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Review 2696: Sant' Antonio, Apartment


Review by Robbie from South Africa

apartments on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South


July/Aug 2006, 1 month


My wife & I booked directly with Nico to stay at the “Sant’Antonio Country Resort” for a month on the recommendation of a friend. During our month long stay, relatives (two adults and two teenagers) joined us for the middle two weeks. All arrangements were accomplished very easily as Nico’s English is perfect. The tensions built up during the arrival process at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport soon disappeared as we made it onto the motorway and north to our destination near Montepulciano in Southern Tuscany. It did not take long for the scenery to change as the beautiful Italian countryside took over from the hustle & bustle of the areas around Rome. Directions given to Sant’ Antonio were very good and we drove to the 12th century converted monastery without any problems. Although the only contact with Nico up to that point had been via phone & e-mail we were greeted as friends and we found him to be an extremely charming and helpful host.

Sant’ Antonio is in a delightful setting with magnificent views over the Tuscan countryside on the one side and the Val dai Chiana valley with lake Trasimeno in the distance on the other. The gated property makes the complex very private and the layout of the apartments allows for a relatively private existence within the complex, although everyone (staff and other guests – many of whom return year after year) were friendly & relaxed providing a pleasant atmosphere. The swimming pool, gardens and property in general is very well maintained and immaculate. The buildings have been renovated to a high standard and our one bedroom apartment was tastefully furnished. During our stay we were able to see some of the other apartments and all were of the same high standard. Nico obviously has a passion about the old monastery and is giving it a lot of tender loving care. Sant’ Antonio is very handy for visits to numerous well known towns & cities in Tuscany. During our stay we made wonderful day trips to Firenze, Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano, Cortona, and Orvieto. We also managed a day trip to Rome using the train from Chiusi (quite painless and no trouble getting about in Rome). The more local towns and villages, too numerous to mention, became frequent stop off points for excellent meals, stocking up on wines, cheeses and other Tuscan delights and as well as getting to know their places of interest and history. We also found a somewhat rustic but adequate nine hole golf course in nearby Bettolle where we enjoyed a few games of golf.

The time went too quickly and it seemed that we had just arrived when it was already time to go. We still have plenty to see and do in the area and you can guess where we will be returning to stay as soon as possible.

Thanks to Emmanuel for the recommendation – we have no hesitation in passing the recommendation on to the reader.

A visit to their website is highly recommended.

Some suggestions:

We arrived at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport on a Saturday at about midday. As it turned out Saturday is not a good day to arrive in Italy at the height of the holiday season. Luggage took ages to come through and the queues to collect the rental cars were long and disorganized particularly for the more popular agencies. This demand on services on a Saturday is apparently caused by the general Saturday “change over” day at most establishments in Italy. A suggestion to avoid this chaos is to arrive a day earlier, collect the car and stay in an hotel for the night.

As we arrived at Sant’ Antonio fairly late and had not collected any provisions we made a dash to the local shops only to find them all closed. Since this was a Saturday evening and the majority of shops are closed on a Sunday it was to be Monday morning before we could stock up on foodstuffs. Fortunately we had taken some coffee and tea bags with us and we were able to find a friendly Café/bar that sold us a carton of milk and some croissants. This is another reason to stay overnight in an hotel - particularly if you have a late arrival – it takes the pressure off and would give time to get the provisions organised.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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