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Review 3505: Le Manzinaie, Villa Viole

www.lemanzinaie.it

Recommended
Review by Lisa Gelfand from MA

apartments on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South


When

April 2008, 2 weeks

Location

Le Manzinaie is in the country, surrounded by lovely fields. The property is gated and quiet. The villa we stayed in was surrounded by tall shrubs and therefore quite private. Once you figure out the small, winding roads (and, the owners provide excellent directions and maps), you can drive to the beautiful nearby villages easily: Montepulciano, Pienza, Cortona, Montalcino, San Quirico d’Orcia, Arrezzo, and the Piero della Francesco towns of Monterchi and Sansepolcro. Also, Siena is an easy one-hour train ride from Montepulciano Stazione, and you can connect there to get to Florence (driving to either city is a highly unpleasant experience).

Nearby Amenities

You need to drive a few kilometers to Montepulciano Stazione to find a small grocery store and cafe. Drive a 10-15 minutes further to Montepulciano for a supermarket, a weekly outdoor market, cafes (including the beautiful Cafe Poliziano) and excellent restaurants (especially the fabulously original A Gambe di Gatto, high up on the main street). There is also a good weekly market in Cortona. Another terrific restaurant, the fine, gourmet Trattoria Guastini, is just two kilometers away in the unlikely village of Valiano; for delicious "pici" (local pasta specialty) and pizza, there is La Loggetta in Gracciano, just 10 minutes away.

The House/Apartment

The owners took on an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings around eight years ago and transformed it into a beautiful estate with an orchard, flowers, and refurbished apartments and villas. We rented a two-story private villa, with a bedroom and bathroom on each floor, that slept 4; it was surrounded by shrubs and very private. The entire property is set back from the road and is quiet. When the six (?)apartments and the two villas are rented, a maximum of 22 people can stay at Le Manzinaie.

Garden

Our villa had a small private lawn with a table and plastic chairs. There is a lovely pool that opens May 2nd.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

Excellent queen canopy bed (upstairs "bridal" room) with a firm mattress; the downstairs room, which had its own door to the outside, also had a comfortable queen bed. The common living area was quite small and the sofa less-than-inviting - but who wanted to stay inside in that weather? Small four-person table in the same living area and kitchen appliances along one wall. The owners kept the place very clean and changed sheets weekly, towels twice a week. Rooms are decorated with the owners' personal touches.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

See above. Bathrooms good size. Downstairs one had tub with jacuzzi; upstairs one had stall shower (water pressure could have been stronger).

Kitchen

Kitchen area fine (special faucet for potable water) - all necessary cooking equipment and utensils there. We did limited cooking (salads, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables) but one could make a full meal, if necessary. The day we bought a much-prized Florentine steak (can you say thick?) at the excellent butcher shop in Montepulciano Stazione, the owner, Fiore, cooked it for us on his brick barbecue pit.

Problems or Bonuses

Not really. Given the very high cost of oil, guests pay €2/hour for heat (manually controlled inside the villa) - we just took off the chill in early morning and late evening.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

We knew Tuscany would be beautiful in the spring, but we never expected our hosts at Le Manzinaie would be so extraordinarily thoughtful, attentive, and generous. Other reviewers have said that Marzia, Fiore, and Alice love their work, and they do - and it's authentic, not an act to drum up business. Alice speaks very good English, and Marzia does quite well (and her Italian is pretty understandable); Fiore communicates with ebullient gestures. Ask for clean towels and they appear in minutes; request reservations at nearby restaurants or distant museums and you find a confirmation on your door; show up at the office and Fiore offers you a cappuccino or a glass of local wine; say yes to having dinner there and enjoy home-made pasta and freshly-grilled meats; express interest in meeting other guests (or, in keeping to yourself) and your wishes will be honored. Every gesture is made with warm smiles and hearty laughs.

We were at Le Manzinaie for two weeks and could not possibly have been happier. If you go to Tuscany and want quiet, warmth, and easy access to some of the best parts of the region, you'll want to stay here.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

I would go back to Le Manzinaie in a heartbeat and would recommend it with unqualified enthusiasm to all my friends. It's not luxurious, but I cannot imagine a more welcoming or comfortable place (see above).

Things to do in this area

See "Nearby Amenities."

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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