Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2054: Appartamenti al Poggiolo, Apartment
apartments in Montepulciano, Tuscany South
April 2006, 4 nights
The apartment is in an old building right in the middle of the town of Montepulciano, mid-way between the bottom of town and the top of the town. The owners have four apartments in one building, which they have been renting out for about four years, and four apartments in another building (the "Borgo" apartments), which they have been renting since they renovated the building two years ago. Our apartment was in the latter one.
There are many places to eat within a 10 minute walk. The apartments are located only a short block away from the main pedestrian street that runs from the bottom of town to the top.
We didn't cook while we were there so we didn't look for a grocery store. Montepulciano is a town of about 15,000 so I assume that there was a grocery store not too far away. The town is very hilly though so it might be a hike back with the groceries. You might want to drive, depending on the location and the volume of your purchases. Also, there is a bus that runs up the main pedestrian street in town, so this would be another option.
The apartment was recently renovated to very high standards. Beautiful windows and shutters; terracotta tile floors; modern fixtures and appliances; nicely decorated.
Since there are very few vehicles allowed in the town, there was no traffic noise. Occasionaly we heard loud pedestrians talking as they happily strolled down the street behind our apartment. This would only occur in the afternoon and early evening and the town became quite quiet at night. The bedrooms were always very quiet.
The "Borgo" apartments don't have a garden area (although the other four apartments do have access to a garden). There is a Romeo & Juliette balcony off of the living room, where we stood to watch people strolling down the street later in the day. (We also hung a few laundry items out to dry one day and felt oh so Italian!)
The furniture was in very good condition and the apartment was sparkling clean. The apartment "glowed" with it's yellow walls, wood trim and terracotta tile floors.
The master bendroom was comfortable and it had its own ensuite bathroom with a shower. There was another full, roomy bathroom with a shower stall and washing machine and drying rack. The bathrooms were fully up to date and nice.
The loft bedroom had two single beds on opposite sides of the "room". You had to duck while stepping up to each of the beds from the central area of the loft. The stairs to the loft were open so you could look up into the loft from the hall area, so it wasn't completely private. The loft bedroom is not appropriate for senior citizens or very young children. The opening overlooking the living/dining room area could be closed off with curtains for privacy from that area.
The kitchen was a long tiled counter area off to one side of the living/dining room. It contained a cook top, microwave, toaster, coffee maker, dishwasher and under-counter size fridge. While we didn't cook any meals there, the kitchen appeared adequately stocked for meals not requiring an oven.
Problems or Bonuses
The apartment was very nice and roomy. We had absolutely no problems and were very pleasantly surprised with the quality and cleanliness of the apartment.
An extra bonus....parking in the Tuscan hilltop villages can be rare and a challenge. These apartments include access to parking with their large gated garden area.
The biggest challenge relates to the town of Montepulciano itself. We loved the town, however the streets are VERY steep. This could pose a challenge for senior citizens or those that are very out of shape. The town is not suitable for those with mobility problems. Having said that, my fairly healthy 77 year old father came to love the town!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Okay, here is where I could wax on poetic about the incredibly wonderful landlords. Margherita, Georgio, Elena, Dominique and "Nonna" were all incredibly nice, welcoming, and excited to help. They are very proud of their apartments, and rightly so! When we arrived Margherita, Georgio and Elena all came over to show us the features of the apartment, how to turn on the heat, use the appliances, etc. They stayed to chat with us and make sure we were settled for almost an hour! I cannot say enough about this lovely, wonderful family. Over the course of the next few days, they would answer any questions I threw at them. They recommended restaurants and made reservations for us.
When I asked to peek in some of their other apartments, before you know it I had four tour guides again!
Normally they only rent out the apartments for a minimum of a week. We sent them an email asking if they would consider renting to us for less than a week. The agreed to rent to us for a minimum of four days, but only if we checked in on a Saturday and if we stayed in one of the "Borgo" apartments. Finding rentals right in a town for less than a week can be difficult. We really lucked out!
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Highly, highly recommended!! After viewing some of their other apartments I think ours was the nicest inside (although they were all nice), however the original four apartments have the added feature of the lovely garden area with wonderful views.
We enjoyed the double benefit of staying right in a Tuscan town, just walking distance to a selection of cafes, restaurants and other amenities, but having easy access to our rental car so that we could daytrip to see other villages.
We also liked the location only 30 minutes drive to Chiusi, where we could drop off our rental car and simply take the train into Rome (or you could have a simple train ride into Florence.)
Things to do in this area
Montepulciano is one of the larger Tuscan towns so there was plenty to see in the town itself and there were a fair number of restaurants and cafes to choose from each day. The day after we arrived there were medieval processions representing each of the "contrades" (i.e. neighbourhoods), including drummers and flag throwers. Each contrada has their own flag and colours which were displayed in their area of town.
Our favourite meal of the entire trip was at Osteria del L'Aquacheta, just down from the Piazza Grande. This restaurant is very atmospheric. You sit at group tables (we met a wonderful Italian/American couple) and enjoy wonderful Tuscan food. They have two sittings a night. The Fiorentina steaks were huge and looked wonderful!!) It's not fancy, but that is part of the charm. Reservations definitely required!
Beyond Montepulciano you could tour through the beautiful southern Tuscan countryside. We visited Pienza and San Quirico D'Orcia. Somehow, in the short time we were there, we never made it to Montalcino, Cortona, Monte Amiato area, Siena, etc., etc.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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