Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 631: TuscanHouse, Torre San Domenico
3bed/2.5bath house in Cetona, Tuscany South
June 2003, One week
Cetona is a small hilltop town - about 1300' feet above sea level. Torre San Domenico is a medieval tower - part of medieval Cetona's outer defenses. The Torre is located on a steep, narrow street, about five minutes walk from the central piazza. There are neighors to the right and left. Despite the closeness of neighbors, the Tower feels and is private.
Bedrooms, bathrooms, the patio and living room all face outward towards the countryside. We heard street noise (occasional cars & Ape's) in the kitchen. The neighbors on the left - a family with small children - could be heard from the patio but that was fine with us. We liked feeling part of the neighborhood. The views from the lving room, master bedroom, bathrooms, top floor study and patio were spectacular.
Everything one would want to keep body and soul together is located in town and within 10 minutes walk, tops. There are supermarket, a smaller alimenteria, two bakeries, three cafes, three restaurants, several tabacchi, a post office, internet point and pharmacy in town.
An American style mall - big supermarket, phone store, dry cleaner, clothing stores, internet point - is about 15 minutes drive. Market day is Saturday.
The tower was reconstructed on the base of a 13th century tower. It is spic and span, well lighted, freshly painted, lots of outlets and the plumbing works.
There is a lovely patio - chairs, large table, umbrella and lovely climbing roses. Spectaular view. Another plus - no mosquitoes even in the evening. There were citronella torches available but we never used them.
There is also a small balcony - enough room for two chairs and a v. small table off the fourth floor study - wonderful!
Comfortable, tasteful furnishings. Six could be seated comfortably in both the dining room and living room. Squeaky clean.
We hit this June's heat wave and decided to use the top floor bedroom which has an air conditioner. Cross ventilation was excellent, it was breezy and the Torre cooled down nicely during the evening so we ended up using the air conditioner 3 nights only. There is a ceiling fan in the bedroom as well.
There are 2.5 baths - a tub/shower combo - on the 3rd (2 bedrooms) and 4th (one bedroom) levels and a half bath (sink and toilet) on the entry level, convenient for patio use. Good pressure and hot water. Great views, too! Linens and towels were high quality.
Usable kitchen - lots of pots and pans, serving dishes, utensils. Wonderful to have a dishwasher. We did not cook "soup to nuts" meals but could have if we wished. Counter space is limited but kitchen/dining room table is huge.
Fridge is of the under-the-counter variety but there is a larger unit in storeroom of the living room.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Zak was a pleasure to deal with. Making arrangements were totally painless. Directions to Cetona were accurate and Zak included a pre-paid phone card to call Sacha and Beppe and a "care package" of maps and brochures.
The owners, Sacha and Giuseppe, were charming, helpful, reliable and available by cell phone and English speaking. Everything you'd want hosts to be.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely (and I have)!
There are some caveats: As other reviewers have noted, the Torre is on a steep hill (5 minutes from the town center and 7-8 minutes from free, long term parking); there is no at-the-door parking. This could be a real irritant for those who are looking for absolute convenience.
There are no screens but mosquitoes and houseflies were not a problem.
Cetona is a bit of a drive from the major destinations - Siena, Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano, etc. That was fine for us - we were in Tuscany to SLOW DOWN - but is a factor to consider.
Things to do in this area
Favorite restaurant in Cetona - Osteria Vecchia. Wonderful bruschetta, pasta and fiorentina. The house wine is excellent. Ambiance and service very special. Reservations are a good idea.
The bakery just ouside of town on the road bearing right was my favorite of the two - great chocolate cornetti!
The supermarket is excellent - good meat counter and they have a rostericcia.
We liked Chiusi a lot, too. Another "real place". Great Monday morning market, interesting museum and tombs. La Solita Zuppa is delicious and the gelateria near the museum is in a three way tie for our 2003 best gelato honors with spots in Verona and Bologna.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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