Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3004: Papavero Rentals, Casa Collina
3bed/2bath house near Sarteano, Tuscany South
June 2, 2007 - June 9, 2007, 1 week
Casa Collina was located on a dirt country road several miles near the little town of Sarteano. The cottage was in a lovely quiet location with nearby houses and farms far enough away that you could never hear or really see anyone else. We were looking for a very private location and this certainly fit the bill. At first we felt we might be a bit too far from most things, but grew very attached to the cottage and the surrounding area. We took day trips everywhere and never felt we were too far from any of the towns we wanted to visit. It is very near Montepulciano and Pienza. The town also has hot springs, which we didn't have a chance to visit.
We were a bit too far to walk to restaurants or grocery stores, but a very big co-op was only a couple of miles away. There were several wonderful restaurants in Sarteano, but most evenings, we prepared our own meals in the fully stocked kitchen. Also, the Autostrada was only a few miles from the cottage.
I know the cottage is well over 100 years old and the owners were nearby to address any issues. The American owner and his wife had lived and raised their sons in the house for many years before moving to a larger house in the area. They had added a new kitchen while living there and it was very nice. The kitchen had two French doors that opened to a patio with a table and chairs, where we spent many hours enjoying breakfast and dinner. There is quite a bit of land with the property and the road leading to the cottage has a gate. There is a line for hanging clothes and plenty of space for parking. You can enter the property from either the living room or kitchen and there is also an outside stairway leading to the master bedroom, which was originally the front door. The front door is now downstairs. There is a small area tucked under the stairs for the washing machine, which worked very well. Another room is near the stairs, that could be used as another bedroom, but isn't really used for anything now. The owner is an artist and had used the room as his studio. There is also a phone in the kitchen.
You can view the property directly: Casa Collina.
The outside sitting area was very nice and as I mentioned before, we spent many hours enjoying the lovely countryside. There is no pool, but the property is very private and large. You will feel like you are really far out, so if you don't like that feeling, this is not the place for you.
I felt the furniture was in pretty good shape. This is the second time we have rented a cottage in Tuscany and can only compare Casa Collina to the other and they were very much the same as far as quality. It was very comfortable and everything was very clean. There were some spider webs in the house, which I think should be addressed. There were two couches in the living room and a large dinner table there as well. A nice stereo also was located there and a very nice addition. There was also a small cute fireplace, which we didn't use, since we were there in June.
We were two couples and there were three bedrooms. One king bedroom with a nice chest of drawers and armoire. This room had the French doors leading to the outside staircase, which was nice for an early morning stroll before everyone else was awake. These stairs were also easier to use for loading and unloading our luggage than the ones in the house. The second bedroom had a double bed and chest of drawers. Luckily, we weren't using the third twin bedroom because the double room did not have any place to hang clothes, but the twin had an armoire, which our friends used. The other two bedrooms are quite a bit smaller than the master, which was very large. There is also two steps down to the master and twin bedrooms, but the double did not have them. Both bathrooms had showers and one was much larger and really very pretty. We did have some issues with each bathroom that I will address later. All the bedrooms and both bathrooms are on the second floor.
The kitchen was delightful and very bright and cheery. The stove was brand new and there was a refrigerator, separate freezer and dishwasher. There was a small table and chairs in the kitchen, but we usually sat outside. It was nice to have a choice, however, and for more formal meals, you can use the big table in the living/dining room. We enjoyed preparing meals, but found it was missing a few cooking items, like a toaster. We cooked toast in the oven. I can't remember if there was an American style coffee pot, but I don't think so. We learned very quickly how to use those cute little Italian coffee pots and each of us ended up buying one to bring home. There was plenty of pots, pans, plates and glasses. We really loved the kitchen.
Problems or Bonuses
The biggest surprise was the American owner and his Scottish wife. We mostly dealt with him and he was delightful. In fact, we spent quite a bit of time talking with him at the outside table.
We did have a rather bad time with the big bathroom. There was a terrible smell coming from it and we had to keep the door closed most of the time. We called the owner and he immediately came over with a plumber and worked on it. Good smells only lasted a day and the bad odors came back. Again, he came right over and tried addressing the issue again. I believe he will address this and it should not be a problem in the future. He called and made dinner reservations for us and also gave us directions and tips on many places to visit. I simply can't say enough good things about the owner. You can tell he really loved this cottage and wants to please the renters.
There were quite a few light bulbs burned out, including the porch light, but we moved several around to give us the light we needed. There was also a problem with lighting in the smaller bathroom. The fixture over the sink did not work and we were told they had never worked. There is a window in that room and two lights on the opposite wall from the sink area, so we weren't in the dark, but I really feel those lights should work. The owner did bring some light bulbs out as soon as we called him. There was also some plaster falling from the ceiling over one of the showers.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Papavero Villa Rentals was very easy to work with and made even easier because they are located in the US. They are very familiar with their properties, however. We paid $1,400 for the week.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
My husband and I would stay here again in a heartbeat. We were afraid it was a bit far south, but fell in the love with the people in Sarteano and loved that it wasn't full of tourists. We really miss that little town and cottage.
Things to do in this area
Unfortunately, I did not write down any of the names of the restaurants, but one in particular was our favorite. I believe we were told the owner had bought the old movie theater in town and turned it into a bar on one side and restaurant/pizza place on the other. It is so big, you could have a wedding reception in the place. It's not big on charm, but the food is fantastic. We ate there three times and they treated us like special friends, with hugs and laughs and watching the husband make the pizza was terrific. We noticed many of the locals came in and picked up pizzas to take home, which we haven't seen before.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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