Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 812: Le Manzinaie, Girasole - Sunflower Room
apartments on estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South
2003, 10 days
The villa is centrally located in the country on a lovely farm. There are beautiful views all around -- cypress trees, rolling hills, vineyards. We enjoyed the peaceful countryside, but we were only 20 minutes from amenities in Montepulicano. This is an ideal location to use as a "home base" for day trips around the region.
Because the villa is on a farm, you need a car, but the roads are not busy and easy to drive. The nearest restaurant is less than five minutes away. It serves wonderful wood-oven pizza, as well as traditional Italian fare. A small grocer is five minutes away in Acqua Viva, but a larger grocery store is open longer hours in Montepulciano, located 20 minutes away.
Le Manzinaie is a newly renovated farmhouse originally built in 1878. There are four apartments on the gound floor of the main villa and a detached two-story unit. The apartments have tiled floors, arched brick ceilings and antique reproduction furniture. All units are in pristine condition and have been decorated by Marzia with stencils and tromp d'oiel techniques. The owneres have captured the old fashioned feel of the farm, but with comfort and relaxation in mind.
The long, cypress-lined drive leading to the villa sets the tone of country elegance. There is an outdoor sitting area, barbecue and swimming pool for guests to use. The sitting area is shaded and available for guests to share. The owners grow fruit and herbs for the guests to use. We were lucky to arrive in time for fresh rosemary.
There are many flowering bushes and a rose bush grows around the front door, making the villa look picturesque.
The furniture was new and in excellent condition. The antique reproduction furniture suited the decor but, unlike genuine antiques, all drawers and cupboards opened easily. Our unit had a pullout couch which was perfect for lounging on. While we didn't use the pull-out bed, but there was plenty of room had we needed it.
There were five chairs, a writing desk and a dining room table that could be extended. We were never cramped or at a loss for space.
The apartment was very clean and well maintained.
The bed was firm but comfortable. Above the bed was a handpainted Tuscan scene, which gave the room a very special feel. The wardrobes (one on either side of the window) had more hanging and drawer space than we needed.
The bathroom was very roomy with a jacuzzi tub, separate shower unit, toilet, bidet, sink with lots of counter space AND a heated towel bar. White terrycloth robes were provided as well as towels. (Bring slippers since the tile floors can be cool on bare feet.)
The kitchen was spacious and equipped with a microwave, toaster, small refrigerator and gas stove top. There were plenty of pots and pans and even plastic tubs for leftovers. While a standard filtered coffeemaker was available, I used the stovetop espresso maker for real Italian coffee.
I have a gas stove at home, so for me, cooking was easy. The stove top even had different sized elements, so you could pick one to suit the pot and not have flames leaping up the sides. A couple of times I cooked meals for eight (people from neighbouring apartments came for dinner) and had no problem, although they did have to bring their own chairs.
Problems or Bonuses
The hosts, Marzia and Fiore had us to dinner in their common room. They prepared a full Italian dinner and treated us like family. It was welcoming and the highlight of our stay.
When we arrived our kitchens had the basics for our first breakfast - bottled water, milk, coffee, sugar, biscuits, rolls and fruit. They even had a bottle of local Chianti, although I suspect that isn't traditional breakfast fare in Tuscany.
The hosts also gave us wonderful help with directions and even let me use their office email when I had to address a problem back home. Internet in Italy is charged by time of day and length of time on the computer. This was generous since it cost them money every time I sent emails.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I do not hesitiate to recommend this villa to anyone wishing to stay in Tuscany. The hosts were wonderfully friendly, but respected our privacy. The location was ideal and the roads well maintained and easy to drive.
Things to do in this area
In one hour by train, you can be in Florence. Within an hour by car, you can be in Sienna which has a Duomo that must be seen to be believed. Within an hour by car you can be in San Gimignano, know for its 14 towers and alabaster. There are vineyards, tiny hilltop towns and delightful drives. We went to Cortona, where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed, and simply wandered. Almost every town in the area has something to offer and the scenery between towns makes the driving a delight.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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