Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2216: Owner, Lo Scopetaccio
2bed/1bath cottage near Sassofortino, Tuscany West
17 June to 24 June 2006, 1 week
Lo Scopetaccio is located just outside a small hill town called Sassofortino. It is not your "typical" Tuscan hill town as it is located on the side of a hill rather than on the top, as are many surrounding towns. However, this does not detract from it's charm and there are some sweeping views across the valley below. The area is very quiet and lush and the cottage is very private. There is another small house located above it but we could not see it and we never heard any noise from that direction. It is surrounded by trees, including several fruit trees (watch out for falling cherries in the driveway!), a large lawn and fields. It looks just like the photos on the website (no false advertising here).
Lo Scopetaccio is located outside the town, about two km so it is not impossible to walk to town. The town is small and everything is located on the main street. We had loaded up on groceries at the PAM super mercato in Grossetto (we arrived on a Saturday afternoon so didn't want to take any chances) and did not really need to replenish for the week we were there. We did walk into the shops in the town and they looked like they had everything we could need. There is also a small COOP market which has a limited selection of everything. The cafe, Il Glicine has everything you could need from a cafe along with a large outdoor seating area covered by the branches of one very large tree. There were a couple of restaurants in Sassofortino, but we got hooked on Franco's pizza and panna cotta at Pizzeria di Momo so we ended up eating there three times.
The house was renovated recently and was in very good shape. Very clean and everything worked. It was the only house on the property and so was very quiet.
The house has a very nice front porch and the garden is huge and surrounded by large trees (mostly chestnut?), so sitting outside, especially in the evening was very pleasant. There is a pool on a terrace below the house but we ended up not using it as it is heated by the sun and was still a little cool when we arrived. The garden is full of lizards, butterflys, birds, etc.
The house had all the necessary furnishings to accommodate up to four people.
Both bedrooms and the bathroom were downstairs and there is no outside access. The spiral stairs are narrow and steep and so someone who is large or has trouble navigating such things (young children and elderly) might find them to be a bit of a challenge. The bed in the "master" bedroom was very comfortable. We didn't use the other room but it looked like it would be great for a couple of kids. The bathroom was small but had everything you could need. The shower stall is a bit small, so the same comment about the stairs applies here. Again, everything was very clean and all the sheets, blankets and towels you could need were provided.
The kitchen was probably our favorite place inside the house. It is along one wall and there is a huge picture window in the middle through which you can see the garden outside. Everything you need to prepare a fantastic meal was there. Some food staples were provided, along with an assortment of things left behind by previous guests (appelstroop from the Dutchies). There is also a washer in the kitchen, but you will need to hang dry your clean laundry.
Problems or Bonuses
The surprise was that it seemed too good to be true! We also enjoyed the 6 km steep, narrow and windy road (with some 20% grade sections) to get to Sassofortino. We had a little manual Lancia and felt like we were rally racers!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Gloria, a friend of the owner, was our contact in making the reservations and she was FANTASTIC! We had hoped to meet her while we were there and not being able to do so was the only disappointment of our visit. Her English is perfect! Andrea, whose family owns the property speaks less English, but enough that there is no problem in checking in or calling with other questions (and so much better than our very pathetic attempts at Italian!). He is so nice; we wished we spoke Italian so that we could have gotten to know him better. He will do anything to make his guests comfortable.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would definitely recommend this rental to people we like who we know would appreciate it for the jewel that it is. The town is located a fair distance from some of the major tourist attractions in Tuscany (which is not a bad thing) so if a visitors main purpose is to visit as many of these places as possible (Firenze, Siena, Cortona, Pisa, etc.), this may not be the ideal location for them to stay. However, if visitors want to see how real Italian people conduct their daily lives, explore beautiful countryside and authentically charming hill towns, relax and get "off the beaten path", this is the place.
Things to do in this area
There is TONS to do in the area, and it is not all in the tour books (which makes it even better!). We did make the 2-hour-ish trek to Cortona and Lucca (saved Siena and Firenze for later) and really enjoyed those two towns, but realized there is a wealth to do in the immediate area. Some other things we enjoyed (based on previous guests suggestions) were hiking up to the old fort at the top of the hill (Sassoforto), walking the back roads to Roccatederighi, visiting the Parco Regionale della Maremma just south of Grossetto, visiting the Terme di Saturnia and driving around and through all the many hill towns in the area.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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