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Review 86: Castello di Montegufoni, Monte 7


Review by Liz from Vancouver

apartments in a castle, Tuscany Chianti


August 2001, 2 weeks


We arrived in Italy and spent the first 3 nights in Portovenere letting the jetlag wear off, although I must admit we really didn’t have much of a problem this time since we both took NO JETLAG!

After much fun in the Mediterranean we headed for Montegufoni. We had stayed at Montegufoni in August of 1999, so we knew what to expect and were all ready for some relaxing fun in the sun. As we drew closer, we could spot it in the distance sitting amongst the rolling hills filled with vineyards and olive groves, than the flood gates opened up for me! It was wonderful to see it again!

When we arrived and opened our apartment door, it really did feel like home to us. Everything was the same except for a nice new kitchen unit they had installed. It still is a small space to cook in, but perfect for the simple dinners that we would be preparing here.

Once again we used this place as a base for our 2 weeks of adventure. We visited Arezzo, Assisi, Certaldo Alto, a few Chianti towns, and of course Florence. We also revisited Montalcino, Volterra and San Gimignano. In between touring we always try to squeeze in time around the pool. This seems to keep everyone sane!

Our first days here we saw many familiar faces, people we had met before from all over Europe. It’s great to meet at the end of a great day exploring and exchange tips on what towns to hit and miss as well as restaurant recommendations. The castello offers meals 3 times a week, but we decided after hearing a few recent reviews that we would opt out this time. We actually felt a little bad about doing that since we had so much fun at those dinners last time and at Montegufoni it’s not about the food but more about the atmosphere and the people you are with.

The second week here was especially exciting since my good friend from Vancouver was joining us for her last week in Italy. For 2 weeks she had been visiting various relatives she hadn’t seen for many years, and now she would get to experience Montegufoni. We enjoyed having her with us and hope that one day she can share this place with her own family.

We did have one unfortunate incident here this year. A large group of seniors had arrived with one fellow in particular who was your complete stereotypical example of a loudmouth redneck. Well, at one point during the evening a large group of us who had traveled from many different countries were sitting out on the terrace doing what people do on the terrace, you know, laugh, chat and drink wine. Our redneck friend felt that after 11:00, this should all come to an abrupt stop and proceeded to preach fire and brimstone to us about wanting quiet while yelling and shaking his fist! We were all completely shocked since we weren’t being loud, just chatting between ourselves. Many of us thought he had missed the point of international travel and meeting interesting people.

It sort of goes with the territory that the rooms overlooking the terrace are where people gather, and if hearing people talking and laughing bothers you than you should not rent on that side of the building. In fact our room, Monte 7, is next to the terrace, but I happen to enjoy hearing happy chatting while falling asleep - usually we are out on the terrace anyways. So except for one unfortunate incident, our stay at Montegufoni was another wonderful experience.

The highlights for us were picking fresh figs from the many trees, having picnics in the gardens, and for my children to be able to play with the 5 little kittens of the castello and meet new friends.

When you check in at Montegufoni they provide you with a sheet naming all the good local restaurants, we managed to visit a few, but primarily we cooked simple dinners and had them on the terrace. These nights are still my favorite!

Leaving Montegufoni is always hard, in fact before we arrived we thought that we might try someplace else next time but this idea was quickly shot down by the family, the kids insist we must return, and so we shall!

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

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