Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1482: Cervano, Apartment
apartment and B&B in estate above Lake Garda, Lombardy
May 2005, 1 week
Cervano Estate is located over Lago di Garda and affords very spectacular views over the lake, golf course directly below the property and the surrounding mountains. The Estate is actually centuries-old complex that was in the family of the owner for generations.
The property is about 5 minutes drive up from the main road that circles the lake. The way is first along a golf course or through an ancient village and then on a private road, so no sign or sound of traffic reaches the house. The access is very convenient, although a big car can have problems navigating the narrow streets of the village. The property is completely private, with a small vineyard, grove and meadows surrounding the main house. The only sounds that you can hear are birds singing.
All the windows of the apartment where we stayed are facing the lake and the mountains around it. The view is really very nice. One minute walk from the house is a beautiful lookout spot that provides a full panoramic view on the lake below. The hills around the property have very good and clearly marked hiking trails and paths, we walked to restaurants in a nearby village. You never see or hear the bustle and hussle of the traffic that sometimes hits roads around the lake, and the area is absolutely tranquil and beautiful.
The nearest grocery (small alimentari) is in the village of Cecina where you can walk from the house. We went to supermarkets in Toscolano that are about 5 minutes drive from the house: you have to get to the main road and then it takes 1 minute to Toscolano.
Gino and Anna (the owners) recommended a couple of restaurants that were just 20 minutes walk from the house. One of them is hidden in a hamlet, the food was simple but very good, much better than we expected and the view on the lake from the terrace was absolutely incredible. The second restaurant within walking distance was in Cecina (ancient village you pass on the way to the property) and was also good.
Toscolano-Maderna, and closeby Gardone Riviera have tons of restaurants and small cafes, and you can also drive to any point on the west coast of the lake. We used a car ferry to get to the east shore (instead of driving around the lake) - the location is perfect for such a short-cut as the ferry goes from Maderna (less than 10 mins from the house). No Starbucks around though. :-))
The building is at least a couple centuries old, but Gino has restored it and the whole property is in a very good shape, yet retaining the look and the feeling of the history. The propery has a inner cobbled yard.
One wing of the main house has 4 or 5 rooms that are used as B&B. The rooms face either the lake and vineyard or meadows and the mountain, and have very nice antique furniture. Yet the in-suite bathrooms are very modern, big and equipped with designer Italian fixtures. The breakfast area is spacious and Anna's cooking is wonderful.
We did not stay in the B&B though, as we stayed in the apartment that is located on the same floor but in a different wing of the building. The apartment is very spacious, has a big kitchen with a wood fireplace that also serves as a dining room for up to 5-6 people. The main bedroom has an antique double bed and night stands. The second bedroom has more modern beds that can be unfolded and accommodate 3 more people. Anna brought a beautiful crib for our son, and there are many toys and books and guides about the area in the closets and in B&B stand.
The owners (Gino and Anna) live in the same property, on the top floor and are always available if you want or need any help. Actually, they were extremely friendly, very nice to communicate with and want to do everything and even more than that to make the stay even more enjoyable.
There is no a separate garden belonging to the property, but it is surrounded by meadows and groves and certainly is very private. The lake lookout has a table with chairs and shaded by the trees. There is no pool on the property, but Lake Garda is 5 mins drive and there is a public beach in Toscolano (and in many other places on the shores).
The furniture in the apartment was a mixture of antique furnishings and some modern additions that did not stand apart but make the living even more comfortable. All the property is very clean and well taken care of, and I am sure that any special demands will be met with immediate response by Gino, who knows how to do and fix everything! :-))
The antique double bed was very comfortable and the linens, pillows and blankets were of excellent quality and plentiful. The bathroom in the apartment does not have a bath, only a shower, but is spacious and well equippped. Washing machine is also in the bathroom.
The kitchen is equipped with almost everything you need to make a decent Italian dinner, with fireplace that can be used for grilling! It has all kinds of pots and pans, plates and knives. Food was left for us in the fridge so we did not have to shop when we arrived. Needless to say, there is salt and other condiments that one often forgets to buy (I always has this problem. :-)) I actually cooked quite a lot as we were travelling with a 3 year old boy and did not go out for dinners most of the nights. I am relatively good cook, and I found everything I needed for cooking.
Problems or Bonuses
We were absolutely overwelmed and pleasantly surprised by the welcome and friendly attitude of our hosts.
When we came around noon time after 9 hours flight, Anna and Gino cooked a whole welcome lunch for us. We found the fridge staffed with proscuitto, cheeses, juices and other food, plus fresh bread and fruits, so we did not need to grocery shop the first evening and could get some rest after the flight. Our son was sick for a day and Anna brought toys and books for him to feel better, and her strawberries were absolutely gorgeous. Gino fixed a toy electric car and a jeep for our son to play with!
Our hosts were very nice, responsive and in the same time very non-intrusive and respecting our privacy. I am traveling a lot and stayed in many properties and I would say that the combination above makes a perfect host :-)) Gino speaks a few languages and very good English.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Anna and Gino started the B&B business quite recently, so you cannot find them on lists of the properties around the Garda Lake. I came across Gino's website just by chance and I would say that the place certainly deserves much more publicity. The website presents nice pictures, but the reality is that the place is really even more beautiful and peaceful than on the pictures.
Gino speaks a few languages and his English is very good. He is very up-to-date with the technology and the whole property has wireless fast connection to the Internet. Their replies to my emails was very fast (sometimes within an hour), very informative and helpful.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, yes and yes! I would certainly stay there again, I would certainly recommend anyone who is not an urbanite, likes countryside and wants to get some rest and relaxation to stay there. The place is wonderful, the surrounding is perfect and the hosts make you feel at home almost instantly!
Things to do in this area
Lake Garda and lots of things around (watersports, etc.). GardaLand and Safari park for kids. Castles on the north. Verona less than an hour by car. Venice is less than 2 hours. What else you need?
Gardone Riviera, Villa Fiordaliso (very good, lake terrace and excellent food, their amuse of tiramisu in agg shell was outstanding!)
Bardolino, Il Giardino delle Esperigi (just a gem, excelent wine list and extraordinary food. If you are in Bardolino, this is the best, if you are not there, go and try it! It is located in the centre of Bardolino and you can easily pass it, as it looks the same as other touristy eating places, so do not miss it!)
Malcesine, Vecchia Malcesine (very very good, both food and service)
Riva del Garda, Al Volt (bad food, poor service, very pretentious, pasta was grossly overcooked)
Cervano, Al Bernatsi (sp?) (very good simple Italian food, million dollar view on the lake from the terrace, very non-touristy)
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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