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“Cretaiole is fantastic” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Agriturismo Cretaiole di Luciano Moricciani

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Agriturismo Cretaiole di Luciano Moricciani
Certificate of Excellence
delaware
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Cretaiole is fantastic”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 January 2010

Cretaiole: Wonderful peace in the Val D’Orcia, all the famed sights and so much more. Isabella and family are so warm and welcoming and such fountains of information about the valley. All the sights are at hand waiting for your tripod. This is the most incredible place for photography. The light is splendid, the locations accessible and the ambience could not be better. Everything is at hand and waiting for you.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ebimage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
toscana68, Owner at Agriturismo Cretaiole di Luciano Moricciani, responded to this review, 5 May 2010
Ciao ebimage! You have honored us by including with your review two of your outstanding photographs that you took while you stayed with us. We thank you for your kind words, and even more by your return visit this coming summer. We really look forward to seeing you again and hope you will let us know if there is anything we can do for you while you are here. Ciao and grazie, Isabella and the Moricciani family
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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372 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Baltimore
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 December 2009

Outstanding! That’s how we’d describe our visit to La Cretaiole, the agriturismo owned by the Moricciani Family located 5 minutes from Pienza. We found the location to be perfect for relaxing as well as exploring the picturesque hill towns of Tuscany. Isabella is a fantastic hostess. She and Carlo made us were feel more than welcomed. We were quite comfortable with our accommodations in the La Caciaia suite. The kids (girls ages 13,11, &8) loved hanging out at the farm, playing on the lawn, and cuddling the cats. Our family enjoyed the many activities Isabella arranged for us such as: an organic farm visit and dinner, touring Etruscan tombs, the cooking class with Marta, olive oil tasting and of course making pici, the local pasta. We explored a number of hill towns, took a day trip to Sienna, and relaxed and enjoyed the beauty of the Val d’Orcia. The evenings gave us the opportunity to practice our Italian with Luciano (Isabella’s father-in-law and a very special person), something we all looked forward to everyday. All of us took something special away from our visit to La Cretaiole and we plan to return as soon as we can.
The Ryan Family, Baltimore, Md.

  • Stayed June 2008, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CDRBaltimore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 December 2009

We loved our stay at Agriturismo Cretaiole!! We felt like we were adopted into the Moriccani family. We were able to experience the best food, wine, views, and company in all of Tuscany. Some of our favorite highlights: taking a leisurely bike ride into Pienza (bikes provided by the Agritursimo) to sit at a cafe and sip cappuccino, learning to make traditional pici pasta, laughing with Isabella and the rest of the guests over a glass of amazing wine in the yard, tasting Luciano's homemade liquor, picking fresh veggies from the organic garden, wine tasting, olive oil tasting and a dinner at the monastery. We are determined to return someday. Booking and arriving was easy and flawless, thanks to a good website and Isabella's personal cell phone number when we arrived in Italy. The value was incredible given all the wonderful activities that were included with our stay. Stay at least a week, make friends with the other guests, and don't come with too much on your agenda - this is the part of your trip that should be about experiencing Italian life, not seeing it through a bus tour. Relax and enjoy!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank theresamae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
denver co
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 November 2009

Isabella, Carlo, Luciano, and Liliana treated us as friends. Cretaiole has an astounding location overlooking the Val d'Orcia and we were up at dawn, and relaxing at dusk in this wonderful location. Luciano would come around in the evenings with watermelon and grappa and beckon us out into the courtyard to talk - even though our Italian was as fractured as his English. We tasted their wine, their olive oil, their proscuitto, their hospitality. We made bruschetta from Luciano's tomatoes and grilled Bistecca allo Fiorentina on their grill. We will be back. Just not soon enough.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank regbell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 November 2009

