Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3233: Owner, Casina di Rosa
1bed/1bath house in Civitella Marittima, Tuscany West
September, 2007, 1 week
Casina di Rosa is in the small village of Civitella Marittima. The village has about 350 inhabitants and is a hill top village, with wonderful views into the Tuscan countryside. It is an unspoiled Italian village, with the rhythms of Italian village life intact. I believe we were the only tourists in the village during our stay. The Casina and the village was a wonderful, peaceful place to return to every evening after our day trips to various locales in Tuscany. It is in close proximity to Siena, Montalcino, Montepulciano, the Chianti region, and a host of other wonderful day-trip destinations.
There are several small shops in the village, including two bakeries, a fresh pasta shop (wonderful!), two bars, a butcher shop, and two small grocery stores. All are within a five minute walk of the Casina di Rosa. Two bigger supermarkets (including our favorite, the Coop) are located in Paganico, about six miles away. There is one restaurant in town & another restaurant by the highway (one mile away), but we preferred to buy fresh pasta, cheeses, meats, wine, etc. and cook dinner in the Casina; we found it a much more relaxing experience.
The Casina di Rosa was exactly the type of place we'd dreamed of renting when we planned our Italian trip. It was completely charming & genuine, not at all fancy, but very "real" and it certainly had all the amenities that made for a very comfortable visit. The Casina contains a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and sitting room. All are individual rooms. There are no other apartments in the building, although there is a small garage on the level below the Casina (you go up an outside flight of steps to get to the Casina). The noise level was exactly what it should be -- the natural sounds of village life outside, kids laughing, people talking, a dog barking, and an occasional car motoring up the hill into the narrow streets of the village.
There is a small sitting are with two chairs and a fold up table right outside the door of the Casina. Although a bit small, the advantage is that it's very private. With a little bit of work, we were able to arrange the outdoor furniture in a way that made it possible for us to eat dinner outside several evenings.
The Casina was VERY clean when we arrived. It's clear that the owner, Gloria, and her fiancee', Marcel, take great pride in the Casina. It's also clear that they rent the place not simply for the income, but that they truly want their guests to have a wonderful time during their visit.
The bedroom has a nice view, as does every room in the Casina. The bed was very comfortable. The bathroom had been recently redone and is small, but nice. There is no bathtub, only a shower (not a big deal to us, since we are both "shower people"). The shower is a bit small, but very usable (we came to realize during our trip that we Americans are quite spoiled that sometimes less space and fewer choices make life simpler and happier).
The kitchen was the largest room in the Casina, with adequate space for cooking, sitting, and visiting. There is an eating table, a cozy (working) fireplace in the corner, a window with a nice view of flowers and several nearby village dwellings. The kitchen is well-equipped with utensils, dishes, a gas stove, small refrigerator, etc. In fact, we cooked there and ate in most nights since we loved our little Casina so much!
Problems or Bonuses
There were absolutely no bad surprises! Good surprises: the place was as good as we hoped it would be and as good as it looked on Gloria & Marcel's extensive and very helpful website. A bonus were the various tourist guides in the Casina's "library." We brought several of our own guides with us from the U.S., but typically found the ones on the Casina's shelved much more helpful. See also below for another bonus.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Gloria and Marcel (the owners) were very helpful, but yet, not the least bit obtrusive. They met us upon arrival and gave us a quick tour of the Casina. They are very warm people and urged us to call them if we had any problems and we could tell they really meant it. Even though we only saw them at arrival and a week later at departure, somehow we now feel they are our friends. Maybe it's because we somehow felt their presence around us (in a good way) the entire week we spent in the Casina. Both Gloria and Marcel are fluent in English, which helped since my wife and I spoke no Italian when we arrived. The rental price of the Casina was very affordable even with the crappy value of the dollar at the time of our visit.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would 100% recommend the Casina do Rosa! It is exactly what it should be and every time I think of it, it brings back very fond memories. In fact, even though we've only been to Italy once and have so much of the rest of Italy to explore, it would be very tempting to sacrifice some of that for another stay at the Casina the next time we visit Italy.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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