Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 154: La Casina, La Casina
3bed/2bath apartment in San Polo near Arezzo, Tuscany East
October 20-27, 2001, 1 week
La Casina is a portion of a house on a farm about 3 kilometers from Arezzo. Set in a peaceful olive grove, with vineyards as well, this three story home has a nice view up the hillside as well as out Arezzo and the valley. Very peaceful and quaint, we enjoyed the farm and la Signora, along with her perky little dog Kika and the various farm animals...bunnies, chickens. The locale necessitates a car though, as there are no shops or restaurants in walking distance.
The house is part of a larger farmhouse, divided into three parts. The front is the home of Signora Mugnai, the farmer's widow. She runs the place and greets you with a ready smile. The middle section belows to her son and his family. The rear portion, on three floors is the portion for rental. It was old, but not historical, and gracefully restored. On the ground floor is the small living room with fireplace opening up with the kitchen/dining area. Up a flight is one large bedroom and a bathroom with tub/shower. Up another flight is a single bedroom, a bath (with shower) and another large double bedroom. The building is well-tended and the really did a nice job with the restoration to retain the charm but adding such modern comforts as a dishwasher. There is a nice outside sitting area and a grill available. There is also a washing machine available for guests' use.
The living room is equipped with a small sofa (comfortable) and two cane chairs with matching cushions (okay but not the most comfortable for long periods of sitting, but okay and attractive.) The dining room table is a large oval with six chairs available. A sideboard contains the dishware and serving pieces, some looking like family belongings. A warning about the dining table - don't lean on one side too hard or the other side will fling upwards! We discovered the hard way the table top rests on a pedestal! The home was kept very clean by our signora Mugnai.
The top floor double bedroom has very firm beds (VERY firm!). The single bedroom has a small, straw bed (I was told it was very comfortable) and a roll away bed also. The middle floor double bedroom was ours. The beds were firm but comfortable, though quite squeaky when you first get into them. After that it didn't squeak so badly. There is a beautiful armour in the upper bedroom (which we couldn't figure how on earth they got such an enormous piece through the door!). The middle floor bedroom also had a nice antique dresser. Upper bedroom also has the original stone sink from years gone by affixed to the wall corner...a nice touch to retain that.
The kitchen is very nicely done, with attractive cupboards and marble-looking countertops. The best part - a very nice surprise - a dishwasher! The kitchen was adequately equipped with pots and pans, coffee pot (Moka pot) and serving dishes as well as dishware, silver, etc. There are two windows allowing for a nice bright kitchen and dining area and we enjoyed sitting there soaking in the sun and atmosphere. Two farm cats showed up and sunned in the windows. We love cats so we appreciated their visits, though others may want to chase them off (kindly, please!).
Problems or Bonuses
The first surprise when I was booking this home was the amazingly low price! A nice surprise upon arrival was the ready smile and sweet greeting of our hostess Signora Mugnai. She gave us a bottle of the farm's olive oil and showed us around. A couple of wonderful bonuses are the dishwasher and washing machine! These were very nice to have. Signora's little dog "Kika" greeted us upon our return from our day trips and is very cute and sweet. We were able to obtain fresh eggs from Mrs. Mugnai which she gathers up daily from the farm's free range chickens.
The only "problem", which isn't so bad once you know about it, is that the center portion of the house belongs to Mrs. Mugnai's son and his wife and their little boy. (Nice people.) Their stairs go up from what is our rental's second story, leading up to their apartment, to which their entrance is right next to the upper-most bedroom. You will hear them going up and down their wooden stairs, talking in the stairwell, etc. But as they were not doing this late at night or too early in the morning it was not a problem and we didn't really hear them otherwise. It's just nice to know about it ahead of time.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly with the owner, Signora Milli Riboni. She and her husband live in Milano and coordinate the rentals, deposits, etc. by email or phone. Signora Mugnai lives on site and keeps the home clean, checks you in, etc. Milli Riboni speaks English which made setting up the reservation easy. Mrs. Mugnai does not speak a word of English, but is very personable and ready to please. We were able to communicate fairly well with our limited Italian. Even without it, she will walk you through and show you everything, demonstrating features, etc.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes. We would stay here again without any reservations. We enjoyed the layout, the quaintness and the setting of the home. The location was very nice for sight-seeing. We were able to visit Assisi, Deruta, Montepulciano, Cortona, Lake Trasimeno...most of southern and central Tuscany is within easy reach for a normal day trip.
Things to do in this area
A wonderful restaurant in Arezzo is the Osteria due Amici. We returned for a second visit because we enjoyed it so much our first dinner! The staff was very friendly and sweet, the food was fabulous (try the pasta with cinghiale sauce and the pernice!) The waitress brought us glasses of vin santo (gratis) to top off the meal. On our return, they were so delighted to see us again they brought us a nice platter of antipasto and when we left everyone came out of the kitchen and assembled to say goodbye! Very sweet.
Arezzo is very quaint and an enjoyable town to stroll around. There is much to do in the surrounding area as noted above.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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