Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1029: Casa Valentina, Apartment
apartments on a farm near Cortona, Tuscany East
July 2004, one week
Casa Valentina is located 11 km from Cortona, Italy in a magnificient, secluded mountain setting with views into the Tevere River valley and the Val di Chiana. There are many wooded trails, and access to the ancient Roman Road traversing the mountain top. Lake Trasimeno is also nearby, where you can swim and sail on the boat from Casa Valentina.
It's a lovely, peaceful place ... ideal for enjoying the unhurried, country life of rural Italy.
The crossroads of Portole is 4km away (easily accessable on foot, or by car) where you can buy groceries, or eat in the restaurant. Also a seafood restaurant in 1 km away.
The lively town of Cortona is only a 15 minute drive down the mountain, where there are many cultural activities, wonderful restaurants, museums, concerts and other recreational activities. Cortona is a designated "Slow Town", continuing it's tradition of authentic Tuscan cooking, olive oil production and wine producing. The book "Under the Tuscan Sun" was written about the town of Cortona, and the author continues to live there.
Casa Valentina is a "borgo" (a collection of farm building in close proximity) built in the 13th Century. Each building has it's own unique charm, and is carefully restored to maintain the authenticity of it's history.
Winfried Salberg, the proprieter, welcomes every guest with warmth and a genuine desire to share his lovely sanctuary with those seeking an escape from the common tourist experience. He takes his guests sailing in his sailboat on Lake Trasimeno, organizes olive picking, pizza making in his outdoor "forno", and mountain biking.
Winfried (a former teacher of building construction & sociology in Munich) is also a member of the WWOOF orgainization, so he enjoys teaching those who are young at heart about traditional building methods, and about ruural Tuscan farm life. He welcomes anyone whith a genuine desire to work and share the ambience of Casa Valentina. You can go to his website for more information.
There are many private, quiet places to sit outside (either near the hosues, or in the woods ... and also on a viewpoint at the top of the hill, with a swing overlooking the valley).
If you like clean plastic, Casa Valentina is not for you. If you like rustic things, that time has given it's patina to, you'll love it. The apartment was clean ... again, very rustic and basic.
Yes, beds were comfortable ... and there were plenty of bathrooms (even a shower outside solar heated shower, under a tree, which is Winfrieds favorite place).
The kitchen was small, but adequate for preparing simple meals ... but not for elaborate, large meals. But, you can use the pizza oven outside! Winfried will show you how.
Problems or Bonuses
The owner wishes to keep Casa Valentina free of cars, so you must park your car at the bottom of the hill and walk up to the house. For those who are energietic, it's a nice uphill walk of 200 meters. But for those not accustomed to the "hike" this should be a consideration. Note: Luggage is brought up to the house, and returned to the car, by the owner.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Prices were reasonable.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Casa Valentina is a very unique, and special place ... but it is not for everyone. It's not for those who like neatly manicured, magazine-style luxury ... but it is a place for those who love "wildness", and whimsy, and naturalness. It'a a place where nature is the priestess, and the history of the Tuscan mountain people is tenderly preserved and cultivated. The spirit of this simple, century old life still dwells in every stone, every wall ... and on the mountain agricultural terraces cultivated by Winfried.
Things to do in this area
Horsetrecking, mountainbiking, hiking, archery or sailing. There are many things to do - just look at Winfrieds webpage. My favorite restaurant "Elfi" is just 15 minutes walk away and is specialized on seafood. Highly recomended by Italians.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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