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Review 98: La Bella Toscana , Oleandro


Review by Shirley from Ontario

1bed apartment on estate near San Gimignano, Tuscany West


May 1998, 1 week


In May 1998 we spent one week in a vacation rental in Provence with another couple, then we left our friends and set out on our own to our next home for a week in Tuscany. We rented from an agency called La Bella Toscana. It was a long day’s drive from our house in Provence to San Gimignano and we got lost a few times but we finally arrived in the early evening. The rental agency was closed by the time we arrived, but we had called ahead and they left the keys and directions to our apartment at their gate. Our apartment, Oleandro, was on the estate Fattoria Il Piano just outside San Gimignano, up a winding country road lined with cypress trees.

Our apartment was in the back of a large converted stone farmhouse and when we walked in we were delighted. A small apartment but spotlessly clean. A small kitchen/living room/dining room combination and although the kitchen was sparsely furnished, you could certainly prepare meals there. There was a small fridge and no extra foodstuffs, so I would recommend bringing some basics like a small salt and pepper, some detergent etc. Linens were supplied at a nominal cost but had to be ordered ahead of time and they were in a bag on our bed. The bedroom had high beamed ceilings and the bed was very comfy. The bathroom was small but adequate with a shower inside the tub. There was no air conditioning but the stone floors and cool breezes made the apartment very comfortable. There was a communal washing machine near the pool house where anyone on the grounds could do their washing.

The fattoria has a working winery and we purchased wine and olive oil there. There was a small patio outside our apartment with a table and chairs and the view was unbelievable. We watched the lights of San Gimignano twinkle in the distance in the evenings. The grounds of the farmhouse were lovely and the pool (with poolhouse) was fabulous with more spectacular views all around. It was like a dream!

There was a well-equipped grocery store (a Coop) a few kilometers away just outside San Gimignano. We were in a good location and we drove all around the Tuscan countryside, stopping in Volterra, Chianti region, Siena, Lucca, and even took the bus into Florence for the day. The fattoria is quite isolated and a car is essential as there is no town within walking distance. But it was one of the most peaceful, picturesque places I have ever been. And the price was very affordable!

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

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