|Minimum Stay||4 nights|
Our well appointed two bedroom apartment sits within the walls of an ancient fortress town midway between Florence and Siena. Striving to keep the property’s old world charm, we, the owners (an American and Italian), restored the property in the 90’s And to our joy, with its eclectic mix of Tuscan furniture and Asian art, our home was featured in the magazine Casa di Campagna.
The apartment comfortably sleeps 4 but can accommodate 5. The master bedroom, with its cozy, private, rooftop terrace and two arched windows graces guests with a 360° view over Tuscany; truly a bedroom with a view - the perfect honeymoon retreat. The second bedroom also offers enchanting views of Tuscany’s silver olive groves and patchwork vineyards. This bedroom has two twin beds (which can also be put together to make another queen size bed) and a chair that makes into a comfortable single bed. Thus, this room can accommodate 3 persons. The master bedroom, on the other hand, is appointed with a queen size bed and comfortable couch for reading and relaxing. There is also a t.v. in the master bedroom with satellite disk for receiving CNN and the BBC for English speaking guests.
The main room is an open space where the well-equipped kitchen alcove is located along with an antique marble top dining table and two comfortable sofas for relaxing after a day of sightseeing. Being that I, the owner, am a Tuscan cooking instructor and cookbook author, one will surely find everything one needs to prepare a savory Tuscan meal in the small but very efficient kitchen, complete with dishwasher and microwave.
The Italian tiled bathroom, with its large built-in shower stall, is adjacent the downstairs twin bedroom. There is a washing machine in the apartment. A drying rack is found in the upstairs master bedroom’s closet.
There is wifi throughout the apartment with 24 hour free access. There is also a CD player in the living room area with a handful of Italian CDs... Pavorotti anyone?
The hamlet, a typical medieval fortress town enclosed in stone walls with two entrances through archways built around 1202, is very quaint. Our property is located on the main cobblestone street within the walls. Also within the walls one will find two excellent restaurants, two wine bars, a butcher and a few other establishments. My hairdresser being one of the two. Just outside the walls of the fortress there is everything one needs within a 2 minute stroll (two banks with ATM machines, two coffee bars, a bakery, two grocery stores, a pharmacy, a post office and more). There are buses running to and from Florence and Siena (55 minutes in either direction) from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. These buses also run on the weekends with a slightly different schedule.
The neighboring towns of Certaldo Alto (another famous hilltop fortress town) and San Gimignano (The Manhattan of Tuscany) are within a 20 minute drive. There are numerous hilltop towns scattered around this enchanting region of Tuscany (known as Chiantshire to the English). Thus, I truly recommend having a car to explore this hidden treasures.
The nearest town to the hamlet is Tavarnelle Val Di Pesa. There is a lovely footpath connecting this more modern village to Barberino Val D'Elsa. The path is approximately 2 kms and takes walkers through olive groves on its way to the neighboring village. Point of interest: Tavarnelle has a lovely outdoor market on Thursday mornings from 8a.m. to 1 p.m.- worth a visit to mingle with the locals while picking up organic veggies.
So, if mingling with the locals in a small fortress town in Tuscany is on your wishlist then look no further. Barberino and our flat is the perfect place to do just that.
I, the owner, am always happy to supply additional information about the area to travelling guests (i.e. festivals, fairs, wineries to visit, art shows etc). I can also arrange cooking workshops in the property or in Florence for those ‘foodies’ out there and/or private meals in Florentine homes. Also, for those who do not wish to give up the creature comfort of a swim during the summer months, I am happy to direct guests to two lovely outdoor pools in garden settings where, for a nominal fee, one can pass a relaxing afternoon poolside.
Born and raised in California, I relocated to Tuscany in 1979 after meeting my Florentine husband on a vacation the year before.
I fell in love with Tuscany and especially Barberino Val D’Elsa. For an American, the village was a fairytale spot. I was bound and determined to own something in that fortress town. It took 10 years, but finally in 1989 a small tower property came up for sale. We bought it within 10 minutes of seeing it. It took nearly two years of restoration (binding laws, thick walls and slow workers) to finish our home. Initially it was to be our vacation spot. But, after the renovation I insisted we move in and live the authentic life of Tuscan villagers. And that we did for 4 years. Once our boys became of school age we moved to Florence where sports and school trumped the serene village life I preferred; keeping our small tower apartment in the Chianti wine region for our weekend retreat.
