Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3954: Tenuta San Carlo, Apartment
3bed/1bath apartment near Grosseto, Tuscany West
March 2007, 4 days
The rental is situated a two hour bus ride from Florence along the western coast of Tuscany on the Mediterranean. The estate is large (no awareness of neighboring farms) and flat (however the Tuscan hills are present in the Northern landscape). The property is adjacent to a natural reserve called Parco Dell'Uccellina.
The property is split in two by the highway. On one side, the fields are dedicated to commercial agriculture, and the other side is a ranch. I spent most of my time on the ranch side where there are fields for the horses, pine groves, long tree-lined promenades, and land set aside for natural growth. If you hike or bike (bikes on-site) down the main promenade, you pass by the stables, past the pig pen, right by the chicken coup, and into one of the pine forests. If you continue along the promenade, you'll find yourself in a vast expanse of open fields with lone pine trees (very romantic), and eventually you'll get to the swamp which is the last stop before you arrive at the beach, which is occupied by cozy impromptu structures created out of the beach wood. In essence, the location is large enough to get lost in, and beautiful enough not to care.
If you opt out of enjoying the cuisine prepared on-site, then you will need a car to get to the closest cafe or grocery market. I would recommend bringing a car if you plan on staying more than a couple of days.
The apartment I stayed in was above the stable, however once inside I couldn't tell because it neither smelled, sounded like, or was reminiscent of a stable. It is a very spacious apartment with enough beds and fresh sheets for all of my companions and my-self. The living room/kitchen has a great fireplace that's beautiful but also functional because it does serve to warm up the space and can be used to cook as well.
The apartment is tastefully decorated with undiscovered images from the region and the like.
I believe there are a total of six apartments, all of which are different sizes and layouts (nothing cookie cutter). All the apartments are situated so that you have complete privacy at all times.
I'm sure there is more to tell, but I spent most of my time there outside of the apartment either on hikes, talking with the manager and his family, or on the beach.
Although it is a fully functional farm, the management has obviously taken great care to develop it as a garden.
There are pretty much unlimited outdoor sitting areas to be found around the property in a variety of different landscapes, whether it be the beach, the fields where you can watch the deer and wild boar roam, the pine forests, or the more lively ranch area.
The apartment was in tip-top shape. Nothing fancy, but very comfortable and ample furniture in the living room and dining area. Plus if I ever found something dirty, or need more furniture, the manager was just a shout away to serve my needs. I found the staff to be incredibly accommodating and helpful.
The bedrooms and bathrooms were completely suitable, much better than hostel arrangements, and better than anything else I found in the country. The bathroom was particularly good because it had a space heater in it so I didn't freeze to death when I got out of the shower.
I cooked several fulls meals in the kitchen for a party of five large, young men and was impressed by how extensively the kitchen was stocked with everything one needs in order to prepare great meals. Everything was of fine quality and ready to go!
Problems or Bonuses
The best surprise was running into and photographing a wild boar one day while out on a hike. I sent the picture to the owner, and it's now featured on the web-site! I was surprised by the pristine quality of the location, accessible yet completely remote and wild with its natural inhabitants.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I thought the accommodations were under priced considering the level of service I received and the comfort of my entire stay. It's truly hard to imagine how the estate maintains itself on the rental income considering the expanse of the property and the high level of maintenance.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay there again, and I have already recommended this location to several people including my parents who went and had an incredible time. I also brought a group of my friends there who always remind me that there stay at Tenuta San Carlo was the highlight of their Italian experience.
Things to do in this area
There is a spectacular restaurant in Buriano that you must try if you stay at San Carlo. It's about a 20 minute drive, but WELL worth it. It's situated in medieval village on top of a large hill, completely family run, with an entirely warm, friendly atmosphere. Did I mention that the food is extraordinarily fresh and all the cuisine is typical of the region! There are only two restaurants in this one road town, and it's the one farther up the hill, so it should be easy to find if you ask around.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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