Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3752: Agriturismo Valgiano, Localita Lo Stecchino
2bed/2bath apartment near Lucca, Tuscany North
August 2008, 2 weeks
The agriturismo was about a half hour drive from Lucca up in the hills in the surrounding countryside. The location was private, up a very steep driveway/road.
There was a small food store and a local restaurant at the bottom of the road about a 10 minute walk away. The supermarket in Marlia was about 15 minutes away. The best restaurants were in Lucca which took about a half hour to reach because the roads were so difficult to navigate.
The property consisted of the owner's house, a cottage type vacation rental and a building with an apartment on both levels. The buildings were older and in good shape. The apartment was peaceful, however noise did travel between the two floors in our rental. You could hear the noise from the plumbing. But as a whole the place felt very peaceful. It would probably depend on who the other guests were. Our neighbors the second week were two young couples who could get noisy late at night but were out most of the time.
There was a sitting area for all three rentals with ours being the least private and desirable. It consisted of a table and chairs set on the sidewalk by the road. The pool area was very attractive and private and there was a table and chairs there. However, it was a bit of a hike from the units.
The furniture like the apartment was older but extremely comfortable. The place was very clean. A cleaner came in after guests left and she did a very good job.
The beds were comfortable enough - however our double was just two twin beds that were attached. The advertised twin beds for my teenagers were similarly attached. The bedrooms were extremely spacious and quite pleasant in my opinion. There were two bathrooms both of which were quite large. Both only had showers. Toilet paper was not included.
The kitchen was a good size and included the eating area. There were enough pots, pans and dishes. It was a good kitchen for cooking full meals. However, one odd thing - for a vineyard in a wine region - there were no wine glasses and no corkscrew. When I went to ask the owner for a corkscrew, she pulled out a container with about six corkscrews but only offered to let me use one. No dishwasher detergent was included.
Problems or Bonuses
The biggest surprises were the difficulty getting to the place especially driving a standard car that we were not accustomed to, finding out that the owner didn't speak English and that the apartment was lacking a laundry room and such basics as toilet paper, corkscrew and dishwasher detergent were not included. Also the nearest phone was down the road at the grocery store and didn't work that well and the nearest Internet access was in Lucca.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The treatment we received was adequate but not spectacular. We were misled but I don't know how intentional it was. The website was in English and I thought it was solely for this property and that I was dealing with the owner. The pictures had been taken to make the place look better than it was. I made my reservation in English but didn't ask too many questions. So I was shocked to arrive at the agriturismo and find that the on site owner didn't speak any English and that the agent in town spoke only very basic English. The owners were farmers who were friendly enough but had no interest in being hosts or helping us orient ourselves. They were no help at all in giving us restaurant recommendations or helping us find things to do. While I don't usually rely on this assistance, the guidebooks were spotty on this area and not too many locals spoke good English.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this vacation rental to someone who was fully informed as to its pluses and minuses. It was incredibly good value given the size and comfort of the apartment, the quiet location, the view and the fantastic pool area. But you would have to be prepared to deal with the language barrier and the drive in.
Things to do in this area
We visited Lucca and rented bicycles to ride around the walls. Highly recommended. We tried to visit wineries but gave up on the idea as you had to book ahead and English is not widely spoken. We had dinner at the restaurant at the bottom of the hill which was a very traditional experience. Mostly we made day trips to other parts of Tuscany such as Siena, Pisa, Bagna di Lucca and also to Cinque Terre.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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