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Review 179: Local agent, Filicaia in Sezzate

Review by Hans and Shelley from WA

4bed house near Strada, Tuscany Chianti


December 2001, 1 month


(Review written on a french keyboard from their current location in France.)

We rented this house for the month of December, 2001. We rented through an agent, Yolande Plynaar Cairoli. She is very helpful, and she speaks fluent English, French and Italian! We had one or two small problems during the month and she was immediately available and resolved the problems at once. We highly recommend her.

Now to the house ... this is such a wonderful house that we wish we could buy it and live here forever! It is outside of Strada in Chianti, so the location is perfect for exploring Florence, Siena and the Tuscan countryside. The house is about 5 km down a white road, from the main road into Strada. It is set on a hilltop, across from a restored castle, and surrounded by olive groves. The land in which the house is set is still a working olive farm, and they produce not only olive oil, but wine and honey here as well. Down the hill from the house, there is a pen full of chickens, and there are lots of cats prowling the premises.

We were there during the winter, so we didn't use the outside amenities much. We were happy to have a well-heated house, and even access to the cupboard full of Christmas ornaments. However, there is a swimming pool, surrounded by a terrace and a summer kitchen off a large terra cotta front terrace, and a smaller, covered terrace in the back, so it would be a wonderful setting during the summer as well.

The house is a lovely old stone building, with big beams and terra cotta tiles in all the ceilings. The floors downstairs are all terra cotta, while the upstairs floors are all tiled with big, ornate ceramic tiles. Every room in the house is furnished with incredible antiques. We were constantly discovering fascinating items, and we spent many hours speculating on the original purpose of some of them.

On the ground floor, there is a large entry hall with a washroom on one side, and the door into the living room on the other. The living room has a fireplace, couch, lamps, easy chairs, cabinets, a color television and a coffee and end tables. French doors open onto the front terrace. On the other side of the living room is the opening into the dining room, which has a huge walk-in fireplace in which we had big fires every night. (An ample supply of firewood was provided). There is a table which opens up to seat twelve, and several hutches which are crammed with every type of dish or glassware you could possibly want. Behind the dining room is the kitchen. The kitchen is rather quaint in design, however, an exploration through the cupboards should reveal every kitchen item under the Italian sun.

Upstairs, there are four bedrooms set off a wide hallway that runs the length of the house. Three of the bedrooms are perfectly enormous. Two of them have big beds, as well as a single. The smallest of the bedrooms has only a single bed, while the fourth room has a big fourposter bed. All of the bedrooms have lovely antiques, the beds are comfortable and all have nice linens and plenty of blankets. There is also a roomy bathroom on the second floor with a big, tiled shower, pedestal sink, toilet and bidet. Towels were provided, as well as a generous supply of household products.

The drive into the house has a tall, iron gate, and there is parking in front of the house on the terrace, or up above the house in another gated area. There is an old Roman road that runs up the hill past the house just outside the gate so there is interesting exploring right outside your door. But, the view from the front terrace, over the olive groves and terraced hills is just as tantalizing. At night, the lights from Strada twinkle across the valley.

We had just spent two months living in rather spartan surroundings (review 110: Montefioralle Apartment), so when we arrived at Filicaia our sensibilities were somewhat blighted. Nonetheless, we felt like welcome guests in this gracious house during our time here. This house would make a luxurious base of operations for exploring Tuscany, or a vacation hideout from the bustling world. We loved it.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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