Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2138: InTuscany, Palazzo Costanti
2bed/2bath apartment in San Quirico d'Orcia, Tuscany South
May 2006, 1 week
This magnificent apartment was on the first floor of a Renaissance palazzo on the main street of San Quirico d'Orcia (SI), and was once the home of the palazzo's owners. As San Quirico d'Orcia is a small, walled town, there is not much traffic, even on the main street. There were other buildings adjoining on both sides, with several windows facing front. From our windows we could see two San Quirico landmarks: The Collegiata Church and the Palazzo Chigi.
From this apartment, you could walk everywhere in San Quirico. We soon found "our" bar (right around the corner); groceries were to be had just across the street. Our favorite San Quirico restaurant, Il Tinaio, was literally next door. (In fact we are pretty sure that it was once part of the same palazzo.) San Quirico is the perfect sized town (several choices of gelateria, for example, and one of the best gift shops I've had the pleasure of visiting).
The building is a restored 18th century residence and is in excellent shape. As to peaceful and quiet: The only noise was from church bells.
The apartment had two enormous bedrooms, each with its own bath. In between was a huge living room, a smaller salotto (still a very large room) with a TV and bookcases, and an enormous eat-in kitchen. The huge living room also had a dining room table.
No outside sitting area, but one could go around the corner to the Bar Centrale, or the beautiful park, Horti Leonini.
The furniture was in excellent shape, with many sofas, chairs, benches, tables, etc. The apartment was very clean.
Beds were very comfortable. Both bedrooms were huge (each with own bathroom, as above). The bedrooms, like the other rooms, had high, rounded frescoed ceilings. Amazing!
Bathrooms looked new and worked well. Good water pressure, working toilets, bidets, etc. Nice tile too.
The kitchen was huge and well equipped with pots, pans, dishes etc. There was a dishwasher and a clothes washer. Only thing missing was, oddly, wine glasses.
We would have enjoyed cooking had we wanted to cook. This was our second week of vacation, and during our first week we had been in a very beautiful but isolated area, and so had eaten in every night. So here we only grazed at night, when we had gone out for a big lunch. And as for lunch --- when it wasn't the main meal of the day, we enjoyed relaxing light lunches in one of the local caffès.
Problems or Bonuses
The size and elegance of the rooms were a great surprise. The apartment is described that way, but was even better. The first night, we had four people over for wine and snacks before dinner, and we only took up a small section of the living room!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency was very good to deal with beforehand. The price was quite reasonable, given the magnificence of the apartment: Euro 803 per week all year.
The onsite person, however, never showed up. He was a representative of the owner rather than the agency, and I was a bit surprised when I called him to say I was on my way and he had no idea we were coming. However, the apartment was ready, and he called a woman who lived in the building and she gave us the key and showed us around. He said he would come that evening, but never did.
This was really no inconvenience to us, just a surprise. I called the agency the day before we were due to leave, and they were surprised to hear about the no-show. They checked with the owner and it turned out that the owner and this representative had just that week parted ways. The owner apparently lives in Siena, and so his secretary called me to make sure all was ok. It was. Frankly, all this meant to us was that no one asked us for a security deposit, or for a cleaning payment. As the owner had screwed up, I didn't feel guilty.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay in this apartment again any time. I would recommend that my best friend stay there. San Quirico is a wonderful town, and we made it our own little home for a week. We felt like the lord and ladies of a manor. We would sit in our living room and read of an evening. Or scrounge around the kitchen and graze on the goodies we had bought at the various markets.
Things to do in this area
San Quirico is in the heart of the Val d'Orcia, and the scenery all over is breath taking. We had wonderful meals at Il Tinaio in town, at Latte di Luna in nearby Pienza, at I Poggioli in nearby Buonconvento, and at Il Conte Matto in Trequanda.
I visited two abbeys (Sant'Antimo and Monte Oliveto di Maggiore) and the Fortezza at Radicofani. Also nearby are Montalcino and its many wineries, and Montepulciano. A bit further, but not too far, is Siena.
The town itself is wonderful to spend time in. There are several great shops, bars, tabacchi, a great bakery.... all in easy walking distance.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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