Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 970: Agriturismo Fiume, Apartment
apartments on a farm in the Maremma, Tuscany South
June 26 - July 3, 2004, One week
Agriturismo Fiume is located in the middle of the Maremma countryside, inside (although at the border) of the Parco Regionale della Maremma (www.parco-maremma.it). It's an organic farm run by Ms Maristella surrounded (at a decent distance) by similar farms, fields, orchards and olive trees. The place is spartan as usual with the places I stay in, but comfortable and very good value.
In the vicinity, but it takes still some 40 minutes on foot, there is Rispescia, a small modern-looking (but you see it only when you need to go there) village, which boasts a bar, a newspaper kiosk, a small supermarket, a bakery (their naturally leavened bread is great, buy a loaf) and a pharmacy. A few kilometers south of Agriturismo Fuime, there is another village called Alberese, smaller than Rispescia, but with a bakery/foodstore, a (too costly) greengroceer and the shop of the Azienda agricola regionale dell'Alberese which sells organic wines, marmelades, oil-preserved vegetables, olive oil, cheeses, pasta and the delicious meat of the Maremmana cows (grown locally and free range).
The building is modern, since the area was one of the poorest in Italy until the 1940's when the swamps were drained (the process was started in the XVIII century) and the fields were offered to immigrants from Veneto. This is why the Agritourisms in the area have names like Fiume, Isonzo or Piave. The Agriturismo offers two apartments, one with a two people bedroom and one for three people, with two bedrooms, and two or three rooms for two people each, so that it serves both as rental or B&B. We stayed in the two rooms apartment, which is made of two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, and a kitchen that can seat three people. The price for this apartment was 65 euro per day. The Agriturismo accepts "odd" stays (less than one week, starting on days other than Saturdays, etc.), with a minimum of two nights. On request, B&B guests can enjow half board treatment (+ 18 euro).
The Agriturismo offers to its guests a shared garden which melts into the orchards and olive treee grove and fitted with games for children and an archery area. The pool is also shared, 6 × 12 meters wide and long and with two different water levels. Outside each apartment and room there is a table with a sun unbrella, for dining outside.
The furniture was, as stated before, spartan but in very good shape, with comfortable beds and chairs (5 + the outside ones). It was extremely clean and Ms Maristella was very clear in recommending us not to arrive too early so that she could have time to clean everything up properly.
The kitchen implements were run through a high temperature cycle in the washer, to remove any germ and clean them up even if they were carefully washed by the previous guests. The kitchen was a bit on the small side, with a too low sink (it would have fitted my grandmom, but it was too low for me and my mom and we had to stoop to wash the dishes). The pans were old and a bit battered but usable, not that we needed too many since for seven days we survived on pasta, salads, fruits and an occasional steak.
The bathrooms were both new and functional, although a bit small. Both showers had a cabin ^_^
Mosquito screens everywhere!
The owner was planning to rebuuild the roof of the low building that hosts the two apartments, to have them better insulated: she does it section by section, so that our apartment had one bedroom with the new insulated roof and one with the old. She is working on it.
Problems or Bonuses
Unfortunately, there is a railway in the vicinity with a few trains passing on it during the night too. Actually it's not really close to wake you up, but if you are already awake you notice it. That's the only flaw of the farm, which was balanced by the repeated invites to help ourselves of apricots and plums from the orchard and gifts of vegetables (those tomatoes were something) and slices of cakes made for the breakfasts of the B&B guests. And let's not forget the bycicles available at the Agriturismo for the guests (for free) to go riding through the fields or to the beach.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We didn't book through an agency but contacted directly the owners, who also lived on site. I can't say whether they speak English because I didn't ask, but I think they do at least to a degree. The information provided by their site is very accurate and precise. The price of our apartment was 65 euro per day (22 euro per person), making it extremely cheap, we stayed there at the end of june and for the first three days of July.
Should I say that, despite the trains, I am already planning a second stay, maybe in September? Yes, I am, and I warmly suggest Agriturismo Fiume for a cheap but comfortable stay in Tuscan Maremma.
Things to do in this area
Alberese regional park is one of the oldest Natural parks in Italy. It is diveded in two areas: an outer farming area and an inner wildlife area. The park can be toured following the trails suggested at the Alberese park information center or with guided tours (the guards and guides are known as the best in Tuscany, my agronomist brother-in-law says). Also the beach is part of the park, to reach it by car it is required to purchase a ticket from the Park offices in Alberese or Rispescia (4,50 euro full day, 2,50 euro half day); as an alternative, the beach can be reached by bus (from Alberese, 8 am 8 pm, every 30 minutes, 1,20 euro) or bicycle (free). The road to the beach goes through the umbrella pine woods, and the trees reach all the way to the beach, where fallen logs can be used to build shadow lean-tos. There are also picnic areas, toilets and a few bars that sell picnik foods, drinks and packaged gelato.
Visits in the extreme vicinity include Grosseto (not gorgeous, but nice for a half-day walk in a more urban scenary, for a change), the Roselle ruins (Etruscan and Roman), Monte Argentario, Talamone, Magliano in Toscana, Punta Ala and others.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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