Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1590: Italian Vacation Villas, Certosina
4bed/3.5bath house near Gaiole, Tuscany Chianti
May 2003, 2 weeks
The house is just outside of Gaiole (in a vineyard) and is very private. You could actually walk to Retiene and you can easily walk to the Meleto Castle which was an unexpected bonus. Beautiful views over the countryside from the patio - gorgeous sunsets. You would certainly need a car here but there is a bus line down the road. We never really figured it out but apparently you can get to Siena using the bus.
You must drive into Gaiole for the closest supplies, a trip of about 5 miles, but it is slow going around the winding roads. Radda is about a 20 minute drive with more restaurants and shops. Several wineries are represented in the center of Gaiole. We found most of our supplies in Gaiole or even more at the various weekly markets (Panzano on Sunday works out well since most rentals start on Saturday).
The property was immaculate and very comfortable. I found it hard to picture the place from the online description but was pleasantly surprised at how nice the place was.
The kitchen is large and well supplied. There is a laundry room right off the kitchen as well as a half bath. The dining room is large and has a fireplace. The living room has a fireplace and a separate area with a desk. All three are on the first level.
Walking out from the kitchen, there is a patio that then extends around and out from the living room. We spent almost all of our evenings on the patio watching the great sunsets and dining al fresco. We were often joined by the two dogs that reside on the property.
Beneath the patio is a double bedroom with an ensuite bath that is separtate from the rest of the house affording privacy. The bath here is tiny but functional. The remaining bedrooms are reached from stairs off the living room. There are 3 bedrooms upstairs. Two share a large bath and one has an ensuite bathroom. The one with the ensuite bathroom also has a small private patio. All the rooms are large and the beds were very comfortable.
The house is beautiful and the views were wonderful. The setting was very private. There is a pool but since we were there in May, it was just being opened. It was way too cool to swim while we were there but one of our party spent the day reading by the pool and loved it.
The furnishings were very good and my only complaint would be the lack of a sofa in the living room. Everything was extremely clean and even though it was not part of the listing when we rented, the house keeper came every morning. She was wonderful and even did some laundry for us. She spoke German and Italian (we spoke neither!) but we did manage to communicate.
The beds were very comfortable and there were an abundance of bathrooms. Two bedrooms have their own bathrooms and two share a very large bath. All the baths are in good condition.
The kitchen is fully equipped. With six burners, better than my kitchen at home! You would have no problems preparing a feast in this kitchen.
Problems or Bonuses
We were very pleasantly surprised at how nice this property was. I am sorry I haven't posted earlier about how much we enjoyed it. We really enjoyed the walks through the valley that you look out on from the patio. Taking the back dirt road through the vineyard and finding Castle Meleto so close we could walk there was a pleasant surprise (it is much further using regular roads). In May, things were just beginning to bloom and the countryside was lovely.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Martin is great to work with, very professional and offered some great advice.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend Certosina but probably not for a first visitor to Tuscany simply because it is a little bit out in the countryside. Even though it would sleep eight, I think unless you hung out at the dining room table, there isn't really a common area for everyone to gather. We spent most of our time on the patio which worked out well for a party of 5 adults. It might not be great for a family since there aren't really any areas for kids to roam. If you are prepared to drive to the sights and want a private retreat to return to, it is a beautiful property that is very well maintained.
Things to do in this area
We used it as a base and made trips to San Gimignano, Colle di Val d'Elsa, Castelina, Greve, Radda, Volpaia, Siena, Panzano and many small villages like Vertine that were wonderful to see. Castello di Brolio isn't far away if you are interested in castles and wineries are everywhere. We lunched at Badia al Coltibuono and were amazed at how it has grown since we were there 12 years ago. We had some great drives around the countryside marveling at the beautiful sights.
Part of the fun of staying in the countryside is just wandering and discovering new things. We had a very nice lunch (twice) in Lamole. We aren't shoppers as a rule but several of us bought really beautiful hand woven shawls from the Castle Meleto gift shop of all places! They are woven by a local woman and are just gorgeous. Colle di Val d'Elsa was good for some lovely small crystal vases that made perfect gifts for those back home - easy to pack and lightweight! Sorry it has taken me so long to post this but I noticed no one had reviewed Certosina and thought it might be useful to have a review even a bit dated!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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