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Review 2833: Tuscany Net, Casa Prato

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Review by The Rhodes from Canada

4bed/4bath house in Lamole near Greve, Tuscany Chianti


When

Sept 2 - 9, 2006, one week

Location

Casa al Prato is in the small village of Lamole. Lamole is made up of numerous little clusters of houses, set high in the hills with spectacular views of the countryside.

It was a 15-20 minute drive up a very windy and in some places narrow road.

Casa al Prato is in the centre of a group of three attached houses, approximately 30-40 feet up a small narrow alley. The neighbours were very pleasant. We had tons of room both inside and outside. Although the houses were attached, it was very private and very quite.

Other than being a bit more isolated than we had thought, the location was great. Very central to Florence and Siena and everything in between. There is a wonderful restaurant in Lamole, Ristoro di Lamole that made up for any lack of conveniences.

Marina and her husband Marcello were lovely people. They brought along a bottle of wine, bread and salami which Marcello prepared while Marina showed us around. We spent a very enjoyable hour or so with them after chatting and laughing in our very poor Italian and they in their limited English.

Nearby Amenities

You could not walk for groceries. There is a small store corner in the restaurant, which had all the basics if you ran out of milk etc. Someone did bring some fresh produce each day, but very minimal supply. They did have a deli with quite a good selection of salami and cheese.

The closest grocery store was in Greve. This was a good 15-20 minute drive. Saturday is market day in Greve. There is also a Coop and numerous alimentari to get meat, cheese, pastry etc.

The House/Apartment

The original house was built in the 16th century. All that remains today of the original structure are the outside walls, which are 30 cm thick. Cell phones would not work in the house because of this ... had to walk down to the end of the alley.

The house was very clean and well equipped. The electrical left a bit to be desired; we blew the fuses a number of times, but also had eight people running any number of things at the same time.

The rooms all have white washed walls and timbered ceilings.

Three of the bathrooms were a good size, good water pressure and lots of hot water (unless you accidentally turn it off; do not touch the switch behind the door in the first floor bathroom). The fourth bathroom was on the main floor and a bit tiny.

Casa al Prato can actually be two separate rentals. The main floor has one bedroom, small kitchen with eating area and a living room with two additional single beds. There is a bathroom with shower in the bedroom and the little bathroom off the kitchen.

Upstairs, the main floor had a nice big kitchen with a super fireplace, good size fridge and dishwasher. There is also a nice big table in the middle of the room, which easily sat all eight of us. We had a great time preparing meals in there. In the living room, there are two separate seating areas, one with a fireplace and the other in an alcove at the front of the house. There is also a good size dining area, again with a big table. There is one bedroom and bathroom on this floor.

Second floor had two good size bedrooms with one bathroom.

All the bedrooms were a good size.

You can view the house directly: Casa Prato.

Garden

There were a number of outside areas to sit. The back had a garden that was accessible from the living room downstairs. There was a nice sitting area out front with tables and chairs under a pergola. There was also a wood burning oven in a little alcove that you could also sit in. Under the front of the building there was another sitting area that could be accessed coming up the alley or from the downstairs living room. Next to the wood burning oven alcove was the laundry room. Washing machine only.

Although we had neighbours, it was very quite and private. There weren't really any views from the house itself, but at the end of the little alley the view was incredible.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The furniture was in reasonably good shape with lots of seating for everyone in all the various areas, both inside and out. The beds were all quite comfortable. The lighting in the bedrooms was not good enough for reading unless you put books under the lamps to raise them so they were above bed level. The lighting in general was just okay, better in some areas than others.

Problems or Bonuses

The house was pretty well exactly as it was advertised. I think it was actually a little better than we thought it was going to be. Although it has been restored/redecorated/updated etc., it is still a very old building, with some very old electrical wiring.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

Our initial e-mail went to the agency, otherwise any correspondence or contact was directly with Marina, the owner. She does speak some English, enough that we had no problems communicating. Both her and her husband were very nice people and a pleasure to deal with.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

As much as we like this place and we had a great time there, we would not likely stay there again. The main reason is that it is quite isolated and to go anywhere required a 15-20 minute drive up and down that road, which was in good repair, but very windy and narrow in many places. The other route towards Radda was white road for quite a number of kilometers, also very windy and narrow. About a 1/2 hour drive to Volpaia, but paved beyond there to Radda (another 1/2 hour).

Things to do in this area

We did the Lamole Ring Road walk, which was a lot of fun. There is a cantina for the Le Masse di Lamole (sp??), where we stopped and had a great time tasting and buying some of their wine.

There is also the Ristoro di Lamole, which is spectacular. The food and service was very good but the views were just incredible. It is definitely worth the drive if you can arrive before sunset. We had dinner there twice and lunch one, all were really enjoyable.

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

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