Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2664: Sant' Antonio, Apartment
apartments on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South
March 2007, 5 Days
Sant' Antonio Country Resort, originally a Franciscan Monastery dating back to the 12th century is located less than five minutes by car from the town of Montepulciano. It is divided into five separate buildings, surrounded by four hectares of gardens on different levels, bay leaf hedges & olives groves. There are wonderful views of the Valdichiana Valley and Lake Trasimeno. Once you drive through the secured gates down the tree lined road, you are in your own secluded paradise that equals total relaxation.
We had originally booked a studio, but because it was low season, were upgraded to a 2bedroom/2bath apartment with a fireplace. We truly felt like we were coming "home" each day from our adventures in the countryside.
It would be necessary to have a car to stay at Sant' Antonio. We never went to a grocery store but I did see a fruit and vegetable store less than five minutes away. Each morning we drove to a tiny town, San Albino, which was a five minute drive and had cappuccino and (sometimes warm out of the oven) cornetti at the local bakery, Pasticceria Regina. This was a totally "local" experience and I think we were the only Americans in the town. We also went to a pizzeria in San Albino call the Saloon. The pizza there was wonderful, so good that we ate there two nights! Both places were recommended to us by Nico, the owner of Sant' Antonio. We ate in Montepulciano at Diva and Maceo. Our dinner was delicious, about €60 for two, the atmosphere charming and the service delightful.
Our favorite dinner dining experiences were the two evenings that Susanna (who works at Sant' Antonio) and her sister Daniella came to our apartment at about 5:30 for a cooking class/demonstration, which concluded in a four course dinner being served to us. This was memorable, both Susanna and Daniella are delightful women and we enjoyed their company as well as the delicious dinner that we made and ate. (Sample menu: fresh artichoke salad w/pancetta and parmesan; handmade pici (local pasta) with meat ragu; fillet wrapped in prosciutto & sauteed zucchini; custard filled pastry). There is wine on the sideboard that you pay for separately, priced very reasonably as Nico's wife's family is one of the largest wine producers in the region. Another highlight was driving to the village where Nico's restaurant is ... about 10-15 miles. We went there for Sunday lunch; it also was delicious.
As I mentioned, it is a monastery dating back to the 12th century, completely restored on the inside. Everything was updated, wonderful showers, heated towel racks. The kitchen has a refrigerator and burners. There is no oven, but we didn't cook, other than the two nights that Susanna and Daniella came for our cooking class. It was so peaceful and quiet that we thought that we were the only guests on the property, but Nico told us that there were other guests there. I think there are about 13-15 apartments and they are consistently being updated. In fact, Nico told us that after we left, he was going to completely redo one of the bathrooms in our apartment. When you entered our apartment you were in a "great room," one half was a conversation area with two small sofas, separated by a table, in front of the fireplace. The other half of the room had a large rectangular wood table, a sideboard and facing the table was the kitchen. The cupboards were stocked with dishes, cutlery, glasses, pans and pots ... most anything you would need to cook a meal.
The grounds were beautiful. There were trees, shrubs and pots of flowers. Nico told us that we were seeing Sant' Antonio at its worst, since the garden furniture wasn't out yet and most trees were not in bloom. To us, coming from Chicago and snow, it was a haven of greenery! There is a pool, not open, of course in March. There is underground parking so the natural beauty is not marred by the sight of cars. Nico has thought of everything.
Everything about the apartment was wonderful, it was in excellent shape, spotlessly clean and the bed was extremely comfortable. The "great room" was very bright and we like the open feeling.
It was a luxury being on vacation and each having our own bathroom. We really appreciated this.
If we had cooked other than our two classes, the kitchen would have been quite adequate, keeping in mind that there is no oven.
Problems or Bonuses
Since Sant' Antonio has been reviewed so positively many times, we were expecting good things. However, it is everything that has been said and more! Sant' Antonio is a magical place that reflects the enthusiasm and passion of the owner, Nico.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly with the owner, Nico, and as I mentioned earlier, were upgraded to a larger apartment. Nico was available at designated times for any recommendations, questions, etc. We also had his cell phone number for emergencies.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would stay here again and again and again! We have told family and friends all about Sant' Antonio and would recommend it to anyone who wants this type of experience.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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