Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4221: Le Manzinaie, Apartment
apartments on estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South
July 5-11, 2009, 1 week
We recently spent a week at Le Manzinaie and had an absolutely wonderful experience! We had devoted months researching properties in Tuscany in advance of our trip and it really paid off in locating this gem. The location was ideal for our purposes we wanted a quiet, romantic setting from which to do day trips in Tuscany and Umbria. We were within an hour radius of Siena and Assisi. (Taking the train to Florence or Rome is more convenient than trying to drive in those cities and the train station is nearby with free parking.) Le Manzinaie is an absolutely gorgeous property more of a sanctuary with the cypress-lined driveway, bountiful garden, fruit trees, flowers, well manicured lawn and swimming pool.
Upon arrival there was a slight rain and Alice scurried for an umbrella to help us finish bringing in our luggage. Then we were greeted with a tray of wine and chips to unwind and settle in. Our refrigerator was stocked with provisions for breakfast for the next day which included prosciutto, eggs, milk, juice, coffee, bread and jam. There was also a bottle of wine, glasses and a cork screw nestled in a basket on the counter.
We took advantage of the patio area each morning for breakfast and to enjoy a glass of wine at night.
We were provided with packets of customized itineraries of easy day trips, detailed instruction for places to buy groceries, where to do laundry, buy meat and find an ATM.
The owners were incredibly warm, friendly and hospitable from arrival to departure and everywhere in between. They strike the perfect balance of providing access and availability while also respecting our privacy. Alice assisted us in booking tickets to museums in Florence, provided train schedules and detailed driving directions to the train station. She is a cross between the friendliest of neighbors and a concierge.
The evening of the cooking class/dinner was a night to remember! We have a pasta machine, but have never been able to master the feel for the perfect consistency of dough. Our training was definitely hands on and now we know exactly how easy it is to prepare. Making the dessert pastry was also fun and a learning experience. But nothing can top the hospitality and dinner that followed! This was a 3.5 hour marathon progressive feast with progressive courses made from scratch by Fiore. He used many ingredients from the garden right down to the zucchini blossoms. We are foodies and this was like winning a gourmet vacation!
If you have time for the local excursions they offer they are worth it. We took advantage of both the winery and cheese tours that Alice arranged and accompanied us to as a translator. Both are small family-owned operations and were well worth the nominal fees. In each instance we were welcomed by the owners and provided leisurely tours, tastings and conversations. There was no pressure to buy, but we used it as a great opportunity to bring wine and vacuum packed cheeses back to the U.S. as gifts.
The owners are a genuinely warm family who welcome you not only onto their property, but into their dream! To paraphrase their choice of lifestyle we could not see the world so we built this property to bring the world to us.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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