b&b Villa Costanza elba
B&B ELBA ISLAND
BED AND BREAKFAST VILLA COSTANZA
CHOOSE YOUR IDEAL ROOM
Welcome to the official website of Villa Costanza Bed & Breakfast.
Our B&B is located in Lacona, in a quiet location from which you can enjoy a beautiful sea view of the Gulf of Lacona and the Stella Gulf. Lacona is in a perfect location for getting around all of Elba, from here you can reach the main towns and beaches in a few minutes by car.
Villa Costanza is one of the oldest cottages in Lacona, was completely renovated in 2022 and is surrounded by the greenery of a beautiful olive grove.
B&B Villa Costanza has 5 spacious rooms, three on the ground floor and two on the second floor. Inside the facility there is a common area overlooking the veranda, where guests find a table, chairs and some deck chairs to enjoy the peace of the countryside, a kitchen where every morning we prepare the breakfast buffet that you can enjoy in veranda or under the porch sea view, based on your preferences.
The outdoor part is equipped with some deck chairs for sunbathing when you no longer feel like being on the beach. Services at our B&B in Lacona also include a recovery bike, for those traveling with their own bicycles, and free parking for cars and motorcycles.
“The first time I saw this view, I imagined myself on one of the deck chairs with a glass in my hand and a special person next to me.”
SUPERIOR ROOM 1
Superior Room 1, large double room on ground floor, 31 sq m, with bathroom with shower stall and window.
SUPERIOR ROOM 2
Superior Room 2, a large 31 sq m double room on the ground floor, accessible both from the common area and from outside the facility via an independent access.
SUPERIOR ROOM 3
Superior Room 3 in Lacona, 35 sq. m. ground-floor triple room with air conditioning and wi fi.
SUPERIOR ROOM 4
Superior Room 4, room with double bed and single bed on the second floor, 30 sq m, with large bathroom with shower stall.
SUPERIOR ROOM 5
Superior Room 5, large 57 sq m triple room on the second floor. It also has a private terrace from which to enjoy breathtaking views.
the history of villa costanza
Rooted in the earth, looking out to the sea
The sea turns a somber gray as dark clouds roll out across the sky, clear until a few minutes before.
From the farmyard, Constance scans the horizon. The clouds are advancing from Fonza, the storm is really coming this time.
He shifts his gaze to the vineyard. The grapes are ripening well; the harvest is just a short time away.
“Let’s hope it’s not hail,” Elbano says by his side. He too saw that black advancing, he too shifted his gaze to the vineyard, concerned.
“Come Caterina, help me round up the chickens.”
The child drops the ball and starts running in circles chasing them and shouting “cocococo” to direct them to the chicken coop.
The storm is really coming.
The sun disappears behind the thick black clouds, the temperature immediately drops a few degrees, the wind whips the top of the olive trees. The first big drops break on the sun-parched ground after the long dry summer.
The earth seems to breathe with relief at the contact with water and Constance with it.
The chickens are safe in the chicken coop, the donkey brays in the distance, and the cats have taken refuge in the barn, where the cow is resting and the goose is brooding.
Constance strolls through the olive grove and enjoys the drops on her slender face, her skin burnished by the long hours in the open air, under the scorching Lacona sun, which in this season, from morning to evening, gives no respite.
Around her, Caterina dances in the rain, almost as if it were a party, before Mother persuades her to go back inside.
The storm passes. The clouds continue their journey eastward, again uncovering the sun.
No hail, fortunately. The grape harvest will be there, and with it the merriment of the big lunch in the company of family and friends that accompanies it every year.
Life in that big red house has always flowed this way, the seasons are marked by harvests and reaping, the day begins at dawn and continues until sunset, the hours are dictated by the needs of the livestock and the land.
As soon as the sun rises, Elbano goes to the garden and picks the fruits, selecting the best produce to sell. Costanza, after milking the cow and feeding the chickens, will take care of the remaining part of the harvest: in her hands fruits and vegetables become canned goods for the family and for those who want to buy them.
The recipes and processes were passed on to her by her mother along with all her knowledge, as her grandmother had done with her and as she is doing with little Caterina: careful movements, capable manual dexterity, rituals that have been the same for generations.
