Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2433: Podere San Lorenzo, Apartment
apartments on farm near Volterra, Tuscany West
October 2006, 3 days
As you approach Volterra from Colle di Val d'Elsa, after you round the curve with the big red circle sculpture, start looking for the sign for the Podere San Lorenzo on the right. Just past the Volkswagon dealership and a couple of houses turn right on the little road that leads to the Podere. As you drive up you see the beautiful old house that was once a church, the natural pool, and the vegetable gardens which provide the contorni you'll have at dinner. The setting among the rolling green and golden hills of western Tuscany is spectacular.
San Lorenzo is only two kilometers from Volterra. It’s an easy drive to the city walls and the underground parking lot. Between San Lorenzo and the city is the COOP for grocery needs and just across the street from the COOP there is a very good restaurant, da Bado.
The farmhouse was originally a 12th century Franciscan chapel and this chapel is now used for the dining room. A portion of the original fresco remains. The house has over time grown to what it is now. The additions, some of which were originally for the farm animals, blend perfectly with the old chapel. The house is completely restored and was bought by the present owners six years ago.
The Podere has eight apartments and two double bedrooms with baths. My husband and I stayed in apartment three for three nights in early October.
The apartment has one bedroom, a living room and kitchenette, a bathroom, and a large terrace, with a vine-covered pergola. The terrace has lounge chairs as well as a table and chairs for al fresco dining.
The view from the terrace is fantastic. Late each afternoon we returned to the apartment for a glass of wine while we gazed at the golden ploughed fields along the steep hills and verdant forests tucked in between. As darkness fell the hills became black and the sky settled into a sort of glowing dark blue. From our vantage, point we could see throughout the hills the lights of only three houses. On the other side of the valley the headlights of cars appeared along the ridge, then disappeared, then reappeared like fireflies as they twisted and turned along the curvy mountain road. Magical is not too strong a word.
Beside the pool in the front of the house is a garden area with tables, chairs, umbrellas and lounge chairs. Beyond the pool is the olive grove where the 1200 trees provide olives for the oil produced by the Podere. They don’t ship the oil because shipping costs are so high.
To the side of the house is Marinella’s large and beautiful vegetable garden where even in October there is an abundance of vegetables and tomatoes.
French doors lead from the terrace to the living room/kitchenette. While there is only a sofa in the living room, it is a comfortable one and the dining chairs are fine for additional seating. Best of all there is an excellent reading light.
To tell the truth, the lounge chairs and the view were so irresistible we spent most of our time there. The major bonuses were the views from our terrace and the delightful owner, Marinella.
The bedroom has a large comfortable iron bed, a huge armoire and an additional chest for storage as well as a wide ledge along one wall. The window overlooks the terrace and the hills.
The kitchenette has an under counter refrigerator and a cook top. There are adequate cabinets and plenty of pots, pans, dishes, glasses, etc. to prepare a simple meal, but who would want to? Marinella prepares the most scrumptious dinners you can imagine for only €25 a person.
The dining table seats three.
Problems or Bonuses
The major bonuses were the beauty of the setting and the home, the views from our terrace and the delightful owner, Marinella. Although we knew she offered cooking classes, we had no idea that the food would be so amazing. But aside from the food, she is so enthusiastic about her home and the whole area of Volterra. Her English is excellent and her rapport with people is evident from the first moment you meet her.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
For us, the reality was even better than the website presents. The place is a bargain and a pleasure.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this place to anyone who loves beautiful surroundings, good food and interesting company. While the apartments are not elegant and luxurious, they are very well appointed, comfortable, and entirely appropriate for the house. Apartment three was €95 per night. Breakfast is €6 per person and dinner is €25 per person.
We often rent apartments in small towns where we stroll the streets, shop in the alimentari, and try to become a part of the town. We love doing this, but I must admit having a beautiful place to come home to where dinner is prepared for you without any effort on your part rivals even the passeggiata for a change.
Things to do in this area
Although we thought we would take day trips to other towns, we spent our time in Volterra and enjoying the Podere San Lorenzo.
There are museums, galleries and palazzos to see in Volterra and plenty of things to do in the surrounding area. The alabaster shops have some striking works of art. I hope to write some travel notes for Volterra soon.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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