Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5493: Agriturismo Cretaiole, Apartment
apartments on a farm near Pienza, Tuscany South
October, 2012, 8 days, 7 nights
In the middle of the beautiful Valle d'Orcia countryside. A 1600's farmhouse converted in to an agriturismo. The Moricciani family still works the farm, harvest grapes and olive oil. Stunning view of the valley - no "neighbors" close by - just the birds and the tractors!
You could walk the back path to the town of Pienza but it is a good 30 minute walk. It is only a 4km drive where some of the best restaurants and cafes are located. Two grocery stores, a bank, a post office ... it is a tiny little town but even has an internet cafe. Excellent restaurants and amazing views.
The building was built in the 1600's and still maintains the original facade and structure but has been modernized to include plumbing and electricity - including full kitchens. There are only six or seven apartments with an internal courtyard. There is use of a washer and clothes drying racks. Each apartment is fully self contained and private.
There is a sitting area in the courtyard but the grounds are expansive and include a few picnic tables, lounge chairs, "patio" swings, etc. And the patriarch, Luciano, maintains a large garden on site from which guests are allowed to harvest their vegetables! And then there are olive orchards and grapevines that the Moricciani family still harvest. All for the use of the guests and themselves!
All furnishings are comfortable and appropriate to the setting. No TVs! The sleeping/seating accommodations match the number of people per apartment. Rustic, but clean and charming and much of the decorations provided from the local area ... including the complimentary bottle of wine and olive oil upon arrival.
Everything is exactly as advertised. The pictures on the website are kept current and depict exactly what each of the rooms look like (we have stayed in tow different rooms now but have toured them all!)
There is enough of everything you need to prepare full meals and have sit down dinners - which we did on two of the nights we were there.
Problems or Bonuses
So many good surprises you can't list them all. You get a knock on the door in the morning and Luciano is standing there with fresh eggs from his chickens. Or a knock at night means an invitation to visit and drink homemade limoncello or grappa. Thursday nights are reserved for a "family" get together which begins with a pasta making class for the guests (included in your rental) - and then the pasta is cooked with Isabella's homemade sauce and combined with the BBQ ribs that Carlo makes and the dishes that the guests "create", dinner is served (and the wine pours freely!)
The "red book" is literally a comprehensive review of every possible way to spend your time in Tuscany, complete with directions that include pictures of roads and landmarks (since some things are very much off the beaten path) ... handmade and maintained by Isabella and one for each room.
Or the massage you can get outside among the olive trees!
There is just too much to list...you have to go!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
You will book your stay directly with Isabella Moricciani and she is an absolute joy to work with. She is straightforward, honest and will answer questions for you (and make reservations for hard to get places - to see the David in Florence for example!)
Yes, the published information and the information she shares are absolutely represented accurately. The prices don't change per season but sometimes, if there is a last minute cancellation (pretty rare!), you will see a "last minute special" on the website.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Oh my goodness, yes! Although I don't want to keep telling everyone about it so we can "keep it to ourselves" (too late for that I am afraid), it is too good of a secret to keep.
And yes, we did tell our best friends about it and they came back with us on our second trip!
The only qualification is we suggest you have a car.
Things to do in this area
Way too much to list ... get there and review Isa's red book!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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