Outsiders arriving from the continent are fascinated by this ancient knowledge: the land, the vine, the olive tree, the fruits, the vegetables, the beasts. From the cities, they no longer know how it is possible to know all this with such simplicity.
“It’s not simple, but it’s simply life,” Costanza always replies with a smile.
And it really is life – here. In this sunny Lacona of the mid-1960s.
It was the life of her father and mother before her and her brothers, before they left for that faraway land, Argentina, when she was still too young to understand.
Mother was already “old” when she, Costanza, was born. She had been the talk of everyone in the Lacona basin: “Pregnant? Again? At her age! What a scandal!”
But Mother and Father were not listening. Costanza had been an unexpected gift, first female after three now grown-up and independent males. The little one of the house and at the same time stick of old age and arms to help. Because there are never enough arms in the countryside.
Dad took her with him to suck up the vineyard, teaching her to recognize those branches, the “sissies,” that had to be removed gently and firmly and explaining which pampane to remove in order to let the nearly ripe bunches breathe, preventing the humidity of the sirocco from causing mold to flourish among the grapes.
While she was helping at home, in Argentina her brothers were starting a successful wine production: they too had learned everything from Dad and had gone to seek their fortunes in that faraway land, where a relative had already put down roots before them. They had left with one suitcase each and with rootstocks from the home vines, bringing some of Lacona to Mendoza.
Dad and Mom are gone, but Constance still lives in that old red house and, with her husband and daughter, carries on the farming tradition that runs in her blood.
During the hottest hours, Costanza and Elbano retreat to the cellar, where the semi-darkness and thick stone walls provide a modicum of relief. Elbano runs the fishing nets through his fingers, flattening them and handing them to his wife, who next to him mends the rips.
At sunset, Elbano will leave with the boat to lower them, and the next day his morning will start well before dawn so he can set sail.
In a corner of the cellar, on a makeshift bed, Caterina sleeps.
“The milanese said they would keep her with them,” Costanza says at one point, looking up at her husband.
Elbano stiffens and the net stops in his hands, but he says nothing.
“They would give her room and board, make her study,” she continues.
“Everything she needs to learn you can teach her, we can teach her.”
“We can teach you everything about this land and this house and the vineyard and the wheat and the olive trees and the beasts and the clouds that when they come from Fonza they bring rain, but if they come from the north they probably won’t even touch us,” he explains to them all at once, “but we can’t teach you anything about what’s out there.”
Elbano is silent again. She disagrees and she knows it. This has been a point of contention for months now, but his stubborn wife just won’t give in. He is the head of the family and it is his decision: why can’t this woman respect his choice?
Those gentlemen from Milan have been buying their fruits and vegetables every summer for many years now and on several occasions have been guests in their big red house. A nice relationship of trust and esteem has been created, it is true. And over the years they have seen Caterina born and grow and they love her as if she were their granddaughter and she loves them.
But to send her with them to the Continent, so far away! As if he is unable to provide for his family. They are not rich, it is true, but by working hard they do well, they have everything they need.
“I know you don’t lack anything here,” whispers Costanza, as if she is reading his mind-and in a way she is: how well she knows the man by now. Her silences are open books for her.
“The question is not what she lacks,” she continued warmly, laying a hand on her husband’s dry arm, “but what she could have! Something we never had and never even dreamed we could have.”
Silence falls again, for several minutes.
“Still too small, we’ll see further down the road,” Elbano declares without looking up.
Costanza drops the subject. This response is already a glimmer in the right direction. She knows that in the long run she will win this battle. Such an opportunity cannot be wasted, and Elbano will accept it too.
The last few years of hard work, with a few bad seasons wreaking havoc on the harvest, have hardened and scarred him as much in face as in soul, but Costanza knows that beneath his armor of silence is still the boy who had invited her to dance at the Lacona after-work club.
It seems like a lifetime ago,” he thinks, “but it has only been ten years.
A few months after that dance, he had written her a letter that was both passionate and tender, declaring his love for her and his desire to see her again.
I would be pleased to talk to you by mouth,” he had written, “but without proper confidence how can I afford it?
