We found La Ripa not by looking for a suitable establishment in the village/city we wanted to stay in, but by looking at the highest-scoring agriturismos in Tuscany. Sorting by highest scores first, La Ripa was the first we found that had an apartment with two bedrooms and was available during our holiday period, i.e. the first half of June 2013.
The only apartement available was Padronale, also the one with the highest price. We read on the website of La Ripa that it was also the biggest apartment, hence the higher price. On a weekday night I phoned La Ripa and was directed to Duccio, the son of the owners who spoke better English and could help us further. A reservation was quickly arranged and awaited our arrival.
At our initial arrival, we had some difficulty finding the agriturismo, which more visitors experienced as can be read. The trick is finding the entrance to the road up the hill in Ulignano, at the start of the final bend just before leaving the village again, when northbound.
The gravel road up the hill was not difficult as we read earlier, at least for us. The final part is a bit steep, but has tarmac.
The arrival proved to set the standard for our stay at La Ripa. The estate is stunningly beautiful, with a nice garden and swimming pool outside of the "main garden". We were welcomed most friendly, and Duccio gave us a tour of our appartment. The Padronale apartment is located on the ground floor, and has a private patio overlooking the garden. This alone justifies the higher price, let alone the larger rooms and 2 (!) bathrooms.
Usually pictures of the establishment look better than reality, but in this case reality is much better. We only spent one lazy evening in the living room with the TV on (it was raining outside), the rest was spent under the roofed comfort of the private patio. The kitchen is large by any standard, and contained all the luxuries you can think of including washing machine.
The main garden is privately located and closed with small doors, due to the two sweet dogs Didi and Pimpa. Our 3 year old daughter loved them, and due to the small doors our daughter could play freely in the garden as well. The swimming pool is located outside the main garden, privately located on the slope with a few steps to take. The pool is larger than we thought compared to the pictures, and we usually had the pool to ourselves. Having a small girl around playing, she couldn't bother anyone else which eased our parenting duties a bit.
La Ripa is located just fine; San Gimignano (albeit a bit too touristic for our tastes) is 7km away and can be seen from La Ripa, and groceries can be done in various stores in Poggibonsi, also around 7km away. Florence and Siena can be reached just fine as well (45 minutes each) en Pisa is a 1.5 hour drive. We planned to visit Florence, Siena and Pisa, but were so relaxed at La Ripa that most of our drives were short to restaurants in the area.
Our daughter enjoyed the stay incredibly much, with the pool, dogs and most friendly owners.
The owners Alessandro and Margherita deserve praise, we felt most welcome. They are truly nice people. Their son Duccio deserves special mention. He did even more to make us feel welcome, by helping us around, making recommendations for restaurants and activities and the occasional chat. He also organized a wine tasting tour, where we looked around the vineyards as well and bought too many bottles of delicous wine, olive oil and even honey.
Eventhough were normally not the "staying around" type of traveller, and we certainly never visit the same place twice... We are 99% sure we will visit La Ripa again next year.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La Ripa is a farmhouse with an old fashioned taste. Four apartments that look like they grew up one on the other along the centuries without a precise project, they have given birth to an interesting and unique structure.To embellish the whole structure, a deep green, scented crown: our garden. And a shining blue pearl: our swimming pool. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Az. Agr. La Ripa San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy