Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1088: Politian Apartments, Apartment #2
apartments in Montepulciano, Tuscany South
April 2004, 6 nights
Although I have worked in the travel field and feel confident in my internet seach abilities, I was still unsure whether my "find" of a decent priced apartment in Montepulciano would prove successful. The photos looked good, the Slow Travel reviews were good, but this trip had taken me months of planning and research and study (I tried to pick up Italian too) and until I saw the place, I wasn't going to surrender my guard.
The touchdown in Pisa had gone flawlessly, our overnight stay at the Royal Victoria was more than pleasant, the car rental through AutoEurope was refreshingly straightforward, but I still held my breath as we pulled up to the apartment.
I knocked at the door as instructed by the owner, Giacomo, in one of his many emails, or perhaps it was in the letter he sent to me a month earlier with a map of the town so we wouldn't get lost. He burst out, jocularly chiding me for not phoning from Pisa so that he could have met me in the street as we drove up. Grabbing a suitcase, he walked my husband and I up the interior staircase, through the garden, up the exterior stair, into the back door, up an interior stair to our apartment door. Whew! Lots of stairs, I'm thinking.
Then he opened the door to Apartment #2 and we stepped through the anteroom and I lost all breath - it was gorgeous. The living room/dining room/kitchenette held a fireplace at one end and had two sets of large shuttered windows facing the hillside. The table for four had a bottle of wine (courtesy of Giacamo) and was destined to be our main planning station/dining area. A large bedroom with more full length windows faced the front of the building, but more importantly, the valley beyond.
The apartment is located at the top of Montepulciano, so the view down to the valley below is amazing and unobstructed. Unfortunately for us, the bedroom had two twin beds, and I had specified a "matrimoniale" for us. Not to fear. Giacomo led us back through the living room and the anteroom to another bedroom facing the valley. This was a stunning room, featuring a kingsize wrought iron bed covered with a silk brocade coverlet and swathed in voile bed curtains. The antique armoire and chest of drawers would easily accomodate all our clothes and the wicker settee and table and chairs would provide an alternate wine-sipping spot after a day of touring.
My husband looked at me as if I was a magician. I had told him I found a one bedroom apartment for a very reasonable 60 euros per night, but what we had was an apartment that could easily have accommodated another couple or a pair of kids in complete comfort and privacy.
I could have kissed Giacomo at that point. My trip was made.
The apartment did prove ideal for us, as our plan was to alternate between hanging out in Montepulciano, getting to know its intimacies (or at least the location of all its gelaterias) and driving to surrounding hilltowns. We ended up further afield than we meant at times (Perugia and Orvieto were a bit too far a drive) but each night before dark we pulled up to a parking space in front of the apartment and strolled up and down (its either up or down in Montepulciano) the streets to our restaurant of choice. Osteria Acquacheta was our all-time favorite restaurant in town, the host Guilio being the main entertainment. ("Una bichierre!" is his rallying cry.)
Complaints were few. The bathroom off the anteroom was smallish, but adequate with a toilet, bidet, sink, a tiny enclosed shower (don't drop the soap, because you will not be able to bend over to pick it up with the door closed, and I'm thin) and a view of the garden. Our huge bed was too stiff for me, but it was a new mattress. Towels were a bit meagre, but that could easily be remedied by Giacomo, and he has probably already done so. Most of the rooms were huge, the floors throughout were cotto tiles, and whenever it was chilly, a twist of the thermostat generally took care of things. No washing machine in our unit, either. I did hand wash and hung it in the bathroom with the window open.
I loved the compact kitchen with the ingenious dish cabinets: they look like normal wood/formica cabinets, but the bottom of the cabinet over the sink is an open air dish rack so that the washed dishes simply drip into the sink. I never cooked, just made breakfast each morning, so I cannot say whether one could produce a gourmet meal there. It was fine for us, with a small undercounter fridge and a four burner gas stove.
Giacomo is very friendly, locally knowledgeable and eager to please but not at all provincial. His cousins from England were visiting, and their very British presence reminds you that Giacomo is cosmopolitan by birth as well as inclination. The night before we left, he spent an hour or so chatting with us in our apartment about all kinds of topics. What a pleasant guy. We invited Giacomo to stay with us next time he goes through the D.C. area. That's how much we enjoyed our stay in his corner of paradise.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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