Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2081: Il Rosolaccio, Ginestra
apartments on farm near San Gimignano, Tuscany West
March 30, 2006, 3 nights
Il Rosolaccio is located halfway between Certaldo and San Gimignano. It is in the countryside and sits high up on a hill. It was once a humble farm home in very bad disrepair and was purchased by the present owner about ten years ago and renovated into the present day Il Rosolaccio. The structure is composed of a main building which houses several apartments of different sizes as well as a restaurant and business office, and laundry. There is another structure close by which also has two apartments. The property is surrounded by vineyards. The apartment we rented for three nights is Ginestra located on the first floor of the main building (American 2nd floor). We chose to stay in this area after our four days in Pienza in order to visit nearby Siena, Chianti, and San Gimignano. We chose this particular rental after reading some reviews on Trip Advisor and looking at the photos on Toskana.net and Tuscany.net. All of our other accomodations over our 18 day visit were in town so we wanted to stay a few days in the countryside.
You could not walk to any nearby shops, etc. This is in the countryside with the nearest grocery store in Certaldo, about 10 minute drive or so. The Coop in Certaldo is wonderful! We did walk a dirt road just for curiosity through the vineyards to see if we could catch a glimpse of San Gimignano but we came upon a large crew of workers busy in the vineyard and turned back, we really were not sure if we might be trespassing.
I am not sure about the original date of the structure. The owner's cousin explained that it had been a humble farm home, even though it was quite large. It was never a "villa." The area is certainly peaceful and quiet. There are several cats who live a good life here and kept my daughter entertained when we were outdoors on the patio. The websites I mentioned have very nice photographs of the property, exterior and interior, which are very accurate. We were there in the early spring. It had warmed up in the daytime, but the evenings still required a coat ofcourse and sometimes in the afternoon if the wind came up it could be quite chilly up on the hill sitting outdoors. Apartment Layout- Entering the apartment is the livingroom/greatroom area with sofa and a few chairs and television. The kitchen and dining area share the same large space as well. There is a huge fireplace in this roomthat we had looked forward to using in the evenings but I think the owner expressed to my husband that it was not working? There are two windows in this room that have very lovely views over the countryside, vineyards and villas. There are two huge bedrooms and one bathroom. As mentioned there is a restaurant that serves breakfast and evening meals. I believe further information can be obtained on the website about meals. We did not eat in the restaurant.
Yes there is a patio that surrounds much of the exterior of the main building that is for everyone's use but we had it to ourselves exclusively. We brought our coffee pot down to the table and chairs in the morning and our bottle of wine down in the early evening. The cities in the distance are lit up in the evening from this vantage point on the hill and quite pretty. There is a pool which opens in warm weather. I looked at the guest book and it seems a very popular place with families during the summer with visitors from all over. The pool area is between the parking area and the apartments along a path that connects each to each other.
The furniture was very nice, very charming and elegant. The apartment appeared to be well kept and clean.
My husband had no trouble sleeping but I really missed my mattress back home as this bed was very hard, and hard for me to get comfortable. The bedrooms are decorated very nicely, with original art on the walls, beautifully framed. The room my daughters slept in (2 twins) was very pretty; they loved it. My oldest daughter especially liked the artwork. They slept fine in their beds. There are nice windows in the bedrooms with screens and interior shutters. The bathroom was fine, ample sized shower, plenty of towels, place to plug in hairdryer.
The kitchen needs a few improvements. This was the largest apartment we stayed in during our visit in Italy and had higher expectations for the kitchen. There was plenty of counterspace (good point) but only one electric outlet for the electric coffeemaker, toaster, and lamp that had to be brought in from the bedroom to have enough light to cook with. We were somewhat surprised that the kitchen was not better appointed with a better variety of pots and pans, etc. There were 2-3 coffeepots, and plenty of plates, cups, glasses, cutlery etc. The refrigerator was under the counter. There is no dishwasher or oven (gas cooktop). I can't remember for sure, but I don't think there was a microwave. We got by easily without the dishwasher and oven and microwave, but we really missed a good assortment of cooking pots and pans and an extra light source. Never mind, my husband cooked three delicious meals while we were there that rivaled many of the meals we ate in local restaurants.
Problems or Bonuses
I can't say that there were any surprises to speak of. I mentioned the kitchen above, and that is about it. I was a little surprised how steep the drive is from the main road but by the third day I became accustomed to it. I am just glad I wasn't driving.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly with the owner. The owner's cousin, Inga who is a delightful lady, checked us in to our apartment. She showed us around and gave us directions and information about the surrounding area. Inga, who is German, speaks excellent English. We paid our rent 120 euro/night in cash only. We did reserve the apartment by telephone with a credit card.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, I would stay here again. I imagine in the summer when the pool is open would be very nice!
Things to do in this area
We were here for three nights before heading over to Lucca. We visited San Gimignano, Siena, Castellina in Chianti, Certaldo, and drove through the countryside around Pancole. We loved Siena the most, lots of fun. Very interesting art collection on tour at Santa Maria della Scala, "Siena and Roma." Very impressive works by Raffaello, Caravaggio (my daughter's favorite artist), and many others. Castellina was a long and winding road, we came from Certaldo, would not do that again. Loved the gelato there! San Gimignano did not have the atmosphere I had expected, we preferred Siena. We spent Saturday morning in Certaldo, which was fun as we were the only tourists there. The Coop in Certaldo had everything and more you could dream of. I would have liked to have shopped there everyday!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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