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My family wanted an authentic slice-of-Italian life experience in the Tuscan countryside, and our stay at Eleonora's lovely home, Podere dei Castagni, was just about heaven!
The house is situated on a large piece of land, with lovely views of green pastures and rolling hills. The photos are absolutely accurate - it's a restored stone farmhouse, with deep set shuttered windows, solid construction and good natural light. The two bedrooms upstairs are comfortable and private, we slept great. The baths are nicely updated, the upper one benefits from a view into the front garden. The kitchen has all the essentials, although we rarely cooked (there's just too much amazing food to be had in this area.) The food in Tuscany is truly the best!
Eleonora's mother greeted us in the classic style - with a bottle of Vin Santo and little cantucci.. She lives adjacent with her well-behaved dog, and is available if needed, but otherwise not intrusive at all. Later in the week, Sandra showed us her house, which is filled with her absolutely stunning ceramic works. Yes, our limited language skills were put to the test.
Eleonora was always responsive by email with good suggestions.
The gardens surround the house and kind of ramble and tumble down the hillside, offering shade and sun, fruit trees, climbing roses, clumps of rosemary and pots of basil. It's all very restful and bucolic.
We really appreciated how much cooler and fresher the air is at this elevation. Walking into town takes 12-15 minutes along a country road. There's no sidewalk for the first part, so you do need to be aware of approaching cars, but the road isn't too busy. I would definitely drive after dark. Parking doesn't seem to be a problem in Abbadia SS.
Abbadia is a nice sized town -- small enough to get a real sense of the place, but big enough to have a good grocery, pharmacy, several good restaurants, nice plazas and parks. Don't miss the medievel section, which I stumbled upon one morning, getting lost and found in the winding lanes. We did day-trips to some of the more famous/touristy Tuscan towns, but we would have been happy to spend nearly all our time in and around Abbadia. It has a special charm and easy access to Mt Amiata with all kinds of hiking trails and spectacular views. We Loved It!