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Review 1425: Agriturismo Cretaiole, Apartment


Review by krissen from CA

apartments on a farm near Pienza, Tuscany South


May 2005, one week


We just returned from a wonderful stay at Cretaiole, an agriturismo near Pienza, about 45 minutes south of Siena. Cretaiole is a fourteenth century stone farmhouse carefully renovated to maintain its original features and period furnishings. It’s perched on a hill with a panoramic view of nearby Pienza and the surrounding valley.

We stayed in one of the smaller of the six apartments (560 Euros for two of us for a week), clean and homey with its kitchen in a cupboard (an armoire that opened into a kitchen), comfortable king-sized bed, table, and sitting area with fireplace.

While the house and relaxing grounds look like they came right off of a postcard of Tuscany, what makes Cretaiole special is the warmth and the hospitality of the Moricciani family (Carlo and Isabella, Carlo’s parents Luciano and Liliana and his sister Laura), from the welcoming bottle of Cretaiole wine to the bottle they send home with you to extend your Tuscany memories. They have a deep love of their land and the surrounding valley and strive to share this with their guests. To this end, they offer a variety of activities at no additional charge including olive oil tasting with Carlo, a cooking lesson during which Isabella and Liliana teach their guests to make "pici" the hand-rolled local pasta (and then provide you with Liliana’s scrumptious sauce), a three hour guided tour of Siena, and a tour guided by Isabella of their own piece of ancient history, an area carved out beneath Pienza that served as both Etruscan tombs and a hermitage. Luciano generously offers the products of his garden to their guests.

Isabella, who fluently speaks four languages, made our stay very special. Each evening she made a point of connecting with each of her guests, helping them make reservations for dinner or outings. She has written an indispensable guide of the surrounding area with sample driving and bicycling itineraries to the many surrounding hilltowns, extensive descriptions of highlights and recommendations of restaurants as well as market days, medical resources and grocery stores.

Our hosts' generosity was highlighted on Labor Day when we were invited to the traditional family gathering and served a feast made with products from their farm.

Their website is very informative and full of photos of the house and family and lots of guest comments as well as useful links to areas of interest. Cretaiole is a perfect destination for anyone wanting to savor the essence of Tuscany and perfect for the Slow Traveler! Some of our fondest trip memories are of our afternoons with a glass of wine and a book soaking in the views of the countryside and Pienza from the garden swing.

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

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