Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1695: Podere Torre, Apartment
apartments on a farm near Greve, Tuscany Chianti
June 18-25, 2005, 1 week
I'm almost reluctant to write this report. My husband and I are convinced that we have found a little piece of paradise on earth and would like to keep it all to ourselves. But let's be generous...
As soon as we opened the gate to Podere Torre, we fell in love with this lovely agriturismo, or house on a farm, in the beautiful Chianti region. It is located on a small farm (mostly a vineyard) on top of a hill. There is one other farm next to it, but far enough that you don't see it or hear noise from it. It is extremely quiet and peaceful.
The nearest town is Greve in Chianti. It is about 10 or 15 minutes away by car, mostly on a gravel road. It would be difficult to walk. In Greve, you can find everything you need. There are several good restaurants on the main piazza, our favorites being Il Portico and Mangiando, Mangiando. There is a small Coop (grocery store) that sells everything, and a lot of specialty stores, including Macelleria Falorni, a butcher shop famous throughout Italy. You can also find places to buy bread, fruit and vegetables, cheese, wine, souvenirs, etc.
Between Podere Torre and Greve stands the tiny village of Montefioralle, where you can find two very good restaurants, but nothing else. However, it is a beautiful place to visit and walk around.
The house we lived in was a converted 13th century farm building. It is built on the side of a steep hill. Therefore, when you open the door, you need to go down about 8 steps to the main room. Because of that, the ceiling is very high, and this gives the house a very spacious and airy feeling.
There are several large windows, all with wood shutters. No screens, but we didn't have any problems with bugs (maybe it was too early in the season). However, we had an electric bug repellent device, which we plugged in at night, just in case.
The house is actually quite small, only 28 square meters (under 300 square feet), but it is absolutely lovely. It features one main room, with the bed on one side and the kichen/dining area on the other. It also has a small bathroom, complete with toilet, bidet, sink, and a shower in the corner. Amazingly, there is no shower door, no curtain, but the room is large enough that the water doesn't splash on anything.
On the property, there are two B&B rooms, but we didn't have a chance to visit them. They were rented out most of the time, and the people seemed quite happy. They also had access to the BBQ, to a large covered picnic table, another smaller table, chairs, and the beautiful grounds.
We had access to the whole property, which is absolutely lovely. There are flowers everywhere, including jasmine, the most fragrant flower we ever smelled. We could pick herbs for our meals from huge rosemary and basil bushes.
We had a wonderful private terrace overlooking the vineyards, with a little table, 2 chairs and a lounge chair. We could sit on our terrace for hours, sipping a glass of wine and admiring the valley at our feet.
There is a wood-burning BBQ on the property, which we could use whenever we wanted. There is a washing machine available to all tenants in a separate building, but we never used it. There is also a clothesline, which we used once. There is no pool.
The furniture was in very good shape, but don't expect marble counter tops or anything luxurious. Everything is rustic, and that's the reason we loved this place.
The bed is queen-sized and very confortable. There is a small armchair in the living area, a wooden table and 2 chairs. But since we ate all our meals outside, we didn't use it much. There is no dresser, but a large clothes closet, with built-in drawers. It was plenty for our needs.
There is a fireplace in the living area. I suppose it would be very romantic to light a fire there in colder weather, but we were in the middle of a heat wave, so we didn't.
The kitchen is small but it has everything you need. A small refrigerator. A stove with two burners. No oven. No microwave. No dishwasher. Plenty of pots and pans, dishes for four people, a drip coffee pot, and the necessary tools to cook on the BBQ, including a large tray to carry your stuff around.
We cooked all our breakfasts there and had dinner three times. My husband cooked wild boar steaks and grilled vegetables on the BBQ. I prepared some risotto on the stove and fixed some wonderful tomato salads. It is a perfect kitchen for two people, specially if you enjoy eating outside.
Problems or Bonuses
I had read about Podere Torre on the Slow Travel web site (trip report 320), but it was even better than what we had imagined.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owner, Cecilia, lives in a house on the property. She is a wonderful, hard-working woman, always ready to give you advice, to share information, to make dinner reservations for you. Every night she inquired about our day, and she always seemed genuinely interested. A lovely lady! She speaks English quite fluently, and helped us a lot with our Italian.
We paid 550 euros for a one-week rental. We paid cash, on our last day. We offered to pay earlier, but Cecilia said there was no rush.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We will DEFINITELY be back at Podere Torre, hopefully in two years. And yes, I have already recommended it to several friends.
My only reservation would be for people who are afraid of dogs. There are two dogs on the farm, Luna, a black female lab, and Pedro, a huge St-Bernard mix. They welcome you as you open the gate, they follow you everywhere and they love sitting at your feet whenever you are eating outside. Pedro specially enjoys sitting on the doorstep. Somebody who is nervous around dogs may not have a good time. But both are very friendly and, most important, they do not beg at the table.
Things to do in this area
Podere Torre is centrally located, in the middle of the beautiful Chianti region. Simply driving around the region is a pleasure. Several major cities and attractions are all within an hour's drive.
You can easily visit Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca (1.5 hours), Cortona, the Val d'Orcia region, including Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza. We made one side trip a day, and never felt rushed.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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