Villa Pia Memories (James of Little Forest Folk)
Little Forest Folk runs award-winning, immersive forest nurseries in London, creating a unique ‘outdoor learning’ experience for children ages 2 to 5. Owners James and his wife Leanna visited Villa Pia in 2017. They loved it so much, they’re launching a Little Forest Folk holiday retreat at the villa! James was delighted to answer some questions about his experience in Italy for our ‘Villa Pia Memories’ series.
Name and occupation?
James Barrett – co–founder and director of Little Forest Folk.
Where are you from?
Originally from Australia, although I have been in London for the past 10 years.
How old is your child?
We have 3! Ella is 6, Jack has just turned 5 and Indie is 2.
Was this your first time at Villa Pia?
Yes, we visited Villa Pia in July 2017.
How did you hear about Villa Pia?
My wife Leanna is an obsessive traveller and had read great things online.
What appealed to you about staying at the villa?
Leanna and I both love the outdoors. The scenery looked amazing and it sounded like there was plenty for the kids to do. Having all the cooking done for us was also another huge plus, as was being with other like-minded families all looking to relax.
The food was immaculate. Making friends with other families, having the children play freely with the other guests and being able to properly relax for the first time in a long time was just amazing. Not having to worry about cooking or cleaning or shopping meant that it really felt like a proper holiday. Being able to put the children to bed and then joining the other parents for dinner was awesome. It is a small and intimate place so you don’t feel like you are jostling with other tourists or fighting over the salad bar.
What makes a holiday in Italy so special?
Obviously the weather was fantastic and the food is divine. The fact that we were so well looked after during our stay meant that we could just relax. And Villa Pia is properly out in the countryside so you are forced to switch off. The day trips to nearby towns without many other tourists really makes you immerse yourself in the local culture.
Any funny/memorable experiences at Villa Pia?
The kids thinking that pistachio gelato at the local shop was mint choc-chip and then me having to eat 3 ice creams! I didn’t mind.
How does Villa Pia compare with other family holidays you’ve experienced?
It was the most relaxing family holiday we have had in a long time. So much better than your typical resort.
Would you recommend Villa Pia to friends?
Absolutely, in fact we already have, and a few of them are heading there this year!
When we were at Villa Pia we were having such a nice time that we were struggling to think of anything that could make it better. And then it occurred to us – obviously a bit more of a lie in would be amazing, and then if the kids were able to go and experience free play every morning then we would be able to properly relax. So we spoke to our staff, who were very excited about being able to offer Little Forest Folk style childcare in Tuscany.
When you have small children there is very little opportunity just to switch off and have a proper holiday. We wanted to find a way to provide parents with the opportunity to do this. Being able to hand over the children to known and trusted adults safe in the knowledge that they will be out having adventures and playing freely all morning gives parents a chance to look after themselves. Be that going back to bed for a few hours, going for a massage or treatment, playing some tennis, or just reading a book – having those extra few hours each morning makes everything a bit less stressful and a proper chance to have a holiday.
Most of all I think the families will love just how easy it is and how it is a chance to have a proper holiday. Properly relaxing, either by yourself or with other like-minded families in a small casual environment is lovely.
Finally, any tips for new visitors?
Don’t be afraid of the self-service expresso machine! It’s liberating being able to make your own coffee!
To find out more about Little Forest Folk nurseries or to book a spot on their retreat, visit www.littleforestfolk.com
Read more about our wonderful range of Retreats at Villa Pia.
Have you enjoyed a stay at Villa Pia? Share your images and memories with us using the hashtag #VillaPiaMemories!