Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5275: Le Casine di Castello, Il Cielo
2bed/1.5bath apartment in Castelmuzio, Tuscany South
May 2012, 8 days
Castelmuzio, with its population of about 250, is perched on a hilltop, and is the perfect center point for exploring Tuscan life - food, wine, people and most remarkable of all, the incredible Tuscan sun. It's different there. Colors are more lush, edges are sharper, the air crisper. Several other small Tuscan villages and towns are within 45 minutes of driving along swooping, curving roadways with stunning vistas over grape vines, olive trees, cyprus and farmland, and each town offers its own episode to dine and explore.
In Castelmuzio, four of us in two families stayed in Il Cielo for a week in May 2012, a two-bedroom townhouse with a fully outfitted kitchen that soon became our central meeting place for breakfast, snacks and mapping our adventures. We kept our menus simple -- and costs down -- thanks to occasional trips to the local co-op, or visits to food and wine shops in larger near-by towns, or the delightful cafe in Castelmuzio.
The Castelmuzio co-op offers staples of food and paper goods, and is within easy, delightful walking distance from anywhere in Castelmuzio. For more wide-ranging choices, Pienza is a 10-minute drive away through stunning vistas of the Tuscan countryside. A small cafe in Castelmuzio offers pizza and familiar but limited Tuscan pastas; so does Pienza but with more choices, wider selection of wines and more sophisticated dishes.
I don't know the age of the townhouse, and I estimate around 80 or 90 years old. Exterior brick and stonework are charming and solid; interior furniture is comfortable and serviceable, with a smattering of rural antique items for accent. Despite being a townhouse with others attached, Il Cielo was quiet, roomy and with a dishwasher and clothes washer included, the place was ideal.
Private rooftop terrace was graced by flower boxes, table, chairs and umbrella to shield guests from the sun. Charming view of the central piazza in Castelmuzio.
Plenty of room and places to sit for meals, games, reading and dozing.
Beds were clean, comfortable and smooth. No change of bed linen, but plenty of towels large and small, soap of many kinds, etc. Main lavatory was large with toilet, bidet, sink, mirror, etc., and a great view of the Tuscan countryside; shower was small, but very serviceable. The half-lavatory contained a toilet and sink (also with great outside view), but not hot water.
Kitchen was fully outfitted with all cooking utensils of decent quality; ditto for tableware and tablecloth, place mats, cutting boards, knives, etc. Refrigerator, gas range, dishwasher, wood-burning fireplace, large kitchen table that soon became our primary meeting and eating venue.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The charismatic Isabella and the rest of the Moricciani family, our landlord, opened their home and farm to guests, who could participate in a wide variety of adventures, including hand-making Tuscan pasta, sampling extraordinary farm-grown wines, cheeses and meats; assistance in venturing further afield to Siena and Assisi; and generally making certain that everything is as we hoped it would be.
This is a family that has hospitality and friendliness in each member's DNA.
Owner Isabella Moricciani and family is fluent in English, charismatic in personality and extremely attentive to guests' needs.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Without qualification, I am recommending this rental to anyone contemplating a visit to Tuscany.
Things to do in this area
Hand-made pasta-making, visiting the Moricianni farm, vineyards, tasting olive oil, exploring the many other small towns in the area.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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