Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2060: Italian Vacation Villas, Il Fiocco
2bed/2bath house near Lecchi, Tuscany Chianti
September 2004, 1 week
Il Fiocco is on the outskirts of a very small hamlet, San Sano. Il Fiocco overlooks an undeveloped valley tucked off the unbeaten path in Chiantishire. The hamlet of San Sano is just that - a hamlet with a small hotel, a small restaurant, and an even smaller store/cafe. Altogether, the ambience is quiet and isolated. Il Fiocco itself is on the outskirts of this collection of rehabbed stone houses and has a quiet rural feel to it. We did not notice the neighbors to one side of us at all, even though the next door property was occupied the entire time we were there.
There was a very nice restaurant less than a five minute walk from the house. The restaurant was open for lunch and dinner. We ate there for dinner one night. Like many places in Tuscany, it featured wood-roasted meats, which were quite well prepared. Adjoining the restaurant was a very small cafe/store where you could get an espresso or capuccino for breakfast or pick up some milk or vegetables. We did not go into the small hotel that was across the street from the Il Fiocco property, but it looked like it was well-occupied and that people dined there as well.
The two bedroom house is old, but well-modernised and well-cared for. On the main living level, there is a living room, dinining room with a fireplace. There was also another sitting room as you entered the house. All of these rooms were smallish, but comfortable, with "anitque-type" furnishings. The main level also had a master bedroom and bath, as well as the smallish kitchen. Upstairs there was a second bedroom and bath, which we did not use. It, too, was on the small side.
Outside, off the kitchen at the rear of the house, there was a small veranda with one of the ubiquitous white plastic picnic table and chairs arrangement found all over Italy (and the US). This veranda overlooked the valley below and a hilltown some several miles away, as well as the brand new pool and some grapevines that were being resurrected in 2004. At the front of the house, there is a tile covered loggia with attractive rattan-type seating that was a nice place to chill out and read a book. It looked out toward town, but since Il Fiocco is set back from the road a bit and downhill from the little traveled road through town, it was quite peaceful.
While Italian Vacation Villas is the agent in the US (Martin Wenick in DC is great to work with), a youngish family, Massimo and his wife and small daughter own the proerty and are quite active in managing it. Massimo meets you with the keys and the explanation on operations at the house. He is charming and friendly; between his limited English, and our even more limited Italian, we worked out all of the logistics regarding water, pool, stove, and washer, and of course, the security deposit.
The house reflects Massimo and family's attention and care. Stuff is oldish/antique-like but workable. The place was immaculate. Since there were only two of us staying there, it was amply furnished for my wife and me. It could probably tolerate four adults or two adults and several children, but not anymore than that. It's really best suited for two people, although four very friendly people could survive.
Beds and baths were comfortable and attractive, if small. We rarely used the upstairs bath, but the main level bath was fine. Just remember that large people generally do not fit into Italian showers.
We cooked a lot at the house, as we have done at every house we have rented in Europe. That's one of the great things about staying at house, shopping for and cooking your own meals. Things, again, are small but serviceable. The stove worked, the refrigerator worked, and the water ran when we had to wash the dishes. There's also an outside grill pit that we used to cook up some great pork chops and sausage and Toscano steaks.
Problems or Bonuses
The good surprise was the new pool. It was brand new in 2004 (in fact, the landscaping was not yet finshed). The only negative was the water treatment system that surprised us the second night we were there. It was situated under the main bedroom, and it came on in the middle of the second night we were there. Although Massimo had spent 30 minutes explaining all of the systems in the house, he neglected to even point this system out to us, so when it went on (loudly) at 2 am, we had no idea what it was and why it was doing what it did. It went on at least one more time while we were actually in the house. We assumed that we were doing something wrong to make it go on and told Massimo about it when we checked out. He told us it was working fine.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We highly recommend Italian Vacation Villas. Martin is great. He's located in Washington, DC, and is very helpful in giving the straight scoop on properties he represents.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, with the qualification that it is small and pretty far away from everything, which is what we wanted. My wife did not like the notes taped to walls in various locations, reminding you of what could or could not be done with the bathroom facilities or kitchen facilities.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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