Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 228: Gli Aceri, Apartment
apartments in a villa on the outskirts, Florence
, 6 days
There are two apartments, located in a former Medici estate building. The location is Careggi, a suburb of Florence, just 5km from the center of town, and near Fiesole. The owners house adjoins, and both buidlings are surrounded by acres of vegetable gardens. The grounds of the estate itself are beautifully groomed, with lawns and shrubs screening the fields. It is extremely quiet and peacful, and yet the dome of the Duomo is visible in the distance.
There are no stores within a 15 minute walk, however a few minutes drive takes you to the local shops, and in particular the Grillo family's Alimentari. We discovered the Grillos on our first day, and visited them every day for an espresso, and to buy our wine, delicatessen supplies and have a chat. Roberta's uncles have separate businesses in Emilia-Romagna, producing Parma hams and cheeses, and the Grillos (Giuseppe and Emanuele) stock a great range. By the time we could park the car and walk in to their alimentari, they would have the coffees and biscotti on the counter waiting for us. Neighbouring shops supplied bread, fruit and vegetables and meats, and a bulk supermarket a reasonable range of commercial brands. Everything we needed was available in a couple of streets.
The apartments are located in a Medici building. The villa is located a couple of miles away, and the Nocentini property has been carved out of the original estate. The buildings have been beautifully resored, and are exrtremely well appointed. The ground floor apartment has two sets of double doors that open onto a paved area, and the pool is surrounded by lawns just 15 meters away. The upstairs apartment has a balcony that looks down on the garden and pool. We stayed in the larger ground floor apartment, and never heard any noise from upstairs. The apartments are all paved in tiles, with exposed beams and terracotta tile ceilings.
The furniture was in excellent condition, chairs, couches and the bed all very comfortable. Four dining chairs and a two seater couch (which I think can fold out to make another double bed.) The apartment was very clean.
The bedroom had just a single small window, and with the thick walls, cool and dark and ideal for a good nights sleep. The bathroom is fitted with a shower and toilet, washing machine and dryer. All new and well maintained.
This was the best kitchen we had in 14 weeks travel. Full gas stove and full sized refrigerator. Four burner stove, coffee makers, lots of pots and pans and kitchen appliances. I had a ball cooking in this kitchen, and Carlo would occasionally stick his head through the door and offer advise, or take me down to his cellar for more wine and oil.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Carlo, Roberta and their son Claudio live in the building adjoining the apartments, and yet we didn't feel that either they or we were intruding on each other. Their courtyard is on the far side of their home, so there was space for everone to have privacy. The entire complex is surrounded by vegetable gardens that Carlo leases to the locals, and we would occasionally see them working their fields. Carlo has reasonably good English and Roberta and Claudio a little. (They may have more English since we stayed there in 2000, as they were going to Ireland to do a language course.)
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Would we stay there again? We are going to stay there for three days in June 2002, not because we are visiting Florence, but because we are visiting the Nocentinis and the Grillos. We have kept in touch over the past two years, and are only returning to Florence to visit them. They are all coming to our appartment on the Friday night when I will cook dinner for them.
Things to do in this area
We would drive to the local bus stop each morning (two minutes, and we could have walked there in ten to fifteen minutes), where street parking was plentiful. From there we caught the bus all the way to the Duomo in 20 minutes.
I drew maps of how to find all of the local shops, and left it with Carlo to distribute to guests, and will revise them on our next visit. I will also ask Carlo about the local restaurants, and put together a list.
This accomodation suited us because we didn't want to spend a week surrounded by other tourists in the heart of Florence. We could come home of an evening to the peace and tranquility of the garden, cook and eat a leisurely meal and have a quiet nights sleep. Being on the outskirts, it made it ideal for a base to easily get out of town and into the countryside as well.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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