Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5721: Politian Apartments, Red Tea Apartment
apartments in Montepulciano, Tuscany South
April - May 2014, 2 weeks
Politian Apartments are at the south end of Montepulciano, on the main street, via Poliziano, near the Fortress. Montepulciano is a delightful medieval Tuscan town in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, looking over one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. (Politian or Poliziano, is the term for an inhabitant of Montepulciano.)
Montepulciano is a small town, and you can walk anywhere from the apartment in 15 minutes or so (as long as you can manage the hills!). The best coffee shop in town, Caffe Poliziano, is about a five-minute walk. There are many excellent restaurants all throughout the town. Several small alimentari and other food shops are along the main street within walking distance. For a larger store, you can go just outside town to the Conad supermarket, or drive to Chiusi (about 30 minutes away) for a big shopping center, which is open on Sunday.
There are four rental units in the house. We stayed in the “Red Tea” apartment, also known as Apartment #4. It was up one flight of stairs, very spacious with two large bedrooms and two good-sized baths. The house was originally the family palazzo of Giacomo and Maria, the brother and sister who manage it and take very good care of their guests. It has large rooms, high ceilings, and is furnished and decorated with many of the family’s original antiques. I believe the apartment where we stayed was recently renovated, and all the appliances were in excellent shape. We had rather unseasonably chilly weather during our first week, and I can report that the heating also worked very well.
The kitchen opens out onto a little stairway, which leads down to the area of the private garden reserved for this unit. It was a great place for a glass of prosecco in the evening (at least on the days when the weather cooperated).
Giacomo is currently working very hard on improving the garden area, and I think it will be even nicer by the end of the year.
The apartment had everything we needed for a very comfortable stay. The WiFi generally worked well, and when it occasionally cut off, Giacomo was very good about restarting the router and getting it going again.
Everything was clean and in good condition. Our two-week rental included a cleaning at the end of one week.
The washing machine did a good job, and we found it a lot easier to figure out how to operate it than in many other apartments we've stayed in. There were plenty of drying racks for hanging clothes.
We used one bedroom for sleeping and the other as a study and for storing clothes. The bed was extremely comfortable, and we slept very well. The bedroom did face onto the street, but it was very quiet, since it’s a one-way street that had little traffic and no restaurants, bars, etc., that might have created noise. The bathrooms were in great shape, and the shower worked well.
The kitchen/dining area is combined with the living room. We didn't cook meals, since there were so many wonderful restaurants within walking distance, but it seemed to be very well equipped with enough dishes, cooking utensils, etc., for four people. There is a dishwasher.
Problems or Bonuses
Parking in this small hill town can be a little difficult, and you had better be good at parallel parking in a small space if you want to park right near the apartment. But we only had one night when we had to park a bit farther away in one of the nearby lots, most of which required payment from 8am to 8pm.
Giacomo supplied good directions for finding the place, but if you arrive after dark (as we did, when our plane was delayed), it can be difficult figuring out where you are going. GPS does not work well on those narrow streets, and it will only lead you astray. We ended up driving through town at least four times and blundering into the residents-only ZTL roads, before we found the apartment. We were very glad when Giacomo told us Montepulciano did not have ZTL cameras, and at any rate, the ZTL was only in effect until 8pm that time of year.
Aside from that minor car-related issue, everything was perfect. We loved the apartment and the location, and had a wonderful two weeks there. The book with instructions about the house and recommendations for good restaurants in town was a well-put-together reference.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We dealt directly with Giacomo, who is fluent in English. He was exceptionally responsive to all our questions and a great source of information about the town. He was not home when we first arrived, but his sister Maria gave us a warm welcome. If she hadn't been on hand, we would have gone to bed hungry, since it was a Saturday night and all the restaurants were packed. But Maria wangled us into a great little osteria nearby, where we had a delicious meal.
The rate (€95 a night in 2014) was quite a reasonable price for the location and facilities. Payment can be by credit card.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I unhesitatingly recommend Politian Apartments to anyone who wants to visit this lovely area of Tuscany.
Things to do in this area
Although Montepulciano is small, you can spend days there just exploring the town, enjoying the food in its many very good restaurants, and tasting the wine in the cantinas all through the town. Some of the day trips out of town that we especially enjoyed were to Pienza, Siena, and the beautiful abbeys of Sant’Antimo and Sant’Anna in Camprena. Visiting the gardens of La Foce was a special experience. La Foce was the home of Iris Origo, who wrote the very moving book, War in Val d’Orcia. We spent one wonderful day driving around Monte Amiata and visiting a few of the lovely little towns that dot the region. The Daniel Spoerri sculpture garden on about 80 acres outside Seggiano was a magical place, not on most tourists’ radar. The whole area is rich in varied experiences and exceptional beauty.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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