Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4222: Chianti Holiday, Podere Barberino
5bed/6.5bath villa near Barberino Val D'Elsa, Tuscany Chianti
Sept 2007, 14 days
The villa is in the small, charming medieval town of Barberino Val D'Elsa, 30 minutes from Florence by car. It is a very private property, accessed through two private gates, down a sweeping drive, in an olive grove. An outstanding view of the valley below is seen from the house and the pool area. The owners of the property have a residence next door, but are there only sporadically, and are not seen unless needed.
The town of Barberino in a 10 min walk up the driveway. Directly outside the gate is a small cappuccino/bar where the locals gather for their coffee, ice creams, wine. We bought wine for the villa here, and stopped often to enjoy a drink and watch the children and locals in the park. Into town, another five minute walk, there are all the amenities needed: grocery, pharmacy, butcher, baker, wine tasting etc. The people were very friendly, and the owner of the grocery store actually gave us a bottle of his homemade wine.
There are at least three good restaurants in Barberino, with friendly owners and fresh foods. We either cooked for ourselves in the villa, or ate in town. We did not go out of the village in search of restaurants.
The villa itself, which the locals call Villa Flavia, after the owner, is amazing. Terra cotta floors, brick and cement archways, huge windows. The kitchen had everything we needed, and we spent much time there, preparing and enjoying meals and snacks. The six bedrooms are located upstairs and are all extremely spacious, each with en suite. Downstairs is kitchen, laundry, bathroom, dining room, two living rooms, bedroom with en suite and the outdoor eating area. There is a spa apartment next to the pool with its own terrace and chairs. The spa is available for use when renting the villa.
The outdoor dining room was fabulous. It afforded the fresh air, while being under cover. The gardens and lawns were beautifully manicured, care for almost daily. There was a logia for sitting, as well as a terrace area overlooking the pool. The gardens are splendid, with rose bushes, and the lavender was profuse. There is also a lovely grape arbor around the side of the house, next to the barbecue area. It was a lovely spot to sit quietly in the shade.
The pool is an infinity pool, designed by the owners to give the impression of falling over into the valley below. It's large, and the patio area is large, with ample chairs. It was a very popular spot to spend time.
The house was furnished with lovely pieces and antiques. The owners, Flavia and Ricardo, have a great eye for decorating. At the same time, the house was comfortable enough so that we could curl up on the couches, make ourselves totally at home.
When we arrived, the villa was full of cut flowers in vases. The cleaning lady, Patricia, was in daily to sweep, wash the floors, dust, empty our garbage. She was very friendly and helpful, but never in the way.
The beds were all kings, and comfortable, with exception of two rooms that had twin beds that could be joined together to make one bed. The bedrooms were fabulous, an apple on each pillow. Fireplaces, tables and chairs, armoires, dressers. The en suites were large, with bidet and walk in showers. Some had baths as well. Almost all the bedrooms had lovely views.
The kitchen had everything we needed, and was made up of two rooms, one with a bench type table for preparing food or sitting and eating, dishwasher, large freezer/fridge, two sinks, gas oven/range, microwave etc. Lively blue and yellow tile on walls. Adjoining this was another room, with water jug, dry foods, cookies etc, a liquor bar, and a china cabinet. This room opened out to the outdoor eating area.
Problems or Bonuses
The only problem was that the owners do charge for "extras", so it's good to read the contract carefully. Also, the dryer was very slow. Not sure if it was the machine or the users.
Otherwise, Podere Barberno was much more than we expected, like a dream.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Flavia and Ricardo, the owners, are fantastic hosts. They will go out of their way to make your stay what ever you wish. We had a 50th birthday party while there, and Flavia organized a band, chefs to prepare the meal, set up of the table, decorating.
We corresponded by email for a year before arriving, making arrangement and sorting things out. She was always available.
I can't say enough about their warmth and assistance.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I absolutely recommend Podere Barberino.
Things to do in this area
Barberino Val D'Elsa is located such that day trips to many cities in Tuscany are easy. One couple in our group even made it to the coast and back in a day.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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