Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 333: Salvadonica, Salvadonica
B&B and apartments on a farm, Tuscany Chianti
May 2002, 4 nights
Salvadonica is a farm complex located halfway between Mercatale Val d’Pesa and S. Casciano Val d’Pesa. It is an excellent spot for day trips throughout the Chianti region, Siena (40 km) and Firenze (18 km).
The Baccetti family owns and operates this agriturismo. From its location atop a gently rolling hill it is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. Olio Extra Vergine and several types of Salvadonica’s wine are available for sale to guests.
Access is off a two-lane paved country road; then down a short, level dirt road to the private parking lot.
The most convenient amenity is a gas station that is located on the main road next to the turn off for Salvadonica.
Breakfast is included in the B&B rate but it is available at an extra cost for guests renting apartments—a nice option if you forgot to go shopping or do not feel like cooking.
Original buildings date to the XIV century and have been tastefully restored. Guests can stay in either the main farmhouse or one of the annex buildings. There are a total of 5 B&B rooms and 11 apartments (minimum 1-week stay from May – October). See photos at the website.
There is plenty of free parking adjacent to the complex as well as several covered carports. Depending on the building location, the parking lot may be a considerable distance from some rooms/apartments.
The complex is very private and quiet with the exception of early morning farm equipment. We stayed in the B&B room known as “Melograno #7” on the top floor of the main farmhouse. We do not recommend this particular room or the room across the hall unless you can comfortably carry your luggage up two plus flights of stairs. It is a corner room so it has windows on two sides, a great view and good cross ventilation. The room was equipped with a ceiling fan but no window screens. This room was a comfortable size for two adults.
The grounds are extremely expansive as they roll gently down the hillside from the complex. Amenities include a tennis court, lawn bowling and a swimming pool with jacuzzi. Outdoor spaces are equipped with picnic tables or chairs and provide numerous private areas throughout the grounds to read, relax and sunbathe.
Albeit sparse, the room is adequately furnished with older pieces of furniture. There is only one reading lamp and night stand. We found the bed to be extremely hard and uncomfortable - after four nights we were ready to move on! A community television and lending library are located in a room adjacent to the office.
The bathroom is divided; one section houses the sink, a large well-lit mirror and a built-in hairdryer. The second section contains the ever-popular bidet, WC, shower and floor drain. The shower curtain is the only thing that separates the shower area from the WC and bidet so they get wet. There was plenty of water pressure and hot water. We enjoyed the nice oversized terry towels.
We were pleasantly surprised to find a very small kitchenette tucked into a corner cranny. It was equipped with an under-the-counter size refrigerator, two burners, a sink and a few pots, dishes, glasses and silverware.
Problems or Bonuses
There are no laundry facilities on the premises; however, guests are welcome to use the outdoor clothesline for hand washables.
No Internet access.
Credit cards accepted.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
This property is also listed online in Karen Brown’s Guide.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
This is a stunningly beautiful locale and features many of the amenities of a full-fledged resort. The grounds and the views would be the envy of many 4-5 star resorts; however, one thing bothered us during our entire stay.
We experienced an atmosphere of coldness or unfriendliness or isolation. Guests seldom communicated with one another even to the point that no one ever said “good morning” or acknowledged one another. Whether this occurred by happenstance during our particular stay or whether this is common at Salvadonica we do not know.
This mindset seemed to mirror the attitude of the people who staff the office. They were exceedingly polite but cold, distant and less than interested in being helpful. It was almost as if they were attempting to communicate as tersely as possible.
Although we found the place beautiful, we would probably not return for this reason. This atmosphere may not bother other people but we have made many friendships while traveling and we found this cool environment extremely uncomfortable.
Things to do in this area
From this location, we spent a couple of days exploring the Chianti region in depth. We also toured the area west of the SI-FI (San Casciano Val di Pesa, Cerbaia, Montagnana, Montespertoli, Castelfiorentino and the countryside between Certaldo and San Gimignano).
Take a lovely drive to the 12th century Castello di Gabbiano just outside of Castelgreve (NW of Greve in Chianti – Firenze 15 km, Siena 35 km). The castello is now a winery and visitors can taste and purchase its wines, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. One of the Castello’s historic farmhouses now contains guest apartments that are available for rent on a weekly basis. Each furnished apartment is equipped with a kitchen and enjoys beautiful views of rolling hills, olive groves and vineyards. For more information, rates and beautiful photos, see www.castellogabbiano.it
For a great place to taste good vino and enjoy roses and flowers galore, stop by Rocca della Macie winery and estate south west of Castellina in Chianti.
If you are interested in purchasing leather goods (purses, wallets, briefcases, belts, jackets, gloves, etc.), here is a place you will not find in your guidebook. LBG Italia, located in Greve in Chianti, is a manufacturer of fine leather goods. They manufacture items for top designers such as Gucci, Calvin Klein and Escada as well as their own brand name. We took a guided tour of the purse manufacturing facility. We learned about patterns for new purse designs, watched prototypes made from synthetic materials to simulate leather, saw types and colors of leather used to make pre-production samples, watched skilled technicians cut the leather, saw assembly workers molding the interior pieces for purses and technicians stitching the pieces and watched as completed purses were cleaned and sealed in plastic bags for shipping. LBG showroom/factory is located just outside Greve at Via G. Pastore, 3/A. The woman who led the tour speaks flawless English, French and German. Telephone 055.85.44720. The LBG web site www.lbgitalia.com is currently under construction.
