Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2950: Fonte Bertusi, Il Cortile
Apartments on an estate near Pienza, Tuscany South
June 23 - June 30, 2007, One week
Fonte Bertusi is located just 2 km from Pienza in the Tuscan countryside. Pienza is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As close as it is to town, Fonte Bertusi feels wonderfully isolated from traffic noise. Bird song, crickets and grasshoppers provide background sound in this peaceful, country location. The whole countryside for miles around is part of the Val D'Orcia, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beautiful views of rolling hills and gentle farmland abound.
The COOP grocery store in Pienza had everything we needed to prepare our own pre-dinner appetizers and to cook meals. It was less than a ten-minute drive from our apartment. We celebrated two family birthdays while we were at Fonte Bertusi and wanted to have special dinners out on both occasions. At Manuela's recommendation, we found wonderful restaurants in the nearby towns of Pienza and San Quirico D'Orcia.
We stayed in Il Cortile - the courtyard - and loved our apartment. It was a very quiet two bedroom, one bath apartment that was perfect for our family of four. Our kitchen was well equipped to cook meals as complicated as we wanted, and we were pleasantly surprised to find storage containers for the leftovers. The beds were very comfortable, and each night we were serenaded to sleep by crickets outside the window. Screens on those windows made leaving the windows open at night possible so we could catch the cool breezes blowing by.
We learned that the farm house was built in the 1700s, and a series of buildings has been connected to create the eight apartments on site. The work has been seamlessly done, for each apartment feels very private with minimal contact with neighbors.
We had a private patio with a table and chairs to seat four. We had several dinners and appetizers every evening on our patio. The shared pool has designated areas with lounge chairs, a table and umbrella for each apartment. In addition, there were other common areas with tables and chairs spread throughout Fonte Bertusi. Our daughters also loved the hammocks.
The antique furniture looked lovely in the apartment, and was in character for the time the building was first built. But we also appreciated the more modern features built in, like towel racks in the bathroom. Everything was very clean when we arrived, and we had brooms and dustpans to keep it clean throughout the week we were there. There was plenty of room for us to sit at the dining table inside, but we preferred to sit on our patio outside, which also had plenty of room for us.
The beds were great and we slept well every night. Even though there was only one bathroom, it was quite roomy with shelves, so it was easy for all of us to put our toiletries out.
The kitchen was good for how we used it. There were four burners on the stove and lots of pots and skillets. Cooking in it was easy, because everything was close at hand. We used all burners to cook our dinners, which were usually pasta or rice, sauteed vegetables and meat.
We didn't cook breakfast because Fonte Bertusi serves breakfast for a separate fee. And it was definitely worth it. We ate the breakfasts from our entire three weeks in Italy at Fonte Bertusi. Andrea made delicious cappuccino and hot chocolate and Manuela saw that there was always enough of everything out for guests to choose. Pastries, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereal, toast, juice, ham ... it was all delicious and a perfect way for us to start each day.
Problems or Bonuses
The grounds were bigger than we expected, and we loved strolling up the long driveway to the road every night after dinner. We watched the fireflies magically light up our path and the surroundings. My daughters loved the cats and dog, which were on site but never intrusive. Wine is for sale in the reception area, which was very convenient when we wanted to pick out a bottle and sip on a glass while we hung out on the grounds.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly through the website. Manuela was very prompt in responding to emails and sent us a voucher by mail to present at check-in. She speaks English well, and there were no problems with communication. We paid €1050 for our week in Il Cortile, which included breakfast.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We highly recommend Fonte Bertusi and have already told friends about it. We would stay there again, and a longer time period would be even better. We visited neighboring hill towns every day and spent late afternoons and some evenings at our apartment. With more time to stay we could have spent more time hanging out by the pool, swinging in the hammocks, reading books on the chaise lounges....something to look forward to in the future.
Things to do in this area
Everything we wanted to see was a 45-minute drive or less from Fonte Bertusi. Siena was the biggest, busiest town we went to. Chiusi was a favorite, with its Etruscan museum and underground tunnels and tombs. We loved climbing the towers at Radicofani (so small and isolated a village in wild land) and Montalcino. The wine tasting and shopping for food and wine was great in Montepulciano. Pienza was nice for strolling and shopping. Il Rosselini in Pienza is a great restaurant requiring reservations because there are only four tables. And the garden at Al Vecchio Forno in San Quirico D'Orcia was a favorite place to eat too.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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