Your Favorite Agriturismo in Tuscany?

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Apr 24th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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Your Favorite Agriturismo in Tuscany?

I am re-thinking our itinerary for our trip to Italy in late June, wondering if we should rent a car for 3 days and stay in an agriturismo in the countryside, instead of inside the walls at Lucca where we are now booked. We are a family of 4, with two young adult daughters, and will already have spent time in Florence at this point in the trip. I think we might enjoy touring by car (the rest of the trip we will use trains) and would like to be out of the city for a bit. Also, we would love to have a swimming pool for early-morning or late-day swimming. And as my husband is a masters swimmer, it would be nice if the pool were larger than the usual 12 meters in length.

The important things, apart from the pool, would be lovely scenery and a warm welcome. Rustic furnishings would be a plus.

I do not have any particular location in mind, but would like it to be fairly conveniently located for daytrips to Siena, Lucca, and possibly Orvieto. Maybe Monalcino or Montepulciano? Or Pienza?

What would you recommend? Thanks!
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Apr 24th, 2010, 12:31 PM
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enzian,
Take a look at http://www.lacrociona.com/
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Apr 24th, 2010, 01:10 PM
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I'm not sure you could find one agriturismo conveniently located for day trips to Siena, Lucca and Orvieto. If those are important destinations for you, it might be best to find an agriturismo in the vicinity of Firenze or Pisa, and do day trips from there to Siena and Lucca. I don't know the rest of your itinerary, but if you are beginning from Rome, you can pick up a car in Orvieto, giving you a chance to see the cathedral and tow, and head to your agriturismo by a scenic route through the val d'Orcia and le Crete -- or vice versa, if you are beginning in points north and heading south.

I prefer agriturismi with dinners served onsite, rather than ones where you either drive out for dinner or cook your own meals. An agriturismo restaurant is often the best and cheapest food in the area.

This is a website I like to use to find agriturismi, because it has a very good search filter that allows you to specify your desires -- for a swimming pool or a restaurant or a hillside location -- whatever.

Many of the agriturismi listed on this site have user ratings (starred) and reviews. You can double check for other reviews on Tripadvisor:

For an agriturismo that makes daytrips to both Siena and Lucca easy, I would look in the province of Pisa, Pistoia, or in eastern Firenze or in Chianti (just west of Firenze).

Hope you find something ideal!
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Apr 24th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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Henry---that one looks nice; I'll send an inquiry.

zeppole---I should have said Siena or Lucca or Orvieto---we won't have time to see all three. Lucca is the one "must".

Our itinerary is: start in Milan, then Verona, Florence, Tuscany, then up the Ligurian coast, lago di Como, and back to Milan for departure. We won't be visiting Rome this trip, and I only thought of Orvieto as my husband has an old friend there, but it is not a necessary visit. It does seem out of the way to the south.

That is good to know about the on-site dinners. We'll look for that.

Did you mean to post a link to the search website? I don't see it there.
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Apr 24th, 2010, 01:41 PM
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We stayed in a wonderful agriturismo in the hills above La Spezia. Easy distance to Lucca (isn't Lucca wonderful!!), Cinque Terre, easy drive to Florence. Barbara and Silvano, the hosts, are so swelcoming and accomodating. Our apartment had a BR downstairs and twin beds on second floor. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. You can contact Sergio Grassi (in USA) for rental information. Tell him Mary Ann and Ray sent you: [email protected]

We envy you
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Apr 24th, 2010, 01:49 PM
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Oh! Sorry! I certainly did mean to post the link!

http://en.agriturismo.it/tuscany/index.jsp

If Lucca is your one "must-see" destination, then I would look for an agriturismo in the hills of Lucca, which will also give you plenty of access to both Lucca and the spectacular mountain towns above Lucca.

This place looks very special, and has reviews in English:

http://www.agriturismo.it/PiandiFiume/enindex.asp

This one looks nice too and has reviews:

http://www.agriturismo.it/CasolaredeiFiori/enindex.asp

Depending on your travel dates and where you plan to stay on the Ligurian coast, you might want to keep your car until the end of your trip.
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Apr 24th, 2010, 01:50 PM
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I think that is a good idea, but you really need to make a location decision first--that makes all the difference. Having done that, then look at slowtrav.com for the reviews of rental properties. I always like first hand commentary. Holler if you want help on driving times to Tuscan highlights.
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Apr 24th, 2010, 01:55 PM
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You have no idea how happy it makes me to see that someone else is interested in lap swimming! Would you mind posting a price range for accommodations? My sister took a recent trip to the area and raved about one place that she stayed. Does it have to be an agriturismo? Do you mind a country hotel?
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Apr 24th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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There is plenty of first-hand commentary on the link I gave, plus the agriturismi are often reviewed on TripAdvisor. My problem with Slow Travel is that not only are the"first-hand" reviews usually way out of date, the site is a commericial site that is driven by rental advertising money, and people have publicly reported problems with user reviews being skewed in the editing.
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Apr 24th, 2010, 02:10 PM
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I meant to add that others have privately reported to me that they were disappointed in rentals they booked after reading positive reviews of them on Slow Travel.

Anyway, I'm not against information so do Google searches and read whatever reviews you find. But the link I gave you has candid first hand reviews, posted by people who stayed there. Slow Travel is way overrated as a single source for Italian lodgings in my view.
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Apr 24th, 2010, 02:16 PM
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I agree with you about SlowTrav! A decent, if limited, source of ideas but only when used to augment other research!
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Apr 24th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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Excellent---I'll use that website map to try to focus on the area roughly west and southwest of Florence.