Here is her husband, always torn between his instincts and the expectations of society around him: his problem is what others will think, just as with the Caterina affair in Milan.
Constance, on the other hand, is impulsive and determined-“stubborn,” her Babbo would have said, “as stubborn as Gennarino” who was the old family donkey.
When she had received that letter, which she had read and reread until she knew how to recite it by heart, she had gone every night to the after-work club to meet him again, with her hair carefully braided like the first night they had danced.
– # – # – # –
“Be sure to write.”
“Be sure to call when you can.”
“Be sure to help around the house, cleaning, cooking, washing.”
“Be sure, no boys.”
“Be sure to study hard.”
“Mother, stop it! I am not a child, I know how to behave, you taught me, and I promise I will not make you ashamed of me. But enough please, give me a break.”
Costanza understands her: she is really no longer a child, and at sixteen she too would have liked to answer her mother this way, but she would never have dared. Part of her smiles proudly at the audacity of her daughter, who is not afraid to speak her mind.
Elbano is unloading from the car the large suitcase full of clothes and especially canned goods, oil, wine and vegetables to take to Milan. He lays her on the ground beside his daughter and watches her without saying a word.
Costanza’s long work of persuasion prevailed, Caterina will indeed go to the Continent to study, thanks to the support of those kind Milanese. Elbano, however, still cannot accept being separated from her. As the departure approached, he became more taciturn by the day.
Caterina hugged him, trying to convey to him with her squeeze all the love and gratitude that in words she was never able to say to him. Then he hugs his mother, always in silence: they have already told each other everything many times. Too many times, Caterina thought until a few hours before, but suddenly she wishes she could talk to her one more time about all that adventure, about what awaits her once she gets off the ferry, about what will happen. Suddenly, as he embraces her, he does not want to let go of her anymore.
“We’ll miss you, honey,” whispers Costanza in her ear, loosening her grip. “We love you. Now go.”
Caterina grabs her suitcase and struggles up the ladder to the ferry. Once on deck, she looks out and waves to her parents as she feels tears pricking her eyes. They, too, greet her, and Caterina knows that their eyes are also glazed over.
The ferry pulls away from the dock, Mom and Dad become smaller and smaller until they disappear from his sight. Leaning against the aft rail, Caterina keeps her gaze on her receding Island. As the shoreline gives way to the sea, Caterina takes her suitcase and moves to the bow, sits on a bench and waits, finally looking ahead.
– # – # – # –
“You still remember the road!”
“Look mom I’ve been missing for a couple of years, not decades,” Marina replied to her as she took the path leading to the small cottage.
Hearing the sound of wheels on the gravel driveway, his grandmother Costanza leaves the house.
Age has curved her body, and the pain of sudden bereavement has marked her face even more deeply, but her eyes have remained young and sparkle with joy as she sees the car bringing her girls back.
“Mom!” Caterina embraces her and once again is amazed at the strength with which her mother’s slender, old body responds to her grip. Their tears mingle on their cheeks; their grief merges into one that is bigger and at the same time lighter because it is shared.
When the two women break away, it is Marina’s turn to hug and kiss her grandmother, who also has her face streaked.
“I am so sorry Grandma. It was so unexpected, he left as he lived, quietly so as not to disturb. How are you, though?”
“I’m tired. Although it’s nice to see how many people loved him: people have been coming and going since early this morning to give him a last goodbye.”
And with a nod he points to the front door, where relatives and friends are attending the vigil.
“Do you remember what your grandfather used to say about going to sea, Nini?” continued Costanza. Marina gives her a questioning look, and her heart skips a beat upon hearing the nickname by which she alone has always called her.
“Sure, but what about the sea?”
“Your grandfather used to say that the sea decides when it is time to go fishing. Do you remember? Here, in the last few months, when he said that, he always added that in the same way it’s life that decides when it’s time to die.”
“Since yesterday,” he continues after an absorbed pause, “I imagine him on his boat, out there, fishing. I imagine him serene as he sails his nets at dawn or casts his squid in the sunset light.”
After the funeral, at dinner, Costanza makes up her mind to ask the fateful question.
“When do you have to leave again?” she asks, trying not to let on how important their answer is to her.
