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Review 274: Lucignanello Bandini, Apartment

www.piccolomini.it

Recommended
Review by Lillian from CA

apartments on an estate near Pienza, Tuscany South


When

September 2000, 1 week

Review

I promised Pauline last year that I will submit a review on this property. Now, it's a week before I leave again for Lucignanello Bandini that I'm finally submitting my overdue review.

Lucignanello Bandini is situated in a hilltop hamlet of Lucignano D'Asso. It is in close vicinity to San Giovanni D'Asso, Montisi, Montalcino & Pienza. For what I can see, the entire hamlet basically consists of 4 apartments and an independent house for rent, the owner's house, a olive oil storage house and a small grocery store/cafe/restaurant.

We rented Casa Remo, a 2 bedrooms/2 baths apartment with a huge fireplace. The living room, dining room and kitchen is in one big/high ceiling room with a few big windows with view of the Sienese Crete. The kitchen is very rustic with beautiful handpainted tiles and double sink. There were plenty of dishes and cooking utensils. There was a small TV (local channels only) in the living room, a big comfortable sofa facing the fireplace and a couple of loveseats. A few steps down leads you to two bedrooms, one en-suite and smaller, and the other one, good size with a nice view with the bathroom (shower only) next to the room. The furnishing is on the charming and rustic size and the mattresses are decent.

Our apartment, along with 3 others, shared an large infinity swimming pool on the very top of the hamlet. One reaches the pool by climbing a wrought iron spiral staircase to the top of the hill. I still remember the first moment I got there, I was so moved by the view I was close to being in tears! It is literally 360 degree view of the Sienese Crete area. At night, we went up (with flashlights) and laid on the grass to watch the stars. I have never seen so many stars my entire life! There is also a pinic table and a BBQ pit slightly below the swimming pool. We went to Sinalunga on market day and picked up slices of porchetta and roast chicken and finnochino and bread and wine and had a feast on the pinic table. I don't suppose I have to tell you the view from there was also great!

One day, we decided to hike around the area, using the hamlet as a visual guide for sense of direction. We just started walking at the end of the hamlet down a dirt road toward the vineyards. We walked passed vineyards, olive groves, fields of golden freshly plowed crete and got totally lost! We finally have to walk across a very big field of crete and another of sunflower (all wilted though) to get back to a dirt road back to the hamlet. I've never had so much fun getting lost.

Another thing I want to mention is the grocery store/cafe. It is run by a middle-aged couple and they don't speak a word of English. They are very friendly but on the shy side. I can't say I was impressed with what they stock, particularly the fruits and vegetable looked old. But we decided to have dinner there on our first night. There's a dining room next to the grocery and also a couple of tables outside and another two in a terrace. There was no menu and we thought maybe we'll get some homemade pasta. But actually, all they served were different kinds of salami and procuitto, wedges of pecorino cheese, saltless bread, a plate of tomatoes, and a plate of melon! We also bought a good bottle of Brunello to go with the meal. We thought it was kind of strange to serve only cold cuts in the evening but we were too tired to go elsewhere. As the evening progressed, locals from neighboring towns showed up until the place was packed. One young local had a guitar with him and starting singing and very soon, many of them were singing! This was one of the most surprisingly wonderful and memorable meals.

The are very few drawbacks about Lucignanello Bandini. One being the remote location. As you see the road sign to turn into a white gravel road, it feels like 10 minutes before you actually reach the hamlet. For that reason, we never ate out once in the evening. But I love to cook and absolutely love getting fresh produce from different markets from different towns. We didn't want to drive back in complete darkness under the influence of a good Brunello! The other thing is that there are no screens on the window. But I don't think it is uncommon.

But obviously we love it enough to go back. We will be staying in Casale Sarageto, the independent house with large ground and a swimming pool in a couple of weeks! Promise to be more timely and less lengthy on the next review!

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

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