Podere di Montaione's Guestbook

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Dear Jessica,

Our visit to Podere di Montaione was wonderful! Everything was as represented (or better). Simone was the person in charge during our visit. His English was not perfect, but totally adequate to communicate. Our apartment, the "Rafaello" was spotless and excellently laid out, with very comfortable beds. The very pleasant mid June weather with a nice natural cool-down at night made for very good sleeping. The beauty and peacefulness of the setting made for a very pleasant and relaxing stay.

We echo the comments of previous visitors regarding two of the local restaurants. Carpe Diem in Montaione, and La Caminetta in Mura were wonderful. Carpe Diem had an excellent view and the food and service was superb. We had dinner there two evenings, and were so impressed with the young female backup server that we slipped her an extra 10 Euro note as we left, the final evening. Her smile was easily worth the 10 Euros! La Caminetta had excellent food, but the service was definitely down a notch or two from Carpe Diem. The prices were also somewhat lower, so we felt that we got good value there, as well. We also dined there two evenings. We also had a good dinner at the "pizza place" (can't remember the name) right down the road toward Montaione, who serve a much more complete menu that we'd expected.

Podere was a wonderful central point to explore Tuscany. We took day trips in all directions. We wanted to see Montalcino and Montepulciano, but decided after doing a trip to Siena and Chianti, that stretching it further southeast was a little too much for another day. We highly recommend Siena, San Gimignano, and Volterra as "must see's". We also enjoyed Pisa, Massa, and Forte di Marmi, but were somewhat disappointed in Lucca, which had been touted by friends. They were on a "tour", so we felt a little sorry that Lucca was the best place they saw, after experiencing it ourselves. We also traveled north to Pistoia and beyond into the Apennine mountains, which were gorgeous. Also traveled to the Med. coast south of Livorno, again, very beautiful. Always, it was nice to return in the evening to our home away from home.

Driving in Italy, where do I begin? First of all, don't consider it unless you drive a stick shift and are, at least, a moderately aggressive driver. Automatic transmissions are nearly unavailable, and the American tourists fight over what few exist. Italy is NOT the place for a timid or overly cautious driver. You will be frightened and intimidated, and your enjoyment of Italy will be greatly diminished. You realistically cannot do a week in the country as we did without a car. Returning our rental car in downtown Florence was a story in itself! With the maze of narrow one way streets, and no such thing as a "square" block, it took us over an hour to figure out how to get back to EuropCar after we knew full-well that we were within a kilometer of their location. Avis and Hertz are closeby on the same street, so switching rental car companies will not make things better. For simplicity's sake, I would recommend paying the higher rates, and renting a car at the airport! After our time in Rome and Naples (without a car), we were glad to be "carless". Rome may be manageable, but you would have to be absolutely out of your mind to drive in Naples! Words cannot describe the traffic there. We experienced that in 6 taxi rides there.

Our rail trips from Florence to Rome, to Naples, and back to Florence were wonderful! We were on Eurostar (high speed) trains on all three legs. You can get somewhere quickly at up to 190 m.p.h.! They are comfortable, fast, and smooth. Get a Trenitalia pass, reserve seats on your chosen departures (an extra charge applies), and you are in business...

Thanks for your support. We had an absolutely wonderful trip. We love the Italian people! Their warmth and acceptance of us everywhere was overwhelming. We can honestly say that our time in Montaione was some of the best of the trip.

Don H.

Dear Jessica,

Thanks you for the opportunity to provide you with constructive feedback on the two properties we stayed at, we appreciate the opportunity. First of all your help and customer service has been excellent and we want to thank you for all of your assistance. The following are our comments:

Podere di Montaione was extraordinary and even better than your information had described. The property owners have just put in a new kitchen, bathrooms and beds. The heating system is also new and made our stay very comfortable. The owners were in the office every morning to answer any questions and help make restaurant or winery tour reservations we ask them to assist us with. Their ability to speak english, willingness to help and warm hospitality made our stay a pleasure. They made sure they were on premise when guests arrived to make the check-in easy. The views of the valley and vineyards below were panoramic and the grounds surrounding the villas were very well manicured with an abundance of beautiful flowering plants. The pool area was clean and well landscaped but far enough removed from the buildings so as not to cause any concern for noise. We highly recommend this property and will stay at Podere di Montaione again. There was one family who had been coming there for 4 years in a row. It is located only 5 minutes drive from Montaione, walking distance if you wish to. We ate in town each night and went into town for fresh bread and rolls for breakfast. The Coop supermarket in Monteleone was great and had most any grocery needs we had. The folks in town were very cordial and friendly and spoke enough english to get along. The following restaurants are excellent places for dinner:

