Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4711: Owner, Casina di Rosa
1bed/1bath house in Civitella Marittima, Tuscany West
July 10-17, 2010, 1 week
There are dozens of positive reviews of Casina di Rosa on Slow Travel. Let me add another.
The apartment is located in the village of Civitella Marittima, close to other buildings, but it felt very private. We could hear people passing by, talking, children playing, but were never disturbed by noise and nights were quiet. We loved Civitella Marittima and all the people we met there. We spent a lot of time in the village, and found it a friendly, pleasant place to stay. (The only thing I wished was a little different in the village was that there was one central piazza as is common in many Italian towns, rather than the several smaller piazzas ... but as you get to know the town you learn where the people hang out).
Civitella is located right off the SS223, a major highway, but you don't hear the traffic from the village. However, this does make it very easy to get underway to travel around the area as you don't have to drive down long winding roads to get to the main road.
There are two places to go for coffee in the village and we went to each one a couple of times. At first we made coffee in the apartment, but then realized that it was much better at the bars and we could enjoy the other people out for their morning coffees. Within easy walking distance is a small grocery store, two bakeries, a butcher shop, a tobacconist, a bar (drinks in the evening and coffee in the morning), a top-notch restaurant (Locanda nel Cassero). The grocery store sells a bit of everything you might need ... wine, cheese, milk, small selection of fruits and veggies, shampoo, lots more. We drove to the Coop in Paganico (10 min. drive on the SS223) but only went once. Preferred to give our business to the local folks in Civitella. There is a fresh pasta shop that we always intended to check out but didn't get to it.
The building has been in Gloria's family a long time. Her grandmother was born there. Gloria and Marcel have recently completely a renovation of the apartment which is lovely. You enter through a double door into the kitchen/dining area. The bedroom/sitting room is through another door which you could close if needed. The bathroom is off the bedroom. Very private, but not isolated. The apartment has three windows each on a different side of the building so you get several different views (plus a window in the bathroom). One has a gorgeous view of the countryside, the other two overlook Civitella streets.
There isn't really a garden. At the front entrance landing there is a small area with two plastic chairs where you could sit outside if you wanted. We preferred sitting out almost at the street on a wall at the bottom of the stairs (10 steps up from street to apartment) In the evening people stroll by, others sit out just down the street and you get the feel of the place. There are nice plants situated around the entrance and on the landing so it is attractive.
Spotlessly clean, but very home-like. Nice touches like fresh flowers in the kitchen and fresh lavender in the sitting area were appreciated. The lavender gave the apartment a great smell that greeted us every time we came in for days.
The sitting area has two love-seat sized sofas, which are fairly comfortable. I believe they fold out into beds so you could sleep more than two here, but it would be a little crowded. A family with a child would work.
There is a large wardrobe for hanging up clothes and a small dresser. The overall feel of the apartment is comfortable, clean, with lots of homey touches. The apartment has two remote control air conditioning units located up high on the wall, one in the bedroom and one in the kitchen. I think these were recently installed. They work great, although we only used them when we came in from our day in the late afternoon. We cooled the place down for a little while, then turned them off and opened the windows. The evenings were always cool and we enjoyed having the windows open all night.
Another nice touch is that they have an iPod docking station, with speakers, so you can charge your iPod, listen to your music, etc. The TV has satellite with a few English news stations. (Lots of German stations so if you speak German you'd be all set). We didn't watch it much, but did tune in to see the finals of the World Cup. There are about 20 guide books plus driving maps that you are welcome to borrow during your stay.
The bed was a queen sized, I think, and it was too hard for me, but my husband liked it so that is a personal thing. Lots of beds in Italy are too hard for me! The linens were high quality. There were four pillows available. There were beside tables and usually lamps on both sides, although one side was missing its lamp during our week because it was being repaired.
The bathroom is small, but very nice and upscale. The shower is quite small, which was a little tight for my husband, but he managed. There is a hair dryer. The towels provided are of good quality and are soft.
Great kitchen, with all the pots, pans, dishes, utensils, cutting boards, etc., that you would need. We cooked a couple of meals here and had everything. Gas range, no dishwasher or microwave. Gloria and Marcel supplied dish soap, sponges, trash bags, plastic cling wrap, aluminum foil, so much more! A gift of pasta and sauce and a nice bottle of red wine is there for you on arrival. There is an American style coffee pot, which we didn't use, plus a toaster and an electric kettle. There is salt and pepper and an assortment of spices. Also, coffee, tea, sugar, vinegar and olive oil, plus some other things I'm sure I'm forgetting. Anyway, well stocked! I suggested to Gloria that another work table or surface would be nice in the kitchen as there isn't a lot of counter-top and you end up working at the dining table, so maybe they will be able to add that which would make the kitchen even better.
A good washing machine is in the kitchen and laundry soap is in the closet. It did a great job on our clothes and we hung them out to dry either on the line under the window or on the foldout clothes rack inside the apt. They dried really quickly.
Problems or Bonuses
Only surprise was how great it really was ... and I mean everything ... Civitella Marittima, the people in the village, the apartment, the price, Gloria and Marcel.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Gloria and Marcel, the owners, both speak fluent English. Gloria is Italian and teaches English, Marcel is Canadian by birth. We had no problems during the week so didn't interact with them too much, but they were extremely helpful in all ways. It was a comfortable feeling knowing that if we did have any problems they were just a phone call away with no communication issues. They seem like delightful people and it would be nice to get to know them better.
They gave us recommendations of things to do in the area, including one of the highlights of our entire trip, which was to go to a local Saturday night fund-raising event with food and a band. After that night we were recognized by people in the village and it got us off to a great start. We'd have never known about it without the info from Gloria and Marcel.
The photos of the place are accurate and the website has lots of useful information about the area. Gloria was easy to work via email with during the booking process.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I recommend this place absolutely and without hesitation. It is especially perfect for two people and very romantic.
The attention to detail and the care that Gloria and Marcel put into this place is very obvious.
(Additional note that didn't seem to fit elsewhere: They also provide you with a satellite Internet dial-up connection which worked very well with our laptop.)
Things to do in this area
Go to the restaurant in town (Locanda nel Cassero) early in your stay because you may want to go back. Especially loved the lasagna (not like any lasagna I've ever had) and the zucchini flowers. Call or drop by to make a reservation so you can get to sit out on the terrace, which is an outstanding place to watch the sun set.
Go to any community events you can find. Walk around the town and say "buona sera" to everyone you see and they will say it back and you will recognize people after a few days. Some of them will converse with you and even if there is a language barrier it will be fine. Have coffee in the morning at one of the local places.
We really enjoyed a day at the beach at Marina di Grosseto. Sandy beach, lovely water. Rented an umbrella and two lounge chairs and a lockable changing room for €18 for the whole day.
Other highlights: Touring the wine area around Montalcino, visiting San Galgano, the thermal waters at Petriolo, eating at good restaurants, getting lost on country roads, enjoying being just a small part of a lively village in Tuscany for a little while...
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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