Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1642: San Cristoforo, La Pieve
1bed/1bath house near Cagli, Marche
August 2005, 1 week
San Cristoforo is in a rural area, about 5 minutes outside the town of Cagli. La Pieve is a converted chapel on the San Cristoforo property, at the back of the owner's house. The layout of the place gives La Pieve complete privacy, as the outside areas are well away from each other. The other rental cottage also faces away from La Pieve, and we rarely heard or saw the other occupants.
You need a car here - Cagli is about 5 minutes away, with plenty of grocery stores (including a new one, open all day), fruit and vegetable shop, fresh pasta, butcher, etc. Several cafes and restaurants in Cagli, and plenty more in surrounding towns. On the website is a User's Guide with many suggestions.
The house was in excellent shape. There's a very large living room with kitchen and dining table at one end. Large bedroom and bathroom.
French doors from the kitchen area open to the private terrace. There's a small pergola with table and chairs under; two lounge chairs and a few other chairs for sitting. Many lovely plantings, and a view over the hills. The owner's two friendly dogs often come to visit. In spite of a bit of wet weather, there were no mosquitos.
The place was spotless and very comfortable. Nicely decorated, without clutter. Good reading lights in both the living room and bedroom, a welcome surprise in rentals. The eclectic bookshelf kept us very happy.
The large bed was very comfortable, and there was a bureau and closet. Bathroom very nice. Screens on both bedroom and bathroom window!
The kitchen was well equipped with materials in good condition. We easily cooked several meals.
Problems or Bonuses
From the website and a previous renter we had a pretty good idea of what we'd find - it was all that, and more. The setting, charming hosts, and off the beaten path location made for a relaxing yet fascinating week.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Peter and Richard were great to deal with, both before and during our visit. They work hard to make their guests happy, promptly dealing with any questions, requests, or problems. When we asked where we could get a citronella candle for the no-seeums in the evening on the terrace they immediatly came over with one; when the oven was uncooperative they came to help; a mouse sighting resulted in a have-a-heart trap.
As the folks behind the Marche Voyager website (www.le-marche.com/Marche), they know the area well and make excellent suggestions for drives, restaurants, interesting things to do in the area. That they're funny and engaging conversationalists is a bonus.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I highly recommend San Cristoforo for people who'd like to get a bit off the tourist track in Italy. We also saw the larger cottage for rent on the property, and it was really something special. Huge kitchen, nice living rom, two bedrooms and bathrooms, and killer view from the terrace over the mountains.
Things to do in this area
We kept very busy during our week. We found the two Roman bridges outside town; slid down the ravine south of Cagli to swim in a gorgeous river pool; and drove up Mount Catria and hiked to the top where you can see clear to the Adriatic. Toured the Frasassi Caves (English tours a few times a day); went to a wine festa one night in Pergola; went to Urbino, Gubbio, Urbania. Beautiful drive from Fossombrone up to Mondavio (interesting old town with another Martini rocca) and Barchi (Barchi a tiny hilltop town with a killer-view walkway around the walls, and a great terracotta pottery in the new part of town), down to San Lorenzo in Campo (some interesting old buildings and small museums), then to Pergola and back across to Cagli. The Pergola-Cagli drive is beautiful. Pergola, Cantiano, and Acqualanga (truffles!) also made interesting stops in the neighborhood. We also spent a day driving up to Pennabilli and San Leo.
We never even had time to explore the coast, under an hour's drive away. The La Pieve User's Guide and the Marche Voyager site were very helpful in planning our week. Another good resource was the TCI Heritage Guide to The Marches.
We ate twice at Taverna della Rocca in Frontone (teeny hilltop town near San Cristoforo) where there's no written menu, but you essentially choose from the house antipasto misto (prosciutto, cheese, crescia); a choice of pasta (tagliatelle, gnocchi, or ravioli with your choice of funghi, anatra, ragu, burro and salvia sauces); and a secondo of arrosto misto, mixed roasted meats cooked at the fireplace.
Also ate very well at Osteria del Parco in Acqualanga (bruschetta with summer truffles, excellent gnocchi, and the best roast lamb I've ever had) had good pizza at La Lanterna inn Cagli, and enjoyed Taverna degli Artiste in Urbino. A fun lunch spot was at the Abbadia di San Vincenzo outside the Furlo Groge, for piadina at picnic tables.
The frutta/verdura shop on the outskirts of Cagli had great produce and good reasonably priced wines, the pasta fresca a bit further up on the opposite side had wonderful ravioli and gnocchi. Alimantarie in Cagli had great breads in the mornings, an enoteca in back, and tables outside.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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