Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1912: Castello di Lamole, L'Ovile
apartments on an estate in Lamole, near Greve, Tuscany Chianti
Nov 4 - 12, 2005, 8 nights
The location of my villa rental was in the heart of the Chianti region of Tuscany. It is on a hill top looking down on the town of Greve (the nearest town - 6 Km). The place was magnifico. I did not know what to expect prior to arrival, but I almost started to cry from excitement when I began the drive up the steep winding road from Greve, passing other wine estates and vinyards, then pulling into the drive way of a 12th century stone "fortress" that sits sort-of on a cliff.
The place is, and looks, very old and typical of what you see in books and calenders of Tuscany. It is surrounded by steep hillsides of vineyards, olive groves, and some thick woods. It is very quiet with beautiful views of other villas and estates on adjacent hills also surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and patches of dense woods. Truly a place of poetic visions!
There was a restaurant on the grounds of the estate which was also incredible. Very quaint and the food was excellant - very original Tuscan fare (wild game, domestic meats, pastas, cheeses, etc.). The owner (Mr. Marasco) will sing to you and play the guitar while you dine. Incredible voice! Will make you cry.
There is a little store/office on the side of the place where the owner sells wine, olive oil, and honey that is produced there. Groceries and anything else can be purchased in the town of Greve, where there are plenty of enotecas, trattorias, and ristorantes.
Also there is a beautiful piazza (square) in the middle of Greve. Each Saturday morning the mercato (market) is held there. You can buy everything from fresh seafood, meats, cheeses and vegetables, to clothes (leather goods) and plants. Try a porchetta sandwich from one of the vendors. It is a perfectly cooked and seasoned pig lying out on a cutting board. They shave off meat and put it on a nice roll. Sort of like our version of a classic pulled pork sandwich without BBQ sauce. I instantly became addicted to the bastards!!!
The place was from around the 12th century, and is made entirely of stone. Check out the website and read about its history. The apartment we rented (L'Ovile) was separate from the estate (by 10 ft - the driveway). There was a common stone patio that connected our apartment with the place. This patio overlooked the garden, a vinyard, woods, and a small pool. All of the other apartments (7 or 8) were connected to the place with outside hallways (check the website pictures).
Note: Our apartment had a separate little grass "patio/overlook" that was surround by a steep stone wall. Next to this, was a stone stairway that led down to the pool, woods, garden and vinyard. Next to the stairs was the previously mentioned common patio.
The sitting area is the aforementioned common patio. The only apartment with a private sitting area was L'Ovile. One of the many impressive things with this place was the following: seeing the chefs of the restaurant going into the garden on the hillside each day before dinner hours. Carrying a wicker basket, they would pick fresh herbs and vegetables. I walked with them one time just to see what they were picking for the dinners that evening, all the while sipping a glass of Chianti while i walked. The could not speak English, but I knew what they were doing and what they were picking.
The furniture was fine. The sofa pulled out into a double bed. The fireplace was key and romantic. The kitchen was perfect.
The bedroom was very spacious. One big closet and a dresser. The bed was a queen and very comfortable. The bathroom was spacious. The shower had an "endless" supply of hot water with sufficient water pressure. The place was very clean.
We used the kitchen a lot to cook snacks and/or hors d'oeuvres. We would enjoy these with the wines we purchased throughout the day. We also cooked breakfast before heading out for the day. The place provided coffee and continental breakfast each day in the little restaurant, but we had more fun making our own breakfast each morning while we sipped our espresso or cappucino, contemplating where we would go for the day.
Problems or Bonuses
There was nothing I could complain about. I loved the place! It was completely relaxing, compared to what it's like visiting a city atmosphere. It is a stress free environment. No noise or traffic. It's a good place to spend a week to re-charge your batteries to take on life back in the States!
BY THE WAY - A HUGE BONUS: down the hill from the place - about 200 yards around the first bend, there is a small stream that cascades down a wooded hillside and under a stone bridge. Next to the stream there is a small stainless steel spigot that spills out natural spring water that is DRINKABLE (potable). We would fill up our used water bottles each day with this water. It is crystal clear and tastes as good as Evian of Fuji water.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked on-line with the owners. They spoke enough English to make you feel very comfortable. The price was well worth it - trust me. Very classy people.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Well here is the part of the review where I have to be very honest. When we first arrived I fell in love with the place. After a week-long stay we were depressed to leave. When we returned to the States, we vowed to keep the place a secret. It was our own little discovery. Everyone asked about our trip to the Tuscan country side - since our friends want to do the same. We told them eveything about it, except where it was located. We still keep in touch now and then with the owners via e-mail. After ahwile I realized that since I have no idea how long I will be alive on this earth, I owe it to the Marasco family to let everyone in the States know about their place. God Bless the Marasco's and their utopia of peace and tranquility! WE PLAN ON GOING BACK IN MAY - ONLY FIVE MONTHS FROM WHEN WE WERE THERE - THAT'S HOW MUCH WE ENJOYED IT!!!
Things to do in this area
We also rented vespa scooters in the town of Greve. Very cheap rentals, and the best and most fun way to get around to the other small towns in Chianti (Radda, Castellina, Gaiola, Badia y Coltibuono). Riding a scooter is very safe and easy in the countryside. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOING THIS. I forgot the name of the rental place, but it is down around the corner from a gas station which is on the main road in Greve (if you can't find it, ask around and people will help you find it). The two guys who run the place speak pretty good English and are very friendly. Marco and Guido are their names - GOODFELLAS!!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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