Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3904: Agriturismo Cretaiole, Il Granaio
apartments on a farm near Pienza, Tuscany South
November 2008, One week
Agriturismo Cretaiole was in the country, about five minutes from Pienza in one direction and San Quirico d'Orcia in the other.
The nearest grocery stores and restaurants were in Pienza and San Quirico.
The 14th Century farmhouse was in very good shape -- clean and comfortable. The furnishings were rustic, and although rustic in appearance, the kitchen and bathroom were modern.
The kitchen/living area had a wonderful fireplace and a view of Pienza from the window. The separate bedroom had a very comfortable bed with lovely linens.
There were five other apartments in the house.
The grounds at Agriturismo Cretaiole were lovely and inviting, with may places to sit with a glass of wine or a book and enjoy the peaceful setting.
The furniture, though rustic, was in good shape. The only improvement which could be made would be to the sofa in the living area. It was not the most comfortable for sitting and reading.
The bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was adequate.
The kitchen was adequate for our purposes, although there was no oven or freezer. We didn't cook big meals (and we had not intended to do so), but prepared a simple breakfast and light meals in the evening. The dishes and cookware were of good quality.
Problems or Bonuses
The best surprise was that the property was every bit as lovely as the website portrayed, and Isabella and the other family members were as helpful and friendly as the reviewers had indicated.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly through Isabella, and she couldn't have been more helpful. Her English is beautiful -- not only correct, but very expressive. The other family members didn't speak English, but enthusiasm is a universal language, and they "spoke" it beautifully.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Without a doubt, I would recommend a stay at Agriturismo Cretaiole for everyone, with the possible exception of young adults who are seeking more of a "night" scene. Also, if what you are seeking is a four or five-star hotel experience, then it isn't for you. But if what you want is something close to an authentic Tuscan lifestyle, this is probably as close as a tourist can get.
Having loved Italy since our first trip in 2000, we have stayed in several areas and been delighted with them all. It will be hard to top our stay at Agriturismo Cretaiole on the next trip, though!
The previous reviews have sung the praises eloquently, and there is probably not a lot I can add, except to say the reviewers are not exaggerating the charms of Agriturismo Cretaiole and the Famiglia Moricciani.
The drive the short distance from Pienza afforded magnificent views of the Val d'Orcia, and the entrance flanked by cypress trees couldn't have been lovelier. Then, seeing the 14th Century farmhouse high on the hill overlooking the sweeping vistas was all that we had anticipated.
Our apartment, Il Granaio, was spacious, beautifully rustic with modern conveniences. We enjoyed preparing light meals there on the evenings when we wanted to stay in, sometimes by the fire. Since we were there in November, we did not miss air-conditioning at all.
The warmth of Isabella, Carlo and Luciano added to the experience of a lifetime. Their enthusiasm for this beautiful area and for their home and their farm brought everything to life.
My husband and I have learned that you don't fill every waking moment on a trip with things to do -- that you just need to spend some time just "being" instead of "doing", or as the Italians say, "Il dolce far niente" (the sweetness of doing nothing). We were able to do that at Cretaiole and enjoy every minute. On the other hand, when we did want something to do, Isabella had prepared a lovely agenda filled with experiences typical to the area instead of just more touristy things to do. The beauty is that you can pick and choose which suits your wishes, and know that if you decide to take part in one of the recommended activities, it will be something that will help you understand the character of the region and the culture of the wonderful people of Val d'Orcia. To me, that is what makes an unforgettable trip.
I am a painter, and I can't wait to get out my paints to try to capture this incredible landscape on canvas, and the people who live there.
Things to do in this area
LaBuca della Fate and Latte di Luna were two restaurants recommended by Isabella, and we enjoyed each one more than once.
In each room, there is a large book filled with suggested itineraries and activities in the area. My husband and I enjoy art, history and culture, and just "being" in an area. There is plenty of that, and Isabella lines up a variety of interesting tours and activities, some free and some with a nominal charge.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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