About Casa La Pace




After years of talking about one day moving to Italy, we decided to pursue our life dream by opening a Bed and Breakfast. Beginning in 2007, we searched the Internet, drooling over abandoned castles, former manor houses, and vacant farmhouses. Rusty took trips to Italy, meeting with real estate agents throughout Tuscany, Le Marche, and Umbria in search of the perfect property. He visited more than 100 properties. After each trip, he reviewed the photos and excitedly described each one to Pepper. We developed a list of the 10 properties that held the most promise. Depending on the day, the order of the list would change, but a modest house in the Serchio Valley was always near the top. The house was in need of renovation, but it had wonderful views of Ghivizzano and the valley below. Most importantly, it was within walking distance of a train station that has regular service to important centers of Tuscany.


Buying and renovating a house in Italy is not easy, but we were determined. We were fortunate to have the right team to oversee and execute the restoration. The house was constructed in the 1740s and had been updated very little since. This meant that many of the original features of the house, including chestnut beams and terracotta tiles in the ceiling, were still in place. During the renovations, the workers uncovered nooks and revealed structural features of great beauty covered up over the centuries. We added bathrooms, moved and updated the kitchen, and reinforced the floors. We insisted on honoring the history of this graceful home, retaining as much as possible and replacing only when absolutely necessary.


When the structural changes were complete, we moved to Ghivizzano. We then spent many months completing the renovations. We painted, sanded, and decorated from morning to late night. Along the way, we made friends with the people of the village and began to build a new life. Being among the few foreigners of Ghivizzano, we naturally attracted attention. The local newspaper even wrote a wonderful article about us and our dream of a bed and breakfast in Italy before it was even open.


Those who visit Casa La Pace, local Italians and guests, are amazed at the end result. The house has all of the modern conveniences, but respects its origins. Casa La Pace has become our dream home and we are proud to welcome guests to our bed and breakfast.



About Your Hosts



Rusty fell in love with Italy as a starving university student. He studied with Florida State University in Florence in 1984-85. Three years later, Rusty was again fortunate to work for 6 months in a small town just outside of Rome. His time in Rome deepened his love of Italy and his fluency in the language. Ever after, he dreamed of returning to live in Italy. Over the next 25 years, Rusty worked as a computer programmer, first in Miami and later as a consultant in several states of the United States. Throughout the years, Rusty returned to Italy for short vacations, exploring new places and visiting old friends.  Finally, in 2007, with Pepper's blessing, Rusty traveled to Italy to look for the perfect home to convert into a B&B. After much searching, he found Ghivizzano and the house that became Casa La Pace.  Now he is living his dream with Pepper in one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany, the Serchio Valley.




Pepper was born in Miami, Florida. He has a diverse Cuban, Spanish, and Chinese ancestry.  Although Pepper was born blind and his sight restored after numerous surgeries, he is now an internationally-recognized visual artist. His careers have been varied and interesting: event planner, gallery owner, therapist, and public relations rep among others. He had no interest in travel (mostly because of his fear of flying) until he met Rusty, who is a world traveler and Italophile. Since meeting in 1989, they have journeyed throughout the US and traveled to numerous countries together. Now in Italy, Pepper is loving every minute of managing Casa La Pace and helping guests plan their Italian activities.

Rusty and Pepper / Casa La Pace Innkeepers




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