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Review 122: Parker Villas, Villa Zaballina (Fattoria di Cinciano)

www.parkervillas.com

Recommended
Review by Claire from MA

8bed/3.5bath (sleeps 16) apartment in villa near Poggibonsi, Tuscany West


When

July 2001, 1 month

Review

For the month of July 2001 we stayed at Fattoria di Cinciano in Cinciano, Italy. Cinciano is a teeny tiny hilltop village outside of Poggibonsi. The villa was 900 years old and couldn't have been more charming. The views of the Tuscan hillsides were breathtaking! The villa had 8 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and slept 16 - it was actually attached to another part of the villa that reportedly sleeps another 8 people, but we did not rent that part. We did, however, have a pool, three levels of terrace, a huge kitchen, more sitting and dining rooms than we could ever use, a billiard room, and a frescoed chapel. What more could you want?

We rented the villa through a travel agent, but it is also available through The Parker Company, which has pictures of it as well. Parker calls it Villa Zaballina, for some reason. In Italy it is only called Fattoria di Cinciano. You can reach the office that manages the property directly at telephone # (0577) 936588, fax # (0577) 989198 or email: fattoriacinciano@libero.it. The Villa's address is #2 Cinciano. They speak excellent English.

There are no commercial establishments in Cinciano - it only has about 5 buildings altogether. But there is plenty of farming. Olive trees and grape vineyards surround the property and wine and olive oil are made on the premises.

The town of Poggibonsi is about ten minutes away. It is not a very interesting town to the tourist, but a full range of services (grocery stores, pharmacies, post office, bus and train station, etc) are available there. Poggibonsi's best feature is it's proximity to many popular tourist destinations: San Gimignano is 20 minutes away, Siena is about 30 minutes and Florence is about 45 minutes away. There are many charming small towns in the area with good restaurants. You must have a car, although all those cities are easily available by bus.

There were three levels of terraces in the back of the house, all with a beautiful view of the countryside. You could see the towers of San Gimignano in the distance. I did not encounter a superior view in all of Tuscany (and I was there a full month)! There were plum tress, lemon trees, pomegranate trees, and rosemary shrubs all around the property.

The house itself was indeed old and in my opinion, incredibly charming. The stone stairs were worn and not all of the furniture was lovely, but there were many antiques and interesting pieces all over the house. Some of the bedrooms were frescoed and one had a balcony overlooking the terraces. One group of three bedrooms had its own bathroom and sitting room. Almost all the windows and most of the doors had screens. This was particularly important in July - it did sometimes get warm at night, even inside the stone house.

The kitchen was huge - it had three good sized tables in it, one of which could hold maybe 14 or more people. The oven was quirky and we did not choose to use the available wood burning oven. The kitchen was well-stocked with dishes, pots and pans although the quality of some of the cooking items such as knives and frying pans was not the best. Good enough to make a tasty meal, but frustrating if you are a gourmet who dreams of cooking away your vacation.

In the interest of objectivity, I will mention the one potential negative with this rental which is that because of the location, you have to drive anywhere you want to go. There is nothing to walk to and the nearest big town (Poggibonsi) holds little draw.

All in all, this villa was a dream come true. I never imagined staying anywhere so idyllic! If you are looking for a modern designer showplace, this is not for you. But if you want old-world charm, this is the place and a great location for exploring Tuscany.

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

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