We had a blast. This was one of those trips of a lifetime and we are looking forward to our next trip to Europe. The apartment in Siena was great and being there for the Palio was an experience of a lifetime. The passion of the locals was so intense during our one month stay there, it was an honor being a part of it. We met soo many nice people and made some good friends while there. I would highly recommend the Bruco apartment to anyone who might be thinking of staying in Siena. The overall location of Siena to other areas in Tuscany made it a perfect base location. It was nice to travel out to the surrounding areas and have a nice apartment to go back to, make our own meals in the place and take a walk of the Siena town after all the tour groups have left the place and mostly locals were out and about. Our 90 days in Europe came to an end and we had to go back home, BUT, like I said before, we're already planning for out next trip over there.
Frank and Rose B.
We were quite pleased with the Bruco apartment in Siena. We liked the neighbourhood very much and appreciated being a few blocks away from the more touristy areas of Siena. The apartment was as thoughtfully appointed as anywhere we've ever stayed. The only thing the extremely well equipped kitchen lacked was a kettle for boiling water either on the stove or electrically (not all of us drink espresso!). My only criticism, and not one that can be addressed, is that the apartment was smaller than we anticipated, and so we had to move the table and chairs every night to turn down the sleep sofa (which was very comfortable). As we sat on the sofa, I had the constant desire to push the side walls out by five or six feet.
Our best meal in Siena by far was as Il Ghibellino restaurant, not too far off the Campo. I would heartily recommend adding it to your list of restaurants in southern Tuscany. The same can be said for the excellent food at Il Giardino in Montalcino--heavenly gnocchi with pecorino, shaved black truffle, and shaved walnuts. Also within blocks of Bruco, we found Gastronomia Morbidi on Banchi della Sopra a wonderful source for takeout for those nights we wanted to eat "at home."
I just wanted to say, too, that Mauro, the caretaker of the apartment, was thoughtful enough to meet us at the bus stop in Piazza Gramsci and to walk us from there to Bruco. It would have been quite a challenge to orient ourselves and get to the apartment otherwise, and we might have needlessly had to tackle the very steep hill leading up on Via de Commune. You might warn people arriving by bus to walk through Gramsci and Matteotti and along Sopra and Rossi to reach the apartment.
My trip was great and the apartment Bruco was perfect. The owner of the apartment (Mauro) was very nice and accommodating to my arrival time which turned out to be about one hour later than expected. The apartment was clean and had all the essentials for a great stay. The view of Siena and beyond from the apartment was incredible. When I needed questions answered about the apartment, the support I received from Beatrice was excellent. The month of January is a little cold but the sunny days made for excellent day trips to nearby towns such as Cortona, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, and Florence. Transportation from the central bus station is only minutes from the apartment and to the train station about a ten minute walk. Also, just minutes away from the apartment is the taxi stop located in the middle of the small square prior to descending to the bus stop area.
The shopping in January is excellent because many retailers are reducing inventories and prices are cut from 20 to 70%. Crowds are non existent in January making for easy access into all the museums and Duomos. The only downside if any is that several restaurants and a few small retailers are closed during the month of January. I also made a few day trips into Florence which is easy by bus. Be sure to take the Rapid Bus (1 hour 15 min) not the direct. The direct bus makes many stops and will take 45 to 50 minutes longer than the rapid bus. My overall experience was great and I would recommend this time of year for those looking to save money on travel fares, accommodations, and shopping as well as enjoying the area with few tourists. Thank so for all your help with my arrangements.
Thanks for the inquiry. We had a great time and enjoyed the apt. a whole lot. Mauro was very nice in showing us everything. From what I had heard about it from your end, I had very constrained expectations. I was happily surprised upon arrival to find the unit did have a freezer, dishwasher, clothes washer, gas stove, electric oven, microwave, and full load of utensils, knives, plates, pots, pans, etc. We cooked a lot (!) which was the plan, and were very happy with the kitchen. September or October of 2006, God willing, we will do a similar trip in France: a week on the road (probably the wine region), and a week in an apartment in Paris. Nothing definite on the calendar until then.
Thanks again for all your help!
Thanks for the opportunity to report on our experience at the Bruco apartment in Siena.
Overall, I would give the apartment a high rating.
Nice location -- very quiet neighborhood
Very well equipped, especially in the kitchen
Mr. Rudolfi was very pleasant and helpful
The bed was VERY hard. It might be a good idea to invest in one of those honeycomb foam mattress pad for people to use if they wish. The apartment was dusty --not dirty, just dusty, and this included the blankets -- maybe it had been a while since someone stayed there? The hot water heater shut off two or three times during the week.
One further note -- We noticed a very small number of no-smoking restaurants and bars during the week. (Unfortunately, I didn't think to write down the names) If you were to catalog what is surely going to be a growing number of these establishments, I'm sure that many tourists would appreciate it and patronize these businesses as well.