Book Review | Todo in Tuscany

Todo in Tuscany The Dog at the Villa Book ReviewThere are a lot of reasons to fall in love with a house in Tuscany. A sweeping view across the rolling Tuscan hillsides, finding a piece of Italian history going back generations or a setting in a charming Italian village. While Louise Badger and Lawrence Kershaw found all those things in Poggiolino, a unique home near Lucca, what this husband and wife found was that there was only one Todo in Tuscany. Todo the dog that is.

After holidaying in Italy together for years, Badger and Lershaw decided it was time to live the dream. The timing was right in 2007 to make the dream a reality, and the two were off to house hunt in the Tuscan countryside not far from Lucca. There very first house viewing turned into a memorable experience when they were greeted by a brown ball of excitement they soon learned was named Todo. With a smiling face and enthusiastic demeanor (and one very swishy and happy tail!), Todo quickly charmed Badger and Kershaw, who were also moved by Todo’s sad story.

When Carol MacAndrew died two years earlier, she left behind her beloved home and garden Poggiolino and her faithful companion Todo. Although Todo had been alone for two years when Badger and Kershaw first met him, he had refused to leave the home where he had passed so many happy years with Carol. It was decided that whoever bought Poggiolino got Todo as well! But, as Badger and Kershew found themselves asking, “Who buys a house with a dog?”

The answer came immediately after returning home to London. They did! Although the house wasn’t quite what they initially had in mind and required more work than expected, they couldn’t get Todo’s sad face when they left out of their minds. Todo had been waiting for two years for someone to return to Poggiolino and bring love and life back to his home.

In Todo in Tuscany: The Dog at the Villa, Badger and Kershaw share their story of meeting Todo, discovering his and Carol MacAndrew’s fascination history, meeting new friends, working through all those renovations and making their dream of living in Italy a reality – with Todo cherring them along every step of the way!

An honest and heartfelt story told from Louise Badger’s point of view, Todo in Tuscany is about the ups and downs of moving and making a new life in Italy and the joys of falling in love with a place … and one very special dog named Todo!


Visit the Todo in Tuscany website for more information, photos and stories. You’ll also find Louise Badger and Lawrence Kershaw on the Todo in Tuscany Facebook page or @TodoinTuscany on Twitter.

Can’t wait to get your paws, er, hands on a copy of Todo in Tuscany? Michelle over at Bleeding Espresso has one copy to give away to a lucky winner. Just click here and enter before Tuesday, July 31st at noon (Italy time). You still have a couple of days!

Tempting Tuesday: At the Beach in La Maremma, Tuscany

When it comes to planning a trip to Italy’s Tuscany region, the first images that comes to mind are naturally of rolling hillsides, medieval hilltop villages, winding roads lined with those “creepy Italian trees”, and fields of sunflowers. And that certainly is Tuscany! But the region also has a  beautiful coastline and oh so many tempting beaches. Lisa Fantino from Wanderlust Women Travel has stopped by this week to share with us about one of her favorite beaches in Tuscany.

Welcome, Lisa!





There is never a bad day when you’re at the beach. Rain, sleet, snow….oh yeah, and sun, each offers a different opportunity to enjoy the splendor of the sea……….and if the beach just happens to be in Italy, then that’s an added bonus.

La Maremma national park (Parco Naturale della Maremma), along the coast of Tuscany is magnificent in its raw beauty. This is a different beach scene than Ostia Lido near Rome or the tourist-trodden Tropea in Calabria. This is nature at its best—wild, unkempt and beautiful.




This particular day, driving through a shaded grove, lined with wild horses and the occasional Italian cowboy (buttero), it was hard to imagine that the sea lies dead ahead. The trees stand tall over Marina di Alberese, as they have done for centuries, and the Tyrrhenian Sea is nowhere on the horizon for several miles. It’s not until you are well into the parking lot, just beyond the small refreshment stand, that you spy a sliver of turquoise amid the blackness of the branches. Step closer and you will see the white sand beaches, so different from the rocky shores of the Amalfi Coast.

There are private coves along the shoreline where lovers can seemingly hide from the world, and children can get lost in the groves of pine trees. Privacy in public is possible in this wilderness. This is not a beach for boom boxes and sunbrellas. This is a shore for soul-searching, sun-soaking and truly taking the sun au naturale, as a small portion of this park is also a nude beach.

La Maremma runs along the Tuscan coast for some 150 miles and La Marina di Alberese can be found just south of Grosetto.


Lisa Fantino is an award-winning journalist and attorney and the Italy travel consultant behind Wanderlust Women Travel and the Italy destination wedding site Wanderlust Weddings. She also writes travel features for MNUI Travel Insurance and blogs as Lady Litigator.