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Review 1433: Owner, Panoramico

Recommended
Review by Rand from CA

2bed/1bath apartment in Barberino, Tuscany Chianti


View from the master bedroom, photo by Rand from CA

When

May 2004

Location

This apartment is located in Barberino, a small hilltop village that dates back to aproximately 1040AD and is just 30 minutes or so from Florence. The village is small and perched high on a hill overlooking breathtaking Tuscan scenery. It is a real village and not a tourist destination. Once you climb the stairs and deposit your luggage in the tastefully renovated lodgings you are instantly Italian. Your neighbors are Italian residents, not tourists. The shops and restaurants welcome you and are not tourist attractions but places that are part of everyday life for the year round residents.

Nearby Amenities

We stayed in the village without a car for a few days and walked to everything. There are restaurants, a fantastic wine shop with panini and cheeses, a small grocery shop just a few doors away as well as a larger grocery store about 10 minutes away on foot.

The House/Apartment

Not only is the entire village historical, the owner renovated the unit a few years ago and it was so well done that it was published in an architectural magazine. I don't think that there are any detached homes in the village. The ancient stone buildings house everyone's homes, not unlike larger cities in Europe. The unit is on the top floor so you must have good legs to climb the 3 flights of stairs but it is worth being on the top floor for the views. The unit itself is on 3 levels and the master bedroom is a tower. On one side you look out over ancient red tile roofs to the Tuscan countryside and on the other you can peer down to the narrow cobblestoned street and witness neighbors catching up on local gossip.

Garden

There is a small, private rooftop patio off of the master bedroom with a bistro table and chairs and is perfect for reading and watching sunsets over a glass of Chianti.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The furnishings are authentic, country Italian pieces and include a wrought iron queen sized bed in the master. The second bedroom is equipped with 2 twin beds and I believe that the sofa in the living room opens into a bed as well. All are in good condition and in the best of taste. There's a good sized dining table with a marble top and at least 6 chairs. Although the apartment can sleep 4 comfortably, 2 is very romantic.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

The bed in the master was firm and comfortable. The bathroom is in keeping with the rustic charm and done with custom Italian tiles and has a stand up shower. There's even a rooftop and countryside view from the bathroom window.

Kitchen

The kitchen is rustic, small (welcome to Italy!) BUT is not closed off from the rest of the apartment. It is part of the living/dining room and well equipped. I loved the fact the refrigerator and microwave were concealed behind painted wooden cupbard doors in keeping with the historic feeling throughout the home. The owner is a chef and teaches Tuscan cooking classes and since she stays there from time to time, you can bet it will have what you need.

Problems or Bonuses

Every Italian village has a church that is equipped with bells. Barberino is no exception. When I stayed there in 1996 they rang every hour on the hour 24/7 but on my second visit I noticed that they no longer rang through the night. There is a television with satellite reception for your CNN fix.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

I rented the apartment directly from the owner. She is American, speaks English and has lived in the area for many years. Her hospitality was outstanding. She offered to meet us at the car rental place in Florence and personally escort us to the village and check us in. She was also available by phone if we needed anything and also was very helpful with restaurant recommendations, off the beaten path tour suggestions and since I don't speak any Italian, she helped with that too.

Also called "Barberino Tower Apartment".

Note from SlowTrav: This property used to have a classified listing with SlowTrav but no longer does.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

For me this was the perfect vacation rental. I wanted to unwind and since I live in a major west coast tourist destination the last thing I want to see is tourists. Although I probably looked like one, I didn't feel like one. I got to be Italian for two weeks. I absolutely loved it. I recommend it highly and can't wait to go back.

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

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