Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1129: La Bella Toscana, Fattoria Il Piano
aparments on farm near San Gimignano, Tuscany West
September 25 - October 2, 2004, 1 week
This fantastic property was about 4 km from San Gimignano in Tuscany. It was very secluded, up a narrow windy road but easily accessed, with great, great views of San Gimignano. It was on 180 hectacres of vineyards, and olive trees and sunflowers. We were there during the grape harvest.
The building was a converted farmhouse next to the main house and the wine making facilities. There were 8 of us, staying in two 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartments - one set upstairs one downstairs. My wife and and I and our son and his wife were upstairs with a great balcony overlooking the grapes. My wife's two sisters and their husbands had the downstairs apartment.
It was peaceful, quiet, absolutely fantastic for a vacation place. There were laundry facilities. Each apartment had a full kitchen, nicely equipped. The managers of the farm were friendly and helpful. All of the people picking grapes were friendly and nice.
I would recommend La Bella Toscana to anyone wanting a nice place to stay in Tuscany. And, thank goodness for Pauline et al at SlowTrav for helping me find them. And thank you SlowTrav for all the excellent advice.
You could not walk to amenities but there was a coop in SG 7 minutes away. a PAM supermarket was 20 minutes away in Poggibonsi. There were a lot of good, excellent restaurants in SG. We recommend Il Rigolleto right outside the main entrance. But it is small and crowded - you should make a reservation.
The building was a converted farmhouse, fully modernized. Nice tile floors, nice kitchen, great balcony, and large bedrooms. The bathrooms were fine but one only had a tub with a shower on the wall which was ok. The other was only a shower.
There was a vegetable garden, a pool area, and each apartment had its own terrace or balcony.
The apartments were spotless upon arrival, clean and roomy. 8 of us would eat together and the kitchen table could fit 8. The balcony had nice chairs and a nice table and great views.
Two bathrooms, one bedroom with a kingsize bed, the other with two single beds. Only one roll of toilet paper - we knew to bring some.
The kitchen was fine but you should bring dish towels. And, we brought soap to do dishes (no dishwasher). The icebox is smaller but adequate. You want to do some shopping right away (especially for wine!).
Problems or Bonuses
Our rental car had a slow leak and Mauro, one of the field hands, filled up the tire twice and would not take any tip. All the people we met in the field were friendly. For a few hours one day I was in the field with my son, helping them pick grapes - one of the owner's son's was out there too. They took the time to show me how to cut and it was a fantastic experience.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
La Bella Toscana is fantastic. Gaynor, Teresa and the others are the best. Email, documentation, answers to questions, everything was handled professionally, courteously, and quickly.
The price per couple for a two bedroom was $475/week approx (so $950 for 4 people for a unit for 7 days). A great price.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
YES YES YES This was Ginestra and Rosmarino units at Fattoria Il Piano.
Things to do in this area
San Gimignano is an excellent example of a walled medieval city with great towers. A little touristy but that was ok - good restaurants, GREAT gelato. Easy drive from there to Siena, Pisa, Chianti region.
I already mentioned Il Rigolleto as a good restaurant - small, but very good pasta.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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