We stayed last year and it was spectacular. The resort is beautiful, wonderful associates, great restaurant, off the beaten path high up on a mountain and surrounding area of Bargo, Lucca and small towns in the area have excellent food. The drive from Lucca is pretty easy and we found the resort to have good signage to help as you get closer. We also used the Map app on my phone provided pinpoint directions.
Here are a few links from some Insiders who have visited the resort.
ellenkrinsky - GO, DO IT, DO NOT HESITATE, ENJOY!!!! It's a wonderful property - a gem in the Renaissance (and Marriott) crown....
Here's a taste in photos: Italy, Tuscany - Il Ciocco, Barga, Cinque Terre, Florence, Lucca, Pisa
Briefly - and I'll try to answer more Qs if you have specific ones:
And let's keep pinging fschumpert until he weighs in - I corresponded with him before we went, and his advice and experience were informative/helpful - it's one of the reasons this forum is so useful!!!
Fun tidibt, cool timing - cycling aficionados will tell you that, just last week, the Giro (the Tour of Italy, one of the three great European bicycle races) passed through Barga. So, lots of cool TV coverage....
Hey, NathalieF or joshm - do you think there's any chance one of you can recover one of the old (now gone) hotel reviews - I posted an in-depth review of this facility after my trip - it might be helpful if you could find and cut-and-paste it.... If not, life goes on....
Thank you everyone for your response! We are really looking forward to our stay there. Last time we were in Tuscany we stayed at a small villa and are excited for a totally different experience in what looks like a beautiful area. We can ususally count on Marriott to provide good service!
I posted this trip report in 2012, but it might not be readily accessible:
Wonderful location even though quite out of the way up in the foothills. Ask for a balcony view room of Barga, as shown in some of my photos. Don't worry about eating anywhere else; food great here, although you might try lunch one day in nearby Barga. Delightful lounge for evening drinks at Ciocco.
We rented auto in Florence and drove there, as there's no train service to Ciocco, and I'd suggest you have auto for visiting nearby Lucca and possibly Cinque Terre on coast, west of Pisa. And, don't bother about spending time in Pisa,unless you just want a quick photo of the renown tower.
Thank you for this information. We are really looking forward to our stay there and exploring the area. We will coming from Croatia and then Venice so ride shouldn't be too bad. The farthest we intend to drive from there will be The Mall and Cinque Terre. We had explored the Hilltowns, Lucca and Pisa on our trip a couple of years ago!
If you're driving from Venice, you can go inland via Padova (wonderful town also) on A13 to Bologna (take by-pass), and 64 from Bologna to Pistola, and 435 to Lucca; however, if you have time you might want to take coastal road (309) from Venice to Ravenna (spend one night there and visit the marvelous church), and then take Hwy 67 to Florence, and on toward Pisa. You'll cut off toward Lucca, and follow directions (Hwy 12) toward Gallicano. You drive past (around) Gallicano and toward Barga. You'll come to a small town with bridge across the river, take right here and up the hill, and the sign to Ciocco is on the left. Hopefully, you'll have GPS to help you.
Thank you for this information! Both of these routes sound enticing but is one faster or better than the other? We won't have time to stay over in Ravenna but still sounds like a good place to visit if not then perhaps during our next few days. All of your posts have been very helpful!
If I had limited time, and I preferred an extended stay (several days) at the Renaissance Ciocco - as I did when I first found this unique Marriott location several years ago - I would take a train to Firenze (Florence) and rent an auto there. If you use Hertz, you can walk out of the train station to the right and rental office is on side street. (*Station closed on Sundays, I believe) The drive from Florence to Lucca is approximately one hour, and then another 45 minutes around Lucca to Renaissance , Via Giovanni Pascoli, Barga. As listed before, follow signs to Gallicano/Barga, (Hwy 12) and if you reach Castelnuovo you've gone too far. If you have any difficulty along way, call the hotel - 39-0583-7691 - and they've give you directions.
If you prefer to drive from Croatia (and/or Venice), it's probably more expedient to take the A13 motorway from Venice to Padova (using the by-pass), then to Ferrara and Bologna (by-pass this city also), toward Florence (by-passing), and exit onto four-lane, Hwy 67, toward Pisa, but exiting at Lucca, before you get to Pisa.
