixed arrival and departure days, e.g., Saturday to Saturday. This means that you might find that the numbers of other residents change over the course of your stay – particularly if you stay for more than 1 week.
Q: Can I bring my partner – and if so, is there a supplement for double occupancy of a room?
A: We are not 100% sure whether allowing partners/double-room occupation would alter the dynamic of the Casale as a creative retreat/residence (particularly in light of the ‘quiet, reflective’ ambiance that we wish to provide for those wanting a creative break); there is also the issue of currently only having 1 shared bathroom between the three accommodation rooms.
Having said that, we have decided to allow double occupation of the two larger rooms (Dante and Hildegard) for established couples (i.e., not booking as ‘a couple’ just so as to get a better rate), where both respect the calm and reflective ambiance of Casale di Clio. If we were to accept a double room booking we would then only allow one other room to be booked for that period (as either a double or single) so as not to place undue pressure on domestic facilities. If a room were booked as a double we would inform any prospective further residents for the same period of this fact, in case that affected their wish to book at that time. Room rates would, in any case, be higher for any double-occupation booking accepted: the room rental would be 1.5 times the single occupancy rate. We will keep this policy under frequent review.
Q: What languages do you speak at Casale di Clio?
A: Between us we speak Italian and English.
Q: Do I need to have an ETIAS digital travel authorisation to come to Italy?
A: ETIAS is currently (Oct 2023) not scheduled to come into effect until mid-2025 – the EU’s official ETIAS website sets out what ETIAS is, and who will need to apply.
Q: I would like to take time out of my stay and visit somewhere else for a few days (e.g., a weekend in Florence) – can I leave some of my things at Casale di Clio?
A: Possessions can only be left here for the duration of your tenancy; we cannot store luggage or items between stays (paid days). Any possessions left at Casale di Clio while you travel elsewhere are left at your own risk – see below for Room Security.
Q: what voltage is the electricity in Italy, and will I need a travel adaptor to power my laptor or other items?
A: Italy’s domestic power supply is 230V at 50Hz. Rooms at Casale di Clio have Italian round-pin sockets, coupled with Schucko type sockets. To check if you need an adaptor please check on the internet, using sites such as this or this.
Q: Is the water supply at Casale di Clio potable?
A: Yes, we drink it. Like much of Italy, there are public drinking fountains scattered around (there are 2 that we know of in Vetteglia – but those are likely to be the same supply that we receive at the house). Locals also use a couple of natural springs near to us (walkable distance, but not particularly close).
Q: Are things like condiments available in the kitchen – or do I need to buy everything required for my cooking?
A: Salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and malt vinegar can usually be found in the kitchen – along with some herbs and spices, including chillis; there is fresh rosemary from the garden and fresh sage nearby. There may be some teabags available – but please bring your own coffee if you would like would like to use any of the stove-top Moka pots. There are two well-stocked small stores in walking distance, and a couple of supermarket stores in Bagni di Lucca (reachable by bus – see Getting Around).
Q: Are waste materials sorted for recycling at Casale di Clio?
A: Yes, we explain the system to residents upon arrival.
Lighting and feeding the wood-stoves and boiler
Q: Are residents allowed/required to light and feed the wood-stoves and boiler?
A: Residents do not have access to the main central-heating boiler – we look after that. Procedures for the wood-stoves in the living room and kitchen will be explained to residents upon arrival.
Smoking & Vaping
Q: Are smoking and/or vaping allowed at Casale di Clio?
A: Neither smoking nor vaping are allowed in any indoor areas at Casale di Clio; that includes in bedrooms ‘puffing out of the window!’ – as an old house, Casale di Clio is not 100% air-tight, and any indoor smoking or vaping smells will inevitably spread throughout the house. Smoking/vaping is not permitted in the internal courtyard, due to the fumes/smells inevitably making their way into any open windows (including those of room Leonardo and of our neighbours). Nor is smoking permitted on the balcony attached to the dining room.
Smoking and vaping are permitted on the sheltered outside terrace (with a table and chairs), where ashtrays are provided – or in the garden, where one of the ashtrays from the terrace can be taken. Please do not dispose of cigarette buts/remains anywhere other than in the ashtrays provided – also, please do not dispose of them in (or otherwise litter) the environment elsewhere in Vetteglia.
Alcohol, Drugs (and Behaviour) Policy
Q: Is Casale di Clio an alcohol-free venue?
A: No, it is not; we enjoy a glass of wine, a beer, and/or an aperitivo as much as anyone else – and outside of ‘quiet hours’ we welcome socialising and a convivial atmosphere in the house. We do, though, hope that residents will drink ‘sensibly’ and definitely not become inebriated to the extent that they pose a risk to themselves or others, an inconvenience or (perceived) threat to others (including other residents, ourselves and/or our neighbours) – or to the extent that damage is caused to the accommodation or any property. Any antisocial behaviour that adversely impacts another resident, ourselves, or our neighbours will result in the antagonist being asked to leave Casale di Clio at the earliest opportunity, without any refund of rental paid (and they will be held liable for any damage caused). The bottom line is this: we want residents to enjoy their stays here – but not at the expense of others’ enjoyment. We hope that this makes sense – we were unsure of the need to spell this out, but thought it best to do so!
Q: What about illicit/recreational drugs?
A: Please do not bring illicit/recreational drugs to Casale di Clio or use them here.
Q: If I am the sole paying resident staying at or present in Casale di Clio is there some flexibility in the Quiet Hours guidelines – e.g., playing the radio or watching a DVD in the library?
A: Yes, of course – though please still respect the Italian laws on noise nuisance (see Terms and Conditions), and please bear in mind that the we will possibly be working on our own projects in the same set of buildings.
Q: Are rooms secure, and do you offer the use of a ‘safe’.
A: All guests rooms have a modern cylinder lock; we do not offer the facilities of a safe. Residents are responsible for the safe-keeping of their possessions while resident at Casale di Clio. We do not hold insurance to cover residents’ loss of, or damage to, their possessions while resident at Casale di Clio.
Q: Does my residence at Casale di Clio have to be notified to the local police/authorities?
A: Yes, we are obliged to report the presence of residents through official channels; we will therefore need to take a scan of your passport at arrival; be warned: no passport means no check-in (and loss of deposit!).
Q: Where is the nearest ATM?
A: Bagni di Lucca has ATMs.
Q: Will I be able to extend my stay while at Casale di Clio?
A: This will depend on how long you have already stayed here and our forward booking commitments at the time. We limit each resident to 4 weeks residence at Casale di Clio in any one calendar year.
Deposits & Refund Policy
Q: What is your policy on deposits and refunds?
A: Please see our Terms and Conditions page, where the payments process and our refunds policy are set out.
Access & Facilities for those with Mobility Issues
Q: Is your accommodation suitable and equipped for those with mobility issues?
A: We are sorry, but no: access to and around Casale di Clio is not suitable for those with mobility issues; there are too many steps and changes of levels to get to and around the premises – and as an historical stone house it is not feasible to make the necessary adaptations.
Availability of Specialist Care/Support/Supervision
Q: I sometimes require specialist medical/social care, support or supervision, including for my mental health – are you equipped or trained to look after me should this be the case while I am resident at Casale di Clio?
A: We are sorry, but no – we are not equipped or trained to provide any specialist medical/social care, support or supervision to residents, including for mental health issues; indeed, we are not allowed to offer any such services. Prospective residents will be asked at the point of making a booking enquiry to declare that they are not likely to have any such requirements during a prospective residence here.
Q: do you have any reviews from people that have stayed at Casale di Clio – and may I add one if I have stayed?
A: Yes, see the bottom of the home page.