Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 336: Italian Vacation Villas, Ciricea
2bed/1bath house north of Pistoia, Tuscany North
8/30/02-9/21/02, 3 weeks
The house is in the hills above Pistoa, about a 15 minute drive from the city centre of Pistoa. The house was situated in a very private location.
There was no noise from neighbours except occasional barking from their dog.
The only slight disadvantage of the location was that the narrow windy road curves right around the house and cars frequently honk to make their presence heard to oncoming traffic. As there are not many houses further up the road this was not really an issue for us, and it didn't disturb our peace, especially because the shutters on the windows shielded enough of the lights of the oncoming cars not to be an issue.
The village of Piteccio is about three quarters of a mile down the hill. It is about a 20 minute walk, but on the way back goes up a steep hill. In the village there is a coop, a cafe with a terrace, a pharmacy and a postoffice. There are no restaurants in Piteccio but there are plenty in Pistoia.
The building was not historical, and was well maintained and clean.
A slight disadvantage was that the during the particular three weeks we were there the house was very damp and humid, as was the outside air. It was difficult to dry our laundry either outside or inside. After three weeks there were the first signs of mold on our suitcases. It seemed as if this particular hill attracted many clouds and in the valleys and in Florence it was much sunnier and dryer. The other side of this coin was that it was always nice and cool.
The house had a nice garden with comfortable furniture and fresh herbs.
The furniture was adequate, although not overly comfortable. Another reviewer commented on the faux leather being uncomfortable, but we didn't really find this a problem. The house was clean and well maintained.
There was ample firewoord to be used in the fireplace. In daylight the house was rather dark (but therefore also cool), and at night the lighting was a bit harsh, but some candles took care of the ambience when we felt like a little more atmosphere.
The beds were in reasonable shape, but for tall persons a bit short. My husband (about 6'2") had his feet sticking out of the bed and moved into the second bedroom were we put the two beds with the short ends together so that his feet were resting on the second bed. Of course if the house would be occupied by 4 persons one would not have this luxury. The beds were also a bit narrow.
The bathroom was fine - plenty of hot water and a well functioning shower/bath. The moisture problem was obviously worse here than in the rest of the house. Towels never really dried completely between showers. Other people have commented on this site on the lack of shower curtains, this was the same in this location, so everything got a little sprinkle when taking a shower.
The kitchen was great. Ample pots and pans of good quality. I prepared most of our meals there, because of food allergies and problems we had in finding restaurants that could cater to our nees. It has a gas range with 4 burners and an oven (which I didn't use). All cooking utensils were present and in good working order. Plenty of plates/cups/glasses/silverware etc. The only slight disadvantage was not having a microwave. It would have made things a bit easier. The other thing lacking was a teakettle to boil water for tea, but a cooking pot sufficed for that.
I enjoyed cooking in this kitchen and using the fresh herbs from the garden.
Problems or Bonuses
Problems: the moisture Bonus: the well furnished kitchen
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We were very satisfied with the agency. The owners didn't speak any English. The place was as advertised and as reviewed in an earlier review on this site. We were warned in advance about the narrow winding road to the house and the honking cars, but didn't find it to be a huge problem.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would recommend it to others with the warning about the moisture problem. If we had to choose again we might not have chosen this particular location as it was a bit farther from Florence and the Chianti region than we had realized. We would have probably done better to rent a house for a week closer to Florence and then another one for the remaining 2 weeks in the Chianti area, had we realized the distances.
Things to do in this area
Florence is about 45 minutes away by train or car. We decided not to drive into Florence after our first attempt ended in disaster by not being able to find a parking space. The parking at the station was full and after driving around for about an hour trying to find something else we gave up. Instead we parked in Pistoia near the train station and took the train for 2.80 Euro per person one way and avoided the hassle of driving/parking.
Restaurant reviews: The Chinese restaurant at the Santa Maria Novella square is very good. As we were limited to Asian restaurants due to food allergies, this is the only kind of restaurant we tried. I prepared all our other food myself.
Another good Chinese place in Pistoia was on Via Dalmatia on the way to Piteccio.
We found a great Erboria in Florence on Via Ghibellina around the corner from the Bargello museum. They have wonderful Seitan (the best I've tasted ever) and Tofu (both indispensable staples of a vegan diet) and other foodstuffs. We also found a macrobiotic shop at 46 Via 27 Aprile but it was closed when we found it and we never went back later, so we don't know how good it is.
The Conad and the big Coop on Via Adua in Pistoia both had a decent selection of Tofu and soy milk, and great soybased non-dairy icecream. The parking at the Coop on Via Adua can be a bit problematic as it is always very crowded.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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