Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2139: Owner, Villa La Massa
1bed/1bath apartment near Strada in Casentino, Tuscany East
May 13 to June 03, 2006, 3 weeks
My husband and I have just returned from a wonderful three week vacation in Tuscany. This was our first trip to Tuscany and our priority was to find a vacation rental which provided a perfect mix of peaceful ambience for rest and relaxation times as well as being located in an area with a good choice of interesting day trips for exploration times. We found the perfect place at Villa La Massa near the small village of Vertelli in the Casentino Valley, a little more than an hour’s drive south east of Florence.
Our priority when we were doing our Tuscan research was to find a place where we would be happy staying for our entire three-week vacation as we were not keen on packing up and moving to different locations in Tuscany. We also preferred to stay somewhere much less touristy than, for instance, Chianti but at the same time we wanted to be able to make day trips to some of the more touristed areas. Before we booked La Massa we spent a fair bit of time researching the Casentino Valley.
Villa La Massa is, in our minds, a very special place. It exceeded our expectations in so many ways and we can highly recommend staying there without hesitation. La Massa is owned by Peter Gosmore and Danieli Dei, two of the most hospitable and lovely people you could ever have as hosts. Peter and Danieli live at La Massa and have created a beautiful self-contained guest suite attached to their home. The accommodation is immaculate, spacious, modern, private and lovingly cared for. The guest suite includes a well equipped kitchen with very modern appliances, a good supply of dishes, glasses and cooking utensils; a large bathroom with a good shower and towels are replaced every 2-3 days; a lovely bedroom with a very comfortable bed, a large closet as well as a large dresser and nightables with reading lamps. The living area is equipped with sofa, chairs, TV, VCR and fireplace, and the comfortable dining area has wonderful views. The whole place is bright and airy due to the many windows and doors that open to the outside.
The exterior of the villa is exceptional as well. There is a lovely swimming pool (which you share with the owners)deck chairs, sun umbrellas, terraces, dozens of beautiful flower pots and tile walkways all kept in immaculate condition by the owners. There is nothing around to spoil the beautiful views and the whole situation is one of utter peace and tranquility.
Peter and Danieli also own a Bed and Breakfast in Florence so they have a great deal of experience with hosting guests and they strive to make your stay special by providing a high level of support both before and during your visit. The rate for a week at La Massa is, I believe, approximately 650 Euros. We paid a little less as we stayed for three weeks. A rental car is highly recommended.
The Strada in Casentino is the closest market town to La Massa, about a 10 minute drive. It has a good alimentari (small grocery store), a delicious bakery, fruit stores and other shops. Sitting on a hill above the Strada you will find the 11th century Castel San Niccolo with its unique Watch Tower. I highly recommend you have lunch or dinner at the Al Vecchio Teatro La Florentina in the Strada. We enjoyed good meals here several times and Hugo, who is one of the owners, speaks Italian, Spanish and English and is very hospitable and does his best to ensure your dining experience is very enjoyable.
There are many other good restaurants in the area. Peter and Danieli have compiled a wonderful booklet of places to eat and places to visit that they leave for your reference in the suite, along with several tourist pamphlets and guide books.
The Casentino Valley is a very special place, considered by many guide books to be one of the most beautiful valleys of Tuscany, and here you will find endless opportunities for discovery. There is wealth of places to explore as short day trips from La Massa.
Places further afield are also very accessible from La Massa on full day trips.
I hope you have the opportunity to stay at La Massa, I know you will like it as much as we did. Book early to avoid disappointment.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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