We have just returned from a three week holiday at San Giovanni in Poggio and would totally agree with all the other five star reviews. With nearly twenty years experience of self catering holidays in Tuscany, Umbria and the Marches, we can vouch that this is a truly wonderful place to stay! Because we booked late, we in fact stayed in two of the apartments: Aurora, which has is beautiful, cool and spacious, and Meriggio, which is larger ( two bedrooms, two bathrooms) and benefits from greater privacy as it is an independent house, with a very large, private covered outdoor area. In both cases, the accommodation was very well equipped and maintained, immaculately clean and attractive. The 'shabby chic' decor is in excellent condition and in perfect harmony with the environs. The property - once an old hilltop farmhouse - has recently been extensively modernised, with attention to details that can be lacking in holiday accommodation, such as well fitting fly screens on the windows, excellent wi-fi ( including in the pool area), high quality white goods (including a Smeg fridge-freezer in Meriggio) and powerful showers which never varied in temperature or water pressure. Despite the most impressive thunderstorm we have ever experienced in Italy, the electrical supply was sufficiently modern to survive without interruption!
In terms of location, San Giovanni in Poggio is ideal: a five-minute drive on very reasonable white road takes you to Monteroni d'Arbia, with banks, a couple of restaurants, and a very large co-op supermarket. For the more adventurous, there is a Tuesday market, with some good produce stalls, as well as the usual clothing, hardware etc, and just to the south of the town a small industrial estate where we discovered a bakery making wonderful ricciarelli and panforte, a butcher - il Borgo - which was clearly very popular with local people, selling both high quality fresh meat and a wide selection of their own hams and salamis, and a fresh vegetable outlet where the produce was considerably better than at the co-op. At the other end of the town, there is a wine retailer selling unbottled local wines at a fraction of the price of bottled wine! In the centre of Monteroni, La Galera is a popular family restaurant which provides good value meals, in a bustling, pleasant environment.
Beyond, Monteroni, it is an easy 15 minute drive to Siena and all its attractions. We also loved the smaller places: museums in Buonconvento, Murlo and Asciano were all very well presented, the gardens at La Foce (open on Wednesday afternoons) are very well worth a visit ..and the thermal baths at San Rapolano were amazingly good value and wonderful fun!
Above all, though, it is people who make a holiday memorable, and both Francesco, the owner, and Arber, his assistant, went out of their way to ensure that our holiday was enjoyable. Francesco was generous and polite, though we wished that we spoke more Italian so that we could have asked more about the renovation of the buildings and the local area. Arber, who speaks very good English, was unfailingly friendly and helpful in his advice, quickly appreciating the sorts of things that would interest us. As a result we managed to get parked in Siena - even on the day of the Palio! - and it was Arber who assured us that we would not find the thermal baths the least bit intimidating ( we didn't and wished we thad been earlier in the holiday so we could have gone again!).
All in all, we would thoroughly recommend San Giovanni in Poggio to anyone who loves rural Italy and who wants to explore a beautiful and less touristy part of Tuscany, from a high quality base.
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