Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 59: Fattoria di Maiano, Fattoria di Maiano
apartment on estate outside Florence, Florence
October 2000, 1 week
In October 2000, we rented apartment "Chiostro" on Fattoria di Maiano, an organic olive farm in Fiesole (outside Florence). It was formerly a convent. They have a great web site and several apartments for rent. While preparing for our trip to Italy I sent several e-mails full of questions to Lucia, the property manager. She promptly and kindly answered all my questions and even sent a file with pictures of the apartment we were planning on renting. Lucia also mailed a map of Florence to us and highlighted the route we should take from the car rental agency office to the farm. The price was right, 1,000,000 Lire for the week (about $500) for a 90 square meter (900 sq. foot) apartment and it provided very easy access to Florence. We had a delightful stay for 1 week.
The apartment was on the courtyard of the former convent. There was a noisy party in the courtyard one day, but it was absolutely quiet otherwise. The apartment was clean, spacious and nicely furnished, with good lighting and a small TV. The kitchen was small, but provided a dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, double sink, and worktable. Two windows along one wall made it a delightful space to work in. The bedroom was roomy with a comfortable double bed (2 twins joined) and the bathroom was also roomy and had a shower (no tub). There was a small storage room for our suitcases. We loved the spaciousness of the apartment with windows in every room, especially after having spent the previous week in several different hotel rooms. There were many outdoor areas for relaxing and a large aboveground pool (used summer only).
We did not stop at a market before going to the farm, since Lucia told us that the farm had its own grocery and deli. While getting settled in the apartment, we found that they had provided not only toilet paper and soap, but also salt, pepper, coffee, sugar, milk, butter, pasta, tomato sauce, cookies, olive oil, and wine! We bought additional supplies at the grocery and ate some of their delicious lasagna on the patio overlooking Florence. An information notebook is provided in the apartment. It's extremely helpful, listing customary store hours, numbers to call if there are problems, good local restaurants, grocers, laundromats, bus schedules, museum hours and reservation info, airline phone numbers, and more.
It was simple to get around; about 1 mile down the hill was a stop for a bus going into downtown Florence (about 10 min.) with plenty of street parking available every day. The office staff was very helpful giving clear directions for driving to some of the hill towns we wanted to visit and called to make appointments for us or get information. For those without a car, they suggest walking 1 mile down hill to the bus stop and then taking a different bus back that stops 1/2 mile uphill from the farm, providing a downhill walk home. (there's also a place with internet access a few doors from the first bus stop).
The only problem we encountered was with the water heater; it did not function properly when we arrived and workmen were not available over the weekend. We heated water in the kitchen for "sponge baths" for a couple of days until the water heater was fixed. (It's very possible that had Lucia been there when we arrived, rather than her replacement who wasn't sure what to do, it would have been fixed immediately. However, Lucia had been in a traffic accident and was not able to return to work until the end of the week.)
I must commend the entire staff; 6 days a week there was someone available in the office and grocery. There was always someone who spoke English and they were all cheerful and helpful, willing to answer my multitude of questions and help me learn a few more Italian words (and pronounce them correctly!). Lucia, and her replacement, Laura, were especially helpful. We're glad we decided to stay here, rather than at a hotel in town because it was much more relaxing to be out of the city. I am recommending this apartment to my friends (they have other apartments available that can sleep as many as 11) and hope we can return again.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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