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Review 423: Florence Villas, Santa Maria


Review by Elizabeth from Australia

villa sleeps 10-12 near Pienza, Tuscany South


September 2002, 2 weeks


Dear Friends, Just returned from a wonderful week in Tuscany. We stayed in a 5 bedroom farmhouse nearby Pienza (Siena), San Quirico d'Orcia and Bagni Vignoni(hot Springs) - when you arrive you are greeted with the most spectacular view of Southern Tuscany.

The house and property are located in the middle of a natural park with a 300 degree view - you look across and you see the town of Castiglione D'Orcia. You can enter the house from the upper level which has a fabulous kitchen with a magnificent fire place (the biggest and nicest kitchen that I have ever seen in a vacation rental in Italy), two bathrooms and four bedrooms . You go downstairs to a very large living room (with a beautiful bathroom made of travertino stone) and a bedroom. All the rooms are decorated so beautifully. Each room has special little touches. The armoires are beautiful as are the beds and dressers.

The house used to be a typical Tuscan Farmhouse (downstairs for the animals and upstairs the people), but was turned into a residence by the current owners that completely renovated the house - it has plenty of hot water, a good heating system, a larger fridge and freezer, a microwave, screens on the windows - all the mod cons. Even with all these modern things, the house has retained its original character - wood beams, brick floors, etc.

The "villa" has a nice pool and a garden with a veranda, and we used this a lot to watch the children and enjoy lovely wine. Pienza is a small town in central Tuscany, about 35 km south of Siena, between Montepulciano and Montalcino. It is a beautiful town with a well preserved historic center. Lots of tourists visit Pienza, but it still feels like a "real" town. It has a few caffes, several excellent restaurants, and many food shops. You can buy antiques, art, wine, olive oil, pecorino cheese (made locally), and more.

San Quirico is an historical village,situated at about 40 km south of Siena, on the hills that divide the two river valleys of Asso and Orcia. The village offers also a numerous leisure and funny moments: - "Forme nel Verde", exhibition of international contemporary sculpture - "Sanquiricoestate" - (June/Sept), cultural, musical and theatre open exhibitions - "Festa dell'Olio" - (2nd Sunday of Dec.), market with possibility of oil-sampling.

The location is perfect (for us at least). We love this part of southern Tuscany. The hill towns are beautiful. There are incredible restaurants everywhere. You are a 10 minute drive from Pienza (one of my favorite small towns). You can walk to nearby Bagni Vignoni. You are not far from Monte Oliveto, so you could go and see the Sodoma frescoes every day (and hear the chanting - which we have never heard there yet). And it is probably a 45 minute drive to Siena! Could it be more perfect?

The owners have plans to package a farmhouse stay with hands-on cooking lessons and the subsequent dinners.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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