Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 750: San Cristoforo, La Pieve
1bed/1bath house near Cagli, Marche
Aug 03, 1 week
La Pieve is one of a trio of houses set in the countryside about 6km E of Cagli. Next door is the house of the owners, Peter Greene & Richard Dixon (expat Englishmen who have lived there for 10 years, and have written the Marche Voyager website), and across the drive is La Casetta, a larger cottage also for rent (sleeps 4). Although La Pieve shares a common wall with P&R's house, it has a private terrace which isn't overlooked by either of the other two properties. As you'll see from the well illustrated website, the surrounding countryside is lovely.
There is a little row of shops (small Punto SMA supermarket, veg/wine shop, bread/cake shop, butcher) on the eastern outskirts of Cagli, so you don't need to drive into the centre to buy most of what you need. Cagli centre has several bars & restaurants, a posh wine shop/delicatessen (Alimentare), and much else (population 9000). There is a simple bar/restaurant just 2km along the road towards Cagli, but we never tried it.
It's an 18th century chapel, converted in 2002/3: we were among the first season's visitors. So everything that needs to be is new, and works well. And Peter & Richard are on hand to sort out any problems if any should arise. As you'll see from their photos, the conversion is imaginative and stylish.
Terrace with 2 sunloungers and table and chairs for outdoor eating. Sunshade. And a large garden with vines and fruit trees, which guests are encouraged to pick (superb figs and plums when we were there; also a large container of parsley growing by the hedge, and small herb bushes growing around the terrace). No pool - but see later for swimming.
All clean and new. 2 comfy sofas for reading/lounging; a table with 4 chairs at the kitchen and, and a writing desk and chair at the other end. Plenty of lights; CD/cassette player. Again, the photos on the Pieve page will give you a better idea. A bookshelf with a fine collection of fiction and non-fiction, mostly in English. And Peter and Richard are, by profession, writers and translators: they have a large library of books (and CDs) which they happily lend.
Nicely firm mattress; individual reading lights and bedside tables. Lovely mosaic tiles in the bathroom (pity there isn't a photo on their site); plenty of hot water for the shower. There's a clothes washing machine in the main house, which guests are encouraged to use if they want.
Good new 4-burner Smeg gas hob & oven. Plenty of decent pots & pans; cutlery & crockery more than adequate for 2. We cooked several full meals there, with no problems.
Problems or Bonuses
As you'll see from the website, there's a downloadable 8-page "User's Manual" with practical details about the house and surroundings, and lots of local info on shopping, eating, etc. We found it really useful to have this information in advance; and there's a print copy there in La Pieve as well.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Peter and Richard are marvellous: extremely welcoming, but never intrusive. As authors and translators specializing in Le Marche (where they've lived for the past 10 years), they've got unrivalled local knowledge, which they're happy to share.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
La Pieve is a perfect getaway for a couple. One of the reasons for the 4-month delay on writing this review is a reluctance to share this marvellous little place. We want it all to ourselves! But duty calls... so here is the review.
Things to do in this area
Swimming in the rivers. It was a very hot August when we were there; there are two marvellously refreshing mountain rivers that tumble down to Cagli, both of which have swimmable sections (described in the "User's Manual"). Our favourite was Gran Canyon, on the road over to Secchiano & Citta de Castello.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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