Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1733: Rentvillas, Cortonese - L'Arancio
3bed/3bath apartment on estate near Cortona, Tuscany East
August 2005, 2 weeks
This rental property was ideal, especailly for a family. We were right outside the medieval town of Cortona, which is pereched upon a hilltop. The surrounding hillside is covered with farms, and more rural open spaces. We were nestled in about a mile down the hill in what was once an olive farm and is now a compound of beautiful apartments, a small hotel with pool and a restaurant; all done in tastefully renovated farm buildings.
The gardens were amazing, the pool was pristine an the grounds and buildings meticulously maintained. In the evenings we would take a two minute car ride up the hill, park outside the walls of Cortona and walk into town for meals, or gelato. Day trips to Siena, Florence, Pienza, Montepulciano, and other Tuscan locales were easy. It was wonderful to return to our quiet apartment, take a luxurious dip in the pool and relax before heading off to dinner.
Believe it or not, you have quite a bit a privacey in this property, eventhough there is a small hotel. We had our own garden. Other than when we were at breakfast or at the pool, we didn't see anyone.
You definitely need a car. The grocery store was a five minute drive down the street, and the medieval town was about the same distance up the hill. If you were a big walker you certainly could do it, but it's hot and with groceries to carry it would be miserable. Again the walk up into town is not far distance wise, but it is all seriously uphill. Having a car is no problem. It's easy to park, and it is critical for sightseeing and flexibility. Public transport out there isn't that hot. There's a coffee shop by the grocery store, and of course there are many shops and restaurants up in town.
The building was historical and very well maintained. It was cool inside, even without air conditioning, and the water pressure was good. It had dishwasher, and clothes washer, but no dryer. The dryer was around the corner in a communal laundry area. My only complaint was that you could hear the family upstairs very clearly through the floor. Thankfully we had quiet people up there. If it were a a noisy group, it would be a problem. I believe the building we were in had two or three apartments.
This property is full of beautifully maintained gardens. There are roses and fruit trees, olive trees and many other flowering bushes and trees. They have a grape arbor that was full of green and red grapes ripe and ready to eat. It looked like something out of a brochure! My kids were amazed. The pool is spectacular, although I do have to mention that the guards are very strict about the behavior in the pool. He tolerated very little in the way of splashing, yelling or even jumping in the water.
The apartment was simply furnished, but impeccably clean and well maintained. The furniture that was there was very nice.
The beds were a little hard, but the linens were wonderful. Bathrooms were plenty, and gracious by European standards.
Kitchen was terrific, quaint and practical. You could cook any kind of meal in there that you wanted. Refridgerator was small. Oven was a little tricky to operate - I had a hard time deciphering the symbols!
Problems or Bonuses
The incredible beauty of the property far exceeded my expectations. The location, which I really had picked on a whim, was ideal. Cortona was by far my favorite town in Tuscany. It's so green, and it has just the right amount of activity - stores, restaurants, etc. without becoming overcrowded or busy. You'll find that some of the quaint towns are too small - yet you may not want to stay in a "city" environment. Cortona was the perfect balance for us.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Renvillas did a terrific job of informing us about the property. They had customer reviews available online, and photos. Our agent was responsive and helpful with her suggestions. She was familiar with many of the properties I was interested in, and did a good job of steering me in the right direction.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I absolutely would stay here again and I would recommend it to anyone desiring a Tuscan vacation. It was paradise. I have to admit that when I initially decided to rent a place, I wanted a villa. I really worried about privacy and peace and quiet. I am so glad that our agent recommended Cortonese L'Arancio because we did have our privacy, but we had access to services and to other families, when we wanted. Especially if you have children, it is nice to have a pool where there are some other kids to play with.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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