Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1773: Azienda Agricola La Valle, Apartment
apartments on a farm near Montaione, Tuscany West
October, 2005, One week
Located about 1 km from Montaione, La Valle is a small complex of buildings set back from the road. The building our apartment was located in also included two other larger units. Definitely had a "out in the coutryside" feel to it.
The road into Montaione was very busy, so it would be difficult to walk to town because of the traffic. Driving into Montaione was very easy. There was a Coop in town, and the older section had other smaller stores where you can purchase items. There are a number of restaurants in the area.
Simone (one of the owners) said they believed the buildings in the complex are about 300 years old. All restorations were done by his family. Our apartment was clean and nicely appointed and had a very nice layout - plenty of space for the two of us. There were two other larger units in our building and the entire complex has six units of varying sizes.
Outside our unit was a nice little sitting area with table, chairs and an umbrella. All units in the complex seemed to have their own similar sitting area. The pool is located down the hill and accessed by a small path. Because we were there in October and it was chilly and raining, we did not make use of it. But it did appear to be well kept and nicely landscaped.
The furniture was adequate and in good shape accommodating the two of us just fine. Everything was very clean when we arrived.
The bed was comfortable and the bathroom was very spacious. The bedroom had a wonderful large dresser-type unit with drawers and areas to hang items. More than enough room to put everything away and out of sight (including our luggage).
The kitchen was fine. Plenty of dishes, glasses and cookware of decent quality. We had breakfast every morning and cooked a couple of evening meals with no problem.
Problems or Bonuses
Bonus - there is a small garden located near the swimming pool for the guests to use. Because of being there in October, most of the vegetables were no longer producing - but it looked like it would be quite bountiful during the summer. Still, we were able to gather up several different types of lettuce and some vine-ripened tomatoes for salads. There were also some very wonderful looking cabbage plants.
Problems (the neutral recommendation reasons) - Several days into our stay the weather turned chilly. Our heating system did not seem to be working properly. Fortunately, it wasn't so cold that it became a big problem. We just slept under several layers of bedding and layered our clothing. After two days of trying to fix it, we were told it was now working. Unfortunately, now the problem was that the heat wouldn't turn off!! We had to leave the windows open to keep from sweating. We managed to get all the radiators turned off completely, leaving only the one in the kitchen on slightly (necessary to have hot water). On Friday, our last full day, an attempt was made to repair the system again. Unfortunately, this failed completely and we were now without not only heat but also no hot water (no showering on Friday night!).
We totally understand that this was the first time of the season that the system would have been used and problems do crop up. They did make an honest attempt to try to fix things. What kind of bothered us was that they made no attempt to compensate us in any way for all the inconvenience. A little discount off of our final bill would have gone a long way in making us feel better about the situation.
Second problem: On the Wednesday of our stay, two families (obviously friends) with a total of five school-aged children and one baby moved into the two units in our building. Evidently the kitchen and/or eating area of the upper unit was right over our bedroom and the families decided to stay up until 1:00AM. There was constant noise from the unit which evidently had tile flooring based on the scraping noises. At one point, it sounded like they were moving furniture!! The children were quite rowdy in the courtyard the next day including slamming their soccer ball into our door as well as doors of other units quite early in the morning. I know that this type of situation is somewhat out of the owner's control; however, given the set-up of the building for this apartment, I felt people should be aware that this inconvenience could easily arise dependent on who might be renting the other units.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Simone was great to work with. Before our trip he answered emails very promptly and had lots of useful information. He speaks some English, sufficient enough for all of our communication with him. Photos on the website accurately reflect the property. October price: 674 euros/week.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We probably would not stay here again mainly because of above-mentioned problem with unit over the apartment and the risk of noisy, inconsiderate neighbors. However, if you have a group of people looking to rent a shared unit, the stand-alone villas in the complex would be great.
Should we return to the Montaione area, we would definitely consider renting the 1 Bedroom unit in Fignano (the other family-run property). We had a chance to see that unit while visiting someone from Slow Travel who was renting it. It is a little more expensive, but is larger and has no unit over it.
Things to do in this area
This was a great location for taking day trips. We went to Siena, Volterra, Chianti, Florence and Montalcino during our stay.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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