Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 402: La Bella Toscana, Fattoria Pancole - Lo Scoiattolo
apartments on farm near San Gimignano, Tuscany West
18 - 27 October, 2002, 9 days
We were a short drive from San Gimignano in the country. This is an agriturismo property and a working farm with wine and oil production. A quiet, picturesque, location. This is one of 8 apartments on this farm, most of our stay we were the only renters - it is fully booked in the summer and September and I would imagine there would be less quiet and privacy as a result.
The little village of Pancole consisted of a small lovely church and a three star hotel/restaurant. One would need a car to get to shopping, cafes, etc. The Coop supermarket was a 6 or 7 minute car ride away in San Gimignano, as were any other amenities one would want.
This is a typical agriturismo property (rated 3 sheafs of wheat by the government). All the apartments require climbing stairs as the farm buildings, in use for equipment, are on the lower levels. It was clean, in good shape and had the basics for cooking and eating. It was in a row of apartments and therefore ony had windows on two sides (front and back), so consequently had less natural light, but the electric lights pretty well compensated for this. The bathroom was good size, the shower attachment in the wall did not work (probably easy to fix, but we didn't mind taking baths), there was also a bidet. The apartment has satelite TV with CNN and an english language sports channel. The heat was radiator-forced hot water, quiet and efficent (and costs 5 euros extra/dy, if used).
Limited garden area, the outdoor seating (for 2 people) is right outside the entrance to the apartment, in a small coverd loggia and is right next to seating for one adjacent apartment. There is a pool, (which is gated and locked) and play area for children.
The furniture was pretty basic and fairly comfortable. Including a futon "chair", seating for three in the sitting area adjacent to the kitchen, which has seating for 4 at the table.
The beds were a king which was firm and very comfortable, (the best I've had in any rental) in a large bedroom and in a smaller bedroom (by request only) a twin bed, also with an excellent, firm mattress.
The pots and pans were sufficent in number to cook a full meal for at least 4 people, as were the silver, dishes and glassware. Utensils were also adequate. All were of good quality. The lighting could have been a little better, but it was ok nonetheless.
Problems or Bonuses
This property was just as advertised.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
La Bella Toscana was generally responsive to all emails and faxes, and responded quickly after a brief phone call was made at one point, when things slowed down a little in making arrangements. The onsite person at Fattoria Pancole, Chiara, was multilingual and helpful, she was willing to make phone calls to help with reservations. I was pleased at her willingness to help, especially since the apartment did not have a phone.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Most definately. For the price, a nice accommodation!
Things to do in this area
San Gimignano, Certaldo (especially the walled old city), and Volterra, which had a fabulous Etruscan museum, were the closest cities/towns of interest. Best restaurant of this visit was in Castellina in Chianti, a one hour drive away (and a beautiful scenic drive too): Antica Trattoria "La Torre", very reasonably priced, with good house wine and the food was simply wonderful.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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