Apart from Lucca and maybe Siena, we are open to suggestions as to what to see. We may be "museumed out" at this point and would enjoy getting outside for walks or bike rides, as well as just strolling through towns. And I guess I should figure out market days in various places in case we want to include that.

I thought being out in the countryside for this part of our trip might be a nice change from the city, and I also thought maybe staying inside the walls at Lucca might be pretty hot the last week of June? Maybe my concern is unfounded. But also, I couldn't find a pool there that is open to the public. There is a large, 25-meter pool outside the walls, but it doesn't have a website, and I can't find any reference to open hours for public lap swimming. (I have, on the other hand, found several pools in Florence that look promising.)

We had such a good experience finding and using the Piscina Communale in Venice (actually on Giudecca) that we've made it our goal to try to find other pools where he can swim. But for Lucca I've come up short, unless we go up to Bagno di Lucca.

ekscrunchy---we're certainly open to a hotel in the countryside as well. The problem with many of the nicer places is that we would need 2 rooms for the 4 of us, and that often pushes the price over our goal of 300 euro a night.

I did find Castello di Gargonza and it looks very appealing, with some suites that will accommodate the 4 of us. I wonder if anyone has comments on this place? It looks like the kind of place that books up well in advance for weddings, but I'm looking for something mid-week so maybe it's OK.
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Apr 24th, 2010, 03:03 PM
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Here's where we stayed in 2005. Pools galore!! Restaurant was good, but not spectacular. Prices were relatively cheap back then and access to the pools was free. There is no pricing on the website I could see, but they have an email address. It's located on the
Via Chiantigiana/SR222, about 15-20 minutes north of Siena.

http://www.mulinodiquercegrossa.it/sito/

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Apr 24th, 2010, 11:25 PM
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If ekscrunchy comes back to this thread, maybe she can confirm my suspicion there are lots of huge pools in Montecantini Terme. I seem to recall she's been there.

I think your worry that walled towns and flat valley towns will be hot and humid is a real one. I would avoid basing within Lucca (or the Mugello area just northeast of Firenze) for that reason. I would want some hilltop elevation to catch a breeze. That said, a walk or bike ride atop Lucca's walls is very enjoyable.

If you stay in Castello di Gargonza, you might very much enjoy visiting the almost completely untouristed but beautifully preserved town of Lucignano, and have a lunch at Da Toto.

http://www.abctuscany.com/arezzo/lucignano/index.cfm

http://www.trattoriatoto.it/english/index.html

If you like markets, Arezzo has some of the more amazing market days in Tuscany.

300e per night for 4 people is, in my view, a huge amount of money to pay for accommodation in rural Tuscany. For that, I would certainly expect dinner included every night, any my own apartment as well as a pool. Maybe two pools!
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Apr 25th, 2010, 10:58 AM
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We stayed in this agriturismo east of Siena about a month ago and had a great experience:

http://www.agriturismo.net/tuscany/s...vo-berardenga/

I don't think the pool is as large as you would like, though.
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Apr 26th, 2010, 08:23 PM
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bookmarking
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Apr 26th, 2010, 10:26 PM
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bookmarking This is just the info I was looking for!!
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Apr 27th, 2010, 02:57 PM
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Thanks everyone for your help. After talking it over, and looking at Google Earth photos here and there, we decided we still want to stay in Lucca, but cut off one night so we could go to the place with all the pools that maitaitom suggested. We'll visit Siena from there.

I've copied all the suggestions for my file for our next trip, when we'll devote more time to this region.

It looks like the suggestions are helpful to others as well.
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Apr 27th, 2010, 05:55 PM
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"I showed the Il Mulino di Quercegrossa website to my husband, along with your trip report. When he saw that you and he share a mutual thirst for Campari, he was ready to sign up for anything with your stamp of approval. Plus he loves the idea of all those pools. I'm sure our daughters will love it too."

I read the above comments on my trip report. I hope you like it (pressure is on me now). It was a calm oasis on our 3-week journey (I sometimes give the troops a day off from my rigorous ten hill town-a-day itinerary). This was a great place to recharge our bodies mid-way through our trip. It's a short and easy drive (except for the death trucks) from here to Siena. I never saw the apartment, but remembered that they had one that looked nice. Our rooms were small, but clean, but at the price we got, we couldn't beat it. Are the prices still reasonable? I hope everything goes well or I might owe your husband a bottle of Campari.

In the morning, have a coffee on the upstairs patio (on the website you might have seen there is a picture of Mary enjoying her morning caffeine) looking out over the pools and surrounding countryside. They also had a snack bar thing going on in the afternoon where you can get kid and adult libations for the pool area (maybe even a Campari). If your feet hurt from walking, the "walk in pool" provided immediate foot comfort. Hope it is still as nice as when we visited. If not, we'll blame Mary since she saw it first!

If it's on the way, you might check out Ristoro di Lamole for lunch on your way to Lucca. Tracy is still craving their olive oil. Have a great time and report back.

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Apr 27th, 2010, 07:23 PM
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Thanks, maitaitim. No pressure---it looks like just the kind of place we would like, and simple/small rooms is fine. I think we'll be ready for some "down time" at this oint in our trip, and I can just picture my husband relaxing on th ebalcony (they said the apartment has a balcony) with his Campari.

Do we buy a bottle and carry it around with us, or it is easy to order at bars? We just discovered Campari on our last trip (2003, Venice) and it was served with Prosecco. At home he likes it with soda. Now we're trying to figure out how to order that.

BTW, have you seen the YouTube videos on the Swiss song "Campari Soda"? Looks like one of them is an ad for Swiss Airlines. They are all pretty funny.
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