Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3489: In Italy, Fonte de Medici
apartments on an estate near Montefiridolfi, Tuscany Chianti
April 2008, 7 days
The Fonte de Medici is a small group of 6-7 buildings in the middle of vineyards in Chianti; nearest town is technically Montefiridolfi but that is 2.5 km away and there isn't much there. You take the Tavarenelle exit off the Florence/Siena highway and it is 8-10 minutes from the highway, up in the hills. The 'resort' consists of apartments that are grouped into 3-4 buildings, with a small gym/sauna/steam room, a pool, resturant, front desk and conference center. One and a half kilometers away are two other houses that are also split into apartments. The area is filled with wineries and small towns; one night we picked up pizza from a town four km away.
You can't walk to anywhere. Montefiridolfi says it has two stores, but I'm not real sure about that. We went to the nearest supermarket, a Coop, in San Casciano about 10 km, but 20 minutes drive, away. Greve is about 20 km away, as is Castellina. There are several restaurants out in the country that the front desk will give you a map to. The resturant on site serves three meals a day. Make no mistake, you must have a car for this location. You cannot get into Florence by bus or train easily; you can take the bus from San Casciano but it only runs hourly. We ended up driving into Florence.
The estate dates back (the brochure says) to the middle ages, when pilgrims would stop at the fountain on their journey. We stayed in the Nebbiolo barn and it was wonderful. Totally free-standing, with a nice bush hedge to give privacy, yet 30 second walk from the resturant, gym, and pool. It is very quiet, although there are barn swallows in the loggia area of the barn. This apartment had three bedrooms (two down, one up) and two baths, with a kitchen, living room and patio. There were heaters in every room, that worked well, and air conditioning units in the bedrooms. The kitchen and living rooms had French doors and many windows. Brick floors, hairdryers, screened windows ... and three pronged Italian plugs (get a converter from the front desk). Kitchen was equipped well with oven, stove, fridge, microwave, dishes, bowls, glasses, plates ... but no paper towels or napkins or scrubbie for the sink and only one sharp knife. Garbage emptied daily but they do not do your dishes for you.
Very nice outside sitting area, private to the Nebbiolo. On the other side of the bushes was the pool, with several seating areas with sun shades and beautiful views out into the vineyards.
Furniture was very nice. The couches were firm and not worn out, the dressers were fine, the beds were a little hard but very nice linens. Nice towels. Wood burning fireplace in the living room and they supply you with wood. Seating for six at a farmhouse-style table in the kitchen.
There were two bedrooms downstairs ... a king bed with en suite bathroom and then a room with twin beds and another hallway bathroom. Upstairs was a queen bedroom. The master bath was large, with toilet/bidet, tub, and step in shower with travertine tiles and a large central shower head. The hallway bathroom had toilet/bidet and shower stall. The fixtures were modern and nice.
There were plenty of pots and pans, but only that one knife. We took our cheese to the kitchen to borrow a grater (no grater) but they just gave us a week's worth of grated Parmesan instead. We cooked four dinners in the kitchen with no problems. Small but perfect dishwasher and they provided some soap tablets for that. French doors made eating in very nice and if it had been a tad warmer, we'd have eaten outside.
Problems or Bonuses
We thought there was Internet in the barn itself but you have to go to the front desk instead. They are open 8:30 - 9 pm and have a guest computer for use, or you can bring your laptop and get wireless access. Breakfast was great -- cereal, pastries, fruit, jams, meat, cheeses. We ate dinner there once and while I thought it was expensive, the food was good ... just expensive. The front desk staff was incredibly helpful and nice. We couldn't find CNN on the TV and two minutes later, a maintenance man came and reprogrammed the TV for us. The gym was a pleasant surprise; weights, a universal, a bike and stepper ... not Bally's quality but nice. They gave me a key so I could use it at any hour I liked.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked through In Italy and they were fine; communication was quick and efficient. Everyone at the Fonte de Medici spoke English. The website does not show which picture corresponds to which apartment, which is unfortunate, but the furnishings were accurately reflected in the pictures.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would highly recommend this rental! Not only did we have a great time, but the facility was just beautiful, well run, the staff excellent and all in all, no complaints except needed another knife, had to walk 30 feet to the Internet and I didn't know I had to bring my own paper towels ... those really were the only complaints.
Things to do in this area
Went to San Gimignano, Siena, Volterra, Florence, Chianti Area, Pisa ... great location. We also just drove around the vineyards and enjoyed the scenery.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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