Carpe Diem Via V. da Filicaia 67 Tel. 0571 697888 (call for reservation highly recommended) Fabulous view and gourmet level dinning. White linen table clothes, excellent wine list good selection of entrees. Pumpkin stuffed raviole with truffle sauce was superb. More expensive than other local restaurant but worth the few extra euros. Service was very attentive but still very friendly. Waiters spoke good english and can help with menu (a la carte) written in Italian with english subtitles. A complimentary apperitif of a glass of sparkling white wine served in a champaign glass started the dinner experience. We had such a good experience there, we returned for a second time and the visit was consistantly good. Average cost for a two course dinner with a side of vegetable or potatoes wine and desert came to about 25 euros per person.

Ristorante Il Caminetto Le Mura ( 10 minute drive going west from Podere di Montaione right side of road) Tel 0571677052 Excellent food and the most friendly service we experienced. Owned and managed by three brothers. Family type atmosphere, very children friendly. Less formal than Carpe Diem but tables were covered with white table linen with freshly pressed white linen napkins. The service is professional and timely. Some english spoken but clearly a local favorite. Closed on Mondays and a reservation is required because they only have one seating. Food is excellent with home made pasta and roasts. Wine list focuses on local and Chianti reds but a nice selection of whites is also available. We ate here twice and the service and dinner were very good both times. Average cost for a two course dinner with vegetable side, desert and wine was about 22 euros per person. Menu was in Italian with english subtitles.

La Bottega del Fornaio (Bakery) Viale da Filicaia 23 Great bakery open from 7:00am-1:00pm and 5:00pm to 8:00pm has great oven fired breads, rolls and pastry including cakes and pizza. Expresso, cappuchino bar and small grocery and deli making "to order" sandwiches. Also soap, soft drinks, milk and butter ect. like a small 7/11.

We appreciate all of the excellent service, information and support you have provided to us and we will most certainly recommend your service to our friends when they visit Italy. Many thanks for a marvelous trip.

Curt and Joyce S.

Dear Jessica,

Our stay at Podere di Montaione was so much more than we had expected. The property is immaculate and very "Tuscan", the grounds filled with flowers and all things blooming, and our hosts were simply charming. Simone and Davide were so accommodating and helpful, always willing to spend a few minutes chatting with us. The 360 degree views from our villa/farmhouse were breathtaking, filled with vineyards and olive groves. It was quite interesting staying at a true working winery! Our "farmhouse" felt more like a villa, very spacious and comfortable, with all the expected amenities. And Montaione is a lovely little town, begging for exploration.

There are many nearby hilltowns, all wonderful, but our favorite is Volterra, a less heralded and quieter version of Tuscany. We drove many backroads in all directions, and were enchanted by them all.

September/October was a good time to visit also. The weather was moderate and the countryside quieter.

All in all, the trip was memorable. Thank you for helping us book Podere di Montaione.

Jeanette B.

thanks for checking on us. We had an absolutely wonderful time in italy, specifically the hill towns of Tuscany. We stayed at the Giotto apartment and found it to be just exactly what we needed. We found the setting to be exquisitely beautiful; olive grove after vineyard after olive grove after vineyard----right from our own patio. We also found the apartment and entire setting to be squeaky clean and beautifully groomed. Simone was very helpful and we enjoyed the property's wine and olive oil from the farm. Montaione is a cute little town with friendly folks and good food. The restaurant in Mura was absolutely excellent and I would highly recommend a meal (or several) there. The ribollita is outta sight!! Also, we decided to take a drive up to Sughura. If you can stand the hairpin turns, it is great drive with spectacular views once you eventually get to town.

I asked my husband what the highlight of the trip was for him, and besides the obvious views and scenery, he said it was the villa. I would have to agree with him. It was so nice to "come home" at the end of a day of traveling and motoring about to our own little home away from home. Thanks for asking and for adding the exclamation point to our holiday. I can't imagine going back to Tuscany and staying any place else.

Ray and Deborah B.

Dear Julie,

I can't say enough about how much we loved the Podere di Montaione. The gardens surrounding the houses and the pool are quite beautiful. In fact, the pictures on the Web and in the brochure really don't do it justice. The house (Brunelleschi) was perfect for us (two couples). We loved the private patio where we enjoyed breakfast and one or twice dinner, cooked on the outdoor grill, as we looked out over the vineyard and the beautiful Tuscan landscape beyond. There were plenty of dishes, pots and pans and silverware. Mid-week we got fresh towels, which was a welcome surprise to us.