As you arrive at the Renaissance, there is a car park on the left, down the hill from the hotel. I'd suggest driving onto to the Renaissance (300 feet), park near the gate (shown in one of my photos), check in and take your luggage to lobby. Then, depending on the size of your auto, you can exit and park in the car park adjacent to the hotel, and overlooking the valley. The little bridge and turn into the car park is quite narrow, so take your time. If you'd prefer not so close quarters (perhaps if you're driving a SUV), you might want to exit the hotel lot and drive back down the hill and park in the lot on the right hand side of the road.
While at Ciocco, check in with manager, Georges Midleje, with whom I met and offered to assist in bringing others to Ciocco (and many have). He'll perhaps remember my wife and I spending our 50th anniversary there. Pamella Cimzia is another contact, should you need any help. They'll provide information about area attractions, such as Cinque Terre ("five towns"), and where to park your car, as you can't drive between these coastal villages. You'll need to leave early from Ciocco to drive to La Spezia and then take small train to first of the five coastal villages. * Bring your camera!
Yep, Georges is wonderful man. I think either fschumpert or ssindc or both told Georges of our impending arrival to the resort. He met us on our first afternoon as he was leaving on his motorcycle for Rome and talked with us for probably 30 minutes,very kind and polite. He had his Manager get us set up with dinner reservations in Barga for us on the patio right in front of the Barga Jazz Fest stage. When we arrived back to our room we were greeted with a wonderful bottle of wine and some cheese from Georges.
Don't miss the town of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana which is about 10 miles further down Hwy 12 from where you turn where you turn off Hwy 12 to the resort. There is a wonderful restaurant right before you enter the city through the main gate called l'Aia di Piero that incredible. L'Aia di Piero, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana - Restaurant Reviews, Phone Number & Photos - TripAdvisor
Just sit outside by the road and enjoy some of their authentic Italian foods and of course local wines, then talk a walk inside the wall of the city for some fun time wandering past the shops and other excellent restaurants.
Tuscany is wonderful area of Italy so enjoy all the sights, sounds, smells and beauty of the region.
This is great information! We will be having a car since our trip will actually begin in Sarajevo and then through Croatia and enter Italy by way of a few days in Venice. We love Tuscany and spent about 6 days in Tuscany and 5 in Florence a couple of years ago. This gave us an opportunity to spend some time in Pisa and Lucca. Looking forward to exploring area of Cinque Terre and Barga Lucca and towns we haven't been to before end our trip with 3 days in Milan. Added Milan after reading about the Expo that is being held there.
Love the information about restaurants too.
Will definitely see about checking in with Georges Midleje before our trip. Any contact information for him?
Thank you again!
Congratulations on a wonderful sounding trip!
Wanted to share with you that the three days in Milan, may lend itself to a "Day Trip", to Lake Como/Il Bellagio. It is one of the most beautiful places you could visit. I say this only because I am not a fan of Milan, and if you are flying from there, the airport is quite a ways out of town.
Good luck in planning a great trip!
MIlan is not one of my favorite Italian cities, but there is direct flight to/from Atlanta. upon arrival, you can take bus to train station and either board train for your next destination, or better yet, take taxi to Marriott on Washington for time of rest. You can walk a few blocks to wonderful shops and sidewallk cafes, w hitch is the tradition for eating here.
Lake Como is nice but touristy; a Lake Garda is near Verona, and not as busy, and favorite of locals.Verona's coliseum is not as large as Rome's, but less destroyed. You can walk around city and eat in wonderful restaurants, but no Marriott here.
Posted phone number for Renaissance IL Ciocco earlier - if you want George's email: email@example.com
If you are able to contact him, tell him I recommended Ciocco .
Thank you again for George's information. It would be great if he would make sure we get a balcony! Supposed to get an upgrade so maybe George will help ensure that! Would be nice.
We spent a lot of time in Lake Como last time. We will probably stay more in the Milan area as it will be the end of a 3 week trip. We really enjoyed Milan when we were there before and are especially looking forward to Expo. You have been helpful and we really appreciate your help and interest! We will report back after our trip.
I'm not sure George is one to assign rooms as he is the general manager at Ciocco. It's probably best to request from reservations room on front side (balcony) in the newly-renovated part of the hotel, but perhaps all rooms have been updated since our stay a few years ago. If you're Platinum Marriott chances are good that you'll get room of your choice, as Platinum members normally receive room upgrades, sometimes a room-welcoming-gift of wine & cheese.
I just happen to have met George, along with Pamela Cinza (marketing), when I was there, and we talked about publicizing Ciocco in US and Canada, which I've tried to do. It might not hurt to ask to speak to George when you arrive, and let him know that you heard about Ciocco resort on "Insiders".