Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2091: Owner, Reniella Agriturismo
2bed/2bath apartment on an estate near Montefollonico, Tuscany South
November 2005, 3 nights
Reniella Agriturismo is located just outside the small town of Montefollonico. This is a small (42 acre) organic farm producing wine, olive oil and honey. The farm is run by Bob and Elfride, a charming couple from England. The apartment is part of the main building on the property, but is completely isolated and private. This is the only rental on the property; we loved the peace and quiet.
It is a 10 to 15 minute walk to the lovely hill town of Montefollonico. Unfortunately, it is uphill all the way, but makes rationalizing a stop for dessert easy! We noticed at least two restaraunts in town, but did most of our cooking at the apartment. There are two small but well stocked grocery stores in town, and we had a great time trying various meats, cheeses, and other local delicacies. The trofie (pasta) and pesto was outstanding; either store will serve you well.
The apartment was in excellent condition. Bob and Elfride have done a fantastic job in renovating the building to modern standards, using lots of tile, brick, stone and wood. The entrance of the apartment leads to the two bedrooms and one bathroom. Stairs lead downstairs to the other large bathroom, the living / lounge area, the full kitchen and the attached outside patio. All the rooms are large and spacious, with lots of windows for light.
The outside shaded patio was what drew me to this rental; it is fantastic. You can sit and look out across the valley to the distant hill town of Montepulciano, with nothing but the tinkling of sheep bells to disturb you. It is possible to hike to Montepulciano from the property; we didn't have time for this, but it looks like a great way to spend a day.
Guests are encouraged to explore the farm. There are pigs, sheep, cats, a dog, and more. We enjoyed wandering the property, sampling grapes, talking to the old caretaker, and just enjoying the countryside. My dad even got to offer his advice to Elfride on proper chain tension for the saw; try doing that at the Radisson!
The apartment and all furnishings were in excellent condition. We had four adults (two couples) staying here, and there was plenty of room to stretch out, or all sit together. The futon in the living room converts to a bed if needed. There was a nice selection of books left by previous visitors, and a CD player (you provide the music). Everything was clean and well cared for.
The beds were comfortable, with plenty of blankets. Both bathrooms were spacious, with plenty of hot water. The apartment uses radiant heat (hot water radiators) for climate control, which made great places to dry out clothes. There is no washer or dryer, however, Elfride washed and dryed a couple of loads for us for a nominal fee. One other heat related note: The only utility not included in the rental fee is gas usage. You'll figure out why when you get the bill; gas is expensive in Italy. Although the apartment uses a modern instantaneous hot water heater, pay attention to Elfride when she tells you to turn off the heat when you're not there.
The kitchen was great; large, well stocked, with plenty of light. We ate almost all of our meals here. We made big pots of espresso, toasted bread, cooked lots of pasta, steamed vegetables, etc. The only thing we missed was a drip-style coffee maker, but once we figured out the expresso maker we were in good shape.
Problems or Bonuses
The farm produces an excellent red wine. We enjoyed it so much we took extra bottles with us when we left for Rome. There were bottles of wine, olive oil and a jar of honey waiting for us upon arrival, a nice touch.
One bonus (not advertised) is the tractors they use for farm operation. They come in extremely handy when one of the guests (OK, me) backs off the road while trying to get a better picture of the farm (and almost loses the rental car down a 40 foot incline). Both Bob and Elfride took precious time out of their olive harvest to rescue us, and turned a potential disaster into a mere three hour delay. Many, many thanks.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We dealt directly with the owners. They were able to accommodate our short term stay requirement (3 nights) with no problem. We paid 100 Euros/night in November 2005.
Making the deposit was not as efficient as it could be. We obtained a cashiers check (in Euros) which we then express mailed (for timely) delivery. When the farm cashed the check, they were also charged a fee. So...it cost us almost 60 euros to send a 100 Euro deposit. To be fair, we did not inquire about other methods of payment. It would be helpful to have the option of a bank transfer; we have utilized this method for other rentals with good results.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely. This was our first trip to Italy (we also visited Venice, the Cinque Terre region, and Rome). However, when I think of Italy, this is the first place that comes to mind. The peace and quiet, the gracious hosts, the fabulous apartment, the food, the wine, our entire party agreed this was the most relaxing part of our trip. We will be back; please have the tractor standing by :)
Things to do in this area
We did not do extensive traveling while staying here. This was our rest and relaxation stop. We did spend an enjoyable day in Pienza; there was a shop in town that made excellent porchetta sandwiches.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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