Cretaiole is a converted farm house into quaint villas situated atop a hill in the middle of an olive orchard overlooking the breathtaking Tuscan valley. There is a well Maintained and manicured vegetable garden for all their guests to pick fresh items if they wish to prepare meals in their villa. Words cannot adequately describe the feeling of walking through the valley and coming upon one of the oldest most photographed churches dating back to the pilgrimage era in travelers quest to visit Rome. Learning about the Tuscan culture and how the residents wish to preserve their "antiquated" simplistic way of life in order for all the world’s inhabitants to experience exhibits the lifelong dedication and nobility of the friendly locals. Their culture is so unique that even displaced fast paced upper class residents that previously lived in large cities such as Milan learn and eventually grow to love. The Moricciani family’s local grape and olive vineyards with their frequent tastings of the associated products such as wine, olive oil, and aged Pecorino cheese is the best one could hope for. Making handmade “Pici” pasta is an unforgettable experience that the gusts can share with the family and friends back home. Day trips to local villages mostly encased within the preserved walls of Medieval castles and thermal springs exemplifies the ancient charm as well as historical importance of the region. In conclusion, the unique experience will result in one’s reflection on their inner spirit which intuitive travelers will learn to “work to live” rather than “live to work” changing their lives forever.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank pwhite99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, OR
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 November 2009

I've traveled a fair amount and I always like to go some place new, but this is a wonderful place I would definitely like to return to some day. I went there in May 2009 with my fiancé during a three-week European vacation and it was by far our favorite place. Isabella, Carlo and Luciano have built something very special at Cretaiole. The love they show for Val d'Orcia (the region of Tuscany Cretaiole is in), the people who live there and the people who visit is unmatched. One of my favorite moments was during a walk led by Isabella, where she shared her story of what is was like to move here as a city girl, and both the frustration and joy she felt getting to know this place, was very moving to me.

There are lots of activities to take part in, I wouldn't skip the farmhouse dinner if I were you. I never imagined my favorite meal on my whole trip would be vegetarian! But it was that good!

Seriously, there is a reason this place is ranked #1 in the area. I can't recommend it enough.

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank derrickvee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2009

Toscana – September 24 – Oct 18, 2009 – Pienza – Agriturismo Cretaiole – Podere San Gregorio

Having spent over three weeks in a little piece of heaven, and having experienced an opening of my heart to an amazing land, culture and people, I am not sure where to begin. It is hard to put into words what my heart feels. It is full, touched by so much kindness. It is at peace, having witnessed a life that is simple, yet full of work. It is in love, with a man of another generation who believes in the traditional values of the Italian life, and who gives so much of himself to others so that we can only try to grasp the passion he feels about his life’s work. In love with a man and woman who are commited to this land, the Val D’Orcia, to its’ preservation, and to the education of outsiders about their way of life.

My husband, Brad, and I left for Italy on September 24, 2009, flying Vancouver-Toronto-Roma. By the time we hit Roma we hadn’t slept in 24 hours. We hurried to catch a train up to Chiusi where we would find our rental car. A big thank you to Aesserent car rental – Sara was a delight to deal with over email, and the gentlemen in the shop were helpful with directions, maps and pronunciations of towns.

We left Chiusi and headed to our hotel in Chianciano Terme. I won’t name the hotel, as it was noisy and a bit awkward, but we slept soundly after an Italian beer and pizza.

Saturday morning we awoke to sunshine. We drove to Montepulciano and then on to Pienza. Following explicit directions from Isabella Moricciani, we found Agriturismo Cretaiole with no problem. When we pulled up, we were both left speechless by the beauty of the place – olive trees, fig trees, oak trees, many flowers, a big vegatable garden, grape vines heavy with fruit, and a beautifully restored old farm building. We couldn’t believe our luck – that this would be our home for the next three weeks. Carlo Moricciani approached us and between sign language and my little bit of French and Italian, we ended up leaving our back packs in our apartment and heading into Pienza. We were “killing time” until our meeting with Isabella at 3:00. I make the statement in parathesis, as we were still in our “city state of mind”.

Pienza – the most beautiful little town I have ever been in. Small, charming, quaint, clean, lovely shops, yummy food stores (pecorino cheese, salumi, breads, pastries, pastas…) and nice little restaurants. We wandered the town, walking the exterior wall and taking in the awe-inspiring views. We snapped photo after photo, reality slowly sinking in that we were actually here!!! We marvelled at the narrow streets, the beautifully tended flowers, and the laundry hanging in the breeze.

