Posted by: Debra Kolkka | February 8, 2018

Return to Italy

Next week I will leave hot, steamy Brisbane for Europe. As usual I will stop in Helsinki on my way to Italy. I am hoping for snow in Helsinki. They have had quite a bit lately, so I could be lucky.


Bagni di Lucca has had lots of rain and some snow this winter, which is great. 2017 was a very dry year and if this continued there could have been serious water issues. I hope the rain continues for a while.

There should be some daffodils on my balcony at Ponte a Serraglio when I arrive.

I am very keen to get up to Casa Debbio to start work on the garden. Filippo has prepared some beds on one on the lower terraces for artichokes in my absence. They will be the first things planted this season. I am hoping to have these by the end of summer.

Artichoke flower

I put in lots of bulbs in autumn so it will be interesting to see how many come up. We have porcupines and they are known to enjoy bulbs. I have never managed to get dahlias to grow and I suspect the porcupines may be responsible.

I love the winter views from Casa Debbio. This is what I can expect.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

I hope we get some snow.

Casa Debbio


Casa Debbio


Spring comes quickly once it starts and soon my garden will go from this

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

…to this.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

If all my peonies come up I will have 60 plants this year. They are my favourite flower and I’m sure there will be room for more. I have different types and we have flowers from April until June.

Casa Debbio

This year I will plant annuals so we have colour all through summer.

We will be working hard to get Casa Debbio ready for summer rentals. We think the house is the perfect place for an authentic Italian experience. Vergemoli is a gorgeous mountain village. There are few tourists and the people are delightfully friendly. Our guests are made welcome at the many village parties throughout the summer.

Casa Debbio is a short distance from the village and the only sounds we hear are birds and the occasional wild goat. Sometimes, if we are lucky our neighbour below turns on his music and the hills echo with tango music. Sisto is now in his 80s and his music has delighted the village and surrounds for decades.

Let me know if you or your friends would like an Italian holiday in the gorgeous Tuscan mountains this year.




  1. Good to see you today and thank you for making and selling me the gorgeous pink linen dress – I love it! Safe and happy travels back to Italy – enjoy the spring – Sue

    • Thanks for coming to my Pop Up! Great travels to you too.

  2. All the rain and snow will certainly help the garden. It should look splendid by summer.

    • Rain makes all the difference. I’m hoping for a great spring.

  3. Safe journey Debra. We hope to catch up with you early April. We would love to see your country home if possible. We dream of visiting with family or friends some time after our visit. The gardens are beautiful.

    • You will definitely see Casa Debbio. It should be looking great by the time you get there.

  4. Sounds divine.

    • I love my time in Italy.

  5. Unfortunately I do not speak or read Italian but an article was posted on FB regarding removal of trees in Bagni di Lucca which appears to be causing some consternation, as it should!

    • I have seen it too and it is a concern. Those trees are stunning and the drive through them to our house is one of my favourite things. I have heard conflicting stories and hope to find out more when I get back.

  6. Oh, to swap shoes with you! Brisbane weather for this coming week is really only bearable if one has first been anesthetised !!

    • I’m not looking forward to the heatwave. This week has been quite good.

  7. Hi Debra
    You might be looking forward to seeing some snow however we are very tired of it her in New England and the cold winter we have had. I cannot wait to arrive shortly after you in Lucca.. 1 Marzo. Lets get together when you come down to the “city” See you soon.

    • Snow is a lovely novelty for me. I can understand that it could become a bit tiresome if you have to live with it for months.
      See you in March.

  8. I love your photos.

  9. Some rain and snow would be lovely right now! Looking forward to seeing you and your beautiful garden in May. Safe travels.

    • You will see an enormous difference from your last visit.

  10. We have summer weather here but desperately need rain to avoid another drought,

    • We were really worried last year that our spring would dry up. The local residents said it has never happened, but there is always a first time.

  11. have a wonderful trip. the views look marvellous. hope you get some snow. cheers sherry

    • There is snow on the mountains around Casa Debbio and we sometimes have snow in March, so there is a chance.

  12. It looks like a divine place to stay! I hope people take you up on your offer 😀

  13. The photos from Casa Debbio and Vergemoli are stunning any time of the year. Every season has its own beauty.
    Enjoy your time back there and safe travels.

    • Thank you. I am very keen to be back in the garden.

  14. What a great way to prepare yourself for the trip. Safe travels!

  15. Hi, just stumbled on your block. Looks gorgeous .

    My Husband Mario and I (SuLin) will be touring Tuscany for 18 days March 31– april 18 2018. He is a jazz piano player (originally from New York): I am a Jewelry designer based in Singapore).

    We hope to drive but am wary of many DTL… hopefully won’t be a problem outside of Florence

    Anyway, I am interested to tour Villages of Bagni di Lucca –
    A. Starting from Florence
    B. Tour Lucca and Bagni
    C. driving up to Cinque terra
    D. loop back down south towards Rome
    E. Loop back up to Florence to return car

    Would appreciate your advice of which title town is pretty. I love scenery, spring flowers and cobbledwalks, interesting craft and fashion shops, wining and dining (sorry for Long list). Don’t much like big cities

    May I seek your advice as to which towns are pretty. Thank u very much.

    • I don’t understand what you mean by DTL. If you want to see photos of the villages of Bagni di Lucca I suggest you go to my other blog, Bella Bagni di Lucca ( there is a link at the side of the page )
      At the top of the page you will see Villages. Click this and a list of the villages will come up with a link to posts about the villages.
      I will send you a link to a post about making the most of your visit to Bagni di Lucca.
      I would definitely visit Lucca, Cinque Terre, Siena, Pienza, and Montalcino on your visit to Tuscany.
      PS. I can’t forward the post as I have no email address for you.
      Go to Bella Bagni di Lucca and type Make the most of your visit to Bagni di Lucca. You will find the post about some suggestions.

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