Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4465: Poggio Bonelli, Apartment
apartments on an estate near Castelnuovo Berardenga, Tuscany Chianti
May 2003, May 2005, June 2008, 1-2 weeks
The rental was on a vineyard in the country about 10 minutes from the town. You enter the property by the winery then take a small road (well long driveway)through a small woods and past more vines to an apartment area that has one building with six apartments, a small house that is also a rental, a small building that is a one bedroom apartment, and a 'function room' that I have never seen in use. Although this sounds like a lot of apartments it is not crowded -- usually there are just enough people that you can make friends. The view is gorgeous.
Definitely need a car. There are two mid-size supermarkets in Castelnuovo, which is about 10 minutes away. There are also butchers, bakers, other food shops, restaurants, churches, and other amenities in the town. Siena is also about 25 minutes away (30 to a large COOP).
The buildings were in good shape. All are renovated old farm buildings. The main apartment building has a great patio, a place for hanging clothes to dry, and an internal fireplace that is shared by all the apartments. We've spent several enjoyable evenings talking with new friends from different countries in front of a fire in the fireplace. (We even met the same couple from Germany in two different years.)
The apartments vary in terms of size and location. The website has floorplans for each. We've stayed in three. My favorite is Ambra. It is a 1 bed/1 bath in a small separate building. Beautiful views from the rooms. Very well equipped.
Each apartment receives an 'outside' tablecloth for the stay (along with the standard linens). There are outside tables and chairs for each apartment and a nice covered patio that is shared -- also with table and chairs. The pool is great. Good sized and a very nice view.
The furniture is generally in good repair and more than sufficient. Again, I think Ambra has the nicest because it is the most recently renovated. (It was the shed/laundry room on our first visit.) All were comfortable and clean.
Beds were comfortable, bedrooms and bathrooms were nice. The showers were, however, small. Two of them were the kind where you fold and unfold the doors around a space. (I had never seen anything like it before Italy and it took me a while to get the knack of showering without getting the bathroom very wet.)
The kitchens in all three of the apartments were fine and well-equipped (for a vacation rental). In all cases we were able to cook full meals in the kitchen. Everything needed to make and serve the meal was there. The apartments each had a tray for bringing your meal outside, which is where we ate most of them, even breakfast. There was plenty of room in the apartment but it was so pleasant to eat outside that we almost always chose to do so. Do be aware that the management will place a 'starter box' with some basic cooking items and their own wine and olive oil in the apartment. There is a charge if you use it; the charge is not unreasonable but you should know it exists.
Problems or Bonuses
This was the first agriturismo we ever stayed in and our surprise was how much we enjoyed it. It was quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. I could cut rosemary for cooking right outside my door.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The 'agency' (winery) was very helpful. One person (Roberta) speaks English. The website is accurate.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Since I have already stayed there three times I definitely recommend it to others. My advice would be to take the Ambra apartment. It was our clear favorite. The others are nice too though but I advise a ground floor apartment if possible. There are stairs down to the apartment entrance and then to also take stairs to the upper floors can get to be a bit much by the end of the week. (Of course the upper floors have the best views!)
Things to do in this area
Not sure where to start. One of the reasons we like this place is that it is where three wine regions (and three types of topography) meet which makes for nice day trips. You can reach Arezzo, Florence, and Perugia in reasonable (but a little lengthy) day trips. Siena is very close as are all the towns of Chianti.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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