At 3:00 we returned to Cretaiole to meet Isabella. She is more beautiful in person than her picture on the website portrays. Isa is a walking ball of positive energy, excited to meet new people and help them find whatever it is they need for their week (or two or three) experience. She introduced us to our beautiful apartment, L’Oliviera, and explained where to find the fresh water spout – what fun!! Fresh from the deep well. Isa directed us to have dinner with a wild Italian at Sette di Vino. Again, we were pleasantly surprised by the helpful nature of the owner, Luciano – he brought us a wonderful Tuscan bean soup, and an assortment of delicious finger foods. And of course, the house vino rosso!

On Sunday, after another meeting with Isa to review the weeks’ events, we went to San Gregorio, the Moricciani family home and farm. Here we met Luciano, the father, the farmer, the producer, the wine maker, the center of it all. We had a tour of the cantina where they make the wine and olive oil, the pecorino cheese and the salumi. Luciano took us out to show us his animals – pigs, chickens, ducks, and others. He is very proud of his farm. He sold us wine, cheese and salumi with a big smile, and promised to come around with fresh eggs in the mornings, and for a drink in the evenings “dopo cena” which I learned to mean after supper. After supper for Italians is 10:00 p.m.!

Every evening Luciano would come around the find people to have a little vin santo or grappa with. He enjoyed using the Italian/English dictionary to aide in the communication process. Luciano enjoys socializing, but the language barrier makes it difficult sometimes. We made up for it with sign language, laughs and patience. After a few days I learned words for breakfast, lunch, dinner, full, enough, different vegatables in the garden, how to state the time and day, tomorrow, yesterday, today, after, before…but the easiest way to communicate with Luciano was to look into his eyes and feel what he was saying. He loves his garden, is proud of his farm, and is like a peacock when it comes to his wine, salumi and cheeses. If you look closely enough and listen as well as possible, you will understand him. His evening visits were an opportunity to drink his elixer with him and learn about the culture, about his work, his life, his love for Pienza. He grew up in a very depressed time in Italy, and made the most of it when given the opportunity. His hands are rough from years of hard farming, but his eyes are soft and full of life.

In the first week at Cretaiole, we visited Pienza, Montalcino, Sant’Antimo, and Cortona. Cortona is a beautiful hill town – very steep to the top, but the view is worth the walk. The flower pots are brilliant with color. We took a day or two for down time, just hanging out at Cretaiole, drinking coffee and hanging in the hammock, having a lunch of salumi, cheese and bread (and of course red wine!). We cooked a few suppers, using ingredients from the garden for fresh salads. One evening Isa came to teach us all to make pici, a handmade pasta that is slightly thick and chewy. A wonderful experience!! The Moricciani family then grilled up some meats, the guests brought assorted dishes, and we had a feast. A great evening with great company – the synergy in the room was electric.

One day Luciano came by and asked if we would like to help pick the bianco grapes at San Gregorio – but of course! We went over to help and it only took about 3 hours. Sticky, sweet fun. Many of the grapes were cut and hung for Luciano’s homemade vin santo. Liliana, his wife, invited us into their home for lunch – wow – what an honor! While we didn’t speak much Italian, and they spoke virtually no English, it was a fun lunch – lots of trying to figure out what was being said using hands and sign language and laughter.

The following week Carlo said it was time to get the Sangiovese grapes off the Cretaiole vines. About 15 of us guests showed up in the vineyard to help. Again, a sticky, sweet mess, but the feelign of working with the grapes, in the dirt, in the hot sun, with bees swarming all around was thrilling! Liliana and Isa came over and cooked up a big lunch for us all – pasta, meats, salad, and dolce. And wine of course! Back to the vineyards to complete the harvest. By evening all of us were tired. After a shower and a light bite, we were in bed by the time Luciano came back for a drink.

