Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1528: In Italy, Siena Vistas
1bed/bath apartment in the center, Tuscany Siena
June 11 - 18, 2005, One week
Siena Vistas was located right in the center of Siena, just a 10 minute walk from Il Campo where the Palio is held. The apartment was on the fifth floor of a lovely, old building and had a very quiet spot in the rear overlooking the town and the surrounding hills. It was beautiful!
The apartment was located on the main shopping street of Siena. There was a modern grocery store right around the corner that was open seven days a week until 8:15pm (7pm on Sundays). Just next door to the apartment was a grocery with more specialized items and more limited hours, but still a great place to shop. There were also many nearby restaurants and little shops. There was an internet point close by and the post office was across the street.
The building appeared to be quite ancient, but was in lovely condition. There was a marble staircase leading to the apartments. The lower apartments housed businesses which were only open during the week. The other floors had three or four apartments each, but we hardly ever saw the other tenants. The apartment building had no elevator and it was a hike up to the fourth floor. Once there, Siena Vistas was another flight up through a private door. We definitely got our exercise, but it was worth it. The porch area of the apartment was very quiet and relaxing and it was there that we spent most of our time looking out over the town, watching the kite birds soaring overhead as the sunset every night. Delightful!
The interior of the apartment was quite small, but the outside, covered porch area made up for it. There was a nice sitting area with two comfortable chairs, a sofa and a coffee table. There was also an eating table with six chairs. The porch had a roof and a shade to block the hot sun. We ate breakfast and dinner out there every day. There were no bugs and the window boxes of blossoming geraniums were gorgeous.
Stairs led from the apartment to the roof deck which had a panoramic view of the town. It had two lounge chairs, a sun umbrella and an eating table with four chairs. This was a wonderful place for a glass of wine or sunbathing, if only we had had time.
The apartment was immaculate and well-fitted. We could tell that Simone, the owner, really took a lot of pride in making his guests feel at home. The kitchen/living/dining area all in one and was tiny, but we managed. The furniture was either brand new or older antiques which were very nice. There was a telephone line for laptop hookup. No phone.
The bedroom was small. There was a kingsized bed, a desk, an armoir, bedside tables and a bookcase. We could walk around the bed, but that was about it. There was plenty of space to either hang our clothes or shelve them so we didn't have to live out of our suitcases. The bed was typically hard as most Italian beds are, but it was not uncomfortable. There were two hard "Italian" pillows and two softer "American" pillows. There were plenty of linens and blankets.
The bathroom was very modern with a shower stall (no tub), toilet, bidet and sink. There were plenty of nice towels, a hairdryer and liquid soap. We had to provide washcloths and bar soap. Toilet paper and tissues were there and we replaced what we used.
The kitchen was right out of an IKEA catalogue and it was great. There was a four burner gas stovetop, an oven, a refrigerator, a microwave, a toaster, an espresso machine and a drip coffee maker. I cooked almost every night without any problem. There were plenty of pots and pans and plates and cutlery. I did bring a sharp knife with me which came in handy, but other than that, everything was there that I could possibly need. There was even a battery powered cheese grater!!
Problems or Bonuses
The hike up to the fifth floor was the only conceivable drawback for some, but we got used to it quickly and it helped us to not gain weight from eating all the good meals we cooked.
The best surprise was how quiet it was. The porch and roof deck were really extraordinary and they made the apartment. We were also very close to the bus station from which we could have gotten a bus to almost every town in Tuscany. We did rent a car which we were told to park in a pay lot. That was very expensive, so we found free parking close by near the fort. We took the bus to Florence twice, which is an hour and ten minute ride.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I booked online with In Italy and it was very easy. I think I paid about $1500 for the week which was more than other places in Siena or nearby, but the views were worth it. In Italy answered all my questions promptly and wanted feedback when we returned.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely!! This was one of the best vacations we have ever had and I wish I could go back tomorrow. The interior apartment is small, but the porch and the roofdeck are spectacular and lovely.
Things to do in this area
Siena is a great town. There is lots to see (the head of St. Catherine stands out at the moment!), but mainly it was just fun to walk around. It is not overly touristy and the Palio is everywhere even if it is not going on. We saw the different contrade groups practicing their drumming and flag throwing almost every day. Very colorful.
From Siena, you can get to almost every town in Tuscany by bus or car easily. There is a clothing and food (small) market every Wednesday and the people could not have been nicer. The town has a university, so there were a lot of young people and a lot of American young people. Everyone was having a good time and a lot of fun. We never saw any crime nor did we ever feel unsafe.
We ate at Il Papae (I think that's right) in a piazza behind the Palazzo Publico where we had wonderful wild boar and wine. The price was reasonable and the table wine was excellent.
I would recommend Siena and Siena Vistas to everyone.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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