If you’re looking for a romantic vacation at an Italian villa, visit “A Tuscan Summer” at Cap Estel (13, 16, 28). This site is another wonderful creation by Maurice Messmer, who is known for his beautiful landscape destinations. His other creations include Cap Estel Goes Safari, reviewed on February 21, 2011, and Cap Estel Natural Lake Park, reviewed on November 24, 2010. This time he has re-created the Tuscany region of Italy, a RL area known for its beautiful landscapes, villas, and artistic history.
At the SL entry point, a meandering path leads you past golden grasses and grazing Blackface sheep. Be careful where you walk--the sheep and donkeys use the path, too. Where the path split, I chose to follow it up the hill. Either way makes for a beautiful journey since the path loops around the site.
Take your time at this destination because a Tuscan summer is made for strolling. The lush landscape is filled with wildflowers, lavender, poppies, and a vineyard. Bales of hay dot the hillside. In fact, the bales are so big you can sit, lean, and even hide behind them. Mountains with fog covered valleys are visible on the horizon. You can hear the sounds of summer birds and insects, too.
The highlight of the site is the grand Tuscan villa at the top of the hill. Polished marble and Italian art combine to create the perfect ambiance. Messmer has provided every comfort for his guests. Inside are complimentary appetizers and drinks, including fine wines. Chairs surround the fireplace, and there’s a grand piano to play. Three terraces extend off of the main villa, all of which have great views of the countryside. One terrace has chairs and a table where you can relax with a friend.
At the doorway there is a guest book that you can sign as you enter or leave. On the day I visited, over 168 residents had already left comments about the villa. Many residents thanked Messmer for creating and opening the site to all of SL.
RL Italy is known for its fountains, and SL Tuscany has two. The formal one contains a reflecting pool, stately topiary, and the Sacred Sisters Wishing Well Fountain. On the other side of the villa is the Gargoyle Wishing Well. This informal area has a picnic blanket and goodie basket available for couples who want to linger.
Another romantic area can be found at the bottom of the hill behind the villa. There is a patio for dancing and a nearby stone ruin to explore and enjoy. The ruin is situated on the coast so watch out for the sea gulls. The sounds of the crashing surf, however, are wonderfully relaxing.
A Tuscan Summer feels so real I expect to meet Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci on my next visit.