Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1557: Agriturismo Cretaiole, Apartment
apartments on a farm near Pienza, Tuscany South
June 2005, 1 week
Agriturismo Cretaiole is located in the countryside just a few minutes outside the town of Pienza. It sits on a hill and almost every apartment in the farmhouse has a postcard view of Pienza and the surrounding countryside. I have traveled extensively throughout Italy, and Tuscany in particular, and I believe this is one of the most beautiful areas to be found in the whole country. The property is very peaceful and quiet, since it is surrounded by trees and rolling green and golden fields, while restaurants etc. are just a short drive away.
A car is necessary since the nearest cafes, restaurants and grocery stores are a 7-10 minute drive away. A car also allows you to go site-seeing and explore the countryside more independently.
Cretaiole is a beautiful farmhouse from the 1300s. It has been divided into 6 apartments that are furnished in the traditional Tuscan style but with newly renovated bathrooms, etc. There is a very friendly, neighborly feeling among the guests since the apartments are centered around a courtyard area - it almost feels like you're living in a little medieval community.
There is a huge lawn with lawn chairs, oak trees, an olive tree grove, and even a vegetable garden that all the guests are free to pick vegetables from. There's also a playground area for children. The agristurismo doesn't have a pool, but there are a couple pools nearby that guests can use for a small fee. The whole Siena area is also loaded with thermal spas.
Our apartment was very comfortable and impeccably clean. It is a family-owned agriturismo, so the family takes a lot of pride in keeping it spotless. They also invest a lot back into the place by continuing to make improvements.
The bed was very comfortable, since the owners recently bought a new king-sized mattress.
The kitchenette is well-stocked. Someone who wants to cook a lot may want to request one of the apartments with a larger kitchen area, since ours was mainly good for breakfast and light lunches.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I have been to Cretaiole many times now over the years, and words can't describe how fantastic this family is. They are incredibly warm, welcoming, and accommodating, which in turn makes all the guests more relaxed and friendly. Isabella speaks English, German and Italian, so there is a wide international draw. This agriturismo is also an incredible value because the family offers weekly activities and tours at NO EXTRA COST! These include a tour of Siena, a lesson on making hand-made pasta, olive-oil tastings, and more. It is very reasonable even aside from these bonuses.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I HIGHLY recommend Cretaiole. As I said, I've been there many times, and many of the other guests return every year. There's something incredibly special about it: the farmhouse and surrounding countryside are gorgeous, there are so many towns to visit nearby (like Montepulciano, Montalcino, Siena, etc.), and the family goes above and beyond in making you feel at home. When your vacation there ends you miss it immediately!
Things to do in this area
The list goes on and on, but every apartment has a guidebook written by the family itself so it has all the best recommendations that only a local would know! Some highlights are: archaeological ruins of Etruscan tombs (later used as a hermitage in the Middle Ages) located on the family's OWN property - so you get a fascinating tour of it; also, the nearby Sant'Anna monastery where "The English Patient" was filmed; and the amazing little town of Bagno Vignoni.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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