Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2862: Sant' Antonio, Apartment
apartments on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South
June 9 - 16, 2007, 1 week
Sant' Antonio is a gated, country estate located in beautiful rolling hills about two kilometers from Montepulciano.
You absolutely need a car. It's not the walking distance that's the problem - traffic is very heavy on the main road and there are no shoulders to walk on.
There is a fruit and vegetable/grocery store/bar about about a mile or so from Sant' Antonio at the Pienza/Montepulciano crossroad. There is a CONAD in the newer part of Montepulciano but it's not great - it's worthwhile traveling to the PAM supermarket at the Centro Commerciale Etrusco just off the Chianciano autostrada exit. There are tons of good restaurants in and around Montepulciano, Chianciano direction.
The main buildings are 800 years old. There are 13 apartments - most in the main building but there are either one or two freestanding cottages. Most apartments have been recently renovated. Ours was not one of those and we thought it was perfect lovely.
The only caveat I had, and this seems to be typical of many rentals is that electric lighting was a bit murky in the kitchen/dining/living room area. It was fine in the bedroom and bathroom.
The outdoor sitting areas were a big plus. Each apartment has either a terrace or patio sitting area. There are also several (I counted at least three) brick, wood-burning grills (seasoned wood, kindling and matches provided), and tile topped tables and chairs. The outdoor furniture is of excellent quality - not the usual white plastic variety.
The unheated pool is shared. High quality lounges and umbrellas are provided and there are certainly enough to go around.
Apartments were spotless and simply but tastefully furnished. There were enough chairs for everyone in the combined dining room/living area as well as a beautiful dresser . There were armoires (with hangers) wardrobes, bureaus and night tables in the bedrooms.
Bedrooms were simply but comfortably furnished with high quality linens and plenty of pillows. Mattresses are not as soft and bouncy as their American counterparts but certainly were comfortable. Bathrooms were fine with good lighting and a hair dryer. Again towels were plentiful and of good quality.
The kitchen was small but more than adequate for full but simple meals that do not require an oven. Cutlery, china, glassware and linens were of good quality as were pots and pans. There is a decent sized refrigerator/freezer and a four burner gas stove that we found was perfectly adequate for preparing pasta, salads and similar. We picked up rotisserie chicken, prosciutto, porchetta, cheeses, olives, fruit and vegetables at the local markets. Each apartment has a folder listing market days in surrounding communities.
An American electric drip coffee maker is not provided - if you need a coffee hit first thing, learn to use the "moka."
Problems or Bonuses
Only good surprises like the fully laden cherry tree just outside "Giotto" and the Tuscan dinner prepared by Susanna and her mother.
We thought laundry would be a problem because there are no laundry facilities but we all found it surprisingly easy to make do by hand washing. Sant' Antonio provides laundry drying racks, steam irons and iron boards. Even jeans dry within a day in sunny weather.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The reality of Sant' Antonio exceeds the published information. Nico is a superb host. He is perfectly fluent in English and is always available by cell phone. Infinitely helpful without being intrusive. He resolved big problems (how to replace a stolen passport and credit cards) and small (where to get a tire repaired) that could have thrown our vacation off kilter.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Highly recommended without caveat. Nico is planning additional amenities - next on the docket is Wi-Fi - hopefully, he says, this fall.
Things to do in this area
Montepulciano is an excellent base for exploring S. Tuscany - we visited Pienza, Montalcino, Bagno Vignoni, Montichiello, San Quirico d'Orcia, Sarteano and Cetona. The museums in Montalcino, Montepulciano and Buonconvento have excellent collections of Sienese paintings, religious sculpture and other articles. It was quite hot when we visited so we spent a half day on the road and the other half at the pool.
A restaurant favorite of ours was Il Covo di Obelix, about 1/2 mile up the road. Informal, outdoor dining, comprehensive menu of regional dishes and pizza.
There's also an excellent pasticceria - Regina - in Sant' Albano - a couple of kilometers away.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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