Having them both back with her is the best gift in the world for Costanza. Despite the distance that has separated them for years, her bond with her daughter has always been solid, and since Marina’s arrival it has been fortified and intensified by that little girl who from month to month and year to year has colored their lives with all the shades that love knows.
“I would like to talk to you about that very thing, Grandma,” Marina replies. And Caterina smiles at the astonished and curious gaze of her elderly mother. The daughter told her everything on the road.
For the past couple of years, Marina has been cultivating an idea.
It blossomed into her like a sprout one winter morning, when the gray sky of Milan was a counterpoint to her black mood. It was a simple idea that had begun to grow and put down deeper and deeper roots; over time, little by little, it had grown from a sprout into a tree, and so many pieces of Marina’s life had repositioned themselves around its branches, leaving it room to continue growing.
“I’d like to move here, to Elba,” he says, “I could stay with you, Grandma. I would help you.”
Costanza’s heart is likely to explode with joy after those days of great sorrow. The words he would like to say crowd on the tip of his tongue, unable to get out.
“I would be looking for a job and would like to open something of my own someday.”
Costanza still interjected by the news, breaks into a wide smile.
Early the next morning Costanza knocked on Marina’s door.
“Wake up Nini, I need to show you something.”
Marina dresses quickly. Costanza is strangely of few words, but she makes up for them with big smiles.
“Help me get into the car, Nini, that my knees are not what they used to be.”
Marina helps her and gets into the driver’s seat. To each of her inquiries as to why that secrecy and the destination, Grandma replies only, “You will see shortly.”
The girl stops asking questions and follows the directions Costanza gives her. When they arrive at their destination, it is like taking a dip into the past.
In front of her, the red house stands out against the blue sky, embraced by olive trees, caressed by the wind on the hillside.
It is the house where Grandma and Grandpa lived when she was a child; then its management had become too demanding for two people who would grow older and older: they decided to rent it out and buy the comfortable little house near the village.
Marina observes the rapt house, walking around it like a statue in a museum, to study it from every angle and catch every detail.
She has not been back there for more than fifteen years, but now all the memories overwhelm her: the mad dashes among those olive trees chasing the chickens, the trellises where the olives were stored during the harvest and her assignment to squeegee all the leaves left among the fruit, the sound of fresh eggs broken in the center of the mountain of flour on the pastry board in the kitchen, the snacks with grandfather of bread and freshly picked tomatoes sitting on a rock in the shade of the foliage, the scent of the nepitella with which grandmother seasoned the zucchini to put in jars, the hours in the sun studying the ants and trying to catch lizards, the evenings sitting on the threshing floor with grandmother and grandfather at nightfall. ..
“This house,” says Costanza distracting her from her thoughts. “This house has always belonged to my family. I cried when your grandfather and I chose to leave it, but he was convinced it was the best choice for us.” Sigh “And he was right.”
“It has housed many different people after us, this house. In recent years, it was home for a group of young guys who had started a freediving school here. But last year they left. Your grandfather and I were very sorry, we liked them.”
“Nothing in life happens by chance, you know?” continues Costanza after a short pause-and Marina smiles because she has heard that phrase said to her so many times that it almost sounds like a vow or prayer to her ears.
“This house,” Grandma repeats again, spreading her arms wide as if to hold her affectionately.
“This house is yours Marina, if you want it. It will be my gift to you, my legacy and your grandfather’s: he would be happy to know it is in your hands, too. It needs to be fixed up, it’s true, it has a few aches and pains due to age”-she adds with a smile and a wink-“but it can become what you want, for your future here. Does that sound like a good idea?”
Marina is speechless. Then, as if that place had really brought her back to her tenth birthday, she cries out. She cries out in happiness and hugs her grandmother tightly.
“I guess that could count as a yes,” laughs Costanza.
“Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!” shouts Marina overwhelmed with excitement.
And still in disbelief she starts running around the house, up and down the stairs, among the olive trees with open arms, her fingers grazing the leaves, the grass, the walls, and the sanestones of the farmyard. Tears of joy line her cheeks as she observes and caresses that house so large and proud that, like the olive trees that surround it, it is rooted in the earth and gazes out to the sea.