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Review 2735: Sant' Antonio, Leonardo Apartment

www.santantonio.it

Recommended
Review by Kevin Clark from Italy who is a SlowTrav Contributor

apartments on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South


Pansies in an Old Basin, photo by Kevin Clark

When

April 2007, 2 Weeks

Location

Sant’Antonio is a country resort near Montepulciano in southern Tuscany, about two kilometers outside the town in the direction of Montichiello.

Nearby Amenities

There are no amenities within walking distance, so you’ll definitely want to have a car here. Montepulciano is only five minutes away by car, though, and has everything you might need including a Conad supermarket, many other shops, and numerous bars and restaurants in one of the loveliest towns in Tuscany. Chianciano and Pienza are 10 to 15 minutes away, with plenty of other choices.

The House/Apartment

The Sant’Antonio complex consists of thirteen apartments in several buildings on the grounds of a former 13th century monastery. They have all been very well restored and furnished with antiques. We stayed in the Leonardo da Vinci apartment (#12) which is the largest at 110 square meters. It has two bedrooms, both with en suite bathrooms, a large living/dining room, a small kitchen, and a nice sitting room off to the side with a working fireplace (which we never used – the weather was too nice!). There are old beams in the ceilings and brick archways between the rooms – it’s certainly the most attractive rental apartment we’ve seen.

There’s a common room on the ground floor of one of the buildings which has been set up as a lounge; in one corner are a couple of PCs set up with Internet access for guests for a small weekly charge.

Garden

The grounds are wonderful and were especially pretty at this time of year (April) with all the spring flowers in bloom. The property sits on a hill and is surrounded by olive trees on three sides. The pool wasn’t open when we were there, of course, but we still were able to enjoy the rest of the property. The buildings have been carefully situated so that it really feels even more private and you can rarely see more than a couple of the other apartments from any one place. Each area has outside tables and chairs, and there are a couple of barbecue areas available for use. There are nice terraces, one below the pool and another beyond the olive trees, which offer a nice place to sit with a glass of wine. Parking is underground which adds to the sense of being in a country setting.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The living/dining room was the largest room in the apartment. At one end there was a sofa and a pair of chairs with a large coffee table which made a nice area to relax with a glass of wine and a book. The sofa and chairs are a little past their prime but still comfortable, and I understand Nico is planning to replace them soon. The other end is the dining area with a large dining table with seating for eight. A hutch and sideboard contained table settings and glassware for eight, all matching and in good repair. The small lounge with fireplace also had a pair of chairs (which were also single futon-type beds, I believe) which made another nice area to relax with a good book. The fireplace was functional and firewood was provided, though we never made use of it. The apartment was perfectly clean when we arrived and the whole place was cleaned on the middle Saturday of our two week stay.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

There were two bedrooms, each with an en suite bath. The larger bedroom also had the larger bathroom, with a nice-sized fully-enclosed shower. The smaller bedroom had a bathtub with shower in its bathroom. The beds were queen-sized and extremely comfortable. Linens were high quality cotton and there was an assortment of extra pillows and blankets. There was a large dresser in each bedroom. Both rooms had a pair of night stands, and the lights over the beds were better than in many rentals though still not as good as I’d like. The larger bedroom also had a good-sized closet with both hanging space and shelves.

The bathrooms were very clean and furnished with all the modern conveniences, including hair dryers. As already mentioned, one had a bathtub and the other had only a shower. There was plenty of water pressure and hot water as long as only one person was using it, but that did mean that baths had to be coordinated, as is so often the case. There were plenty of towels and they were very high quality. They were changed at mid-week and on the middle Saturday of our stay. One nice touch was that toilet paper was provided throughout our stay, not just the usual single roll to get you started that you get in most rentals.

Kitchen

The kitchen was small – definitely a “one-butt” kitchen, as we like to say. It had a large refrigerator/freezer, double sink, and a four burner stove-top. Because of limited electrical power on the property, there are no ovens or microwaves, but this really didn’t matter to us. There was a very good selection of pots and pans, dishes, and glassware. There was also a small moka espresso pot, a kettle, and a toaster. We only cooked a full meal once, but it would have been easy to prepare more meals here. One thing that was missing that I like to see in a rental is a small selection of staples to get you started – things that it’s hardly worth buying just for a meal or two like salt, pepper, garlic, dried herbs, and olive oil (though a bottle of the estate’s oil was available for purchase). I realize that some people don’t like to see what they view as previous tenants’ leftovers, but I find it useful not to have to buy full packages of something I may only use once and not want or be able to take home.

Problems or Bonuses

The only problem was that we had to leave!

There were many bonuses, including the apparently bottomless supply of excellent Avignonesi wines in the apartment (for purchase, but at very good prices), the mid-week change of linens, and the peace and quiet of being in such a beautiful location at such an un-crowded time.

Internet access, for a small weekly charge, was another nice bonus. It’s nice to be able to stay in touch with ST and email on such a long trip.

There are no laundry facilities available on-site for the rental units, and no “self-service” launderettes nearby that we found. However, there is a full service launderette in one of the neighboring towns, and the staff will kindly do pickup and drop-off for you if you ask.

Nico, Susanna, and the rest of the staff were easily the nicest bonus of all. They were extremely friendly and helpful, and really made this one of our most enjoyable holidays ever.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

We booked directly with Nico, and had excellent interaction and very quick response to all of our questions, both during the booking process and during our stay. He and the rest of the staff were wonderful. The price for four people was €950 per week.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

Yes, Yes, Yes!! Sant’Antonio was everything we’d been told and more. It’s easily the nicest and most friendly vacation rental we’ve stayed in. We will definitely return and will strongly recommend it to anyone who will listen!

Things to do in this area

Sant’Antonio makes a great base for touring all of southern Tuscany. Except for a day trip to Florence, we never wandered much more than an hour from home, and often much less. Montepulciano, Pienza, San Quirico, Montalcino, Chiusi, Cortona, and numerous smaller towns were close and we visited many of them. Even Arezzo and Siena were within a fairly easy reach.

Nico was able to arrange a very nice tour and tasting at the Avignonesi winery, though this must be organized in advance. When occupancy is higher, community dinners are sometimes available and private cooking lessons/dinners in your apartment can also be scheduled.

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

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