Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2043: Pie di Costa, Ginestra
5 apartments on an estate in Montaione, near Florence, Tuscany Chianti
April 2006, One week
Pie di Costa is right outside the hill town of Montaione, about 20 km northwest of San Gimignano. It is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves and offers some beautiful views. I recommend looking at its website because the photos you see there accurately show the property and it contains a lot of good information.
While you could walk to Montaione, you would have to climb a very steep hill on a narrow, twisting road. We didn't even consider it. Montaione has restaurants, bars, a grocery store, and ATMS. The choice isn't wide, but it's sufficient. We ate at three of the restaurants in Montaione and can recommend Carpe Diem.
Pie di Costa is a renovated farmhouse. There are five apartments. Two sleep two people; one can sleep five and the rest four. The building is in very good shape and the conversion to apartments was done thoughtfully with good quality materials. Because all the apartments have tile floors, there is some noise for the apartments on the ground floor, but nothing we were disturbed by.
The grounds are well tended, with plantings and a nice pool area with loungers. Each apartment has an outdoor dining area and there are grills that all the apartments share.
The apartment we were in and the apartment our friends had were both well but simply appointed and comfortable. Everything was in good shape, and the apartments were very clean. Our apartment, Ginestra, had a sitting area with couch and hutch and a kitchen with table and chairs. My only desire was for more than one lamp in the sitting area and a light over the stove/food preparation area in the kitchen.
The bed (double) was very comfortable. The bedroom was furnished with bed, armoire, nightstands, and reading lights. It was simply but nicely done. Extra blankets were furnished in the armoire. There was one good-sized, attractively tiled bathroom with shower, toilet, and bidet. The shower leaked a bit on the floor and was small but still adequate to our needs. No soap is furnished so bring a couple bars. One roll of toilet paper is furnished.
The kitchen is completely usable. There are plenty of pots and pans and dishes, everything of good quality. You could easily cook a full meal. We didn't do a lot of cooking, but we hope to return with our children and we definitely plan on fully utilizing the kitchen then. There was only one dish towel and no paper towels, although it was easy enough to buy paper towels in Montaione at the grocery store. The cleaning supplies in the kitchen are, I believe, what have been left by prior guests.
Problems or Bonuses
The website is detailed with lots of pictures so we weren't surprised by much. The "reception" is in a separate building past the pool; we had a little trouble finding it. The washing machine has no directions in English and isn't easy to figure out, but we asked for help and got it.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owner, Filippo, speaks English very well and is charming and accomodating. (He is also very responsive to e-mail messages.) There were very few changes from the information on the website and the photos accurately reflected the facilities. The website gives complete rate information. We paid 435 euros for the week.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would absolutely stay here again. We hope to return with our children in the next year or two. One note: traveling to Siena, Volterra, and San Gimignano was very easy and the drives beautiful; driving to Florence by the most direct route was not scenic, and when you hit the outskirts of Florence by any route (we tried two) there is lots of traffic, very poor signage and scarce parking. I would recommend that people consider driving to a train station (you can also take a bus to the train from Montaione) and taking the train in and out of Florence.
Things to do in this area
We liked restaurant Carpe Diem. We spent most of our time visiting other places.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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