Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1251: Le Manzinaie, Le Viole & Apartment
apartments on estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South
December 2004, 2 weeks
In the country, a gated oasis beautifully landscaped, in the midst of fields. No other buildings close by. Great views of hilltowns in the distance, beautiful sunrises & sunsets.
Having a car is a necessity because the closest stores & restaurants are 5-10 kilometres, basically a few minutes easy, low traffic driving. In under 20 minutes the magical town of Montepulciano, is easily accessed. A few minutes more and you arrive at Cortona. Within an hour, many more wonderful places listed on the website and in a marvelously edited list of itineraries & maps, restaurant & wine tasting suggestions handed out by our hosts upon arrival.
The 1878 brick farmhouse has been lovingly & creatively restored inside & out. It was in perfect condition with modern appliances in mint condition. We stayed a week in Le Viole, a villa a short distance to the side of the main building. It was very peaceful and delightful.
The second week we stayed in an apartment in the main building which was equally peaceful and delightful.
In all, there were 4 units in addition to the villa. Privacy from other guests was easily maintained and the positioning of the units as well as parking arrangements is ideal.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped for beauty as well as outdoor use. There are many private & shared areas for the guests as well as a large pool to meetup with fellow guests & family. The grounds are large enough for a nice stroll without encountering traffic since they are fenced and gated.
Immaculate is the only description of the interior & exterior. This is not to indicate an uncomfortable situation. All furnishings were comfortable, inviting and more than adequate. In Le Viole Villa, there were 2 adult couples & a one year old child. We had privacy (up stairs bedroom/bath), spacious rooms(private as well as communal), and all the modern conveniences of jacuzzi tub AND power jet shower, in each bath.
Yes, yes, yes. In addition to what I said above, the baths were large, beautifully decorated & appointed with bidet, custom made by the owner, towel racks, wall hooks in all rooms, spa robes.
All windows in all rooms had inside shutters to block out noise, light, cold, heat, very nice!
Each bath had shower & tub options (I don't know if all units had both, but ours did).
Both apartments we stayed in had marvelous kitchens. They were very well equipped, efficient & modern. It was a good kitchen for cooking & camaraderie for our two families. When we downsized to a one bedroom one bath, the kitchen/living/dining area was still very large and enjoyable. We made very good use of all the kitchen equipment (espresso pot, milk foamer, toaster, etc.)
The only thing missing was an oven, which for us was never an issue. Who wants to stay around long enough to bake with so many things to do & places to go?
Problems or Bonuses
The only bad surprise was that after adding another week to our stay, we still were not ready to leave Le Manzinaie. It was very difficult to drive away & not turn around.
Good surprises happened from the moment we arrived. I don't want to give away all of them because you really need to experience the magic but a few are:
How each of our hosts contributed to our vacation. Fiore, with little gems of sightseeing interest Never written in guides, Marzia, with her unending enthusiasm for providing beauty & joy, Alice, following in her parents footsteps of always making our trip special and her amazing language skills bridging the gap for those who don't speak Italian.
The Kitchen: well stocked with yummy things (I won't say more, just go & discover).
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The onsite person, Marzia, speaks French & English, and is very detailed oriented and personable. Her daughter, Alice, is fluent in many languages and when she is not in school, can translate professionally.
The reality was accurately reflected in the published information with the large omission of the warmth and competance and joy that we experienced.
The price was very value oriented and if it seems a bit more than you want to pay, just realize that you will be very glad you stretched your budget.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We started dreaming of our return visit before we left and continue to look forward to our next week at Le Manzinaie. I already have recommended to our friends who are planning a trip. There are no negative qualifications to add; just be prepared to want to stay longer. This is not only a great place for the warmth, hospitality, ambience, but it is the perfect location for doing day trips in Tuscany, and Umbria. It's location to the A-1 and also the country roads if you want to stay off the super highway makes it ideal for exploring and returning to a comfortable abode at night.
Things to do in this area
Hilltowns: Montepulciano (wine, food - Le Logge del Vignola), walks in the countryside, architecture, churches. Cortona (Under the Tuscan Sun) San Quirico - (watched, tasted, bought) "biologico" olive oil being made; huddled in the warmth of afternoon sun along the medieval wall park Bagno Vignoni - geothermal springs,solitude, great lunch Abbey San Antimo & Abbey Monte Oliveto Maggiore very different from each other Civita di Bagnoregio - the dying city
Mostly we drove & stopped to explore, walked in the countryside, walked in the towns and experienced a wonderful life of food, exercise, and beauty very different from home and came back wanting to return as soon as possible.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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