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Review 95: Tuscanhouse, Il Torrino

www.tuscanhouse.com

Recommended
Review by Pauline from NM who is a SlowTrav Contributor

1bed/2bath tower in Montechiello, Tuscany South


When

October 2001, we did not stay here, but visited it with Zak from Tuscanhouse for an hour just to have a look

Location

The location is perfect. It is on the edge of the lovely village of Montichiello, just 5 minutes by car south of Pienza in the Val d'Orcia area of Tuscany. This is my favorite part of Tuscany. Montichiello has a caffe and two good restaurants. There is supposed to be a good linens store there. From the village you could walk on white road to Pienza - maybe an hour - or head off towards Montepulciano. We did this latter walk several years ago and it was probably 1 1/2 hours each way. This walk is described in the book Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria. There are also lots of other white roads in this area - I think it would be great for walking.

The House/Apartment

It is a tower with the living space on three small levels. On the ground level is a very small kitchen - fine for breakfast or a quick lunch, but not suitable for lots of cooking. The stove is two burners and I can't remember all the other details, but it is small.

You reach the livingroom level either by steep inner stairs or by the outside staircase to the front door. This level contains only the livingroom. One comfortable couch, one wood and wicker style one. There is a huge window (was a door at one time) which makes the room very light.

Up another steep set of stairs to the bedroom. This is the best room of the house. You are in a old stone tower with views in all directions. See the photos page for the views. You can easily see Pienza and Montepulciano (if I remember right) and Monte Amiata. The owner told us that on a clear day you can see northern Tuscany. There are moderate sized windows on each wall. When we opened them we could feel a beautiful wind because we were up so high. On one side of the tower, you are looking down 4 stories, then down a hillside to the valley below. There are also these little tiny holes, maybe 4 inches square, at floor level. They have some historical purpose that I can no longer remember - but when the owner did the restoration, he put little opening glass windows in these holes. You can open them for air flow. The main bathroom is also on this level. It is separated from the bedroom by a glass wall, so you can see through the bathroom for the views from its window. I can't remember where the toilet is situated, so cannot swear to privacy in the bathroom!

The bedroom has a small loft, but the steps to it are so steep that you would only use it as perhaps a meditation area.

There is another small bathroom downstairs, on the basement level, which is really a daylight basement.

Garden

There is small garden area with a bench and lovely views. The owner told us he was going to put in a hot tub. Some of the walkways to the house are rough - for example, you go down a short steep gravel walkway to get to the yard. It would be difficult for dragging your luggage, but the owner has an Ape and will meet you at the parking area outside the village and take your luggage to the house (and take it back when you check out). The owner actually let me sit in his Ape (I love Apes).

Problems or Bonuses

The obvious problems are the steep stairs and the small kitchen. But if you are fine with stairs and don't plan to do much cooking, the tower would be good for you. The main bonus is the owners, a young couple who live in the village. They restored the tower and they look after it well. They are very friendly and charming.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

I think I was in shock when I was looking at this house - really it is quite different from anything I have seen before. Our first vacation rental in Italy was a tower and I loved it, but it was bigger. This one is narrow. I would say 20' by 20' maybe on each level. The owner told me that most people love it and they have people who have returned to it. I think you should expect to be in shock for the first day and then you will probably be in love with it after a few days.

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

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