For our big vacation of the year, I spent a good bit of time with my travel agent studying and comparing countless villas throughout Tuscany, particularly in the Chianti region within striking distance of Siena. This was our family's 4th villa rental in Italy, and by now, I have a good sense for what our group (11 of us this time) requires. Vistarenni ticked all the major boxes when deciding on the property: location, views, # of bedrooms, large common living and dining areas, plenty of privacy, pool, high speed wifi, laundry facilities, services (housekeeping, catering), price.
Upon arrival we were greeted by owner Elisabetta who gave us a tour of the property. The website and any photos we were provided in advance or found online did not do it justice. It is a stunning villa (practically a small palace) with beautiful rooms, and oh, the views! All of the bedrooms have en suite, basic, but clean and functional, bathrooms. There are jaw dropping views from all of the rooms that face Radda.
Though a few minutes walk from the main villa (there is a farmhouse adjacent to the pool which has apartments that can also be rented - they are left vacant when you rent the villa), the pool and area surrounding it are beautiful, extremely private and offer a different view - very rural with only a few other structures in sight.
On our first night, and at our request, Elisabetta arranged for a caterer to prepare a meal for us, so that we could fully relax after traveling - some of us from New York, some from San Francisco. Service and food were perfect for what we required. The caterers also did some shopping for us so that the kitchen was stocked with the basics to which we could add after our own trip to the grocery store. There is also an ample supply of Villa Vistarenni wine which can be accessed throughout your visit. The number of bottles consumed were counted at the end of the week, and we were charged just 7 euro per bottle.
Our housekeeper Caterina was terrific. Every day she tidied our rooms, cleaned the bathrooms, made our beds and, importantly with a house filled with 11 Tuscan chefs-in-training, cleaned the kitchen. Caterina lives on property, but was virtually invisible except for the few hours she spent attending to our needs each day. She was just a phone call away when had a special request.
Elisabetta and Caterina both made us feel very much at home.
It is important to note that because Vistarenni is a working winery, we did occasionally see workers, but they were not imposing and did not interrupt our privacy either in the house, in the yard, or by the pool. The guts of the operation are very well hidden (especially given their proximity) from the actual residence. All the workers were very discreet. The occasional tourist would come to take a closer look at the villa (it is set back off the main road about 2 kms down an unpaved, but easily passable driveway). This was not a bother to us at all, and again did not infringe upon our privacy.
Though the villa does not have air conditioning, its old, thick walls keep the interior of the villa cool throughout the day. The weather was warm during our visit, yet it was always pleasant inside during the day, and comfortably cool at night.
The location of the villa is central to visiting Tuscany and the Chianti region in particular. You won't be able to avoid windy roads, but that is the nature of the area, and is actually a plus for those who love to drive country roads in European cars (like me!).
Toward the end of our week at Vistarenni, Elisabetta took us on a tour of the ancient wine cellar with massive oak barrels where their wine is aged. The barrels are so large that they had to be constructed in the cellar. She also took us to the charming chapel not far from the villa, just beyond the tennis court.
Though the address says Gaiole, the villa is actually closer to Radda in Chianti (about 4kms). Radda is a quaint village with a handful of restaurants, cafes and shops, a grocery store, fresh fish delivery on Friday mornings, a public park, a gas station, a cinema and breathtaking views including that of the villa and its grounds.
So if you're in search of a very fairly priced, beautiful property with great service for a family getaway or a special occasion (wedding, etc.), and especially if you love staying in historic places, you should consider Villa Vistarenni.
We look forward to coming back for another visit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Villa is in the Chianti area, at 4 km from Radda in Chianti, one of the most famous town of the Chianti region. The Villa from 17th suits those who want to spend some time in the countryside and still want to enjoy the beauties and comforts on which the aristocratic Tuscan families modelled their houses. The richness of details and the period furniture of the rooms will give you a sense of belonging, as if your life were linked, were it for a short time, to the real nature of this beautiful house. It preserves the original historical architecture and the antique atmosphere of the people who lived here in the past. The frescos, the decorated ceiling and the golden bureaus, painted beams, restored antiques and precious draperies, paintings and ancient prints are a perfect mix of antique furniture and objects of design: they all render this place elegant and tidy but at the same time, extremely delicate. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Vistarenni Gaiole In Chianti, Tuscany, Italy