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Review 1179: Untours, Coppia, Poggiarellino

www.untours.com

Recommended
Review by Jeannew from PA

studio apartment on an estate near Buonconvento/Montalcino, Tuscany South


When

8 - 22 Sept 2004, 2 weeks

Location

Apartment is on an small estate that produces Brunello. It is located in stunningly beautiful and peaceful countryside. Our apartment was one of four at this location. An outside stairway leads up to a lovely common room with fireplace that was shared by the other apartment on this floor, and our private entrance was off this. On the floor below us were giant barrels of aging Brunello. The setting was so peaceful and view so beautiful that we seldom ate dinner out, preferring to have a simple meal while watching the evening light play on the landscape.

Nearby Amenities

The closest place for restaurants and groceries in Buonconvento, 4 km away and much easier to drive than walk. Buonconvento has a complete collection of small shops where you can get produce, bread, meat, etc. Also in Buonconvento are the very excellent Consorzio Agrario selling products of the province and a CoOp supermarket. At least 5 restaurants are in town. Montalcino with many more restaurants and enotecas is about 8 km away.

The House/Apartment

A 10th century watchtower is the original part of the building, but our section was probably 18th or 19th century brick Tuscan farmhouse/cantina style. It is clean, well maintained and complete with roll up window screens.

Garden

There are several areas to sit outside which can be shared by all guests. The landlady also invites guests to use the mini park with tall trees outside her private quarters and her shaded terrace with gorgeous views and friendly cat. It is easy to find a quiet corner to read or relax. In addition there is a separate small building with lovely view, large table and chairs where guests can entertain or hang out.

No pool.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

Furniture was comfortable and in good shape. Much of it was antique and carefully restored by the landlady. Apartment was spotless.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

Bed was very comfortable. Untours had it listed as a double and we were worried that we might be cramped, but it turned out to be at least US queen sized. Even though it was a studio apartment it was arranged so that we did not feel crowded. One bathroom with sink area separate from the bidet, toilet and enclosed shower. No tub. It is a basic tile Italian bathroom that functioned well, although water from the shower occasionally leaked out of the enclosure.

Kitchen

Kitched was pullman style and could be closed off from the rest of the apartment. It consisted of a 4 burner gas cook top, half size fridge under the counter, toaster and double sink. It was more than adequate for simple meals for two with sufficient pots, pans, dishes and basics staples for cooking. There was no oven. I enjoyed cooking in this kitchen because I only needed to look over my shoulder to see the Tuscan scenery. The dinig area with table and 4 chairs was just outside the kitchen.

Problems or Bonuses

We were pleasantly surpised that this studio was more than adequate for our stay. We have stayed at this location before but in a larger apartment. The studio was the only one available when we booked and we decided to take it because we love the location and the landlady so much.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

Untours is an excellent agency with very informative web site. They provide plenty of information about trip planning and the area that one will visit. Their "in country" representative's native language is English but she had lived in Italy for over 20 years. She provides an orientation for all guests and is then available for emergencies. We opted for the full Untours package which includes 2 weeks apartment, 2 weeks car rental, air transportation and ground transportation from airport to car rental pickup (if you arrive at scheduled times). Representatives from each rental location are waiting at the car pick up to escort guests to their apartments (if you arrive at scheduled times).

Prices vary by season and number guests but can be found on the website.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

We love this place and would recommend it to our best friends. I would advise them that it is a bit small. If they are not neat and like to cart a lot of stuff with them they might feel cramped. If they want full kitchen to cook gourmet meals and top of the line luxury, if they are bothered by the occasional stray squash beetle or bee, if they find sheep bells at 6:00 AM or a tractor at 7:00 PM. or an owl calling at midnight disturbing, then they should choose a different place. If they feel a rush from lying in bed and seeing the lights of Montalcino winking against a cobalt sky when the owl calls at midnight then come on down!

Things to do in this area

This location is very convenient to Montalcino, Siena, Mt. Oliveto Maggiore, the Crete Senesi, Murlo, Pienza, etc. There are plenty of back roads to hike and one can hop a train in Buonconvento to Grosetto or Florence. Some members of our group took a train then a bus to explore some of the Tuscan coast. A very nice travel agent in Buonconvento helped them arrange the day trip.

Had good meals at I Poggioli and Da Marios, both already on the restaurant list. Also had excellent takeout from the deli department of Consorzio Agrario.

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

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