Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5715: Politian Apartments, Apartment #1
apartments in Montepulciano, Tuscany South
APRIL - MAY 2014, 2 weeks
The Politian Apartments are located on the southern end of Montepulciano, just within the town with easy access and free parking. There are four apartments; the one we rented (#1) is the only one bedroom, and it is on the top floor. The bedroom and living room overlook the one way street and have amazing views of the Tuscan countryside for miles; the kitchen looks out on the private terraced garden (great relaxing place to read). There is a steady stream of foot and car traffic, however, it is not noisy or disturbing.
Montepulciano is a wonderful, walkable town, although be aware that the roads are very steep and the streets narrow and shared with cars (only residents can drive inside the center). Within a three to five minute walk on the Via Corso there is a small grocery store (La Sfozio, Alimentari) with fresh veggies, milk, cream and great cheeses, plus sundries. She is open til 8:00pm (20:00) and half day Sunday. On the other end of town, and 10 minute ride is a Conad "supermarket" (open 8-8 Monday through Saturday, and until 13:00 on Sunday) with underground parking, a great variety of meats, wines, and all of the basics, plus they sell clothing! There is also a Euro Spin store on the road toward Pienza (note their street is one way) but they don't carry as much as does the Conad.
Restaurants are plentiful and it is great to walk the streets with all the other towns people and tourists in the evening before and after a great meal. We didn't drink coffee beyond what we made in the morning, so I cannot speak about the best stop for that.
The apartment is in a historical building (see the website for more information) and beautifully appointed. You will have to climb three flights of stairs to the apartment #1 (NOTE: there is a light switch at the bottom of the stairs that will keep the lights on until you reach your door). We barely heard other occupants. As you enter the apartment into a center hallway, the bedroom and then the living room are to the left, the bathroom and kitchen to the right. It is all very spacious and airy especially with the shutters and windows open. There is a supply closet with iron & board, drying rack, broom, and a small supplemental rolling table.
The garden has a private and a shared area. The shared terrace has seating and tables and it is absolutely peaceful and relaxing sitting among the trees and flowers listening to the birds. The owner is still working on the uppermost terrace and when finished it should be amazingly beautiful.
The living room furnishings (two love seats) are comfortable and there are several tables and a desk for use. Extra wooden chairs can be brought in from the kitchen (and the table in the living room can double as dining with a grand view). By my "U.S." standards the lighting is very low (75 watt, maybe) for reading. I moved an upholstered slipper chair from the bedroom to sit next to the table lamp while my husband sat on the love seat under the standing lamp. There is a great library and a huge collection of CDs to play; there is a flat screen television but it is only Italian stations. The apartment was very clean. The floors are all tile so I would suggest slippers as they tend to be quite cool.
The bed was quite comfortable (mattress on spring frame) and the sheets and comforter were heavenly (and smelled wonderful!) The pillows are semi-firm (not foam) and there are extra blankets in the wardrobe. The wardrobe has one side to hang clothing, and lovely cedar drawers on the other side, plus there is a large dresser, night stands and a side cabinet. The bathroom is large, other than the shower stall. It may be me, but I found it difficult to adjust the water temperature and keep it consistent (which was true for our Florence hotel too) There is also a heated towel rack.
The floor is at two levels with ledges to be aware of and get accustomed to especially at night. There is a night light, but I would suggest one for the bedroom also.
The only thing I think the bathroom needs are racks or hooks for towels and robes.
The kitchen was very well stocked for cooking. We always book accommodations with cooking facilities and this was better than most. There were even sharp chef's knives and cutting boards! We found the variety of pots, pans and dishes adequate and we even roasted a chicken in the (electric) oven. The burners are gas, but the owner says he will be updating the whole kitchen at some point and install electric burners. We loved the drying racks above the sink (there is a dishwasher too, but we did not use it). There is not an abundance of storage for dry goods (note that there is a shelf above the freezer). Some items such as oil, salt and pepper, sugar, dish soap, etc are supplied (plus we left behind flour, coffee and such too) so check before you shop! I was confused as to the lack of spatulas - only wooden spoons - but I didn't see any in the Conad kitchen wares either(?). The only thing I would add to the kitchen is a good heavy bottomed large skillet.
Problems or Bonuses
Nothing was truly a surprise as I have been reading reviews for a long time, but I guess the "surprise" is that it is all true! It is a lovely, functional space with a totally enchanting view and location. Frankly, I had tears in my eyes as I closed the door to leave. We really felt like it was "home" for our stay in Tuscany.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I booked the reservations by email with the owner, Giacomo. He was very responsive plus he supplies wonderfully detailed instructions and information on the apartment and area. Onsite we were met by his sister Maria who was very helpful in getting us settled, and a real bonus is Giovanna, a young lady who lives onsite and is very helpful and charming. Giacomo speaks fluent English, Maria not as much, and Giovanna and I were able to work out directions and conversations in English, Italian and pantomime!
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would definitely stay at the Politian again! If I did I would seek a two bedroom on a lower floor (two bedrooms because it is nice to have a "snore-free" space, plus being in our 60's the stairs can be challenging). Highly recommended! The value for one's money is excellent, as is the experience itself.
Things to do in this area
We really enjoyed Trattoria di Cagnano on the Via Corso - great variety, delicious food not overpriced and a charming staff. We took day trips to Orvieto, Pienza, Montalcino, the Monte Oliveto Maggiore Abbey, Bagno Vignoni and the La Foce Garden tour.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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