Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4740: Castello di Colognole (#91766), Del Caccia apartment
2bed/1.5bath near Greve, Tuscany Chianti
July 2010, 2 weeks
Our family rented the Del Caccia apartment at Castello di Colognole for two weeks in July 2010.
Colognole sits on a hilltop, about ten minutes from Greve, across the valley from the village of Montefioralle. The road up to the castle is paved part of the way with a rough gravel track for the last stretch.
I was enchanted by the location and the 360 degree views of the lovely countryside ... forests, vineyards and olive trees in every direction. Parts of the castle date to the 12th century and it has been enlarged over time. The main structure is square with a tower, with a large central courtyard (complete with a well) in the middle of the square. There are gardens on two sides. The castle is subdivided into various apartments and there are four different owners; not all the owners are there all the time.
One of the owners, Rita, is a year-round resident and also has two apartments for rent. A third apartment (the one we rented) is actually owned by another individual, but Rita and her sister Rosita handle his rental too. Rosita speaks English fluently, and she's the contact person for inquiries and rental arrangements. She is wonderful to deal with. The two sisters are so friendly and helpful; they added so much to our positive experience. Rita is an excellent cook, and with a day or two of notice, she can provide a four course meal at a very reasonable price. We did this twice during our stay and highly recommend this. You can also buy their wine (good) and olive oil.
Our apartment, the Del Caccia apartment, opens on the outside of the castle, with a large green lawn with fruit and olive trees beyond the front door. We had a couple of lawn chairs to use in this garden and a dining table with an umbrella and chairs. We ate all our meals in the garden and I enjoyed many hours in my lawn chair with a book, just enjoying the magnificent view. We were also able to use another garden on the other side of the castle, shared with Rita, Rosita and the other two apartments. We really enjoyed playing with Rosita's two friendly dogs.
The apartment is on two levels, quite spacious, 110 square meters. On the ground floor is a kitchen/dining room, a large living room, and a WC. The ceilings on the ground level are vaulted and quite high, so the steps going upstairs are substantial. On the upper floor there are two good sized bedrooms and a bathroom with a tub/shower. One bedroom has two twin beds and the larger bedroom has two twins that were made up as one bed. The beds were very comfortable, and the rooms had good light and ventilation. We had plenty of storage space for our clothes. In the master bedroom there's a fireplace with two round windows on either side. When you open the shutters of these two windows, you look down into the castle's small private chapel next door, absolutely exquisite.
The living room is large with a vaulted ceiling painted with very elaborate frescoes, including rosy-cheeked chubby angels ... very interesting! We spent most evenings here and found the living room very comfortable ... a big leather sofa, another upholstered sofa and two matching easy chairs, two antique upholstered chairs.
The dining room is quite dark, with a table and four chairs and a cupboard for dishes. The kitchen is built in along one wall and could be hidden behind folding doors. We ate all our meals outside in the garden or out in restaurants, and I did find the dining room/kitchen a bit depressing. We've suggested that they add more light and re-think this room. That said, we did prepare all our breakfasts and perhaps five simple dinners here over our two week stay. There's a four burner gas stove, a sink, a dishwasher (which we did not use), an oven (also didn't use), and a medium-size refrigerator. There is almost no counter space, and we used the dining table to assemble salads etc.
There's no washing machine in the apartment, but you can use the laundry room in another part of the castle and the clothesline in Rita's garden. Also, there is WiFi in the two apartments owned by Rita, but no WiFi in this apartment. We were able to go to another part of the castle to access the WiFi. We appreciate this, though it wasn't as convenient as having it in our own place. (If WiFi is important, consider one of the other apartments.)
There are screens on the windows, but the apartment isn't air conditioned. We did have two fans, which we moved around as needed during the day. Because of the orientation of the windows and the thick walls, I felt we stayed very cool, even though it was quite hot at the time of our stay.
We enjoyed the location near Greve very much. Greve has a Saturday morning market, Coop grocery store, small food shops, and restaurants, with many wineries in the immediate area. This is a great base to explore Chianti and other parts of Tuscany, and you can even reach Florence in less than an hour by SITA bus from Greve.
I did have a chance to see the other two apartments at Colognole, and I especially liked the Bacco apartment, which opens out onto the back garden. It has a fabulous kitchen, large dining room, and two living areas. All three apartments can be rented together for a large group, which does happen from time-to-time. I do know that there are many return guests to Castello di Colognole -- we overlapped with a group of American artists who have come to paint several times. Colognole is truly a magical place, enhanced by the warmth of the people who live there.
You can view the property directly: Del Caccia.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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