Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4488: Borgo Della Meliana, Trilo
2bed/2bath apartment near Castelfiorentino, Tuscany West
October, 2009, One week
Borgo della Meliana is a gated complex consisting of several buildings about 50 km west of Florence, and about 5km south of the town of Castelfiorentino. It's in the country, set among vineyards of the Pilo winery. It's a beautiful, very relaxing place for a vacation.
Pretty much everything you need is in Castelfiorentino. The town has a full-service Coop grocery store. There are several restaurants in and nearby the town. With that said, we needed a car. The rental is about 5k (uphill) from town. I'm no wuss; I run marathons for fun but that walk from town would have been a real drag.
We took a train from Rome to Florence and rented a car at a Hertz agency there, then drove ~45 minutes to the Borgo.
There's a train station in Castelfiorentino with hourly trains to and from Florence, but I'm not sure if there are any rental agencies.
The complex consists of renovated historic farm buildings. There are three buildings with 11 separate apartments, plus a pool. The decor is very rustic; very Tuscan. Everything was in very excellent condition. So quiet. It's about a kilometer away from the main road, so there's no traffic noise at all. Nights so dark I think I could see every star in the galaxy.
Our apartment (Trilo) had a small semi-private patio with a table and chairs, overlooking the vineyards. Also, a pool. It was a little too cool to use when we were there in October, but it would have been wonderful to use in the summer.
The furniture was in good condition and everything was very clean.
The bedrooms were very comfortable. Our apartment had a master bedroom with a double bed and full bath, and a second bedroom with two twin beds. There was another full bathroom in the hallway. Being 6' tall, I found the showers a bit small, but I was able to use them. I guess they're what I would have expected in a European rental.
There's a full kitchen, including a microwave oven pots/pans, dishes and utensils and a dishwasher. Neither my wife and I are exactly gourmet cooks. The couple of nights we ate in, it was simple stuff (e.g., pasta and sauce). But I think the kitchen probably has everything you'd need to cook a full meal.
Problems or Bonuses
The heating cost is additional, payable in cash when you leave. There's a meter in the office. It would have been nice if there had been a meter in the apartment so we could see what we were using and how much we'd need to pay. Not a big deal if you're there in the summer, but it was chilly last October and we were running the heater daily. This is hardly an issue--just something to be aware of.
If you bring a laptop, ask at the office for a cable. The apartments have high speed Internet access, but no WiFi.
To use the laundry room, you have to get washer/dryer tokens at the office. This thick-headed American found the Italian washer and dryer instructions a little confusing. You might save yourself some frustration if you ask one of the managers for a quick tutorial when you do your first load.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The managers--Julia and Paola--were wonderful. Very friendly and helpful, and happy to suggest things to do and see; places to eat, etc. Julia is English and I think speaks several languages (I know I heard her chatting in Italian and German). Paola speaks English. Before our arrival, we did all our communication by e-mail, and they were very responsive.
We paid €770 for our week in October. This didn't include heat.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I'd stay again in a minute, and recommend with enthusiasm to friends, family and colleagues.
Things to do in this area
With the car, we drove to San Gimignano, Siena, Volterra, Monteriggioni, Pisa. We parked in Castelfiorentino and took a train to Florence for sightseeing (hourly trains; trip is about an hour; I thought it was worth it to avoid navigating/parking in Florence). Since my wife was four months pregnant at the time, we weren't really keen on drinking, but this area is obviously a paradise for wine lovers.
We got a navigation system in the car, and I'm glad we did. I had a good road map, and I am pretty good at reading them, but I never really got the hang of the roads or the lay of the land (granted, that might be because I was relying on the GPS).
As a jock, one thing I would have liked to do that I didn't get to was to rent a road bike; maybe find a club ride to tag along. The terrain is pretty hilly (compared to my home in Ohio) and the road conditions are very good. What a classic place to ride! I saw a lot of cyclists while we were driving around. I did get in a couple of early morning runs on the gravel road, among the vineyards.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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