The villa is very close to a nice town (Montaione) which makes it easy to get groceries or just have a place to stroll around. The owners couldn't be nicer or more accommodating. You really have a sense that you're staying in a place where the family takes great pride in what they do.

The only drawback that I could see with Podere di Montaione is that it is a little further away from the main highways. To us, the extra fifteen or twenty minutes spent traveling along those smaller roads was well worth it.

We will certainly use your service again when we plan another trip to Italy.

Gail L.

Dear Cynthia:

Brilliant, exceptional, breathtaking. That's for starters. Podere di Montaione was that and more. We drove in from Rome on Sunday June 19th as planned arriving at about 7PM. The directions were a bit confusing with the twists and turns in Montaione but we were able to deal with it easily. When we arrived at Podere di Montaione and looked through the gate down the drive and out across the Tuscan Hills we all believed that we had arrived in Shangri La. The grounds were magnificent with greenery, trees and flowering plants. The near setting and far vistas seemed to have been planned by an artist. The Botticelli apartment was more than we ever expected. It was in an old farm building that had been exquisitely refurbished. The apartment was on at least three easily handled levels with wonderful views out over the countryside from the kitchen window and over the courtyard from others. The furnishings were comfortable, the bathrooms shining, and the entire apartment spotless. When we arrived three German teachers on school holiday pointed out that our key was in the door of Botticelli with a note and general instructions taped to the door. On the table upon arrival was a bottle of '97 vintage Chianti.

The rest of the week was paradise. The kids enjoyed the large, clean, and beautifully situated pool down the hill next to the orchards and olive grove; and they enjoyed playing with three year old Julia from Germany at the pool though they spoke no German (but learned quickly) and Julia was confused by their foreign tongue. My wife's mother was enthralled with the fresh produce from the garden and the ripe apricots we picked in the orchards surrounding and below the Podere di Montaione. My wife Julia and I enjoyed how easy it was to drive to Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, and Volterra from the very centrally located Montaione. We took the train into Florence for a day from nearby Castelfiorentino. We now know what all the fuss is about Tuscany and the hill towns.

Let me tell you about one experience that epitomized our stay at Podere di Montaione. We were lunching on our own patio overlooking the countryside one day while three men were bottling the Podere di Montaione Chianti in the small winery twenty feet away. One of them looked over and saw that I was having a glass from their complimentary bottle. In seconds he was back presenting me with an unlabeled, uncorked bottle of the Chianti they were bottling. With effusive giftgiving in Italian and my fumbling grazie's in return, it was a moment never to be forgotten and the fresh from the vat Chianti was tasty too. The only possible downside to this property were the few relatively small business builldings two or three hundred yards down the road towards San Miniato. Podere di Montaione is not out in the country as we in this country might view it and is very near Montaione. But when we came to quickly realize that Montaione which is itself a small and old hill town was in fact a real working community and less a tourist town, we soon forgot this issue completely. The plantings at Podere di Montaione screened these commercial buildings well and we began to very much enjoy our visits to the small Coop Supermercato in town and the realness of the place. For those who follow us, be sure to take advantage of the tiny bread/pastry truck that promptly arrives with a toot of his horn every morning at about 8:30.

Needless to say we would go back in a minute. The weather was near perfect. Sergio the groundskeeper was friendly and helpful as was the young woman in the office. The owner of this property has done a magnificent job. And to you at In Italy we cannot be more thankful. When I discovered you on the web and read some of the effusive praise you and your properties received from your former customers, I was a bit skeptical. You, Podere di Montaione, and Tuscany have conquered all. We have already recommended you to others. Thanks for making our trip one that we will long remember.

Dick and Julia N.

Dear Kristin,

Podere di Montaione was the most pleasant surprise of our entire trip. Our three bedroom apartment (there were only two apartments in the converted farmhouse) was modern and immaculately clean. The staff was extremely helpful and many of the other families in the Podere di Montaione complex (four buildings) were making reservations for next year. The nearby town of Montaione had a four star hotel where we were served an excellent meal and the town itself was an interesting little place to wander around. Dessert at the outdoor cafe overlooking the valley below was a delight for the eyes as well as the palate.

All in all a great place.
Ralph D. F

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