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Review 689: Italian Vacation Villas, La Capanna


Review by ecotravel from OH

2bed/1bath house in a hamlet near Castellina, Tuscany Chianti


September 20 - 27, 2003


We stayed at La Capanna, outside of Castellina in Chianti, from September 20 through September 27, 2003. The setting was beautiful. La Capanna is an old stone barn perched on the side of a hill, overlooking vinyards and olive groves. Sitting at the table on the lower stone terrace, you can see the towers of San Gimignano (an hour's drive on the winding roads) on a clear day, and its lights on a clear night.

La Campana is part of the tiny hamlet called Siepi. We think the hamlet is comprised of only a chapel, our converted barn, two adjacent stone rentals and two vinyards -- La Capraia and Castellano -- that abut the 4.5 km strada bianca that you must travel to get there.

To get anywhere, you must negotiate the strada bianca. It is a bumpy, gravel road. Once you've made the 15 minute trek, however, it is only another 5 minutes to Castellina in Chianti, a great, not-too-touristy walled town with a nice selection of restaurants. Our favorites: La Torre for great Tuscan food and Pizzaria il Fondaccio for thin-crust pizza that you can blissfully inhale!

The rental itself is 2-1/2 levels: living room, small kitchen and bathroom on the lower level; loft bedroom on the second level; and second bedroom on the highest level. The rental can accommodate 4; however, we'd recommend that guests be limited to family members or very close friends, as occupants of the upper bedroom must walk through the lower bedroom to get access to the rest of the house (which includes the bathroom). There is a telephone and a radio/tape player -- no CD player, though advertised, and no television. La Capanna is quite comfortable. A full wall bookshelf lines one of the living room walls; unfortunately, all the books were in German.

The main house, next door, is just across the courtyard and very close. It houses several apartments and is quite lavish. An American family of 5 occupied the main house while we were there; otherwise, we were very much alone. We understand that the main house is sometimes occupied by the owners.

Four stars for La Capanna. Far enough away to feel that you're living in your own private villa (you must ignore the main house next door, however), but close enough to Castellina in Chianti and Radda in Chianti that you can drive with ease to a new restaurant each night. Castellina in Chianti is a great home base from which to visit Volterra, San Gimignano, Radda, Panzano, Greve, Sienna and Florence (45 minutes).

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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