Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2617: Grifoglia, Cantina Studio Apartment
apartments on a farm near Barga, north of Lucca, Tuscany North
May 2006, three weeks
I found the most delightful studio at a super reasonable cost just outside Barga! The studio is on a wonderful authentic old Tuscan farm estate. There is also a separate stand alone ďBarnĒ on the estate with room for couples or a family. The studio has a queen-size bed and Tuscan charm. Itís appointed with local handmade antique style furniture and beautiful linens. Everything looks new. The kitchenette is complete with new stove, refrigerator and kitchenware. The white porcelain tiled bathroom delivers a hot shower. And, if needed, there is heat available at no extra cost (most other places charge for heat).
The studio is on the ground level of the main house. Also on the same level is a one bedroom apartment. This was great for me because my girlfriend and her son came to visit and we opened the connecting door making it into a two bedroom, two bath, with two kitchens! And when she left, I happily returned to my cozy studio. This flexibility was a big plus for me.
The best part are the hosts, Kerry (American) and Pietro Kerry is very attentive to your every need and goes out of her way to help you find anything you might need, including making appointments at the local spa for an authentic cave sauna and massage Ė a must! Kerry helped us with directions and tipped us off to all the local delights. Barga is the best kept secret, settled with tradesmen of Scottish descent, so many people speak English. The result is an old traditional (walk on cobble streets!) Italian village combined with European charm, including live jazz, plays, opera and galleries. There is nothing like sitting in a little piazza, listening to live jazz with the sun setting over the ancient cathedral, nibbling cheese and tasty wine. Speaking of wine, Pietro is a professional wine connoisseur and excellent chef who does all his own organic gardening and if itís Thursday, he makes the guests pizza in a handmade brick pizza oven in the true tradition of Italy. Itís to die for!
The pool is delightful to lounge around and take dips in. Whatís cool is Grifoglia is only 12-15 minutes from Barga and Coreglia, another very small town, easy to hike to for lunch from Grifoglia. If you need more excitement Lucca (I think nicer than Siena) is only one hour away (you can even go by train). The famous Cinque Terre and other coastal delights are two hours away. Alpine mountains are about an hour away. What I like is the complete variety of different regions/terrains/cultures of Italy available from this one spot, combined with the spaciousness and quiet of the countryside that Grifoglia offers at the same time. Grifoglia gave me the incredible beauty of nature in the country, with the quiet solitude of rest and within a stones throw I had civilization and culture. For me it felt like a home away from home and I plan to return again this year.
When I went in May all the wild flowers and roses were out Ė it was spectacular!
Lastly, after spending an exhausting amount of time on the Internet viewing thousands of villas, etc., I found Grifoglia to be the most reasonable dollar cost with great quality of charm and beauty. Turned out to be the perfect choice for me!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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