Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2217: Owner, Casina di Rosa
1bed/1bath house in Civitella Marittima, Tuscany West
May 13 to May 20, 2006, 1 week
Casina di Rosa sits just on the edge of the center of the hilltop village of Civitella Marittima in southern Tuscany, just 35 minutes south of Siena. The house itself sits at the intersection of two streets, but motorized traffic is rare, though foot traffic more common and it was always a pleasure to greet passers-by, if we happened to be sitting out on the little terrace. It is in a residential neighborhood, with an approximate two minute walk up to the center of town and the "business area." There are lovely town and countryside views (particularly from the bedroom window)and the glow of the rising morning sun on the surrounding buildings, with the swallows circling overhead is not to be missed. Civitella itself, is perfectly located for day trips to a myriad of Central and Southern Tuscany sites and has quick and easy access to the main north-south highway in the area.
Civitella itself is tiny, but offers all the essentials if one finds themselves in need. As previously noted, the center of town is a quick walk up the hill from the house and there, one will find two bakeries (essential visits in the morning), a small grocery, a variety store, a florist/gift shop and a clothing store. There is also a post office, bar and a great restaurant, Locanda nel Cassero.
For our "big" grocery shop on the day that we arrived, we went to one of the large grocery stores in Paganico (of which there are two), a short drive south from Civitella.
Internet access is located in the library in the town of Rocastrada, a lovely, approximate 20 minute drive to the west of Civitella. The library is located in one corner of the city hall and has two computers available for public use.
Casina di Rosa is a charming, small, free standing house, that has been in the owners family for generations. It sits atop a garage that is not part of the house. (We were never bothered by any noise coming from the garage and in fact never even heard or saw any comings or goings!) The house is entered from the street by a staircase that leads to a lovely little logia, with the door to the house on the right. You enter the house into the hallway, with the kitchen directly ahead and a small laundry room to the right. As you go left down the hallway, the bedroom is the first door on your right, then the sitting room, the next door on your right. The bathroom is at the end of the hall. There are windows in every room and all have lace curtains and wooden shutters to provide privacy. Though the setting is in town, aside from the occasional car or motorcycle passing by, it is quite quiet. One afternoon when we arrived "home" we found several families in the neighborhood, gathered at the street corners chatting and laughing with the children playing together in the street. This was the kind of "noise" that we loved; the pulse of life in the town.
There is a lovely, small logia as noted, with two chairs, suitable for sitting and watching life go by. There are vines growing on the walls and potted flowers and plants to enhance the logia.
The furnishings are wonderful, a mixture of old and newer, all in excellent shape and exactly in character with the house. The house is perfectly suited for two people, with an eat in kitchen with three chairs and two comfortable love seats in the sitting room. The house is spotless.
There is just the one bedroom and it has a large bed, wardrobe, chest and dresser, providing plenty of storage area. We stored our empty suitcases under the bed. There are night tables by each side of the bed and lights for reading. The bed was very comfortable and there were plenty of extra blankets if needed.
The bathroom was small, but very nice and completely updated, with a shower and even a bidet.
The kitchen was generously sized and very adequate for cooking meals. It is very well appointed with pots, pans, utensils and dishes and with staples such as salt, pepper, spices and paper and cloth towels. We ate every breakfast in (after a visit to the bakeries) and some lunches. We ate at home only two times for dinner as we very much enjoyed eating at the Locanda nel Cassero in town and also had a very good dinner at the restaurant about 1 km out of town.
Problems or Bonuses
The good "surprises" we had already gotten wind of by reading the reviews on this website, but they were still so very nice to experience!
We arrived at the house escorted by our wonderful hosts, Gloria and Marcel, to find a gift basket set up on the kitchen table, with wine, pasta and sauce, a meal ready to put together! A fresh bottle of delicately hued (and delicious!) olive oil from Gloria's fathers olives awaited our taste buds.
The dresser in the bedroom displayed a vase of beautiful, fragrant, fresh flowers that lasted the whole week of our stay. The sitting room was well stocked with guidebooks and recreational reading. The materials given to us by Gloria and Marcel included detailed instructions as to the layout and location of all the businesses in Civitella, recommendations for restaurants and ideas for outings and activities. We also opted to rent the cell phone that was offered and found it very convenient to have. The moms even got calls on Mother's Day!
I have to say that we definitely did not have any bad "surprises." The only VERY (strong emphasis on the very) slight disappointment was that the building to the north was being refurbished, so the view was slightly tarnished by construction materials and scaffolding...so minor and of course, temporary.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Where to begin?? Business first. The house was a very nice value and it was so wonderful to have such a well located and well appointed home base for the week. Casina di Rosa has a very well constructed website and the house lived up to every expectation that we had after reading the reviews here at Slow Travel and visiting the website. Booking directly with Gloria using Paypal was simple and efficient. Communication during the reservation process and prior to our arrival was warm and expedient. We so looked forward to meeting our hosts.
Our hosts! Gloria and Marcel embody the open heartedness and kindness that renew your faith and assurance that we all are in fact, members of the global human family. You are warmly welcomed and realize immediately that you do indeed already have friends in Italy. Gloria (Italian) and Marcel (Canadian) both speak excellent English. They answered all of our questions and assured us that we could call at any time with any further questions or concerns. It is obvious that they greatly enjoy meeting their guests and as guests, we could not ask for more.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We absolutely and highly, recommend staying at Casina di Rosa. We do indeed hope to return in the future, hopefully for a longer stay.
Things to do in this area
As mentioned previously there are a myriad of things to do and places to visit within easy day trip distance of Civitella. We visited San Galgano, Montalcino, Petriolo and Saturnia hot springs, Pitgliano, Siena and spent a day learning about the growing of olives, production of olive oil and a degustation, all followed by an amazing lunch with our hosts for the day, Carlo and Giovanna. Our only regret is that we didn't have longer as the possibilites are endless.
We thoroughly enjoyed Locanda nel Cassero, the great restaurant in town. Not only was the food delicious, but the atmosphere was wonderful. We also enjoyed the knowing smile we received from the young woman serving us, as we returned for our second and third nights! We also want to recommend the restaurant on the edge of town (I'm sorry I don't remember the name)as we had a great meal there, order taken, cooked and served all by a very pleasant gentleman.
This is a spectacular and (apparently) less visited area of Tuscany. We loved the fact of fewer tourists (realizing that's what we were!)and the openness of the countryside and friendliness of the people. This area and Casina di Rosa are not to be missed.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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