Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3268: Cuendet, Monticchiello 2
1bed/1bath apartment in Monticchiello, Tuscany South
October 2007, 2 weeks
It was a very nice one bedroom apartment inside the medieval village of Monticchiello, perfectly positioned in the Val D'Orcia between Pienza and Montepulciano.
We could pick up coffee, water and soft drinks at the small bar just outside of the walled town entrance. The nearest Coop and markets were in Pienza approx 6km away. We did walk to Pienza and back, but you wouldn't want to do it if you're carrying a lot of groceries.
The apartment was on the second floor in an old, historical stone building just up and around the corner from the main walled entrance of Monticchiello. The apartment we rented shared the second floor of the building with another rental apartment and the owner's apartment. The ground floor was a laundry room with the door to the back garden opening off of it.
There was a lovely garden out back shared by the two rental apartments and the couple who own the building, and their beautiful cat, Mimi (we were quite privileged to have Mimi visit us both in the garden and twice in our apartment!); it's furnished with tables and chairs. The garden is shaded by it's own vines and olive trees, with plenty of other flowering plants. It was a perfect place to relax with a bottle of wine, snacks and a book, or some company. We met a great Australian couple who had rented the other apartment for part of our stay and we had a fun time sharing wine and experiences out in the garden.
The apartment itself consists of a living room, dining area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom; plenty of rooms for the two of us, all hardwood floors. It was nicely furnished with antiques, period pieces and artwork.
The living room had comfortable chairs and sofas, a non-working fireplace (which we didn't need as it was very warm, especially the first week) with satellite TV, again just fine for two of us. It was spotlessly clean.
What was especially nice were the large windows in all rooms that included pull down screens (except for the smaller bathroom window) so we could leave them open to the lovely Tuscan weather with no worries of insects - though we never had issue with them out in the garden either. All of the main room windows looked out on the incomparable countryside, with an amazing view of Pienza in the distance. The bedroom window had closable wooden shutters if you wanted it very dark at night; give the great weather and the screens we preferred to keep them open to the Tuscan breezes.
The bedroom had a very comfortable, real, queen size bed - not just two twins pushed together, a large armoire, ottoman and chair. While not huge it was plenty big enough for us, and there were loads of blankets and pillows. The bathroom was tiled with a small, stand-up shower -- a bit small as is usual in Europe, but with a tightly closing shower door so no flooding of the bathroom. There were plenty of towels and toilet paper.
The kitchen was just fine for us since we didn't plan on doing much of our own cooking; it was perfect for breakfast and occasional snacks. The stove had four gas burners, not just hot plates, but no oven. There was a toaster and a small Mokka coffeepot and was furnished with plenty of pots, pans, place settings, silverware, glassware, etc. Also had plenty of dishrags and towels, garbage bags, dish soap, etc. The table in the dining area could easily sit four.
Problems or Bonuses
Since I could find no reviews of this property and just took a chance based on location and the extremely reasonable price, we were very agreeably surprised - the apartment and location were utterly charming and exceeded all of our expectations! No bad surprises at all.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Cuendet was fine to deal with, and I didn't mind the low booking fee as it allowed us to pay by credit card in advance and not have to worry about having enough euros on had to pay the full booking upon arrival. I only corresponded with them via email, but when I did have a few questions they got back to me very promptly with all the information I'd asked for.
The price was unbeatable - we paid €942 for the entire two weeks, including the booking fee. I did nail down the price and paid in full fairly early to avoid the worsening value of the dollar to the euro.
We made a security deposit on arrival of €150; the paperwork had specified a cleaning fee on top of this, but the owner wouldn't accept additional and considered the deposit to cover that too. At the end of the stay our electricity use had been very small, and we got almost the full security deposit back in cash from the owner, with no fuss.
The owners didn't speak much English and we speak very little Italian but we got by - they were very nice and very easy to deal with.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We have already booked the same apartment for this fall, and so I would definitely recommend the place! We wanted to be in a pretty village, but a small one, with other villages/towns and countryside both nearby. The walks to Pienza and Montepulciano are doable in one day, and we also took shorter walks just through the countryside.
Some would doubtless get bored in such a small village, but we loved it and can't wait to get back! Monticchiello fit the bill perfectly.
Things to do in this area
We specifically wanted to stay in Southern Tuscany, in the Val d'Orcia so this was a fabulous base to use to explore the area. Our outings included Pienza and Montepulciano several times, both by car and on foot, plus Montalcino, San Antimo, Chianciano Terme, San Quirico d'Orcia, Bagno Vignoni, Castiglione d'Orcia, Siena, Monte Oliveto Maggiore, a day trip through Chianti and trips to several wineries in the Montalcino region. There are places we didn't get to of course, so we'll do that next time.
We really enjoyed feeling a part of Monticchiello, moving in as temporary residents. We went to both restaurants, La Taverna di Moranda and La Porta, several times for lunches and dinners, as well as to the bar just outside the walls for lunches and snacks. Daria, at La Porta, was especially helpful, accommodating us at no notice at least twice, and making great wine and food recommendations.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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