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Review 92: Florence Villas, Villa Pandolfini


Review by Colleen from CA who is a SlowTrav Contributor

2bed/2bath large apartment in a villa near Florence, Tuscany Chianti


April 2001, 1 week


We rented Villa Pandolfini in Lastra a Signa (10 km from Florence) for one week in April, 2001. We rented directly from the owners, and they were very good to deal with. The house was split into two apartments on the ground floor, with the owners living upstairs. When we were there, one other apartment on the property was rented out, but we only saw the person from that apartment once. The apartment beside us was not rented out.

Entry was at the rear of the building, through a beautifully manicured garden. The doorway led us through an enormous salon, with 20' frescoed ceilings, 10' tall gilt framed mirrors, a grand piano (that was dwarfed by the scale of the room) and ... a pool table! LOL (This room was "off limits" to renters.) I think it was off limits because it wasn't really a "livable" area, if you know what I mean. It wasn't part of our apartment, but part of the house. If you think of a rectangle, this huge room was in the center with the main house door in its center. Our apartment entrance was on its left wall, and the other apartment entrance on its right wall.

Our portion of the house also had frescoed and tromp l'oeil ceilings, marble topped fireplaces, lovely Venetian glass vases, and dark wood furniture. It really felt like living in a villa. We were all in awe of the scale of the rooms, the high painted ceilings (seen before only in museums!), silk curtains, huge portraits, and the landscaped grounds. It was a nice mix of comfort and elegance.

The living room was HUGE, and although the sofa and two love seats weren't super comfortable, they were adequate. My enormous bedroom had a fireplace with large gilt mirror above it, an antique armoire and large wooden chest with extra linens, and a *real* king-sized bed - none of that business of pushing two twin beds together! It also had a sitting area with two comfortable chairs and a lace covered table.

The second bedroom was also good sized, with a fireplace, queen bed and a day/twin bed and ensuite bathroom. The bedrooms both had lace curtained French doors that opened out onto a terrace overlooking the cypress tree lined driveway.

Villa Pandolfini was well maintained, had all the necessary kitchen and linen items, and the property included a clothes washer and a dishwasher. The garden area was lovely; the terrace overlooking it was set out with tables and chairs. The garden terrace was shared, but it's quite large - almost the entire length of the house - so I think it would still be possible to feel comfortable out there even if the other apartment were rented.

The front terrace overlooked the cypress tree driveway and a vineyard to the left - kinda bland. (Okay, I'm a little spoiled! LOL) It really felt like a self contained little world - besides the garden terrace, I wouldn't say the view was anything special. The location was very quiet. We heard the birds and church bells in the mornings and evenings, and during those sleepless jet lag hours we could hear the train.

Our two bedroom, two bath "apartment" in the huge villa was about $1200 for the week, including utilities. $75 nonrefundable cleaning deposit, and $400 refundable "damage" deposit.

The only minor drawback for us was the single shower/bath. The location is good -- 10 km from Florence, easy access to the A1 for day trips, and a brief walk to the Signa train station (a 10 minute ride into Florence) and bus stop. It's about a 15 minute drive into Florence. We would recommend this house to others.

Theoretically we could walk out to the village for coffee and groceries - we just didn't! It seemed we only decided to buy groceries late in the evening, and at the last minute, so the IperCoop (about 10 minutes drive away) was where we shopped. Signor Brogi recommended local restaurants and food shops, and told us where we could get the best pizza in Signa. There was extensive local information and maps in an organized binder, along with directions and details for day trips. We took it with us whenever we got in the car to go anywhere.

I recommend this apartment.

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

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