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“Could be so much more”

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Heart of Tuscany Hostel
London
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Could be so much more”
Reviewed 23 October 2013

Ah Heart of Tuscany. You could be amazing, you could be the best place ever with a little extra effort.

My main problem with Heart of Tuscany/Leonardo's Land is the service level. This place is run like a hostel, yes it does have a hostel attached but not everyone is requiring a basic service level so finding a half used roll of toilet paper, and cheap toilet paper at that, old soap bottle filled with water and a used bar of soap with hair on, no towels in the room is inexcusable. When you get the towels from reception you'll find they are definitely not freshly cleaned plump ones. The breakfast is vile, lukewarm coffee served from an old kettle and sweet cereals.

The reception/lounge/dining area is the only place where you can use the wifi. It is not open all day and you must ask for drinks, service is not always prompt, there are no snacks. Ludicrous given the location (30 min walk to nearest town) and do they not want to make money?! The dinner, again you must book in advance, is served late in the evening and is a limited choice. Not to my taste. The "stolen grapes" wine is fantastic but the authenticity of the story I would question - regardless drink away.

The grounds are fabulous and the views fantastic. The rooms are rustic but romantic and I believe were for the workers so there are little kitchens in all - which will come in useful believe me! The pool is absolutely stunning, breathtaking and the best thing about this place, one of the best views you will ever see.

If you are relying on transportation from Heart of Tuscany you have one bus to Empoli station at 10am and one bus from Empoli back at 7pm. You must book these in advance. You get 2 free uses of the bus and after that you have to pay €12 each way - keep this in mind when you're being advised to visit the local shoe market or some such place.

Guido (the owner) is a lovely host but I do wish he would kick the service level up a gear. A few simple touches would make this place one of the best places to stay in Tuscany.

Room Tip: Request the price of the villas. If you're a solo traveller it is highly likely you'll have...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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1 Thank Londonbornandraised
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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19 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
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  • English first
  • Italian first
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English first
Noosa, Queensland, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 July 2013

I could not reccomend this property enough. From the amazing, friendly staff and generous owner to the amazing views and relaxing pool. I wanted an escape from the busy cities I had been exploring and this was perfect for that and so CHEAP... You get the friendliest driver to pick you up from Empoli and drive you through the rolling hills where your welcomed by Alice, the owner and his family (and a complimentry glass of wine) who were so dedicated to giving you only the best experience. The infinity pool overlooking vineyards, olive groves and small towns was great. There are many day trip options and make sure you do the wine tour. Overall this was everything I expected my Tuscan trip to be and can not wait to go back.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
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1 Thank Kelsey B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
1 review
Reviewed 17 November 2012

My son and I visited this charming hostel in September/2012. We fell in love with the place. The grounds are just amazing! Breathtaking views of olive groves & vineyards. Authentic Tuscan accommodations (get a cottage). Pure beauty! Good food and wine (though morning coffee needs improvement). Great value for your money.
I will be back and Guido thank you for your hospitality.

Ghislaine and Charles
Ottawa, Canada.

Room Tip: Get a cottage fantastic view of the valley from upstairs!
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Ghislaine B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level 5 Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 November 2012

My friends and I were lucky enough to get a whole villa to ourselves. Now, if you don't like "nature" aka spiders, you might not like this place. Since we were on a mountain, our villa had a couple spiders. I was fine with it, but others may not be. The staff was always nice to us, except when it was siesta time. I believe it was 2 or 3 hours everyday where the main house (where we all hanged out and ate dinner at) was closed. Beautiful pool, but the walk up is pretty tiring and you have to wear a silly swimmer's cap (not sexy). Homemade gym (don't expect 24 hour fitness gym here). Their "stolen grape wine" was FABULOUS. I wished I took some with me. Dinners were descent. If you are a girl, you will love Jorge (picture included). He is easy on the eyes and sweet.

Room Tip: WiFi is only available in the main house. FYI: the WiFi password is EXTREMELY long (picture include...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
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2 Thank JenJen808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 September 2012

Ok so for as little as €23.90 per person, per night you can stay in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. There is a lovely pool to enjoy and stunning views to take in...

You dont need a car because there is a little village 30 minutes walk away with a great restaurant and little mini market for bits and pieces. Also there is a free shuttle from Empoli train station to the hostel which was great.

Our room was lovely - We booked a 4 bed mixed dorm and ended up getting our own room with a full kitchen and seperate bedroom and dining area... bathroom needed some attention and had a really bad smell coming from the drains.

So taking all that in to account I do have a few complaints...

Swimming caps in the pool... why??

