Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1880: Castello di Lamole, Apartment
apartments on an estate in Lamole, near Greve, Tuscany Chianti
May 2005, 1 week
The Castello di Lamole is located high on a scenic mountainside above Greve, and provides a panoramic view of the beautiful Greve River Valley. The small village of Lamole is further up the hill, only 500 meters away. On a clear, starlit night, the lights of Florence and the Duomo twinkle in the distance. The castle is surrounded by well-kept vinyards, a forest of ancient trees, a quiet spring-fed stream, and a sea of iris in May, adding a delightful fragrance to the euphoria we were already experiencing in these surroundings. Rosemary, lavendar, hydrangea, and roses also bloom in profusion around the castle walks and courtyards. The soft music of the bells of the San Donato church in the village and of the many songbirds that live in the area added to the peace and joy that we experienced in this wonderful place.
We could easily walk to the village of Lamole where we could buy a few groceries. The Aia dei Canti Restaurant at the castle was open for all meals and we could stop for coffee during the day as well. We had some excellent meals there. A mini-bus made the short trip to and from Lamole several times a day into Greve, and since we did not have a car, we took advantage of that service on several occasions. We took the connecting bus from Greve to Florence one day, which worked out well for us.
We shopped for food at both the open market in Greve and at a grocery store near the market place. We found a marvelous array of local fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, cheese, bread and other foods that we enjoyed throughout the week. Castillo di Lamole has its own brand of wines, honey, and olive oil which we purchased in their "Little Store," and we were happy to have them with our "home prepared" meals.
The medieval Castle of Lamole still retains the magnificent architectural details and beauty of the past. Our group of eight women rented two of the very attractive, clean, well-furnished and well-appointed apartments. Each apartment had two bedrooms with two single beds in each, a small kitchen, and a bathroom. One of the apartments had a dining table that seated eight, which allowed all of us to enjoy our meals together. There are nine apartments altogether. We had several artists and photographers in our group who could never get enough pictures of the interesting and historical doorways, windows, archways, stairways, walls, and rooflines of the castle, as well as the surrounding flowers and countryside.
Each apartment has its own private outside sitting area where one can enjoy the view, sit and paint, read or write, or just enjoy the ambience of the moment. For those who like to swim or just sit by the waterside, a well-maintained private pool in a natural setting was available a short distance down the hillside from the castle.
As mentioned above, the furnishings were in excellent condition, there was enough seating for all of us, and the apartments were very pleasant and comfortable. The rooms could not have been cleaner or better cared for.
I slept very well throughout my stay at the castle. We had one bathroom in each of our two apartments, each shared by four women, but we had no problems at all with this arrangement. There was always enough hot water to go around. The bathrooms are not huge, but they are perfectly adequate.
The kitchen in our apartment was a small, galley-type kitchen, but it had everything we needed to prepare our meals. We made a lot of pasta dishes, home-made soups, salads, and sandwiches, cheese and fruit plates and other dishes that seemed to taste twice as good as they ever do at home! The plates and service-ware were attractive and there were always fresh flowers on the table and herbs from the gardens surrounding the castle to flavor our meals.
Problems or Bonuses
One can't experience the beauty and the wonder of this place just from the pictures on the Web site. Nothing is as good as being there. Riccardo's beautiful voice singing the ballads of the region to our group the first night at dinner was a treat we had not expected at all.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The Marasco family that owns and operates Castello di Lamole, and their staff, are the definition of "gracious, wonderful, warm hosts." They all spoke English well and we had no problems communicating. They were there to accommodate our every need.
The published information was very good -- but being there was even better. Jacapo and Virginia found drivers for us to pick us up at the train station when we arrived and to deliver us back to Florence to catch our connections when we left. They also arranged for us to be able to have knowledgeable and professional drivers to take us on several incredible day trips to areas outside the Greve and Florence region, and they were able to purchase tickets for us to some of the sites we wanted to see in Florence. We felt the prices we paid for the rooms and for the drivers were very reasonable.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay here again in a heartbeat. All eight of us would.
Things to do in this area
I don't know that there is enough time in a lifetime to see and do all of the interesting things in this region; there certainly wasn't enough time in the week we were there! The food was good or excellent just about every place we ate. We immediately LOVED the gelato and would have felt deprived if we had gone a day without it (which I don't believe we ever did!). It was a fantastic trip, and one none of us will ever forget -- thanks in large part to the Marasco family, Castello di Lamole, and the graciousness of the many people in the region that we had a chance to meet. Don't put this trip off another day!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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