Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 986: InTuscany, Le Manzinaie - Viole
apartments on an estate near Montepulciano, Tuscany South
May 2004, 2 weeks
Le Manzinaie is a 19th century farm, a 15 minute drive from Montepulciano. It had fallen very badly into disrepair, but has been beautifully restored by Marzia and Fiore since buying it about 13 years ago. A labour of love and imagination.
The little town of Montepulciano Stazione is within walking distance. It has a grocery store and a good meat market. There are several restaurants nearby, including a good pizza take out.
There is an excellent restaurant in Acquaviva, "L'Angolo", a 10-15 minute drive. The food was exceptional, and reasonably priced.
The sizeable town of Montepulciano has many interesting shops, historic buildings, a supermarket and a weekly outdoor market.
Alicia, Marzia's & Fiore's 17 year old daughter has composed an extensive travel book, with 7 itineraries describing the towns in each. We found it more useful than the published guide books, and brought our copy home as a souvenir.
There are 4 apartments in the main house - Glicine, Rose, Edera and Girasole. In the course of the extensive renovations, the traditional Tuscan architecture has been maintained, with stone structures, soaring ceilings and arches, tiled floors, and striking decor. Adera was our favourite. All are on the ground floor with private entrances.
We stayed in Viole, a private 2-storey villa a few steps from the main house. The ground floor contains a large bedroom and a full bathroom, and a fully equipped kitchen and dining area, and a sunny patio and lawn. The upstairs has a large bedroom with a lovely view of the grounds, and a full bathroom. The entire villa was immaculate, fully equipped , and attractively furnished.
The immediate grounds comprise several acres. They are beautifully maintained, with many flowers, flowering bushes, shrubs and trees, complimenting the equally beautiful restored buildings. There is a pretty drive, lined with cypresses, from the front gate to the main house. The swimming pool sparkles.
Le Viole has a private garden area by the patio.
All the furnishings were in excellent condition, and comfortable. The living/dining room has a large table with 6 chairs, a large glass cabinet, pretty sofa, T.V. Not large overall, but plenty of room for 4 people.
Both bedrooms/ bathrooms were ensuite. The bedrooms were spacious and attractively furnished. Beds were quite new and comfortable. The lower bedroom looks out on the patio and garden. The upper bedroom has a lovely view of the grounds. Both bathrooms are roomy. The lower has a jetted tub and shower, the upper a shower.
The kitchen was roomy and equiped with a 4-burner gas stove top, microwave, toaster, refrigerator and North-American style coffee maker. China and utensils for at least 4 people, and ample pots and pans of good quality. There is no oven, except the microwave, but we cooked several full meals.
Problems or Bonuses
When we arrived, the kitchen was stocked with fresh fruit, bread, biscuits, coffee, filters, tea, several bottles of water, a bottle of wine, and there were ham, eggs and milk in the fridge. It was obvious that everything had been bought just that day.
There is a tradition at Le Manzinaie, that all guests are invited, at least once, to a traditional Tuscan dinner. Marzia is a gourmet chef, and with help from Fiore and Alicia, serves an exceptional many-course dinner. Much wine is served by Fiore, followed by liqueurs. The guests regale each other in several languages, while Alicia translates furiously. We did not have another meal in Italy that even came close, or was as much fun.
The biggest bonus was the amazing affection that somehow developed between the hosts and their guests, in such a short time. In our case, while our privacy was always observed, anytime we needed help, all we had to do was ask. And it was given with such genuine warmth and good humour that before our 2 weeks were up we were fast friends.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency was "Intuscany". We dealt with Manola. She gave us accurate and informative details, and was able to tailor-make her recommendations to our needs and budget. The reality of Le Manzinaie certainly measured up to her description, and more.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely. We've only been back home for a few weeks, and already we've recommended it to half a dozen friends who are planning trips to Italy.
Things to do in this area
Pienza, San Quirico d'Orcia, Montalcino, and the ancient little towns of Monticcielo and Bagno Vignoni are all within a half hour drive. All are worth a visit. Our favourite was Pienza.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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