The reception closes down after breakfast right up until dinner time, around 730pm. (They say they are open till 1pm but I went to reception several times before 1pm for different things and it was always seemed to be locked up and no one around.) So you are left to your own devices all day - we were left without any toilet paper in our room and had to wait for reception to open to get any.

Sometimes it feels like Heart of Tuscany are out to get as much money from you as possible. Everything has a fee (one of the other guests told us there is even a €5.00 fee for moving pool furniture around, Im not sure if this is a joke or not!) But I guess when you're charging so little for rooms you've gotta make money where ever else you can....

All in all its a nice getaway from the city for a couple of days and a good way to experience Tuscany on a budget.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
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1 Thank Abbie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 31 August 2012

We visited this hostel in August 2011 and I wasnt going to write a review but to be honest I am still quite gutted about the experience so thought I would finally share.

Transfers: Great a transfer service- or so we thought. So weeks before we emailed them to ensure we were booked on the bus but had no reply. We then called them the day we wanted to travel and they said we would have to get to Pistoia and they would pick us up from the train station (despite them saying they pick up from Florence). So we got a train to Pistoia and when we arrived phoned them again asking if they were on their way. An abrupt man told us that we hadnt called them and they would be leaving now which would mean we would have to wait over forty minutes. Pistoia station isnt the most exciting so we sat and sat and sat. After forty minutes we phoned them and they said the bus had "broken down" and we would have to get a bus to a village over twenty minutes away and they would collect us from there. We had just missed this bus! So again we waited. Basically we got to this village and the owner collected us. He then gave us some rubbish about how we hadnt called and it was our fault for not telling them what we were doing because a man had gone to collect us (so the bus wasnt broken down). Basically a load of lies.

Arrival: So on arrival they were all nicey nicey and gave us a welcome drink. fine.

Room: We were incredibly impressed with our room/villa. It had two bedrooms, a kitchen/living area, an upstairs mezanine and balcony. Good stuff.

Day trips: We went on wine tasting which was very good actually. It was quite evident that the owner of the hostel owns the vineyard although this wasnt said. We had a lot of wine between us and then ended up buying a lot (so they did well there!). When we got back from this they gave us some more food in the restraunt (and more wine).
The next day us girls went to a nearby village that was supposed to (according to the manager) have a fantastic shoe market full of designer shoes. Not the case. Poor market. Strange town. Waste of money.

Breakfast: Breakfast is very poor so if you have a car we suggest you use it to go to the local bakery.

Nearby: So the nearest town/village has an AMAZING restraunt. The staff are incredible and food was insane. Well worth the forty minute walk, although it is very dark, so if you have children best to use a car.

Pool: You have to wear swimming caps in the pool (god knows why) and they shout at you if you dont. The pool area is fairly well maintained and views are fantastic.

Laundry: DO NOT USE THIS! 5 Euro a load and our friends clothes (white tshirts) came out yellow and stained. When we questioned them about this they stated that this is how they had recieved them (they were brand new for the holiday and expensive). The manager argued to the death and got quite aggressive. He told us to leave the place and never return! Harsh when all our friend wanted was his 5 Euro back.

Departure: Bad experience. With all the shouting, he then tried to charge us too much money. He had told his nephew one thing and us something else. The nephew was put in a really awkward position becuase he knew his uncle was making stuff up.

Would we return? NO. Not unless the owner sells and someone half decent takes over. Such as shame as the place is so beautiful but not used to its potential!

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank lisam09_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 February 2012

Me and two friends stumbled upon this incredible villa in Tuscany trying to pursue our dream of sleeping in an old vineyard under the Tuscan sun. It delivered beyond expectation. The architecture is classically Tuscan and reflects the villa's 600 years. The views and tranquility are incredible. Guido (the owner) prepares some of the best authentic Italian meals I encountered in my time in Italy and plays the role of host to perfection. The price of the accommodation is just not reflective of the beauty of the experience had. I've recommended the heart of Tuscany to numerous people and am attempting to make my way back over later this year. Stay here.

  • Stayed October 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank samwsmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Heart of Tuscany Hostel

Property: Heart of Tuscany Hostel
Address: Via Vecchia Maremmana 3, 51035, Lamporecchio, Italy
Region: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Pistoia > Lamporecchio
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Lamporecchio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Fattoria di Villa Rossa is situated in the hills of Montalbano, with incomparable views of the valley below, close to Florence, Livorno, Pisa, Montecatini and Pistoia. Just 7 kilometres down the road you can find Vinci, home town of the great Leonardo. Set in the middle of 65 hectares of olive groves and woods, Villa Rossa is a self-contained hamlet, with "cottages" of varying sizes, surrounding the main villa. Each "cottage" has been completely restored. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Heart Of Tuscany Hostel Lamporecchio, Italy

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