This review is so LONG OVERDUE! Our apologies to you, as you most certainly have not been forgotten, quite the opposite. Just too involved in our lives, I suppose, but not for lack of our care nor for our fantastic experience, or how our 8 day brief stay with you impacted our lives!
We searched and searched for months for the perfect setting for my 50th birthday with friends in toe. I mean college friends who haven't all been together in 25 years, friends from home, some new friends, etc. I have been to Tuscany numerous times, but never stayed in or near Siena. This was the perfect location as our base in Tuscany to visit: Siena, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Chianti, Florence, Arrezzo, San Gimignano, Volterra, the list is endless (WE ARE FOODIES AND WINOS). So were the activities--I WON'T GIVE IT ALL AWAY AS I DON'T THINK WE GOT THE NORMAL TREATMENT, SO BE GOOD LISTENERS, RESPECTFUL, AND BE INTERESTED IN NEW THINGS, AND MAYBE JACOPO WILL LET YOU IN ON HALF OF THE SECRET TREASURES HE LET US IN ON---EXPERIENCES, SECRET PLACES, FAMILY FRIENDS OF THEIR OLD SIENESE FAMILY---truffle hunting, cheese tasting, cooking with VANNA (SHE IS A NATIONAL TREASURE--IN HER 70's and cooked incredible meals, after shopping for everything herself, everything from scratch---we had to beg to help! serving, dishes, for the most reasonable price, if you can get her!), wine-tasting everywhere, cycling through the hills of Tuscany, winery tours, FABULOUS MEALS IN AND OUT!, too many things to mention, too little time. This longtime Siena family has owned this house for generations.
The grounds are simply amazing for its natural setting and views, and then there is the history of the place. A real working winery in the past, being restored with loving care as the family has the time and money. The bedrooms are so different from each other, each a mystery waiting to be discovered, the kitchen has the equipment to make food for 400 (and I am sure it has had plenty of weddings on premises) in such a compact and efficient space. The first part of the house built was as a watchtower from about 1060 and the rest of the house finished mostly in the 1800s then completed in the early 20th century. The family is constantly upgrading and adding, but its appeal to me is the authenticity of it all, just like it has been for centuries, but even made even more comfortable and luxurious with modern day amenities.
I will miss eating and drinking and having great times and conversations with our friends in the dining room! I am CERTAIN WE WILL RETURN AGAIN TO RENT, and to see our old friends. A real Siena/Tuscan experience, unlike any you will ever experience at a hotel with a family so entwined in the region and with friends and relatives. Not a month goes by when I do not think fondly of our stay.
Hope you meet some of Jacopo's friends, including my fellow-UC DAVIS enologist Ranuccio Neri who I was shocked, but not surprised had spent time at UCDavis within 5 minutes of my house, studying enology with my own advisor in the 90's--small world of wine-making indeed. Visit Ranuccio for his fantastic absurdly priced wine (so inexpensive for its quality) and you must see the grounds and castle and ancient knave of Campriano, the winery close by!
What an experience I will remember for the rest of my life! YOU CANNOT IMAGINE WHAT YOU ARE MISSING IF YOU MISS THIS TREASURE! ENJOY!!