Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1588: Chianti Cashmere, La Penisola
house and apartment on a farm near Radda, Tuscany Chianti
July 2 - 9, 2005, 1 week
La Penisola is on a farm about three kilometres outside Radda. The location was great for daytripping around the Chianti region and other parts of Tuscany. We went to Florence, Siena, San Gimignano and several smaller towns without any trouble. The setting is great, overlooking a valley filled with vineyards and other small farms as well as rolling hills and forest. The side of the house where we ate outside faced west so we could watch the sun go down over the ridge each night. It was a great area - really lived up to our notions about the Chianti countryside.
We did walk into Radda a couple of times - uphill all the way to town, downhill all the way home. We had kids with us, so we drove most of the time. Parking in Radda seemed to be easy to get, at least the week we were there.
There are actually two rental properties here, and we rented both of them - the three bedroom house and the one bedroom apartment. The apartment is attached to the house of the owner, but it felt quite separate, and had the feel of a quiet cottage. They are close to one another, so it was easy to go from one to the other. Our group was two families of four, so we had the kids and one couple in the house, and the other couple in the cottage. We switched halfway through the week, so both couples got a few days alone in the cozy cottage.
The house was at least 300 years old - it appears on records in 1700, but the oldest part of it may be older. The whole place was quiet and peaceful, except for the noise our kids made playing in the pool. The goats can be heard bleating, but they are a little distance from the house and it was actually a nice bit of rural background music.
The house is built into a hillside. The ground floor has a kitchen, dining room, bedroom and bathroom. Upstairs were two bedrooms, a sitting room and what you might call sun room with lots of windows and an ancient looking, large fireplace - we didn't use it - we were there in July.
The apartment is an extension of a building that I think used to be a barn. The first floor has a kitchen area, table, bathroom and sitting area. Upstairs is a loft-like space with a comfy bed. It's quite pleasant, with a skylight over the bed. The ceiling is low, and you need to watch your head at the lower parts, but we mainly just slept up there, so it wasn't an issue.
Everything worked and both places were well-stocked with kitchen equipment, linens, etc. It's all very comfortable, in a rustic, relaxed way.
The outside areas were the best part. Just outside the kitchen was a pergola shaded by grape vines, with a long table made of two huge split logs mounted on posts. We sat there each night having dinner, watching the sun go down, overlooking the pool, and beyond that, the valley. There's a stairway down to the pool, which was fairly large and surrounded by a stone patio with another pergola with a fabric cover. There were several wooden lounge chairs there. The apartment also has its own outdoor table for two, in a shaded area with a great view.
The furniture was fine, and comfortable - some of it appeared to be antiques. There were plenty of chairs and Everything was clean - the cleaning lady was waiting to get in when we checked out on Saturday morning. I think the arrangement is that if you stayed for more than a week, the house would be cleaned weekly. I suppose you could arrange to do it more often.
The beds were comfy - big old iron beds in the house, a low platform-type bed in the apartment. All the bedrooms had plenty of privacy, because of the old stone walls and heavy doors. The blankets and linens were very nice, including some nice old quilts.
The kitchen was well-equipped, and we cooked there every night but one. It was a good kitchen with plenty of room and all the pots and utensils we needed.
Problems or Bonuses
In addition to the cashmere goats, the owner raises and sells Bolognese dogs. She had several of them, and after checking with us, she let them come over to visit us each evening - they were friendly and fun. We had four kids in the group who looked forward to seeing the dogs. The view was great and the general picturesqueness of the place was much greater than the website really showed.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owner is actually an expatriate American, so she's a native English speaker. She lives right on the place and dealt with us directly by phone and email. Everything was just as it was represented - in fact, the place was better than we expected.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would recommend this place heartily to anyone who wants a quiet, comfortable pretty place to relax and to use as a base to see the Chianti region and Tuscany beyond. The combination of the apartment and the house was great for two families.
Things to do in this area
The best thing in the immediate area was visiting the hill towns - there were several within a short drive. Hikers could enjoy this area. I took a number of drives down the local country roads. We enjoyed going into town to get fresh vegetables, meat, etc. and cooking. You can also visit local vineyards and buy the local wine. We went to a restaurant called Le Vigne, which is on the way into town. We sat outside, overlooking the rows of grape vines and had a great meal.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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