Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1953: Castello di Lamole, Apartment
apartments on an estate in Lamole, near Greve, Tuscany Chianti
October 2005, 2 weeks
The Castello di Lamole is found in the hilly countryside just south of Florence, the most beautiful and relaxed environment for spending a few day or a few weeks. A year before our first stay at the Castello, we visited the tiny village of Lamole for an amazing lunch and the views of Chianti. We took photographs of the Castello, without any idea that it was a place to stay, because the building were so picturesque in the autumn background. Now we've returned to the Castello half a dozen times, and we become ever more fond of this special place.
Although you feel like the Castello is so removed from the (overly) busy city, it is amazing that just a quick walk up the hill will get you to a convenient little store, of course with greatest coffee and a fine selection of cheeses, wines, and whatever you might need. In the Castello is a small and fantastic restaurant! Down the hill by a short and beautiful drive is the town of Greve in Chianti, the an unofficial capital of the Chianti region, with great shopping. Great shopping was also found in the little town of Panzano, which was just as quick and easy a drive.
The Castello's origins are nearly 1000 years old, and it played an important role as a fortification between the armies of Florence and Siena. The Marasco family is so very nice and welcoming, and they are very proud of their efforts to restore the Castello and share the story of its past. We were so interested to learn that the first apartment where stayed dated from the 1200s, and like all the accommodations was prepared in the beautiful, simple, and very comfortable way that characterizes the Chianti style.
We've stayed in five of the Castello's apartments, and this past year our family and friends joined us by staying in two other apartments. So, I believe we've seen them all and think they are all very charming. The apartments range in size, and our last stay was in a two bedroom, two bath, two kitchen apartment with more than enough room for four adults and a two-year old who loved all the space for running around.
All of the apartments have really nice outside sitting areas, with quite beautiful views. Our last stay included a couple of balconies, particularly great for enjoying the afternoon sun. There is a nice pool, and even though we often go in the autumn months we have taken advantage of a couple quick swims.
The apartments are all very clean and nicely furnished, providing comfortable seating for everyone. On our last trip we were even able to entertain in our apartment, and we had a dinner party for nine people!
In all the apartments, everyone found the beds very comfortable despite quite a range of ages and individual preferences. The bathrooms are stylish and comfortable, and it is impressive that such accommodations can be so nicely retro-fit into the historic buildings.
We have particularly enjoyed cooking for ourselves, and the kitchens have been just great. We prepared our own dinners on about half of the nights of our stay. The little shop just up the hill was invaluable for when we needed a bit of butter or eggs, and it was such a treat to grocery shop in Greve or Panzano. It was also fun to step outside the door and quickly find huge rosemary bushes to add to the dishes. We had no problems cooking big dinners for ourselves plus our friends staying in other apartments, and we often had everyone over for breakfast.
Problems or Bonuses
The friendliness of the host family, the Marascos, is a big bonus to staying in the Castello, and is something we look forward to with each visit. We actually first lucked into staying at the Castello after a frustrating afternoon looking for a hotel in Florence that would be clean, even a little peaceful, and not terribly expensive. I clearly remember thinking how great it was during the first quite evenings at the Castello, in the beautiful countryside, at half the cost of a Florence hotel, and the ease of fun day-trips to Florence, Siena, and also all the other Chianti sites.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We've always dealt directly with the owners of the Castello, where the interactions have always been great.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Very enthusiastically, yes! We have stayed there repeatedly and brought our friends and family to join us.
Things to do in this area
There is no question that the local area is full of great things to do, and the Castello provides a very central base for exploring all of Chianti. Great restaurants are everywhere. But! the Castello has recently opened its own small and terrific restaurant, the "Aia dei Canti". The Marasco family greatly values the traditions of Tuscany, and this is reflected in the high quality of the dishes and all the Castello's products.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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