Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1435: Tuscany Now, Il Verone
4 1/2 bedroom villa in Settignano, Florence
May 7 - 14, 2005, 7 days
Four girlfriends and I rented a villa in Settignano, in May 2005. About 6km outside the city of Florence, Settignano could really be considered a 'suburb.' It felt like the house was stand alone - but in reality the family who owned it had an area below where they lived, in addition to another house behind the villa where we were staying. We never heard them, and I hope they didn't hear us! I would consider it a private home for all intensive purposes. We looked out over some beautiful countryside views! A few houses scattered about - not that close though.
The location was super! We were about 1.5km straight up from the square at Settignano, and it took about 15 min to walk down the tight, twisty hill road to the town square. We did have a car - and the house had parking. But to be honest, it was so stressful getting into the tight, twisty space that we ended up parking 1/2 a block up the hill (at a flat spot) instead. Maybe others would enjoy the challenge - but we didn't. We never got a ticket for parking at the top of our hill, but who knows if that was illegal or not! :)
The agency said you don't need a car - and you don't. We took the bus into Florence every day and it took about 45 min from Door to Duomo during rush hour. That includes the 15 min walk down the hill. HOWEVER. I never made the walk UP the hill! My athletic girlfriends did - but even they huffed and puffed. From Florence, to take a cab from the Duomo to the Villa, the meter ran between 12 and 15 Euros. Definitely worth it once a day! We also occasionally drove to dinner in Settignano or Florence. But I preferred a cab or the bus to be honest! If I were to do it again, I wouldn't bother renting a car, unless I was planning day trips.
I loved staying just outside the city. It really gave us a nice place to decompress after a day or touring Florence. I think of it like staying in Chevy Chase outside of Washington DC. Or maybe like Hoboken, outside of New York.
And to top it off, we had the MOST AMAZING views of the city of Florence. We could see the Duomo - all of it laid out in front of us. Beautiful!
We could easily walk down to the town of Settignano. There was a Tabbachi and a bar. We went there in the morning to buy bus tickets and coffee for my friend. There was a great restaurant in town that we went to twice. I believe it was called La Capponata (or maybe La Capponcina) - and it was located right on the main drag just where after the square - where the road squeeeeeeezes thru two building before seriously getting steep.
The villa definately had a historical feeling - not sure what history :) but it felt antique! The five of us shared the house comfortably. The house was in excellent shape - was immaculately clean, and very well cared for.
There was a small sitting area outside the front door with a four person table. We didn't really sit outside there - too chilly some days, and there were five of us! For our money, the best sitting area was on the roof. There you could sit outside and watch the sunset overlooking the trees, countryside, or Florence. Lovely! It wasn't a huge area, but nice enough for 4 - 5. I'm not sure you could pack 9 up there sitting down :)
There was a pool, but I never went to look at it - it was up a hill. Too chilly in May for us to visit it, but it was open the week we were there.
Furniture was simple, well made, and comfortable. The beds were excellent. In the living/dining area, there was a table that sat the five of us comfortably. In that same area there was a couch and two sitting chairs - maybe an extra dining type chair or two. The kitchen also had a dining table that sat 4-5 comfortably.
There were 3 full baths (although one was broken up into 2 small rooms - a shower and a toilet). There were 4 full bedrooms and one 'extra room' with a daybed up near the roof. We were all singles - but the rooms were very appopriate for couples - plenty of room.
The 'master' had a large (King/lg queen size) bed, and its own bathroom with a tub and a handheld shower. The room also had a large chest of drawers and a wardrobe. Two of the other bedrooms also had large beds (king/queen size) and wardrobes, along w/ a chest of drawers.
The 4th bedroom had bunk beds and was much smaller than the other rooms. Great for kids - a little tight for a grown woman.
We were lucky to find that just below the rooftop terrace, up the spiral staircase, was a small room with a daybed. One of the girls happily camped out there. Right next to the bed was a skylight that looked down into the hallway of the main level, but it was frosted glass. And above her she had a skylight as well. It was a nice, unexpected addition. All and all, the rooms were well kept and spacious.
The kitchen was fully useable with decent pots/pans and utensils. We cooked a full dinner 2 nights for ourselves and ate around the living room table. There was a dishwasher which we used.
There was a strange washing machine, which we used, but took some figuring out. We had directions...but :) In the end, to get the water out of our clothes, we ran the spin cycle twice. Still, the clothes were pretty wet. There are several radiator type clothes dryers throughout the bedrooms and hallway, but I found that clothes dried faster outside or near an open window. I would just do a few things at a time and hang them outside on chairs or on hangers near the window.
Problems or Bonuses
The extra "bedroom" was a welcome suprise considering two of the girls had planned on sharing. I was completely suprised at how great the place was. It exceeeded all my expectations. The pictures on the website don't do the place nearly the justice it deserved!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Tuscany Now was an excellent agency to work with. They answered email quickly and the descriptions of the house were all correct. In fact, I would say they undersell the house with the pictures they have on the site! We paid $2719 for one week, May 7-14, 2005, which included maid service 2 times. We did not use the phone except for local calls.
The onsite contact spoke English - not perfectly but certainly well enough! She was very helpful. One of the toilet flushers stopped working while were there, and they fixed it immediately. It was a simple problem that we could have likely fixed ourselves, but the working parts of the toilet are up near the ceiling! :)
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I highly recommend Il Verone. I would say it is an EXCELLENT location for 4 or 5 people traveling together as singles. And you could easily have 2-3 couples stay there as well. I think it would be tight with 4 couples - and one of you would have to do bunk beds! But considering the price - it's super reasonable per person to have as few as 4 people rent the house!
The views alone are worth the price of admission. And if you're super athletic (or don't mind paying 12-15 euros for a cab home from Florence once or twice a day like I did!), you don't even need a car!
Things to do in this area
My vacation in Florence was full of fabulous restaurants and great museums. It was by far my favorite city in Italy, beating out Rome by a mile. To be honest, we just followed our noses for dinner - almost every place we tried that was at least a block from the Duomo or a main Piazza was great! The restaurant in Settignano - La Capponata (or maybe La Capponcina) - described in amenities was really fun. Vito, our waiter, even offered us a ride home the first night when we told him that we'd walked down the hill! He just left his tables and drove us home really quick :) It was great!
My favorite lunch spot in Florence (we ate there 5 times in 10 days!) was Il Ghibellini - at P. DI S. PIER MAGGIORE 8 (just a few steps from the chocolate shop Vestri in Piazza G. Salvemini).
We also had a wonderful meal at Il Cibrčo, which everyone recommends. We had no reservations, but they took pity on five well dressed young ladies from the US and we had a GREAT meal with completely fun waiters. My friend had the pigeon, and heck, I've never seen a pigeon carved so sensually! We were all breathless.
Finally, just sitting in our living room playing cards took on a whole new fabulousness with our views of the city!
I can't recommend this fabulous city or this fabulous villa enough.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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