Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 126: Rentvillas, Quaratesi
3bed/3bath apartment in castle near Greve, Tuscany Chianti
In early June 2000 five friends and I rented a 3 bedroom apartment called Quaratesi in a 14-15th century "castle" near Greve in Chianti. We booked through rentvillas.com, and had no problems with them except that the final cleaning fees were much greater than anticipated (we were charged per person rather than a flat fee). Since I was the one in the group responsible for the final property selection, I was very happy when the agency gave me the e-mail addresses of several previous renters. I contacted them and got lots of details ahead of time.
The property is located about 5 minutes outside Greve, up a winding dirt road into the hills. It is close enough to walk to town, but we didn't because the road was so rough and narrow.
We were told to watch for a curving wall and iron gate, and when we pulled up, were delighted to see a cypress-shaded path up to the castle. The castle is a large block-like building and doesn't have the classic turrets or tower. It is more like a large manor house. It contains 4 apartments; ours was the only one rented out. The owners live across the courtyard, and the other 2 apartments are owned by German families. You enter an arched doorway into the courtyard, which has a well, and a view through another door into the gardens -- we were met with the fragrance of jasmine and roses, which were just blooming. The door to the apartment is off the courtyard.
You enter the apartment through a small cloakroom. The only other room on the ground floor was a small room which leads to the first of several patios. Up the very narrow stairs on the 1st floor are two bedrooms with double beds, wardrobes and dressers, 2 tile bathrooms with showers, a kitchen and large dining room. On the floor above was a large living room with fireplace and the third bedroom.
The furniture is very lived-in and relatively comfortable, but not fancy. The kitchen has a small refrigerator and pantry unit, and a small table which we used as a work surface. It was adequate for uncomplicated cooking. There was another small patio off the kitchen which led to the laundry room (washer only; there were clotheslines on one of the patios for drying).
All the rooms had very large (unscreened) windows which looked out onto views of the hills and vineyards below. These views were magnificant and unobstructed, and I tried to memorize the lovely curve of the hills.
The very best thing about Quaratesi is the covered loggia and large garden area in the back which overlooks the countryside. It is furnished with wickerfurniture and is a wonderful place to sit at sunset. The lawn has beds of poppies, a rosemary bush and other flowers. There are tables and benches under the trees, and it was an idyllic spot for breakfast. There are other houses visible on the facing hillsides, but the area is very quiet and peaceful.
The owner and his wife Maria don't speak much English, but her sister comes in from Florence on check-in day to answer questions and help you get settled. Maria is reportedly a great cook, and can make lunch or dinner for your group in the castle's main kitchen. Some previous guests said that is was one of their best meals in Italy.
I and everyone in my group would love to return to this property. It is in a very convenient location for daytrips throughout Chianti and into Florence. Greve has some good pizza spots, a very nice bakery and butcher shop, and a great photo gallery which produces some of the calendars you see for sale everywhere.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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