Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1705: TuscanHouse, Villa Toscana
5bed/5bath house near Montepulciano, Tuscany South
Sept 3 - 10, 2005, 1 week
The property is on a beautiful piece of property overlooking a forested hillside below on one side and vines on the other. It is down an unpaved road and then a private driveway off that. Very private except for about 80-year old Signore Alvaro from next door who may drive by on his tractor.
Montepulciano is only about 1 mile away but it is down a busy road and you would not want to walk it, thus driving is necessary for food, shopping, etc. Pienza is also nearby the other direction if you wanted more of a town than a walled village.
The house was very rustic and authentic having been built centuries ago. If the weather had cooperated, it would have been beautiful but we had very cloudy days and much rain and therefore it was a little dark and cold. When we checked in the weather was all right and we did not ask for heat (probably a good thing as people wrote in the guest book about outrageous heating bills) and so we were relying on the day's warmth to warm up the house.
There are numerous patios and balconies and porches. Great for getting away from the group if need be or sheltering from the wind if it kicks up - as it did for us.
The best balcony is "Bella's Balcony" which we named for the little gray cat that has taken up residence. So sweet!
There is also a very nice pool, but as I said, we only had about two days that came close to lounging around the pool weather.
The house was not outright dirty but it was not super clean either. The dishes and pots and pans were nice and the sheets and towels were all pristine but the kitchen floor was a little grungy.
The bedrooms are virtually equal (with one maybe slightly better but just slightly) and so it is a great property to share with couples who are all paying equally. Each has a very firm double bed and private bath.
Bedrooms and bathrooms were more than adequate - especially by Italy standards. All were decent size and had showers, bidets, sinks and of course the toilet. There is also another seperate bathroom/shower on the kitchen level attached to the laundry room.
The kitchen is a little odd but functionable. It has a GREAT pizza oven outside which we used a lot.
Problems or Bonuses
Bella the little cat was a definite bonus and hopefully others who come along will care for her and leave food as we did and others before us have.
There were disappointments as well, though. We were supposed to have a welcoming meal waiting for us and did not. As we all had had LONG flights (one coming from Honolulu) it was not fun to start scrambling trying to find food. Luckily we had stopped for things like water and fruit and so we were okay, but we had all really been looking forward to the meal being ready.
Also, the caretaker had just quit and Zak (the rental agent) was out of town so there was really no one to turn to if we had needed it. We are pretty self-sufficient but I'm just reporting for others who may want to know that someone is available - especially if it is a first-time trip to Italy or something.
The last real drawback and really my only reason for not straightout recommending the property was the fact that it is evidently for sale as we received a phone call that they would be showing the property on an afternoon that we were there. It put us all in a position of needing to pick up our rooms, maybe take valuables with us if we felt nervous and basically be out of the house so they could come in.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We had very nice and punctual communication while here in the States and the price was more than fair as they actually lowered the price after we were under contract and passed the discount on to us. Once we were there, though, the very nice woman who came and gave us the keys did not speak very much English at all (and she shouldn't have to; it's her country, but it's difficult when we were expecting an English speaking greeter) and Zak was out of town and did not return our call when we left a message about maybe getting a parting meal included since we had not received our welcoming.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
The property itself I would definitely recommend, but I would make sure that I am comfortable being on my own or else see if they have a new caretaker that will come in occasionally. Also, I would ask if the property was going to be shown to buyers while we are going to be there. If you like cats, though, Bella is the best!
Things to do in this area
The cycling was evidently fantastic but only if you like going up or down. There was NO flat. Pienza is very cute and Montelpuciano is great and just down the road. With nice weather, though, you may never want to leave the pool and the views.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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