If you do not like crowds, stay away from Greve during the month of September because it hosts the biggest wine fair in Chianti.
Stroll along the covered soldiers’ walk in Castellina in Chianti’s defensive walls (15th century). The village has several excellent enotecas and interesting pottery shops. Try our favorite pizzeria (see “Restaurant” section).
Be sure to stop by the picturesque medieval village of Montefioralle (1 km west of Greve). The village walls are intact along with old tower houses and two Romanesque churches. For a wonderful Tuscan meal, see our recommendation in the Restaurant section.
Tour the majestic Castello di Brolio (10 km south of Gaiole) which is open daily 9 - 12 and 3 - sunset. This beautiful castle was rebuilt after the war and in the 19th century Baron Ricasoli converted it into his fortified residence. You can sample and purchase wine and olive oil from the estate.
We do NOT recommend the ristorante located in the 3-star La Pieve Albergo, Via V. Orazio Bacci, 2, Castelfiorentino. We learned about this family owned and operated ristorante at www.lapievedipucci.it. In our opinion, the food was mediocre at best. Despite the fact that the ristorante was popular with locals, we did not find the staff helpful or friendly. Open for lunch 12:00 - 2:00; dinner from 8:00 – 9:30 pm. Closed Friday. 0571.629203.
We discovered a wonderful new ristorante with unbelievable hours not far from Salvadonica (about halfway between Mercatale and San Casciano Val di Pesa). Ristorante Caratello, Via Grevigiana 21, San Casciano Val di Pesa is open from 12:00 until 12:00 — a rarity in Italy. The ristorante is spotless and the food is excellent. Check out the beautiful panoramic view from the large deck. They are very proud of their “vino di casa” which is produced from grapes grown across the street from their ristorante. Closed Monday. Telephone 055.820682. For more information see www.caratello.com.
If you love tartufo and porcini, we highly recommend La Terrazza Ristorante, Viale Matteotti 50, Montespertoli. Nearly every item on the menu contains their “specialita’ al tartufo e funghi porcini”. According to our Italian friends that live nearby, this ristorante is very popular with locals. Reservations recommended for dinner. I doubt that you will find La Terrazza Ristorante listed in any guidebooks. Closed Monday. Telephone 0571.608055.
Ristoro di Lamole, Via di Lamole 6, in the village of Lamole (near Greve in Chianti). Open for lunch 12:00 - 2:30; dinner starts at 7:30. Both the food and view are wonderful. The drive through vineyards and olive groves is breathtaking but not recommended for anyone prone to motion sickness as the road is narrow and very windy. Reservations recommended, especially for dinner. Telephone 055.8547050. To see photos of the ristorante and its view, go to www.ristorodilamole.it.
Try our favorite place for thin crust pizza, Pizzeria il Fondaccio, via Ferruccio, 27, Castellina in Chianti. They also offer the best deal around for antipasto; a self-serve bar loaded with good quality meats, cheeses for a very reasonable price. They do not serve lunch but are open 7 days a week at 6:30 pm for dinner. Telephone 0577.741.084.
We discovered a fabulous ristorante, La Cantoniera di Vescine, about halfway between Radda in Chianti and Castellina in Chianti. I believe there is another review of this ristorante on this web site. The gourmet food was nicely prepared and beautifully presented. We took pictures of our main dishes! Our meal included Selezione di salumi “Cinta Senese” (assorted salumi), Le quenelles al formaggio suletto di pomodoro fresco e basilico (twice baked potatos with cheese and tomatoes) and Spaghetto “alla chitarra” in salsa d’arancia sanguinella, frutti di bosco e pepe nero schiacciato (spaghetti with blackberries, currants and oranges) and a bottle of house wine (Radda – Chianti). Cost 53,00 Euro in May 2002. Outdoor dining is available in the summer. Open for lunch and dinner, closed Wednesday. Telephone 0577.741195. You can see photos of the ristorante at www.cantonieravescine.it.
Try a new ristorante that opened the end of May 2002, La Perla del Palazzo, Chiasso dei Portici 6, Radda in Chianti. Although this ristorante had only been open for 3 days, we thought the food and service were excellent. Lunch 12:30 – 2:30; dinner 7:30 – 9:30, closed Wednesday. Telephone 0577.739270. If you want more information or a reservation, email the owner at firstname.lastname@example.org
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Taverna del Guerrino, Via di Montefioralle 39, in the hamlet of Montefioralle (1 km west of Greve). The addresses are not necessarily in numerical order so do not give up looking for number 39—it is further down the narrow street than you would expect. This family-run trattoria serves simple yet excellent meals. There is a lovely view from the garden and outdoor dining area. Open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday through Sunday during the “periodo turistico”. During the winter, they are open Thursday through Sunday. No credit cards accepted. Telephone 055.853106. To see photos, go to www.greve-in-chianti.com/guerrino.htm.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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