Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1543: Politian Apartments, Apartment #2
apartments in Montepulciano, Tuscany South
June 4 - 10, 2005, 1 week
The apartment is located within the town of Montepulciano. It is in a perfect location- very close to all of the "downtown" amenities, but a little bit out of the way so that it's very quiet. It is located within a row of houses, and the street has a beautiful view of Tuscany (and many benches that allow you to sit and enjoy it!)
We were able to walk to everything. The Piazza Grande was just a few minutes away, and we could walk to the main shopping area in probably 7-10 minutes. There is also a small city bus that you can ride if you prefer. A large grocery store, Conrad, is on the other end of town. While it is physically possible to walk, some might prefer to take the bus to this area. However, there are plenty of small shops with the basic amenities nearby - and many wineries! The apartment was about 2 minutes' walk from our favorite restaurant, the Osteria Acquacheta. This is a must-visit!
We stayed in Apartment #2, which was on the top floor of this particular building (I believe there may have been two floors below at most). Giacomo and his family own most of the buildings, which is nice because they are right there if you need anything. The place was very quiet. We hardly noticed any noise from other apartments, though the occasional motorcycle passed outside the window.
**Please be warned that getting to Apartment #2 requires climbing up many outside steps.** This was not a problem for us, but if you have any sort of physical ailment, you might want to be wary. Fewer steps are required for Apartment #1.
There is a lovely garden behind the house, which we had to pass through in order to reach our apartment. While we were there, Giacomo was waiting on the delivery of some outdoor furniture, so perhaps future visitors can report on this aspect.
The apartment itself was beautiful and spacious. It is furnished very tastefully, with lovely antique-looking pieces, and very clean and well-kept. We felt completely at home the moment we walked in.
It was just my husband and me in the apartment, so there was plenty of space for us. However, this apartment would easily accommodate an entire family - with some careful planning for the one bathroom!
The living/dining area was lovely, complete with a fireplace (which we didn't use in June). There were two extremely comfortable leather chairs, and a CD player with a few jazz and classical albums. There is also a 4-person kitchen table, and a dresser filled with maps and guidebooks of the area. In addition, there are many books throughout the house. Though I don't speak Italian at all, I enjoyed looking through the pictures in some of the books!
There are two bedrooms: the master bedroom is quite large, and has a beautiful canopy bed, a dresser, cedar chest and armoire, and a small sitting area and table (complete with chess set!) There are two large windows in the room, with beautiful views of Tuscany- of course!
The second bedroom has two single beds, which we only used for napping (quite comfortable!) as there were only two of us. This room also had two seats by the window, a large dresser, and a beautiful writing desk.
The bathroom is a bit small, but functional. The bathroom shower is tiny, so just be prepared for that. It is a stall only (no tub). We didn't find it to be any smaller than others in Europe, but I do feel that should be noted.
The kitchen was perfectly adequate. There is a small refrigerator, stove, and range, along with a coffee maker. We were able to find plenty of pots and pans, and there were lots of dishes, glasses, wine glasses, etc. We did not do any full-scale cooking, but did buy some pici and jarred sauce from a local market. We were able to cook easily and enjoyed this quiet evening at home!
Problems or Bonuses
We were very excited to find that there is a small washing machine in the apartment. However, it takes a VERY long time. We ended up turning it on the morning and returning later in the day to hang things out to dry. There is a laundry place in town that works just fine for a few euros, if you don't want to wait for the washer.
Otherwise, the best surprise was just the apartment itself - realizing that it was truly everything we had dreamed of for our honeymoon!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly with Giacomo, the owner, based on recommendations on the Slow Travel board and Fodors. The website represents the apartment very accurately, and Giacomo was a pleasure to work with. He was very helpful with providing information to us, and even welcomed us to our honeymoon with a bottle of champagne.
We paid 450 Euros for a week in June, which we felt was completely reasonable given the space and location.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely! We will definitely be staying there again, and have already told many of our friends we are planning to bring them back with us. We adored Montepulciano, and the apartment was absolutely perfect. There are no qualifications at all to this recommendation, other than making people aware of the steps outside.
Things to do in this area
As mentioned above, we loved Osteria Acquacheta. We actually went twice, for dinner and lunch. It is right near the apartment, and has absolutely fantastic homemade food. It has a "rustic" feel to it, and is very reasonably priced. It is the best place to go for simple, wonderful food- pici with ragu, Tuscan sausage, bruschetta pomodoro, and, if you're up for it, one of the steaks! (they are huge; we didn't get one).
Each morning we ate breakfast at Caffe Poliziano. Though the restaurant is expensive, the bar is a steal - cappuccino, espresso and two pastries for 3.65E. Can't be beat, and it was delicious :)
Others we enjoyed were Diva e Maceo, Trattoria di Cagnano, and Grotta di Nano. We were not thrilled with Ai Quattro Venti. It didn't have a particularly warm or friendly atmosphere, but since we only went once, that could just have been our luck.
We didn't rent a car, and enjoyed staying in Montepulciano and thoroughly exploring the town. We bought a little guidebook from the tourist office which provided a "walking itinerary" of the town by way of explaining the history and significance of each building.
In addition, we did a "wine tasting" tour of the town, because there are so many. This helped us decide which bottles to bring home! We had fun exploring the cellars as well. You must visit Cantina Redi - we discovered the "secret" entrance near the Piazza Grande, which leads you through the winding, cavernous cellars right to the door of the Cantina.
The Temple of San Biagio is a must (about a 1/2 mile down the hill). We hiked one day to Pienza, which was beautiful; it took about 4-5 hours. You could also take the bus there and back. One trip we saved for next time is a bus to Montalcino; from there, we were also going to visit the Sant'Antimo Abbey.
My husband bought a beautiful briefcase at "The Oldest Shop in Montepulciano," a leather goods store right across from Caffe Poliziano. It is worth a look even if you don't buy anything.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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