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San Gimignano: B&B La Casa di Giovanna

www.casagiovanna.com

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Reviewed by: CShock from MI, review #1836

When:

If I return to San Gimignano, I will definitely stay at the La Casa di Giovanni.

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As you enter La Casa di Giovanna, there is a large hallway and a flight of white marble stairs which lead up to the B&B on the primo piano. The rooms of “Camino” and “Beatrice” have their own entrance from a separate locked alcove on the south side of the palazzo. It was peaceful in the back of the palazzo. Although there is no outside garden, these two rooms have direct access to a small patio that looks down upon a private vegetable garden and the quiet residential street of Via Berignano.

Sometimes in the late afternoon, I could hear the family of the proprietor go about the activities of their day, but it never became intrusive. The guests of the Casa receive a set of keys to the front entrance, the alcove, and their room, so they have complete freedom to come and go as they please. On the north side of the palazzo are the apartments of the proprietors and the third camera “Giovanna.”

For a separate fee, the guests are invited to go across the hall to the Signora Giovanna’s apartment for an Italian style breakfast which is usually served after 7:30 am. Be forewarned that the lovely signora, although gracious and kind, does not speak English, but you can tell that she is very appreciative of the use of “per favore” and “grazie.”

At the time of my booking, I requested and was given the “Camino” room. The decently sized room was furnished with various antiques which reflected the medieval ambience of the palazzo and the city outside. The room contained a queen sized bed which I found to be comfortable. There was a separate “armadio” for my clothes which also contained a few blankets. The en-suite bathroom was more than adequate and there was a typical European shower stall. I was provided with nice fluffy towels and there was always plenty of hot water.

The Camino contains no amenities such as a kitchen corner, mini-fridge, or a telephone. Despite the fact that there was a small television set in the room, I never turned it on.

I booked through Venere.com, but I also contacted the proprietor, Alessandro Andreuccetti, to get a separate confirmation. Alessandro speaks English, and he handled both my arrival and departure transactions very professionally. Also an artist, Alessandro’s water colors provide warmth and color throughout the B&B. (Check out their website as his artwork graces its pages.) In May of 2006, I paid 60 euros per night for a double room with breakfast included.

Avoid the usual tourist-trap eateries and check out the “Trattoria Chiribiri” located one street south and around the corner of the B&B. In fact, all of the B&B guests ate here every evening.

While I was in Italy, the best gelato I ate was at the Gelateria di “piazza,” located on the west side of the Piazza Cisterna. Afterwards, nothing could compare to it, and time-after-time, I was disappointed. Although, I do admit that for three weeks, I kept trying to break their spell over me.

Climb the stairs to the top of "Rocca di Montestaffoli." What a view!

I did not rent a car, but it was not necessary. I was able to take a very cushy and direct bus from the outside of the San Giovanni gates to the Siena centro by buying a ticket from the “tabacchi” shop right across the street from the B&B.


Reviewed by: doug from FL, review #984

When: May 2005

Outstanding B&B on the main street of San Gimignano. Quiet and inexpensive!! {2 stars}

We found this B&B online and were pleasantly surprised with our spacious room (Beatrice Room) that had a 12 foot domed ceiling, large king sized soft bed, terrazzo floors and an ample sized private bathroom with shower. We also opened up to a small patio on the second floor where we looked down to a small vegetable garden.

Giovanna does make a traditional Tuscan breakfast that was excellent with bruschetta, prosciutto, cheese and bread. Giovanna does not, however, speak English - only Italian. Her son-in-law, Alessandro does speak English but is only around on weekends as he works in Siena.

The room was clean and well priced. We stayed for 10 nights, with breakfast, for €600!

The doors were 10 foot high wood doors about 6 inches thick that opened to a marble hallway with frescoes on the ceiling. We stayed on the main street of this city and never heard anyone once we closed the doors. It is a great place to base from and a it was so good, my wife and I slept 9-10 hours per night easily!! This is a real hidden gem!

Here is our suggestion for arrival: You cannot bring cars into the city; you have to use parking lot #1 to park your car (€5 per day) which is a long way, downhill, from the main gate. Either drop off your bags at the front gate with an associate to wait while you park the car or take the City Bus from the parking lot (which goes up San Giovanni) into the city. We recommend the drop off.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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