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San Casciano val di Pesa: Villa Il Poggiale

Via Empolese, 69, Phone: 055.828.311

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Reviewed by: joywriter from NC, review #416

When: October 2003

Villa Il Poggiale is located about 9 miles outside of Florence near San Casciano val di Pesa.

Our first accommodation for our first Italian adventure was the lovely Dimora Storica (Historical House) Villa Il Poggiale, located about 9 miles outside of Florence near San Casciano val di Pesa. Il Poggiale (big hill) is a wonderful peach-colored villa privately situated within its own wall and nestled in tall cypress and a lovely manicured garden.

There is a peaceful and gracious spirit which refreshed us after our flight into the Florence airport and drive from the airport in our rental car. We spent three nights here (first week in October) and also returned to spend our last night before our flight home.

Our very comfortable Junior suite (220 euros) was located in the front of the Villa and enjoyed a wonderful view of the impressive central courtyard. A canopied bed and spotlessly clean and up-to-date full bathroom eased our comfort level since we actually donít enjoy camping or roughing it. A full moon and stars in a crisp velvet sky were right outside the large window Ö and a terrific storm that whipped through one night made us grateful for the strong 18- inch thick walls!

The house dates from 1408 Ö and as I climbed the ancient stone steps I thought about all the feet that had climbed before me and what their stories might be. The wide Renaissance Loggia was beautiful and the interior decorations with frescoes and beautifully painted doors.

The staff are low-key and willing to do anything to make our visit comfortable. We enjoyed having our own key to the Villa grounds to come and go as we pleased. All spoke many languages well. Caterina, the General Manager, provided numerous suggestions in a carefree and happy spirit. Her restaurant suggestions were excellent.

Locanda Barbarossa was wonderful and where we tasted our very first limoncello. The very best Ribollita soup and luncheon we enjoyed at Ponterotto (broken bridge?). Both Gemma and Monica were so helpful Ö always with a smile. And Caterina put together a basket of prosciutto sandwiches, wonderful white peaches, and eggs for our very early morning departure (5:30 am) on our visitís last night. For that one night, we had a Double room accommodation (140 euros) with the same type comfortable full bath and canopied bed overlooking a small courtyard and well from the 15th Century.

Breakfast was served beautifully in a delightful breakfast room in a typical country-house buffet style. Eggs, prosciutto, lemon cakes (so delicious), breads, jams/jellies, coffee, juices, fruits, breads all home-baked and fresh ingredients.

There is also a wonderful new pool located in the garden area close but thankfully thoughtfully located out of the way of the main villa area. We didnít use it as it was October. How refreshing not to see a ďhotel maidísĒ trolley or cleaning in progress. The Villa maintains a country-house program where maintenance is efficiently done in a quiet manner. Villa Il Poggiale is a wonderful property and added to the flavor of our first Italian journey!

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

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