Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3432: Rentvillas, Villa Terontola
4bed/2bath house near Terontola, Tuscany East
September 2007, 1 month
This property is an old 13th-century farmhouse built next to/onto the oldest church in the region. It is rustic, quaint, charming and wonderfully relaxing but you have to remember you are in Italy and not in the U.S. The house was totally comfortable and the owner-host was warm and welcoming, but we didn't expect this to be a four-star hotel or even a Holiday Inn ... and we wouldn't want it to be. There were some quirks with hot water but the owner always took care of them immediately. The experience was beyond unique and many days I wish I could just be living there. The owner made it so lovely from a welcome gift of food, to his own wine and olive oil, to horseback rides on his horses, he made this a trip we will always cherish ... and we will return. If you really want to experience the Italian countryside and/or see many places via the at-your-doorstep train station-down-the-hill, this is the place. Just don't expect the Four Seasons!
The closest little town down the hill (Terontola) is perfect for taking a drink or meal and you can catch a train to anywhere from that train station! A perfect "home base" for seeing all of Tuscany. Rome and Florence are only an hour or so away and Siena, Montepulciano, Perugia, etc. are all equally as close or closer. We went everywhere and all we had to do was drive five minutes down the hill to catch a train. Also, Lake Trasimeno and Cortona are beautiful towns only 20 minutes away by car. There is so much to see and do from this "home base" I highly recommend it.
Terontola is the small town down the hill, five minutes by car, 20-30 minutes walking, but it is up a hill and some roads are unpaved. I loved the walk but it was a bit much for my parents, one of whom has arthritic knees. A perfect town for taking a drink, picking up supplies/groceries or grabbing a meal. It is a very small town but there are more options in Camuccia, a little further up the road (10 minutes by car).
It is a 13th century Farmhouse built onto/next to the oldest church in the area where they sometimes still hold mass. It is up a small driveway from the owner's (Mauro) house. He was usually around; always helpful, never obtrusive. On the ground floor is a large bedroom and bathroom, laundry room with fridge, a large, long dining room with fireplace and a small kitchen/sink area. Up the stairs on the second level are three smaller bedrooms and a smaller bathroom, and a living room area which looks over the hills and valley.
You can view the property directly: Villa Terontola.
Out the front door and the doors opening out of the kitchen was a private vine-covered sitting area with table. We loved to take our coffee out there in the morning and our wine and cheese any time after that! There was a pool that is closer to the owner's house but he is very respectful of leaving it only for the renter's use.
The furniture is rustic, charming and comfortable and in good shape. The place was quite clean. The dining room has a long table with chairs on one side and a long bench on the other; plenty of room for all. We didn't use the living room area too much but it was plenty comfortable and had enough room for those of us who did use it to relax and watch a movie.
The beds were fine for me but I am not that picky. They probably won't be what most Americans are used to with our plush pillow-topped wonders so keep that in mind. Again, the bedrooms were nice but not luxury. The decor is in keeping with the house and it is quite comfortable and quaint. As with most situations involving eight people, we could always use more bathrooms but the two were just fine. I found the shower on the second level to be a bit small, larger people would have a problem. However there is a large bathtub/shower on the first level. We had a couple of incidents with hot water shortage (due to well water) but Mauro remedied immediately. It was not a problem.
The kitchen was quite small but adequate; we knew we wouldn't be cooking a lot of meals. However, it was just fine for coffee, breakfast, small snacks and we even cooked a full meal one night! Again, it's not luxury but it was just fine for our needs.
Problems or Bonuses
GOOD: It was totally removed from the hustle and bustle of hectic life. Peaceful, quaint, comfy and relaxing. Also, the owner's sister cooked a wonderful, authentic, many-coursed meal complete with wine from the owner's vineyard, for the whole family and friends at an amazing price. No better meal was had the entire trip!
BAD (BUT NOT REALLY): Although it was described as a "walk to town" property, this is only for the fit, and a bit difficult with luggage, as some of the roads are not paved. However, this turned out to be also the best thing as it made the property quietly removed from the hectic hustle and bustle of regular life and we were able to really relax. A car is a must.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency (Rentvillas) was super, treated us very well. We only dealt with the owner, Mauro, and never had to contact the "on site" person listed in our paperwork. Mauro speaks English but not fluently. If you are patient and take your time he can usually understand everything and is very helpful from restaurant recommendations to directions. We felt the property was accurately represented. The price is around $2,000 per week during September.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Without a doubt, yes on all counts! Wish I could go back right now! Taking a little time to learn a few words of Italian will enrich your stay immensely.
Things to do in this area
Went to Cortona, of course, and loved the restaurant overlooking the square (can't remember name). Lake Trasimeno is lovely to drive around, stopping every so often for a gelato, drink, nibble etc. Visited the nearby castle. Went on many day(s) trips from the train station. Visited the chocolate factory in Perugia. Wine tasting. So much to do, just ask or check the Internet. Definitely recommend that you try the typical Tuscan dinner cooked by Mauro's sister ... unbelievable!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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