Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 129: Homebase Abroad, Casanuova Bibbiano
3bed/2.5bath large apartment in villa near Buonconvento, Tuscany South
August 2001, one month
Casanuova Bibbiano, Buonconvento, Tuscany. This is the private home of a most lovely couple (he's British, she's Danish). While you stay in the house they travel. The house is 10 min out of Buonconvento, atop a hill overlooking fields of sunflowers ... quite secluded ... other than the immediate neighbors. This is essentially a two family Tuscan farm house converted and modernized that shares a pool with the other family who are the architects that did the conversion. You can have as much or as little contact with them as desired. Too long to walk into town or shop ... you must drive.
Absolutely loved the house, the situation, the area, the town, our neighbors, their dog and our host and hostess. Very peaceful and quite ... beware of early September when they plow the surrounding fields ... I didn't mind the early morning train, but then again I am up early to run.
There are three oudoor sitting areas: one outside the kitchen (private) where we ate breakfast ... one off the pool (semi-private) where we had cocktails and played Scrabble and one under the grape pergola (private) where we ate dinner (seats 12-14) and picked grapes and sought shade in the heat of August.
The furnishings are in excellent condition and the house is decorated in a most tasteful manner .... we felt at home the minute we walked in. This is someone’s house, remember, so you will want for nothing. TV both Italian and English satellite, CD player and CDs etc etc (they simply ask that you use the closets that are empty and not go into their personal clothing closets).
The master bedroom is massive and I wish I could bring the bed and pillows home ... I never slept so well in my life.
What can I say? Our hostess is a gourmet chef (she prepared two meals for us) and the kitchen reflects this. Besides shopping for us she told us to use whatever we wanted and simply replace what we used of hers (which we did in spades). P.S. We were told to feel free to use whatever we wanted from the vegetable and herb gardens as well.
Problems or Bonuses
Bonuses galore no problems.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
You knew there had to be a rub somewhere!! I found that the agency was offensively unresponsive to both my emails and phone calls (after taking a 50% deposit). As we have discussed on the message board, this is the problem ... once you send in a deposit you are married to the situation. I found them to be less than knowledgeable about the property and so we brought things to Italy from the States that were already there in the house. In the confirmation letter they asked me to call to make arrangements for cooking and cleaning services one month prior to departure ... when I did (now paid in full), they told me that this property didn't come with either cooking or cleaning services!!!! This was one of two items for which they stated "Gee, that was a mistake, you shouldn't have been told that......." let alone have it in writing!!!!
One of the things that we needed was a baby crib. We brought one with us from the US and when we got to the house ........ there was a crib one of the bedrooms!!!!! The agency obviously does not know their properties.
Because our host and hostess spoke English, an agency rep did not meet us at the house.(?) To her credit, we did get a call from the rep three days later to check and see if there were any problems ... she had no knowledge at all of the miscues and errors from the agency.
After arriving home I received a satisfaction survey from the agency ... I returned it unanswered with a letter indicating that it was an indication of just how out of touch they are with their customers. I never got a response. My feeling is that they could care less. To their credit I did get my security deposit back in a timely fashion (within 30 days).
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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