Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4461: Etna Wine Agriturismo, Apartment
apartments on a farm near Passopisciaro, Sicily
May 2009, 1 week
The apartment was in a vineyard on the north side of Mt Etna. It was pretty high up. (We could see where the 'cultivated' part of the volcano ended not far above the property.) The view was fabulous. Up the volcano you could watch the plume; down you looked over a beautiful landscape.
You definitely need a car here. There was no grocery within walking distance. There was a restaurant on site but we did not eat there. (I did take out a dish of pasta alla norma one night when I did not feel like making more than a salad -- it was good.) There are several grocery stores, including a EuroSpin in Randazzo, which was 10-15 minutes away by car. There is a 'fruta e verdura' stand that sets up across the street from the grocery. Further into the town is a butcher, roast shop, banks, and other amenities. Passopisciaro is closer and has a Tabachi where you can get coffee/sandwiches/baked goods as well as a smaller grocery.
The building had that 'old Italian farm' look but I'm not sure it is historical. The apartment (1bed/1bath) was in good condition. It had a bedroom with a double and a single bed, a nice size bathroom with plenty of hot water, and good sized living room/kitchen combo. If you stay, request one of the apartments in the building in the vineyard -- not in the same building as the reception. The reception building is near the main road and noisy. The vineyard building is very quiet and peaceful. It has three apartments, including one set up for someone with disabilities. We woke to the sound of birds most mornings (and vineyard workers one morning). The owner's family has lived there and made wine for generations. He is very proud of their history and has created a small museum showing the old ways of making wine in the region.
The vineyard building had two very nice outside seating areas that were shared with the three other apartments in our building. There was a very nice pool and the pool equipment was in very good shape. Only disappointment is that the water was still too cold for me :) It was still a great place to relax though. There are cherry trees and vines all around the building -- very nice. The owner (Mario?) picked some cherries for me.
The furniture was in good shape and sufficient. The apartment was clean and everything was in good repair.
The bed was comfortable. And, the bedroom had a fabulous view out both of the windows. There were no windows in the kitchen/living room. However, the door was large and you could open wooden panels and it became a window. It let in plenty of light.
The bathroom was good sized. The only problem is that there was not sufficient space in the sink area for all of our 'stuff.' I have found that to be true of many rentals though. The shower was not cramped (although not huge) and there was a window for ventilation.
We ate most of our meals 'at home' and the kitchen was very usable. There were sufficient pots/pans/dishes/cutlery and if we were missing anything we just asked Maria (who oversees the apartments)and it appeared. The dining room table is placed so it can serve as extra counter space when you are cooking. My husband and I were able to both work at the same time with no problem.
Problems or Bonuses
The friendliness of Maria and the owner was a great surprise. They were so helpful! Even though my Italian is poor and the owner's English was sparse. Between us we managed to communicate and we (my husband and I) got good touring/grocery shopping advice, fresh cherries and beans, a sense of the history of the area and Maria ran a load of washing through their own washing machine.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly with the owner. They were very nice. The website is accurate. We paid €350 for the week, which I thought was a good value.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would definitely stay here again. Although maybe I would wait until later in June when the pool would be warmer. I would also insist on staying in the building in the vineyard (not the reception).
Things to do in this area
There was a lot to do in the area. Interesting places were a close drive including Gole Alcantara, Giardini Naxos, and, of course, the north side of the volcano. This is also a good spot for wine touring. Several wineries are very close and the wines of the region are unique.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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