The next day we harvested Sangiovese at San Gregorio – only took 4 hours. Again, lunch was served in Liliana’s kitchen – and again, a real honor to be invited into their home. We met Walter from northern Italy, a friend of the Moricciani family who loves coming to the farm to fill his soul working with the crops; Eva from Germany, who comes because she loves to work the vineyards; Claudia, an ex-pat who relocated to Pienza a year and a half ago after falling in love with the Val D’Orcia (she and her husband Gary are now very much a part of the community). We met a number of Italians who help Luciano and the family with the grape and olive harvests. It was a day filled with hard work, many laughs, and great food.

While we spent time over these three weeks touring a few towns and cities (Siena, Firenze), our hearts were at Cretaiole and in Pienza. After battling traffic and hoards of tourists, we looked forward to the peace and quiet of the farm house, a glass of Cretaiole vino rosso, the hammock, the quiet little town with friendly people. We appreciated our moments with Luciano in the garden, learning what Italians do with certain vegetables, and learning bits and bites of the language. My husband would hear the tractors in the fields and go see if he could help. There was always something he could do, and he was happy to be working with Luciano and Carlo.

Each week we participated in the making of the pici and the feast that followed. And each week I became more and more amazed at the energy Isa, Carlo and Luciano put into the event. Isa gives her heart and soul to the guests, creating an experience for them unlike any other. While there were many scheduled events that you could participate in, our most favorite thing to do was hang around Cretaiole with a bottle wine and just relax and converse with others.

In Pienza we met Valerio Truffelli of Bottega Artigiana del Cuoio. Valerio is a superior craftsman, working his magic with leather. I happened upon his shop and found the most exquistive leather bound journal, the cover having a cypress tree and quarter moon. While he burned our names onto the back of the journal, he spoke with us about the new generation, how he is worried about their future, their lack of pride in their work, and that computers are all they care about. He spoke of working his little farm, making wine from his grapes, this work bringing him closer to his ancestors who also worked the land. His fear for the new generation is a fear many his age feel – the children no longer have the passion for the land, for farming, for creating a life in the Val D’Orcia. They want something bigger and brighter. Valerio made my husband a belt – when asked to burn his name into it, he was embarssed and a bit shy, but did it. We are forever grateful for this man’s insight, and for opening his heart to us.

We left our hearts in Pienza, at Cretaiole, and at San Gregorio. We miss the family, the friends we made, La Dolce Vita. The work is hard, but the life is simple and sweet. We could all learn a lesson from these people. Work to live, to feed your family, to have pride in what you do. Bliss. I am forever in love.

Reccomendations if you visit Pienza:

Dinner at La Buca di Enea in Pienza is a treat for everyone. A small little place with only 4 tables, Antonio and Gabriella create amazing authentic Tuscan dishes with a great wine selection.

Dinner at Sette di Vino – let the owner Luciano help you with ordering. He will surprise you, in a very pleasant way. His bean soup is the best we had.

Visit Valerio Truffelli of Bottega Artigiana del Cuoio to purchase a beautiful leather bound journal, or a new belt. He is a magnificent man.

Have coffee on the wall at Bar Il Casello – friendly wait staff, internet café, and great sandwiches. You can sit outside in the sun, on the wall over looking the Val D’Orcia, or inside watching a soccer game.

Buy your salumi, cheese, olive oil and wine from Luciano at San Gregorio – it’s the best you will find.

Helpful?
5 Thank jls1203
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Agriturismo Cretaiole di Luciano Moricciani

Property: Agriturismo Cretaiole di Luciano Moricciani
Address: Via San Gregorio 14, 53026, Pienza, Italy
Phone Number:
Region: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Siena > Pienza
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 59 Speciality Lodging in Pienza
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Agriturismo Cretaiole, a restored medieval Tuscan farmhouse, with panoramic vistas, has apartments to accommodate groups from 2-7 people. Come and embrace the enduring spirit of Tuscany! Weekly rates include authentic Italian experiences, such as a pasta-making class and Tuscan dinner. Located between Pienza and Montalcino, in the heart of the Val d'Orcia UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cretaiole is as delightful for adult travelers as it is for families. Assistance available in English, French, German. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Agriturismo Cretaiole Di Luciano Moricciani Hotel Pienza
Agriturismo Cretaiole Di Luciano Moricciani Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

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