Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3456: Doorways, Villa Grazia
3bed/4bath apartment near Cortona, Tuscany East
July/August 2003 and August 2007, 1 week each time
Villa Grazia, a villa in the country in a private location consisting of the main estate of the owners, also a converted oil production building renovated beautifully into two apartments (upper and lower), three bedrooms each, which can be combined for one large or extended family (there is a stairwell which can be unlocked between the floors, if needed), where we stayed, and a separate cottage with two bedrooms (one a loft). Each unit in the larger villa for rent has a separate entrance with a separate terrace for outdoor dining. There were absolutely beautiful grounds, bursting with flowers and trails in the summer when we visited each time with another family (three in each family -- two adults and a teenager). Two bedrooms have queen beds and the third has twin beds. The pool is absolutely fabulous in a stunning setting! We stayed in the upper apartment in August 2007 and the lower in July/August 2003. Both apartments were beautiful, but the upper affords a view of Cortona and each bedroom has an en suite bathroom, plus one off the dining/kitchen area. The lower has as many bedrooms, but the room with the twin beds is not nearly as large or as pretty and none of the bedrooms has connecting bathrooms, although there are three bathrooms. The villa is very close to Cortona, where we dined almost every night. We also are very close to the Umbria border and dined there for dinner also. It is located near a train station, which we used to visit Florence on our first trip in 2003. There is a cottage on the property, where we met and befriended a couple from New Zealand, who visit just about every summer. We met up with them again on our second trip. It is near a small village (a short drive), a slightly larger village (a short drive) and a slightly longer short drive away to visit Cortona itself -- not more than 15 minutes. Obviously, we loved the area since we visited twice with the same friends. The owners were friendly, warm and helpful.
We didn't walk for coffee or groceries -- you really need a car to get around, but the nearest village is very, very close, and Cortona is only a slightly longer drive. Restaurants and shopping (groceries, etc.) were also a short drive away.
The building was an historical, stone, beautifully renovated former oil production building. It was very peaceful and quiet. Each of the two apartments in the main rental building comprised one floor each. The layout was perfect -- entering a foyer, with the kitchen, dining and living areas well placed. The bedrooms each had privacy. There are three rental properties in all - two in the main building and then the small cottage. The owners live in a large mansion on the estate, very close by.
You can view the property directly: Villa Grazia.
Each apartment rental has their own outside private terrace, surrounded by flowers. The pool, for everyone's use, is absolutely stunning, surrounded by the vineyards, etc. and mounds and mounds of flowers and cypress trees. It was heaven! At no time was there any problem having space or privacy at the pool, or anywhere else on the property.
The furniture was antique and in very good shape. It was comfortable and picturesque. The apartments and grounds were very clean. There was plenty of seating.
The beds were very comfortable -- nicer than the ones I have at home! There were plenty of bathrooms, which were very prettily tiled -- a very Tuscan look!
The kitchens were very usable with plenty of pots and pans. The dishes were plentiful and very nice, as well. We only had one full dinner at the apartments, since we ate out most nights, but we had plenty of utensils and space and enjoyed ourselves. We dined outside on the terrace each morning both times, having been lucky enough to have sunshine every day each trip! We had cheese, fruit, fresh bread, orange juice and coffee practically each morning. Most times we were out at lunchtime and dinnertime. We swam practically everyday -- usually after returning from a day's sightseeing in the many fabulous towns -- before going out to dinner.
Problems or Bonuses
I was very very happy to find that I made a wonderful choice in using Doorways Ltd. both trips and a fabulous choice of a villa -- which was very reasonably priced. I would visit again.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Doorways Ltd., located in Bryn Mawr, PA, was wonderful. They kept us up-to-date on everything, offered many services, and supplied us with much information. Many of the agents are from different countries in Europe, all of whom speak English, and supplied us with much information and were helpful. Each person is assigned a particular agent, who leads you through the rental process, etc. If you click the above link in the "About the House" section, you can read everything I have written. The reality of the place was every bit as wonderful as the published information -- even better in some respects.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would definitely visit a third time. I would recommend this place to a best friend. See all my responses above.
Things to do in this area
In Cortona, our favorite restaurant was "Flu Fluns." I think that's the correct spelling. You can dine outside, which you should request when making a reservation, since they are popular. They have everything from antipasto, main entrees, to fabulous pizza. We ate there several times on both trips (summer of 2003 and 2007). Of course, there is wonderful shopping -- I happen to love art galleries and I purchased a piece of art each time from Galleria Nocchia in Cortona. A sister and brother own it and they even visited my area once (having made friends with a previous visitor to Cortona) and had an art gathering here, which I attended with friends.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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