Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1498: Terrapille, Apartment
apartments on a farm near Pienza, Tuscany South
May 2005, 2 nights
Terrapille is an historic restored farmhouse just under the walls of Pienza. It is set in magical surroundings - the postcard views of Tuscany with a long winding white drive way with cyprus pines, rolling green hills (scenes from "Gladiator" were filmed here), and beautiful views of Pienza. It is isolated from any other dwellings.
It is quite a hike to Pienza - it's doable but we didnt attempt it; and in the summer it would not be a pleasant walk with quite a steep driveway a long way from the road. It's about 7 minutes drive to the town.
We arrived at 2pm and the whole place was deserted. We had booked in for a B&B.... rang the number we had been given via email, and were given a very terse reception regarding "Didn't we read the email... check in is between 4-5pm". However Lucia came down from the town where she lives and showed us in.
It was not as we had imagined from other reviews we had read or the web site. The place has been restored as a purpose built accommodation centre comprising the big house which has 6 (?) individual bedrooms - 4 upstairs and 2 down. The upstairs rooms have one bathroon between each pair of rooms, however, if a room is rented as a B&B, you have sole use of the adjoining bathroom. In the centre of the house is a huge kitchen and lounge area - with magical views to Pienza. However, our first instruction was we were not allowed to use the kitchen. Apparently in the past, guests have used it and not left it clean and there had been complaints.
Across a courtyard from the house is a dining area, where breakfast is served. One our first night there were 3 other couples and a small family in the apartment. On the second night, we were the only guests staying there. There is a complex system of locking courtyard gates, outer door, inner door - the place felt like a mausoleum!
There is a pool, again with stunning views. There are common areas to sit in the courtyard. Everything appears to be there - but there are no comfortable chairs, the garden is not well landscaped (perhaps it will improve with time).
The lounge and kitchen area are well furnished - but not really welcoming.
The rooms were very clean and the furniture was good. Beds were comfortable. The bathroom was clean, small and functional.
If a large party booked the entire house they have use of the kitchen. It certainly had modern appliances, but it was not possible to see if it was well equiped as all cupboards were locked! We were the only guests at the property for 2 out of 3 nights - but the "no use of kitchen" rule applied.
Problems or Bonuses
Terrapille looked fantastic on the web site and obviously other Slow Travellers had a better experience than we did. It did not meet our expectations in any way! We had friends staying nearby and the difference betwen the friendliness and atmsopshere of their accommodation and ours was huge! We spent as little time as possible there - only slept there! It appears that the place has been restored by a well known local family - at great expense - but they haven't quite got it right recreating a welcoming environment where guests needs are considered. It is a beautiful spot but that is just not enough.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked with the owner over the web site and she did not impress us with the initial "welcome". It felt like guests just got in the way! We paid E95 per night and really did not enjoy the experience at all! We spent 6 weeks in Italy and it seems that inital emails with owners tend to give a very good sense of their welcome and the thought they put into their guests! Emails from Terrapille were terse - and it wasnt because of language problems!
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely NOT as a B&B. Perhaps if a large group was wanting a large house, then it would be a great place for a holiday. The position is out of this world, the place is comfortable enough - it just needs a more human touch!
Things to do in this area
This area is rich with things to do! A highlight was visiting the Sant'Antimo Abbey and attending the service conducted as a Gregorian Chant by the white robed monks who live there and celebrate Mass seven times a day. Stunning location, a very spiritual experience.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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