Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 663: Sant' Antonio, Apartment
apartments on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South
July 2003, 1 week
Sant'Antonio is located about 2 kilometres south of Montepulciano. The place was once a monastery/convent and is now converted into 13 apartments of varying sizes. It is situated on the side of a mountain on around 195 acres. There are over 1300 olive trees and the owner is putting in a lake so they will have irrigation. We had Apartment #7 and our kitchen window looked out over the beautiful countryside. Each apartment has its own patio area so you could be as private or close to others as you wanted to be. The apartments are close together but we were not bothered by others. The area is fantastic for day trips to both Umbria and within Tuscany. We could also be parked outside the walls of Montepulciano and ready to walk into town after a 5 minute drive. It is a wonderfully private location and yet for those wanting to get somewhere quickly it is ideal.
A car is a must but everything is close. There was a good restaurant right by the nearest major intersection and Montepulciano was 5 minutes away and filled with coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. The large grocery story, CONAD, was just over 5 minutes to get to and located outside the walls of the town. There was easy parking by the grocery store. The weekly market was on Thursday and located right behind this grocery store.
Sant'Antonio is really a small cluster of buildings which were once a 13th century monastery/convent. These have been converted with wonderfully high standards to the apartments that are for rent. Our apartment, #7, was small but perfect for the two of us. There was a combined sitting area/kitchen. This area has a small fireplace too. We walked up 3 steps from this area to our bath and bedroom. Though updated, the charm remained with terra cotta tiled floors, beamed ceilings and stone walls. Everything is spotless. It is also gated, each apartment renter gets a remote to open the gates when you enter and leave the property. The parking has been designed to be underground, so that unsightly cars parked all over do not spoil the view.
Every apartment has a patio area with a table and chairs. There are also large patio areas and barbeques scattered over the property. Outside of our apartment were lovely lavender plants. New cypress trees have been planted in many areas. A wonderful new pool, completely ceramic tiled, sits on the side of the hill and overlooks the Tuscan countryside. There are multiple chaise lounges and umbrellas. There are nearly 200 acres to walk, amidst over 1300 olive trees. Due to the extremely dry summer, all of Tuscany was suffering from burnt out fields and I know that with rain, the property would be even more beautiful.
Nico Pannevis, the owner, is continually updating these apartments since 1999 when he took over this establishment. Our apartment was furnished in country style and was extremely comfortable. in the kitchen/sitting area we had a comfortable couch and small satellite TV, Kitchen table with 4 chairs. There was plenty of room for our clothes in the bedroom, furnished with a large dresser and armoire. There are nice, homey touches like embroidered doilies on the tables and dressers. The apartment was wonderfully clean. We did not expect a mid-week linen change and on Wednesday we had wonderful clean sheets and towels when we returned from our travels.
The bed was great and had beautiful white sheets. We had a large window that we could leave open in the sultry nights and get a cool breeze off the mountain. Even with no screens we were not bothered by bugs. The bathrrom was very large. The towels were big and fluffy and plentiful. There was a shower, no tub. Plenty of hot water. Even in the bathroom there was a big etagere (book-case like wicker stand) to put all our toiletries, etc. on.
The kitchen area was great. Beautiful granite counters and gas range. No oven. We did not do much cooking, but always had breakfast there. Great white porcelain dishes and plenty of them. Pots and pans were plentiful. I am sure you could cook a full meal even without an oven. We loved the dish draining racks located in a cupboard above the sink. Only thing we missed was a toaster, but we made toast over the gas range! Plus there are so many barbeque areas to cook in! The refrigerator in our apartment was older, but Nico told us it was on his list for replacement.
Problems or Bonuses
Having never rented before, we were thrilled when we pulled up to the property. Nico greeted us, who were total strangers, like we were long-lost family. We loved the apartment, the pool, the other renters. We were the only Americans and everyone was so friendly. We hardly had to buy anything for the apartment besides our food. There was plenty of toilet paper, dish liquid and sponges, towels, great sheets. Even a beach towel to use by the pool, upon request. That saved room in our luggage. We had satellite tv, so we could tune into CNN and MTV at night! Because there were so many repeat guests the week we were there, Nico hosted a big barbecue for anyone that was interested on the Wednesday night. At least 50 attended a wonderful feast of wine, food and desserts and a great party that lasted until 1 a.m!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked online with Nico Pannevis, the owner. He was so helpful and answered any questions we had. He is multi-lingual (at least 5 languages). His beautiful wife, Elena, also speaks wonderful English. The pictures on the website for Sant'Antonio do not do justice to the place. It was better than we expected it to be.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would return to Sant'Antonio tomorrow! I learned of this rental through the recommendations that I read right here on Slow Travelers. Without hesitation, both my husband and I would urge anyone to stay here. There are bigger apartments than the one we had, also 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartments. I know that it was our first rental, but the combination of location and property and amenities was perfect for us.
Things to do in this area
The Montepulciano area is a perfect spot for day trips. One day we drove to Perugia, Assisi and then Cortona on the way back. We were in Perugia in just over an hour. On to Assisi and then Cortona. The ride back from Cortona was thru fields and fields of sunflowers. We took in the monks chanting at Sant Antimo abbey near Montalcino on a Sunday night at vespers. Pienza was only 20 minutes away, the smell of cheese wafting out of the doorways. Had dinner in Pienza at La Chioccola and it was very good. Montichiello, a little perfect hill town that we drove to on a back road excursion, was nearby. We drove to Siena (about an hour's drive and beautiful countryside along the way) and spent the day. There were other places we could have gone but we loved being at Sant'Antonio and in Montepulciano itself. Nico, the owner, owns a restaurant in Bagno Vignoni, about a half hour away. We ate at Ristorante Pulcino which is very near the property and enjoyed the homemade pastas as well as the magnificent view of Montepulciano up on the hill, from the terrace where we ate. Inside the town, is a great "Snoopy Gelateria"! I collect Snoopys and the owner had me sign the wall! Plus the gelato was great! For all you wine lovers, there are numerous enotecas in town. The beautiful Tempio di San Biagio, the church outside the city walls , is also a great visit. What else can I say?? We loved every minute of our stay here.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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