Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2198: Owner, Residenza al Fillungo
Large studio apartment in Lucca, Tuscany North
June 2006, 3 weeks
The apartment was located inside the walls of Lucca on via Fillungo. It's on the third floor of an old building. The location was perfect for me as it was only a three minute walk to Koinč, the language school I was attending.
I walked everywhere and only went outside the walls three times during my three week stay. Since this is the central area, there are many restaurants, bars and small food shops in the area.
The apartment is located in a 15th century "palace" and the apartment was quite nice and bigger than I expected even knowing the size and having seen the photos on the website. It was clean and spacious with very tall ceilings. It's a studio apartment with one large room and a bathroom. The bathroom is divided into two separate areas. The shower, toilet and bidet are behind a large windowed door. The sink is in the larger main part of the bathroom. Also, there is a large closet for clothes and linen storage. The shower worked well and if you're tall you'll love it.
Within the main apartment, there are two twin beds, a small sofa and various tables. The kitchenette was stocked with dishes, pots/pans and utensils. There is a small refrigerator under the counter and a dishwasher.
The building is three stories. The owner lives in a separate apartment on the third floor with a locked adjoining door between the two apartments. There seems to be a business on the second floor. I couldn't tell if the first floor was a business or residence. There are no other rentals.
The apartment doesn't have a balcony or outside area.
The furnishings were in great place and the apartment was very clean. There is a small CD player/cassette player/radio, as well as a small color TV with both digital and analog channels. No more than two people are allowed to stay in the apartment, but you could seat up to six people if you were having a gathering.
Valerio (the owner) had an employee that came in every two to three days to clean, empty the garbage and replenish. He changed the sheets at the midpoint of my stay.
It was very hot during the second two weeks of my stay, and there is a fan in the apartment which was very useful as there is no AC.
The beds are firm. I found the bed comfortable, as I normally sleep on a futon. However, I didn't like the hard pillow and never did get used to it (at home I use feather pillows). But, this is really a matter of personal preference.
The kitchen was extremely usable for simple meals. I didn't use it the first two weeks other than to make my coffee each morning using the small Bialetti. However, the third week I cooked pasta a few times (using pesto sauce purchased at a local shop) and for that it was fine. The gas stove has four burners but there is no oven (the dishwasher is underneath the stove). There is also a microwave and toaster.
A self-catering Italian style breakfast is included. There was an assortment of breads (for toast) and cereal available along with coffee (or tea), butter, jams/honey, milk, juice and water. They kept me in water and cornetto (my choice of breakfast) during my stay.
Problems or Bonuses
I was surprised that they did my laundry for me. I wasn't expecting it. There is no mention of this on the website so I don't know if they only did it because of the length of time I was staying. Most people only stay for a week or a few days.
Valerio has created a nice book with lists of restaurants and shops by types. These are the same restaurants he frequents. He also made a book on the history of the building. Plus there is a stack of brochures for various attractions in the area.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I booked directly through Valerio. He is very nice and he does speak English. Several times I asked him questions related to Lucca (and not the apartment) by email before I left the US and he always answered. Also, I had sent him an email to let him know my approximate time of arrival and mentioned I hadn't fully decided which train route to take and he sent me back a very detailed email explaining my options including the times.
I paid 1390 Euros for slightly less than three weeks (19 days) for one person. The price is based on number of people and length of time. This was for the last three weeks of June. He gave me a bit of a discount of the length of time.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I definitely recommend this apartment. I booked it based on the single review (the only one I found on the internet) here on Slow Travel and the pictures on the website. I used my credit card on PayPal so I had some recourse, but even so, I was a bit nervous about sending so much money to someone I didn't know in another country (I paid the balance before I left the US).
Things to do in this area
Since I was attending school, I didn't do a lot, other than eat, go to school and walk. My favorite restaurant was Vinarkėa della Pavona on via Fillungo. The proprietor was from Rome (her husband is Lucchese). Some of the people in the shops and restaurants didn't want to deal with foreigners attempting to use their Italian, but she was very nice and talked to me in Italian and also remembered me when I returned each time. And the food was great. She even told me how to make one of the dishes I liked.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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