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Review 3689: Sant' Antonio, Signorelli


Review by Viy McGaughy from OH

apartments on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South


July 5 - 12, 2008, 7 nights


Sant’ Antonio Country Resort in Montepulciano is an ideal place for a Tuscan (and Umbrian) vacation. It is centrally located in the Val d’Orcia so, with a car, it is 30 minutes to the Renaissance jewel of a town, Pienza. Add another 15 minutes and one is among the vineyards that produce the great Brunello wine in Montalcino. Siena is about an hour and a half away (that is, if one does not keep on stopping to ask “Dov’è il Duomo?”). Cortona and its wonderful Diocesan Museum is less than an hour away. For those on the trail of Piero della Francesca’s frescoes, the towns of Arezzo, Monterchi and Sansepolcro are all within a leisurely day’s drive. The great Umbrian cities of Perugia and Orvieto are also very accessible as day-trip destinations.

Sant’ Antonio is about five minutes away from the hill town of Montepulciano and if one walks up the forested hill on the property, one can “look down” on the town of Vino Nobile fame because Sant’ Antonio is 644 meters above sea level while Montepulciano is 605 meters. The views around the property are wonderful. Monte Amiata figures prominently on the southwestern aspect, while on a clear day, Lago Trasimeno on the east can be seen from one of the many terraces on the property.

Although there are 13 apartments in this converted 12th century Franciscan monastery, one is impressed by the privacy and peaceful quietude that permeates the place. There were children around during the week (July 5 – 12, 2008) when my husband and I stayed at the one-bedroom cottage called “Signorelli” but the signs (and sounds) of their newly formed friendships were never intrusive. Except for the optional “community dinner” on Wednesday night (which we highly recommend for both the quality and quantity of food and the wonderful conversations around the table), we hardly saw the other guests during the week. We knew they were around because we saw their cars in the underground parking garages (just another example of how the owners of Sant’ Antonio have tried to preserve the evocative “Tuscan” views around the property).

Nico and Elena have made their place (they live on the property) so comfortable and unique. Nico is a perfect host, which starts even from the time one books an apartment. He is so knowledgeable about the area such that he can tell you exactly how to get to the site where one can take a photograph of the “classic cypress-lined white road leading uphill to a farmhouse” or that you need mosquito repellent if you want to go to one of the islands on Lago Trasimeno. He is ably assisted by his staff and we loved Suzi, who in her quiet but efficient way, made our stay so memorable. The gardens are well-tended, the apartments are well-maintained, the bath towels are plush and the Tuscan décor (I fell in love with the macramé-lace curtains) is understated elegance.

Can you tell we fell in love with Sant’ Antonio, Tuscany and Umbria and the warm and friendly Italians who willingly answered our constant question, “Dov’è il Duomo?”

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

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