Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4506: Le Maribelle, Maribelle 2
1bed/1bath apartment in Monticchiello, Tuscany South
March 2010, 7 days
Le Maribelle 2 is located in Monticchiello, a charming medieval village in the heart of the Val di Orcia in southern Tuscany. The Val di Orcia is one of the most beautiful areas of Italy, with sweeping views of the lovely Tuscan countryside. Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, and several other hill towns are just minutes away by car.
This apartment is located on the ground floor of an ancient, though nicely renovated, building. Barbara, the lovely owner, also has another, larger flat, upstairs. It was very quiet during our stay, which was admittedly before the flood of tourist season, but I think this rental will be quiet and peaceful the year round.
There is a world class restaurant just down the hill, literally a one minute walk away, named Osteria La Porta. The owner, Daria, and her staff are fabulous. We ate there every night of our stay in Monticchiello, and the food just got progressively better with each night. Do not miss the pici, a local Tuscan pasta.
There is another restaurant around the corner, I believe called La Taverna, but we weren't sure if it was open or not. It has received good reviews, but honestly, we enjoyed La Porta so much, we couldn't stay away. There is also a small bar just outside the city gate, but I don't think it was open when we were there, as it was early in the season, and they appeared to be doing some renovations.
There is a small alimentari (local store) a short walk outside the gates and down the hill. It is owned by a local family and offers some basic fruits, juices, household items. If you need more supplies, there are markets in Pienza, etc.
The apartment was in superb condition, with very nice antique furnishings complimented by up to date appliances. The bed is a nice, simple wrought iron frame which was quite comfortable. There was plentiful storage space for clothes, etc. I'd estimate the actual resident population of Monticchiello to be little more than 100 or so, with the rest of the small village made up of rentals/second homes. The town is very quiet, with only the occasional tourist day tripper.
Maribelle 2 has a lovely terrace overlooking an olive grove and vineyard on the western side of the village. It has a table and a few chairs from which to enjoy stunning sunsets. The terrace is exclusive to the apartment.
When we were there in March, 2010, it had actually just come a very unusual large snow (nearly two feet in areas), so it was very interesting to see the grove and garden with so much snow.
The apartment was very clean, well kept, and up to date. It was comfortable, with plenty of space, while still being very cozy and inviting.
The one bedroom, with a king size bed, was very comfortable. The bathroom was rather small, but still plenty big to accommodate me (I'm 6'4") and my wife. The bathroom was up to date and efficient.
There was a full kitchen with adequate utensils, cutlery, plates, etc. There was a nice, compact refrigerator as well. We did not cook, though we planned to originally, because we enjoyed La Porta so much.
Problems or Bonuses
We had no problems with Maribelle 2. Barbara, the lovely owner and manager, who lives and works in nearby Montepulciano, met us at the gate on our arrival day. She was gracious enough to arrange two private tours of area wineries. One, Villa St. Anna, is owned and operated by a close friend of Barbara's with whom she attended high school. It is representative of an "old school" type system which Anna, the owner, is proud to preserve. Try the Poldo if you are fortunate enough to visit. We shipped home some of her wine.
Barbara also set up a tour of Poliziano, another nearby winery, which prescribes to a bit more "modern" method. The tour was conducted by Barbara's lovely daughter, Marguerita, who works in the marketing department at Poliziano. Their "seaside" wines were fabulous, and we of course shipped some of it home as well.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Barbara is the owner and property manager. She is a blessing. Her English is excellent, and she was there to meet our every need. I can not say enough nice things about her. Her website is perfectly straightforward, and the price (€520/week) can NOT be beaten.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We will most definitely stay here again, though we will probably take our kids and stay in perhaps Maribelle 3, with two bedrooms and located just above Maribelle 2. I have already recommended Le Maribelle to friends, and I will continue to do so.
Things to do in this area
La Porta, La Porta, La Porta!!! Did I say, La Porta?
Pienza is a very nice little town 10 minutes away. We enjoyed shopping there and just kind of hanging around. The hot springs at Bagno Vignono, just 15 minutes away or so, are also neat. Just enjoy the slow pace of southern Tuscany, and relax.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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