Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 786: Le Macchie, Moraiolo
apartments on a farm near Monticchiello, Tuscany South
6 - 13 September 2003, 7 days
The beauty of Le Macchie is its remoteness, and yet you are within a 20 minute drive from the historic towns of Montepulciano and Pienza, as well as the spa town of Bagno Vignoni, and closest of all the tiny village of Monticchiello.
Upon arrival, one first has to negotiate a 1km driveway which has certainly seen better days! I am assured it will soon be repaired! But it is certainly worth the bumpy ride!
The farm is divided into 4 properties. The central appartment is lived in by the young owner, Andrea. There are 2 large appartments sleeping 6 each and the studio Moraiolo where my girlfriend and I stayed. Each apartment has its own well furnished private terrace from which one can enjoy the breathtaking views and tranquility of the surrounding countryside.
The best place for groceries is probably at the supermarket just outside Montepulciano. The trip, which takes around 15 mins, can then be combined with sighseeing or other shopping. Just be careful of the opening times for all shops and restaurants as they are a law unto themselves.
You certainly need a car! We opted for a convertable which certainly made for some fun driving along the quiet roads!
Andrea is quite an expert of local food and wine, and upon arrival he will give you his very own written guide to all the best local places. He has his very own ranking system on price and quality! There is no shortage of restaurants within a 20 minute drive. The closest is Osteria La Porta at Monticchiello, where Andrea is well known, and the mention of his name may get you a free Grappa. (If you are unlucky!!)
The 18th century farmhouse has been lovingly restored with great attention to detail and tradition. The decoration and furnishing is simple but effective. The Studio is small. A bathroom with shower, a kitchen/diner and a raised sleeping area. I understand that Andrea has recently refurbished some of the decoration and furniture which will help. But it is the small details which impress ... the pots and pans, coffee machine, CD player and welcome gifts such as wine, olive oil, rosemary, insect candles, guide book.
And of course one hopes to spend most of the time ouside!
We had a tour of the other appartments and they were spacious and again tastefully decorated and furnished. We hope to return and stay with friends in one of these, but for a couple, the Studio is perfect.
The Private terrace is perhaps best at Moraiolo. All of them have superb garden furniture and BBQ facilities but the Studio has the best views and most privacy.
One downside is the storeroom next door which means that the cleaner is often around about in the day. I would encourage Andrea to move the storeroom because although all the staff are very helpful and friendly, it would be better not to have this right next to the Studio.
The new pool (50 metres from the Studio) was VERY COLD!! But its a good size and I think will have warmed up by this summer! There are great walks, bike rides (Cycles available), table tennis, a swing and hammock all on site! In fact one is torn between the peace of le macchie and the numerous interests in the surrounding area!
The apartment was clean and the furnishings as mentioned basic but adequate inside. I believe Andrea has already made improvements in the Studio (i.e. a more comfortable Sofa and new bedding). Outside the garden furniture is top of the range.
All the apartments have a homely and traditional feel with local furnishings, designs and cooking utensils. There are also books available and a TV/CD player.
The bathromm was perfectly adequate. The shower was on the small side and the toilet flush needed repairing but these were not major problems and the latter has already been fixed.
The raised bedroom area had a low ceiling and a double bed. We suggested to Andrea that we should maybe buy some new bedding to brighten up the bed and perhaps a headboard.
One of the great things about Le Macchie is that the owner is always looking to improve things around the appartments. It really shows how much he cares that all the guests have a fantastic holiday!
The kitchen was small but had everything a couple would need and a good selection of pots, pans and cutlery. We ate outside every day and night though in the day one did have to fight off the wasps and flies! And we made good use of the BBQ, buying fresh meat from the local butcher.
Problems or Bonuses
Le Macchie is an amazing place. There were so many bonuses!
The fantastic terrace and BBQ The helpfulness of the owner The fantastic views (even better than we imagined) The peace and tranquility The local attractions
But really there were no problems. The only ones I can think of I have mentioned already.
The TV didn't work but I can't say we missed that!! The toilet flush needed special care! The storeroom would have been better away from the apartment. The bed and sofa in the apartment could be replaced. The pool was cold! The drive was very rocky/uneven.
None of these were major problems and most of them Andrea is already working on or has solved!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Booked through Seaview Travel.
Seaview Travel were professional and I have no complaints about them. They were not onsite, but the owner was. He speaks good English and could not have been more helpful or friendly. Next time we will book direct through him.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I do not need to say anything more!! I certainly want to go back! Next time to one of the larger apartments with some more friends. Also I would like to stay a little longer so there would be more time to explore vineyards, towns ... even play golf or even take the odd day trip to Siena or Florence ... they are really not that far away.
Things to do in this area
Andrea will tell you all you need to know about the local things to do, but for us, the highlights were a trip to the Boscarelli Vineyard, lunch in the spa town of Bago Vignoni and beautiful morning trip to nearby Pienza.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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