Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2714: Villa Cafaggiolo, Apartment
Apartments in farmhouse near Pontassieve, Tuscany Chianti
April 21-28, 2007, One Week
Villa Cafaggiolo is only seven miles directly East from Florence. It is two kilometers from town of Pontassieve and one km from the village of Rosano. There are lovely hills surrounding the Villa with vineyards and olive groves throughout the countryside.
The Villa itself is located on several acres of land and you feel a great deal of privacy and serenity. You do not overlook any other close-by buildings.
We decided to not rent a car while we were there and never regretted it.
We arranged for a taxi pick up at the Pontassieve train station - only 10 minutes away.
The villa is located towards the end of a short gravel road with only a few other villas located on it. You take a steep windy drive up from the Village of Rosano on a well-paved road for 1km before you turn onto the gravel road. We would not recommend walking on that road. However, we were given permission to walk into the village by getting onto a tractor path skirting a vinyard that allowed us to have an easy downhill walk through field, a short woods path and finally a gravel drive into the village. Walking into Rosano takes about 15 minutes, walking into Pontassieve takes an additional 15 minutes. It is a pleasant walk. Walking back up the hill is very doable, as long as you are not carrying many items and as long as you are "reasonably" fit. We arranged taxi pick up if we were coming back with groceries.
In Rosano, there is a wonderful "deli/bakery/trattoria" La Bottega a Rosano where we purchased great cheeses, salamis, breads, desserts, wines, etc. It was a great addition to our vacation.
If we continued onto Pontassieve (just across the Arno) we were able to visit many gelaterias, restaurants, pizza places and a very large and active COOP grocery store.
It is my understanding that part of the house is very old and was on an old estate with the main building being visible at the top of the ridge from our Villa.
We were very pleased with how well the house is kept and managed. Everything was in good working order. It was cheery, the furniture comfortable, sturdy and attractive. It was a mix of older antiques and newer items that suited the general decor. The house and the furnishings are nicely designed.
The house is quiet. There are two other apartments that are accessed through separate entrance ways around the other side of the house. We only saw one other couple walking out one day and we never heard them. The entrance ways and outside areas (patios and gardens) are entirely separate and private, so that you do not even see them or overlook them from your own specifically delineated space. The swimming pool was not set up in the end of April but if it was, it would be the only situation in which you would mix with other renters ... unless you specifically made arrangements to by visiting each other!
We had a very long and deep porch/patio that extended out from our kitchen and our living room through patio doors. It was totally private. We ate all of our meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner there at a large wooden table under the porch. We spent pleasant time sitting on our own private patio sunbathing also. The pool is open May 1st on. There is a wood/charcoal BBQ - which we used twice.
The furniture was all comfortable, clean, in good shape - some new and some old, but all in good condition.
The villa was very clean when we arrived.
There is a two-level living/sitting room. The main part had large arched patio doors going outside. It had two couches and two matching overstuffed chairs - which comfortably fit the six of us adults. We were very pleased with how comfortable the living room was. We spent evenings playing games, drinking wine and chatting. There is a fireplace in the upper part of the sitting room, along with a few leather chairs and a "games" table and chairs.
One bedroom had a queen sized bed and a single bed with its own private terrace and a bathroom with small shower. One bedroom had a queen sized bedroom and a skylight only (no real window) but was very quiet and pleasant. The third bedroom had a window and a queen sized bed and a single bed. There were two other bathrooms outside of these two bedrooms. One bathroom had a shower and a bathtub - the other had a shower only. All bathrooms had toilets AND bidets. The bathrooms were all nicely designed and modern.
The beds were firm but comfortable. The bedding was all very nice and there were plenty of pillows.
There were plenty of pots and pans and dishes and glasses. They were of good quality. We enjoyed cooking in the kitchen and most evenings 3-4 of us were able to work away chopping and stirring away making the meals, which we ate on the terrace.
There was a four-burner gas range, easy to use and modern and an electric oven that we used several times. The refrigerator was standard size for Italy (but not small).
Problems or Bonuses
We had no significant problems. It is an acknowledgement to the hard work and thoughtfulness of the family owns the property that we only had to ask one question from them after we settled in! The house is "user friendly."
The bedrooms are on the second floor. At the top of a few stairs, you reach the first bathroom off a landing, continuing up a few more stairs you reach the second landing - the floor where the bedrooms are. If you turn left, you reach one of them, straight ahead at the landing is the first large bathroom. If you turn immediately right you get to the second bedroom (with a skylight only) and continuing through that bedroom and up a few more stairs is the third bedroom with the third bathroom. So the one bedroom is between the bathroom and the third bedroom. However, the third bedroom has its own entrance way and terrace. So in the morning or in the evening, they just went in and out of the house through their own door - so never disturbed us. That middle bedroom would be perfect, however, if there were children (the queen sized bed splits apart, I think). We were perfectly fine with the arrangement, however.
The surprises were how well everything ran. How lovely the inside and outside of the house was, how lovely the view was from the patio and how helpful and friendly the owners are. Niccolo, the son and architect, who manages the rental actually lives in Florence but comes out to the property almost daily and is always just a cell phone call away. His mother Paola is around and you can find her working away in the garden or in her house, which is through a private gate a few minutes away.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly with Niccolo through the website. The cost for the three bedroom rental for one week in April was €900 (very reasonable!) We sent him €300 to hold the rental a few months prior. We paid the rest upon arrival along with a €150 damage deposit, which we received back prior to leaving.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would definitely recommend the villa. We would be more than happy to return but because there are so many other areas to explore, we may never return, but our memory (especially our first Italian visit) will always be special - mostly because of how convenient, pleasant and comfortable Villa Cafaggiolo is and how kind and intelligent the family is and how generous they are in their assistance.
Things to do in this area
This area was perfect for us because of its quiet, natural beauty and proximity to the train station. We took a trip into Florence (20 minutes by train leaving frequently all day). We took a day trip to Arezzo and spent time just walking around the village of Rosano which has an interesting and historic nun's monastery and Pontassieve with an historic centro storico and quite a few very good gelato shops!
We would highly recommend the Bottega in Rosano for deli items and lunch. We only ate dinner out once - at Far West Pizza in Pontassieve - which is a very busy and tasty and affordable option for suppers only. Evidently there are other restaurants in Pontassieve. Also if you had a car, there was a lot to explore in the area. We enjoyed visiting and staying in a location with very few tourists so that we could learn more Italian and absorb Italian life!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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