Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3426: Grifoglia, Cantina Studio Apartment
apartments on a farm near Barga, north of Lucca, Tuscany North
March 2008, 12 days
Our wonderful studio was in the countryside about 20 minutes from Barga, with beautiful views of the Apennines Mountains. Lush chestnut trees are all around and there's a beautiful view of a small valley. The roads are very well maintained and lightly traveled except for local traffic and the morning school bus.
We stocked our sweet little kitchen before we arrived, as there are no grocery stores within short walking distance. On a nice 20 minute walk from the property we found a small restaurant with a full bar and cafe, a very nice find. Everything you might need is available in Barga or the surrounding area, about a 20 minute drive.
The entire building was recently renovated. Our studio was in fantastic shape, everything was very well thought out. The bathroom was a true joy, lots of water pressure and ample hot water. The heated towel rack was a wonderful treat on cold mornings. The kitchen has everything you might need to fix a simple breakfast or even full pasta dinner.
The view from the Queen sized bed looks out towards the vegetable garden and the tops of some local mountains. One telephone or power line is the only man made thing visible from the window. Such a treat coming from New York City.
The grounds are beautifully maintained and the pool is very inviting, however our weather was just above freezing in mid March, so no dips for us. The garden is chock full of the most wonderful looking produce, most ripe for the picking. The owners have been steadily clearing and updating the grounds.
Our apartment was minimally appointed, with well made furniture, nothing seemed cheap. It was very refreshing to get away from the typical Ikea furnishings. Everything was very solid and well placed. There was room for all our stuff and we didn't feel cramped at all. The studio was very clean, towels and sheets smelled great too. It was a joy to crawl up in bed with a book and cup of tea.
The fully tiled bathroom was perfectly clean and well appointed with a full shower.
The kitchen was perfect for one person or a very cozy team. It was a joy to make a basic breakfast every morning. I loved the stove-top espresso, so much so, when we returned to the States I rushed out and bought one. But for some reason, the coffee tasted better at Grifoglia.
Problems or Bonuses
We actually came to Barga to get married, the owners were amazing help, there's no way we could have done it without them. They helped make arrangements with city hall (Cumune di Barga) and many other local services. The city was outstanding, we felt truly honored and blessed. For your information, there is a beautiful small chapel on the grounds at Grifoglia, if one desired, they could have a religious ceremony on-site after performing the civil ceremony in town.
There is a gorgeous wood burning pizza oven on-site and Pietro offers pizza making classes. We spent a wonderful afternoon discussing and making pizza with the owners. One of the many things we will always remember about Grifoglia - Delish!
On the Monday after Easter, we awoke to four inches of beautiful snow, what a treat. It quickly melted, so driving was not a problem.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners (American ex-pat, and an Italian) speak perfect English, French and their adorable son can get by in German. All the German he's learned, he learned from German children's TV.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We wish we were still there, and didn't want to leave. Staying here was a true treat and something we'll always remember. This is the kind of place I could see returning to year after year. I envision using this is as a base camp for trips to Lucca, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, even down to Chianti and beyond.
The owners are amazingly sweet and helpful with translations, itineraries and directions. A true JOY!
Things to do in this area
Nearby Barga is a complex and interesting town. Lots of history and a great music and art scene. Ricardo's L’Osteria in Piazza Angelio was delicious and my new wife almost left me for Ricardo, but that's another story. Local pastries and coffee was outstanding.
Nearby Tiglio Alto is a wonderful walk from the property, once you reach the top of the hill you are rewarded with an outstanding view and beautifully restored church.
We took the train from Fornaci di Barga or other local train stations to Lucca, Pisa and Florence. We also took a bus to Lucca right from Barga. All very easy for stupid Americans.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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