Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5034: San Cristoforo, La Pieve
1bed/1bath house near Cagli, Marche
May-June 2011, 1 week
La Pieve is an one bed, one bath apartment which is part of the larger estate of San Cristoforo. It is actually attached to the back of the owners' house, but still very private. There is another larger rental house, La Casseta located nearby but the arrangement of the buildings makes all the structures very private. San Cristoforo is located in the countryside about 5-6 km east of Cagli, so it only takes about five minutes to drive into town. The setting of San Cristoforo is wonderful, surrounded by beautiful farms and fields with a great view of Monte Catria and Monte Acuto, the highest eastern Apennine peaks in the area. At night, there is a lovely view of the lights of the Castello di Frontone from the outdoor terrace of La Pieve.
There was one restaurant a few kilometers away that you could possibly walk to, however, we never ate there. You have to drive into town to buy groceries or other supplies, but again, it was only about a five-minute drive to get to Cagli. There is a good mid-size Conad grocery store in Cagli where we bought most of our groceries. We ate at several wonderful restaurants in Cagli and the surrounding area during our week there.
The main house of San Cristoforo was an old "canonica" or presbytery. La Pieve was the chapel attached to the canonica. When the owners bought San Cristoforo, the chapel had been deconsecrated and they formed La Pieve out of that chapel space. So, the main space is one long "room" with the kitchen and dining area at the back. The bedroom at the very back of the apartment was the former sacristy of the chapel and c. 1730, the then parish priest installed “a washbowl in stone cut and decorated by myself” which is still in one of the bedroom walls.
There was a wonderful, very private gravel terrace with a table and chairs, that looked out over the owners' small vineyard and the lovely, rolling hills beyond. We spent part of nearly every morning and evening sitting out on the terrace because it was so wonderful just relaxing out there. There are also loungers and a swing chaise available if you want to set them up; however, we never used them while we were there.
The apartment was incredibly clean, well furnished and all the furnishings were quite nice.
The bed was very comfortable and we had plenty of closet and drawer space for our things. The bathroom was nice and the shower was probably one of the best I've ever had in a rental in Italy - quite large with a slightly sunken, beautiful mosaic-tiled floor.
The kitchen was well equipped and had everything we need for the times we cooked dinner there. There was also a dining table and four chairs if you want to eat indoors.
Problems or Bonuses
The only surprise was how truly wonderful La Pieve was. I had read other reviews of the apartment on Slow Travel and all were pretty glowing. But, La Pieve was truly all that the others had said about it - and more!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners, Richard and Peter live in the main part of the house, so one of them was almost always on site. They have lived there since 1988 and are travel writers with a wealth of information about Le Marche. They were really great to deal with, promptly answering my emails before we left for Italy and spending time talking with us while we were there. They even arranged for my husband and me to join them on a tour of the Villa Imperiale in Pesaro, a palazzo originally built by the Sforza family in the 1400's (tours are only on Wedneday afternoons, from June 1st to September 30th - we were there for opening day this year). The website description of La Pieve is very accurate and the owners even include a pdf manual for La Pieve which you can download and read ahead of time.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would definitely stay here again! In fact, we are planning on returning next year, if at all possible. The area was so lovely and our stay there so relaxing, we really want to go back. Plus, there are many other places we'd like to see in Le Marche that we just could not get to this time.
Things to do in this area
Our meals at La Gioconda in Cagli, La Taverna della Rocca in the borgo of Frontone (the old medieval town below the castle) and Hotel Daino in the "new" part of Frontone were all really wonderful. None of these restaurants were more than a 15 minute drive away. We went on a number of day trips from La Pieve - to the lovely walled town of Corinaldo, to Urbino (two times), Pesaro, Abbeys of Fonte Avellana and San Vincenzo near the lovely Furlo Gorge. But the highlight for me was the private "tour" we happened into at the excavations of the Roman town of Forum Sempronii just outside of Fossombrone. I plan to write a trip report so I can share that experience in more detail.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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