Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5449: TuscanHouse, Torre San Domenico
3bed/2.5bath house in Cetona, Tuscany South
September 2012, 2 weeks
My spouse, mother, sister-in-law and I spent two wonderful weeks at Torre San Domenico in Cetona, Italy in September 2012.
TuscanHouse: Zak is a patient and helpful guide to vacation renters. Through email and written correspondence in the months leading up to our stay, he provided invaluable information about traveling to and from the house, essential services and amenities in the town, as well as great recommendations on sights in the area. Most importantly, he was able to work with the owners - to arrange several special requests (e.g., groceries needed for an anticipated late arrival, internet access, television and a local cell phone). This was a huge help!
Torre San Domenico: hard to know where to begin. Three good-sized bedrooms. The master suite is on the top floor with a lovely sitting room, small terrace with breathtaking valley views, a full bath with combination tub/shower and twin beds that can be put together into a queen. The next level down includes a full bath with combination tub/shower, two bedrooms with queen beds, night stands, armoires and a couple of occasional chairs. The next level down holds the open plan kitchen/dining area and living room. The kitchen has state of the art stove and range, but the fridge is a small under-counter model, which guests should keep in mind if planning a lot of meals at the house. The next level down is street level and has a large foyer with powder room, laundry room (washing machine only), small sitting area (we called it "the grotto" as it is part of the semi-circular "torre" that gives the house its name). At the back of the house off the grotto is a door and steps leading down to the terrace which has beautiful roof top views, large glorious climbing roses, a number of potted plants, a mosaic topped patio table, six folding chairs, a couple of lounge chairs, as well as the ubiquitous clothes line suspended over the railing. For us, this terrace was a reading room, dining room, cigar and wine bar. One warning to older guests and/or those with limited mobility: the house is four stories and the stairways are very narrow and winding with no hand railings. Cetona's streets also have an average incline of 45 degrees. This house is close to perfect, but may not be perfect for everyone.
Cetona: a medieval town that is a postcard from top to bottom, end to end. In September there were other vacationers about, but you never sensed any "tourist fatigue." The main square (Piazza Garibaldi) is really the hub of the community and not just a public space aimed at tourists as evidenced by children gathering at the Bar Cavour before school, people chatting on benches or inside shops, etc. Genuine smiles, greetings and offers of assistance all the time.
The region: being a 10-minute bus or car ride to Chiusi, which is on the main Florence - Rome railway line made Cetona a perfect home base to explore the region. Florence was just under two hours on the "Regionale" train service and Rome a little over two hours. We opted not to rent a car and use local transport and taxis instead. While this would not be to everyone's taste (there is so much to see!), once we learned how to read the bus schedules (and ask for assistance to confirm!), we were able to get to Chiusi, Montepulciano, Sarteano, and Chianciano Terme easily. The other benefit - for busy, always-in-a-hurry Americans - was being forced to slow down, settle into the leisurely pace of things and realize that being forced to sit for an hour (or two!) and have a coffee or gelato while you waited for the next bus in a beautiful small town in Tuscany was not the worst thing that could happen to you.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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