Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1492: Italian Vacation Villas, Villa Il Rigogolo
5bed/5bath house near Radda in Chianti, Tuscany Chianti
September - October 2004, 2 weeks
Villa Il Rigogolo is approx 5km outside of Radda in Chianti and 2km from Gaiole. A long, cypress-lined driveway leads up to the main house, which is comprised of two full floors, each with a covered, furnished loggia. Acres of vineyards and olive groves surround the property, set high on a hill overlooking the Chianti countryside.
The lower floor contains a serviceable kitchen, a beautiful dining room (seats 10), 2 double bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a TV room and library. The second floor has 3 double bedrooms, 3 en-suite bathrooms, a living room with huge stone fireplace, (and incredible sound system connected to speakers throughout the house and terraces) a formal dining room and a second serviceable kitchen.
The furnishings throughout are a combination of antiques and over-stuffed sofas and chairs, with lovely artwork, sculptures, vases and urns for adornment. From the second floor living room there is a narrow staircase leading to the "tower room", furnished with a large, comfortable sectional sofa, satellite TV and bookcases. All of the beds are comfortable, and each of the large bedrooms has a copious armoire, dresser and desk.
The terraces are wonderful, and take full advantage of the gorgeous views of the countryside. Each is furnished with heavy, wooden tables and chairs for al fresco dining. There is also a covered pergola opposite the house, again furnished with heavy tables and chairs and a wood-burning oven. A few steps down from the crushed-stone driveway is the beautiful pool and pool house. High-quality garden furniture and pool lounges afford a luxurious afternoon of swimming or sunbathing. The pool is surrounded by plantings of roses, rosemary and other lovely flowering bushes and trees. A full working garden is adjacent to the pool.
The house is staffed by two caretakers who live in a small house about 50 meters from the main house. They are attentive, helpful and friendly ... and are also very good cooks. The daily housekeeping they provide keep the house in absolutely spotless condition.
Our first rental of the property was in 1998. At that time, across from the entrance to the property, was a largely abandoned, 15th century palazzo ... San Donato in Perano. When we arrived this time, we were surprised and delighted to see that the property had been converted into a Relais hotel complex, complete with a gourmet restaurant and outdoor cafe. Other than this new addition, it is necessary to drive either down to Gaiole or into Radda, (ten minutes to either location) where good restaurants and shops are plentiful.
The remains of a 12th century tower are still visible on the property. The house itself was built in the 17th century and has been completely and elegantly restored over the past 10 years.
As described above, Il Rigogolo has multiple outside sitting areas ... private, secluded, each with incredible views of the vineyards and olive groves ... and oh, the fresh scent of rosemary! The pool area was well-furnished and has its own pool house with shower.
The furnishings were a mix of antique and high-quality upholstered piece. Each of the sitting areas easily accomodates 10 people.
Wonderfully comfortable beds, down comforters and high-quality bedding and towels.
The only drawback to Rigogolo is the bathrooms. All are large and spotlessly clean and are equipped with washbasin, toilet, bidet and bathtub. However, even though each bathtub has a shower handle ... there are no shower enclosures or curtains. Taking a shower without drenching the entire room is quite an adventure! It would be a simple matter to install shower curtain rods or glass walls, which would eliminate any and all problems with showering!
The two kitchens were usable and stocked with minimal pots, pans and utensils. We probably have higher expectations than many travelers as we love to make multi-course meals in our rentals. The dishes and glassware were adequate, and it was certainly possible to prepare and serve a lovely meal.
Problems or Bonuses
The property more than met our expectations on each of our extended stays.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Villas in Italia is a reliable, knowledgeable and attentive agency. The communication and service was excellent.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We cannot wait to return to Il Rigogolo. With the exception of the shower curtain issue, I would recommend this property to any large group who seeks an authentic Tuscan experience and who requires privacy as well as an opportunity to gather together for dining and relaxing.
Things to do in this area
Radda is in the heart of Chianti. Restaurants,shops, vineyards, and neighboring towns are easily accessible.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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