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Review 927: La Foce, Vespa and Bersagliere apartments

www.lafoce.com

Recommended
Review by albert from st. lucia, west indies

apartments and houses on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South


When

May 2004, one week

Review

It was thanks to a positive review some two years ago in Slow Travel that persuaded five of us from England, the US and West Indies to rent the Vespa and Bersagliere flats at La Foce in southern Tuscany in early May, 2004. Having visited Italy many times over the past 55 years, but always staying with friends or in hotels, I (as the organizer) was somewhat apprehensive about what we would find on arrival at La Foce.

What we found, and what won our total love of La Foce, were two delightful apartments up a flight of stone steps from the cobbled courtyard of a centuries old outbuilding on the estate, which is not far from Montepulciano. Vespa, larger of the two units, offers two good size bedrooms and baths (one ensuite with the larger bedroom), a generous sized drawing room (with biedemeier sleighbed for an extra guest), and generous closet space in the hall and drawing room. All this on the second floor of the apartment. A good size kitchen with window overlooking a lovely open lawn is down a sbort staircase, and acts as the entry to the flat.

We five dined four times at the large country kitchen table and found the facilities and equipment more than adequate. The fridge is certainly smaller than many Americans are accustomed to, but certainly large enough to hold the results of our provisioning sprees at the excellet COOP supermarket in nearby Chiancianno Terme (and the excellent fish market across the street).

The three of us in Vespa did not elect to have daily cleaning and linen changes (the weather was very temperate, chilly even at times), but our English friends in Bersagliere did. (La Foce managment also offers starter shopping and will even prepare your first meal at an additional cost.)

Bersagliere is the smaller of the two adjoining flats -- its refined, spacious drawing room, massive bedroom with bath and delightful little kitchen all on one floor. Like the Slow Travelers before, we regularly assmembled in the Bersagliere drawing room for "sundowners", and then retreated across the hall to Vespa's large and welcoming kitchen for meals.

It would be pleasant to have a change of linen mid week (all La Foce rentals run from Saturday to Saturday), but this is one of the very, very few complaints any of us could make about this marvelous, secluded and, surprisingly sophisticated, retreat. The furniture and room decorations have been obviously and carefully chosen for comfort -- and style. I had to restrain one friend from trying to make away with a charming antique plate on the wall!

It is a superb place to relax -- picnicing ,perhaps, (as we did one glorious sunny day) on the open lawn or to use as a convenient centre for visiting the many neighboring villages (Montepulciano, Monticchiello, Montalcino, San Quirico d'Orcia, Cetona, Bagno Vignoni, etc.) There are excellent restaurants in this beautiful part of Tuscany. We particularly enjoyed La Loggia del Vignola in Montepulciano, a rather sophisticted litte place where we had one of the best meals of our three weeks in Tuscany. We also liked Osteria del Lione in Bagno Vignoni, dining al fresco in this captivating renaissance waterhole.

We splurged one day lunching at Mondo X, Cetona, much favoured in Slow Traveler reports. It was really an exceptional meal (8 marvelous courses, prosecco in the garden before, and endless wine throughout.) The setting, the first monestery founded by St. Francis, is extraordiary -- a 12th century complex superbly maintained and staffed entirely by 40 young people recovering from drug abuse. We paid 205 Euros for three, not cheap, but a memorable meal!

Because I know many Slow Travelers will visit Montalcino and Pienza (both relatively close to La Foce), I should mention that we dined very well at both Latte de Luna and Il Falco in Pienza -- both reasonable for Tuscany and charming. We paid more for lunch at Boccodivino outside Montalcino, but it was worth it. Superb service, outstanding food.

Would we all return to La Foce again? I am already planning next year's visit!

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

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