Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4817: Sant' Antonio, Giotto
apartments on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South
September, 2010, one week
Sant' Antonio is on a beautiful hillside just outside of Montepulciano. Located down a private driveway, it feels secluded and peaceful while still being near enough to the town to make it a quick drive to many restaurants.
One does need to come prepared with at least the basics for breakfast, since this is, as the name says, a "country resort" and there is no coffee shop near at hand. The reward for making your own coffee, however, is drinking it on your own patio just outside your front door and watching the sun come up over the Tuscan hills.
Our one-bedroom apartment (the Giotto apartment) had a living/room dining area, a decent sized kitchen, a large bedroom and a loft/sitting area with a daybed which could accommodate another guest. The bathroom is en suite with the bedroom, and is truly posh -- two sinks, a large soaking tub, and a separate shower.
Our travel companion stayed in the smaller Michelozzo apartment, a studio with a loft/sleeping area, a small sitting area and a kitchen/dining area. Though one of the smallest apartments at Sant' Antonio, it was very adequate for one person and would probably be satisfactory for a couple, especially when compared to a hotel room.
Both apartments had patios just outside the door, and both were well-kept with modern baths and kitchens.
The 12th Century buildings of Sant' Antonio, once a Franciscan monastery, are surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens with spaces for outdoor cooking and eating, a swimming pool, and pleasant nooks to relax in.
The furniture in both apartments was comfortable and clean. Though we didn't use it, there is a wood-burning fireplace in the living room and wood available if one wants a fire. The dining room easily accommodated four people, and the satellite TV carries a few English language channels. Larger groups could gather and grill out on one of the patios.
The beds were comfortable,and the bedrooms in both apartments had windows opening on to lovely views of the countryside. The bathroom in the Michelozzo was clean and modern. The one in the Giotto apartment was well beyond our expectations. On-demand water heaters provided all the hot water we needed, including enough to quickly fill the large soaking tub in the Giotto apartment. Towels, sheets, blankets, etc. are of high quality and changed mid-week.
The kitchen in the Michelozzo was serviceable and adequate for breakfast and light cooking. In the larger Giotto unit, we were able to prepare full meals easily, and had all the utensils and dishware we needed. A full-size refrigerator is a definite plus, and there is enough counter pace for two cooks to work.
Problems or Bonuses
All in all, we were only surprised that everything at Sant' Antonio was a good as we had been led to believe by other Slow Travel reviews. One real and unexpected treat was the mid-week dinner when we were able to join other guests for a meal cooked and served in Sant' Antonio's pleasant lounge area. The typical Tuscan menu with homemade pasta, roast pork, and dessert made from local apples was accompanied by generous amounts of a local, and very good, red table wine.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We cannot say enough good about our host, Nico, owner of the property. He speaks English fluently due to growing up in Kenya and working in London, but he is also very knowledgeable about Tuscany, having spent much time there with his grandparents and family who have owned Sant' Antonio since the mid-19th century. From our first inquiry to our final departure he was courteous, helpful, and charming. We especially appreciated the time he spent getting to know us a bit before suggesting restaurant choices, and his suggestions were spot on for our tastes.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Without hesitation we would recommend Sant' Antonio with only the smallest caveat that if one has mobility problems, one should inquire carefully about the particular apartment you are considering. Both of those we had might prove a challenge to someone who has trouble climbing steps, but there are other apartments available that are on the ground floor.
Though we were told that we should have a car to stay here, we decided not to and found that that worked just as well for us. We used a local driver -- see my Travel Note for information on Tuscany Transfer -- and that worked fine for us. If you do drive, however, there is ample and secure parking.
Things to do in this area
Day trips to Assisi, Montalcino, Pienza, Siena, and other towns are easy from here. Some guests even chose to stay here and make a short two-day trip into Florence without schlepping more than an overnight bag with them.
Montepulciano offers many choices for dining, and while we would recommend two, Nico can certainly provide you with others. Ours are Il Briciola, via delle Cantine 23, and at Osteria Acquacheta, via del Teatro 22, but there are many more we wished we had time to try.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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