Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 563: InTuscany, Villa Eleonora
4bed/2bath house in Montagnana, between Cerbaia and Montespertoli, Tuscany Chianti
May 10 - 24, 2003, 2 weeks
Villa Eleonora is in the country in a very pretty and private location in the Colli Fiorentini, about 25 kilometers southwest of Florence. It consists of the main villa, where we stayed, and 5 apartments attached to the villa in former servants' quarters. These latter were partially occupied during our stay but did not impinge on our privacy. Various Frescobaldi vineyards and olive groves surround the property.
A car is necessary at this property. Basic necessities are available in the village of Montagnana, about 3 km away from the property, but for more shopping facilities, one needs to drive at least to Cerbaia, about 6 km away, and preferably to San Casciano or Montespertoli (in opposite directions from each other) another 6 kilometers. We found the distances manageable if we planned ahead.
Both the building and the interior were in good repair, and the plumbing and hot water were functional and sufficient. The laundry facilities, which were originally stated as being in the house, were actually in a central location next to the manager's office in the common courtyard, but we were given a key and shown how to operate the washing machine (no dryer, but we weren't expecting one.) There was a drying rack, soap was provided, and there were ample clothespins.
The villa has a private garden accessed from the house. It is reasonably well kept, and there is a lovely cypress allee which leads to the vista over the vineyards. There is a pool which is shared with other tenants and which was open a few days after we arrived. We didn't happen to use it. There is a large stone table with benches in the garden, which faces west and is therefore quite sunny in the afternoon. We were provided with 4 canvas basket-type chairs for the outside. There could be better outdoor furniture, particularly with a full house (we were only four) during the warmer months.
The living rooms (dining/living, living room, and billiard alcove room) are spacious and light during the afternoon; all face west. The dining table is large and has many director-style chairs. Other furniture (two sofas and two large armchairs) were adequate. There is a large piano which gives off a musty smell when opened which served as our table for guidebooks and other detritus but which, thankfully, no one played, as it is sadly out of tune. There is a TV but no VCR or disk/cassette player. No telephone, be prepared with a cellphone. Everything was very clean. The villa could use a number of lamps, side tables, and a few area rugs, that is, it is a bit cold-feeling considering the general spaciousness and quality of the architecture.
Our beds were very comfortable, and the bedrooms were very spacious with gigantic wardrobes, chests for clothes, and night tables with adequate lamps. The bed linens were also very good quality. We were provided with ample bath towels, and the bathrooms were numerous enough for 4 people and worked well. The bathtub stopper did not fit the bathtub drain, and we never got around to asking about it or finding a replacement, so everyone used the one shower, which worked very well.
Given the overall quality of the villa, the kitchen was a big disappointment.
The negatives: it was very dark, with only one overhead light. If you stood at the stove tending something, it was like cooking in a cave. There was almost no counter space. The double marble sink was nice and spacious but installed improperly, so that it did not drain completely. Cooking utensils were minimal and of poor quality. Cupboards were not adequate, so that dishes had to be stored in the dining room although we used the drying rack above the sink for that purpose. One tiny caffetiere for coffee; we bought a 4-cupper. Pots ok, pans not. Silverware numerous but one tiny step above plastic. We love to cook & would have enjoyed eating in more had the kitchen been just a little better. An investment of a few hundred euros would make a big difference in this kitchen.
Positives? The dishwasher, refrigerator, stove, toaster, and oven all functioned well. And there were no bugs. There was also a microwave which we never used.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The representatives of both InTuscany and the onsite people are helpful, cordial, and speak English. The onsite people visit daily in the mornings, so that any problems can be dealt with. In our opinion the villa was accurately described by the published information as to amenities, prices, and directions were clear and accurate.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
All in all, Villa Eleonora is very good value for money, and we do not regret renting it. It is remote, or better said, not exactly convenient to shopping or major sights, but that may be a plus for some renters. As mentioned above, it could use better lighting and some decorative embellishments that needn't cost much but would work wonders for the ambience. The basics are good (except the kitchen, see above.) We will probably not return but instead keep searching for the combination that strikes us right, but given these qualifications, it was a good choice. And we had perfect weather; this would be a somewhat gloomy place on a rainy day.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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