Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5201: Le Casine di Castello, Cassa Moricciani & Il Nido
villa & studio apartment in Castelmuzio, Tuscany South
October 2011, 4 days
We had the incredible pleasure of staying at two of Isabella and Carlos properties, though that was not the plan when we boarded a plane to Italy. Due to the floods and landslides which happened in Montorosso, Cinque Terre, our intended destination, we were forced to make very last minute plans. Our trip, which was planned around a business meeting in Milan, would only allow four days of travel before boarding a plane back in Milan. A quick email to the Rick Steves website yielded an immediate personal response with a couple of ideas in Tuscany. Isabella Moricciani of Casa Moricciani, responded to our phone call in minutes (speaking perfect English), directed us on train departures for that afternoon, and had a rental car waiting for us at the station when we arrived. It was very late when we arrived in the little town of Castlemuzio. Isabella and her husband Carlos were waiting for us at the entrance to the town. They showed us to the villa, unloaded us, then asked the local restaurant to stay open so we could have a late dinner. It's the only restaurant in town, and the food and service are both fabulous.
Isabella was helping other tourists that were in the same predicament. For that reason she moved us around a little so all could be accommodated. The first night we stayed in Casa Moricciani, which is exquisite in every detail. This villa mixes the old with the new, as you will find antique doors, woodwork, furniture, and artwork along with beautiful travertine bathrooms and an awesome kitchen complete with fully stocked wine cooler, fresh fruit and flowers, coffee, milk in the refrigerator and more. The master suite bathroom has a beautiful deep jacuzzi tub, which lead to a relaxing end to a very hectic day. The view of Tuscany from the back yard is breathtaking - complete with rolling hills, olive orchards, vineyards, castles, and churches, whose bells would chime in unison on the hour. If that weren't enough to keep you glued to the backyard, as you look around there is an herb garden, an outdoor shower covered in jasmine and a small stone fountain/wading pool.
The next three nights we stayed in II Nido also in Castelmuzio. It is a downstairs apartment in a charming old stone townhouse called La Casine de Castillo. It is cozy, quite lovely, very clean and well appointed, with an arching brick ceiling, modern bathroom and small kitchen with a table. It's decorated in antiques and artwork with the same flair as Casa Moricciani. The king bed was perfect, the kitchen was great for making a quick meal or coffee, and the private courtyard was a nice place to enjoy a glass of wine by candlelight. There are a couple of bikes parked in the entry for guests use. A sweet little hideaway for a couple to enjoy privacy as well as a great location to adventure from.
As guests, we were invited to the three generation family farm, San Gregorio in Pienza. There, we visited with family members and other guests while learning about (and tasting) the delicious wines, olive oils, prosciutto and cheeses. Guests are free to pick fresh vegetables from a large garden. In Isabella's "Big Book", which is provided at each property, she has listed all the best restaurants to try, car tours to take and towns not to miss. In addition, the family provides experiences and activities that you can participate in if you wish. Through an established network of locals, there are activity choices beyond the family farm as well. We chose a three-hour walking tour through the vineyards and olive orchards of the Val d'Orcia which was a photographers dream.
It was a whirlwind trip, and we are still awestruck at the speed with which Rick Steves redirected us to this fabulous destination. And we are forever grateful to Isabella and Carlos for their grace and warmth in taking us in and making our short unplanned stay into a dream vacation we will always remember. We hope to come back and bring the family one day - soon!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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