Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4276: La Pietra Grezza, Lilac Apartment
2bed/1.5bath apartment near Cellai, Tuscany Chianti
June - August 2009, 9 weeks
Perched high above the north facing hillside of Tuscany’s Chianti Valdarno hills, La Pietra Grezza commands a beautiful view of the valley below. The drive up to the property is about 1 km on a single lane, winding road passing through beautiful olive groves and small vineyards.
As described by previous reviews, the location was perfect. The property is surrounded by tall cypress trees, a lush garden full of flowers and herbs, a vegetable patch, and planters overflowing with geraniums and hydrangeas. The location is remote and quiet; you’ll never tire of hearing birds chirping, pigeons cooing and church bells ringing in the distance.
It is very private even though there are other properties nearby. The owner lives on the bottom floor. There is another apartment on the second floor and the Lilac is on the third. In my opinion, the Lilac Apartment provides the most beautiful views of the surrounding areas, where you are treated with great views from every room.
There are not too many stores in the town of Cellai. There is a small convenient store, Luigi’s Alimentari, which supplies most of your basic food items such as milk, eggs, fruits as well as some other essentials. Luigi’s Alimentari is also a place to get your bus tickets to Florence and other nearby towns. We mostly did our groceries at a local supermarket called COOP in Rignano about 5 km away or Figline about 10 km away. (They both take credit cards.) There is also a gas station and a hairdresser. A swimming pool is located at Il Pogetto Campgrounds. There is also an internet point here. In the next town of Troghi there is a Post Office, a tabacchi, and a coffee bar. A designer outlet The Mall is only about 10km away in Leccio.
The general interior of the apartment is typical Tuscan with an exposed beams ceiling, cotto tiled floor and plaster walls. The color schemes are pleasant and inviting. The walls are decorated with framed pictures of country scenery and art prints. Entrance to the apartment is through some steps on the back of the property. The furnishings are simple but practical.
The six-person dining room table was big and ample. We used this almost every night for our family dinner and afterward to play cards in the evening. The living room is simply decorated with a leather sofa, two side chairs and a coffee table. It is set next to a window that provides a nice backdrop for our quiet indoor reading. There is also a book shelve that we filled up with our reading materials and other local journals we collected throughout our stay. A small TV is there, which my teen children used often to check on the weather, nightly, Italian MTV shows and soccer matches.
There are two bathrooms in this apartment. One with a shower, a urinal and a clothes washer, another with just a commode and a sink.
The backyard is our outdoor sanctuary. Alberto had set up a covered area with a dining table and chairs. Two lounge chairs were provided for our relaxation and enjoyment. There was also a barbecue set, which we used quite often in the evening. The setting is very private yet open. My teenage daughter loves to sunbathe here while reading her books and enjoying the smooth breeze that often accompanies the Tuscan summer sun.
The furnishings were clean, nice and simple. The apartment was generally clean when we arrived. There was a bottle of Prosecco as a welcome drink. The living room furniture was comfortable and cozy. The bed were all made when we arrived with extra linens neatly stacked in each room.
The two bedroom apartment was very spacious for our family. There were enough beds for each of us, even when my mother in-law came to visit. Alberto, the owner, had also put in an extra roll out bed in case there was a need. The furnishings were simple and practical. The matrimony room has a full sized bed, a big armoire and a dresser. There were ample drawers to store our clothes and knickknacks. The second bedroom has three single beds, an armoire and a tall dresser. All the bedrooms had night lights and a sitting chair. There were plentiful supplies of extra bed linens, comforters, coverlets, pillow cases and towels of different sizes.
There was a brand new refrigerator when we were there. It was a good size that would accommodate our weekly groceries. The kitchen was also fully equipped with all the necessary supplies such as pots, pans and baking dishes. The cabinets were filled with a set of dinner china, salad plates, water cups and wine glasses. A toaster, a microwave, a dishwasher and a gas range complete this small and compact kitchen. Other kitchen gadgets include pizza cutters, wine openers, knives, ladles, potato ricer, a kitchen scale and plenty of silverware. There were also enough dish rags and hand towels. There is a small table in the kitchen, which can be used as a work top or a breakfast table.
Problems or Bonuses
There is no Internet access. However, we signed up with a local telephone store WIND to get a network. It worked well but the speed is slow noting the position of the apartment but enough to read our emails. Having no Internet is not a problem for us, as we wanted to be “unplugged” on this vacation, preferring reading, walking and exploring around the neighborhood instead.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Without him knowing, Alberto became our favorite tour guide and local expert. He provided us with surprising insights to some great towns and restaurants. He has maps, local guides to festivals and events, brochures and booklets of nearby attractions. He was also very helpful when my son became sick in the middle of the night. He gave him some fever reducer medication and translated the instructions to English for us. I can’t thank him enough for his kind help.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this rental apartment. If you love to be surrounded by natural beauty and want a quiet vacation, while still within easy reach to many awesome historical sites, this is the place to stay.
Things to do in this area
La Pietra Grezza is conveniently located close to the historical city of Florence. We felt spoiled having such easy access to the center of the Renaissance world. We loved exploring all the four sections of Florence and found every museum, church, and palazzo irresistible. The central location of this apartment made it possible for us to explore areas outside of Florence, too. We made many day trips to different towns and cities and were still able to arrive back before 9pm. Cortona, Montalcino, Volterra, San Gimignano, Siena, Montepulciano, Greve in Chianti, Vinci, Prato, and Fiesole are some of the easy trips. We’ve also stretched out our day trips to Lucca, Pisa, Assisi, Deruta, Gubbio, Vada, Viareggio and Monterossa.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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