Tuscany might not be an obvious destination when thinking of guitar building. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons Thomas Lloyd Guitars of Australia opted for one of the most scenic parts of Northern Tuscany to run their popular custom built guitar crafting workshops.
Benabbio is perched some 600 metres above the spa town of Bagni di Lucca. The views are simply breathtaking and the villa where guests reside and where the two week workshops take place is quite magical.
The 12 bedroomed, beautifully restored 17th Century Baroque villa boasts a lofty studio overlooking the walled gardens, a private olive grove and the mountain ranges beyond. This is where anyone who wishes to spend 14 days focusing on building a personalised guitar interrupted by the occasional mountain walk or trip into the beautiful walled city of Lucca should come.
Guests hail from all over Europe and have varying degrees of knowledge when it comes to guitars - let alone guitar making. Last year two grandmothers chose to spend their holiday making guitars which they crafted for their grandchildren. Until then they had never even picked up a guitar.
Of course you get the real guitar gurus who are very much part of the jamming sessions that take place every evening after dinner. Even those who can't play the guitar are grabbed by the bug. According to one frazzled businessman who came 'simply to focus on something different' - this was one of those truly memorable holidays.
The two week workshop holiday is quite flexible, the villa welcomes couples who want to come and stay with only one person on the actual guitar making course. The two weeks including guitar crafting workshop - and regardless of your skills you do come away with a beautiful, fully tuned guitar to call your own, accommodation and lavish breakfasts costs £3200.
Those wishing to join their guitar making partner and stay at the villa for the two week period are offered guided tours, Italian language classes and Tuscan cookery tuition for which the cost is £1200 for the two weeks. Check out the website for more detail or send an email.