Although we live in Florence, the first sixteen years of my Italian life were spent in this region. The first twelve years in a two hundred year old farmhouse near the hamlet, then in the hamlet. Thanks to the women in this area (moms and grandmothers) who took me under their wings, I soon became a Tuscan mother myself. Knowing my passion for food and cooking, they shared their culinary secrets with me, shared their kitchens, and shared their stories. Once I relocated to the city, I decided to share my Tuscan life by writing a food memoire/recipe book in honor of what these ‘fine’ chefs taught me: La Mia Toscana - A collection of food tales and recipes can be found on - id 14474353. Coupled with my hands-on experience in the culinary field, I now conduct Tuscan culinary workshops in and around Italy and occasionally in the US.
Cindy Harding purchased this apartment in 1989
Set in a unique spot, surrounding by Tuscany’s patchwork vineyards and silvery olive groves, as a writer and lover of nature and history, I was swept away by the fortress town, its authenticity and its people. And I still am today.
The views from our master bedroom are simply breathtaking. Even today, every time I open the bifora window in the bedroom, or walk out onto the cozy rooftop terrace I smile and think, 'this is Tuscany. This is what living in Tuscany is about. I am truly blessed.'
I invite all of my 'future guests' to read the guest books in the flat as they are very helpful and contain a wealth of information for those who wish to have a real Tuscan experience. Guests over the years have added restaurant suggestions, parking suggestions, driving routes etc. etc.. I couldn't have put together a more extensive information package myself. I truly thank all of my previous guests who have contributed to these books and who have been so positive in their comments of my property and my family. We have enjoyed meeting each and every one of you and have been delighted to share our knowledge and love of Tuscany with you all. We will continue to do so in the upcoming 2007 year.
Learn more about this vacation rental at the owner's website:
Nuestra estancia en esta bella casa fue espectacular, mi esposo, nuestras 3 hijas y yo nos sentimos como en casa desde que llegamos y más que íbamos a pasar el año nuevo lejos de nuestro hogar! Al abrir la puerta nos sorprendió Cindy con un Panetone típico de Italia y todo estaba perfectamente limpio, nítido. Tuvimos un desajuste con la calefacción e inmediatamente nos lo arreglaron. La vista preciosa, el lugar bello y los dueños súper especiales!!! Si volvemos a la Toscana solo pensaría en volver al mismo lugar!!! Gracias a Cindy y su esposo por tu amabilidad!!! Totalmente recomendado!
Familia Miller (Costa Rica)
This apartment was exactly what we were hoping for in our vacation in Tuscany. It is a lovely 2 bedroom apartment with gorgeous views from every window. It was in excellent shape and extremely well maintained. The owner was able to work around when we needed to arrive and leave as well as provide us with tips for the local area. We would hands down recommend this location to anyone looking for an apartment in the Tuscany area. It is well located to visit Florence easily and make day trips out to Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano and Siena. We also had a wonderful 6 course Christmas dinner at Osteria Il Campanellino behind the apartment too which really made the day special.
We stayed for 12 days at Barberino Val d'Elsa and from the moment we walked into the apartment we felt like we were home. It is exactly as described, feels very authentic, including the two flights of steep stairs. :) The view from the balcony changed by the hour and never ceased to amaze us. It was tranquil living in the no-traffic zone. The tolling of the church bells soon became part of the rhythm of our life. As to location, it couldn't have been more ideal as a jumping off point to explore Tuscany and the north coast of Italy. A car is definitely a necessity and we loved our little Fiat 500 that we'd rented from the Rome airport. The only thing we were unable to master was finding a bus or train to take us into Florence so we drove and found that parking garages are plentiful and worked well to allow us flexibility for our schedule. Truly a perfect experience for our visit to Italy.
My wife and I started our honeymoon in Barberino Val d'Elsa and drove in from Florence. Cindy communicated directions on how to get into the apartment very clearly and we had no problems getting the key and getting settled. We took advantage of her offer of an in-apartment cooking class one of the days and had a great time cooking, drinking wine, and chatting with Cindy and her husband. The apartment itself has amazing panoramic views. The pictures don't do it justice. Waking up our first morning and looking out from the terrace at the sunrise was an unforgettable experience. Everything else about the apartment was exactly as described. The weather was hot and humid, but the A/C in the master room and the fan in the living room did a good job circulating cool air.
The village was easily walkable and we shopped at the Coop supermarket down the street and the wine store within the walls. The pizzeria across the street also had a great view, very friendly service, and delicious food so we went there for dinner twice. There are two other restaurants down on either side of the church with outdoor seating. We went to one of them and were very satisfied with the meal.
Parking wasn't an issue any of the days we were driving. There are stairs up to the apartment, so I can see that being an issue if you have very heavy luggage. We packed light and had no problems getting a bit of exercise with the stairs.
We loved our time in Cindy's apartment and would highly recommend a stay to anyone looking to relax in the Tuscan countryside for a while.
Thanks again Cindy, it was great meeting and learning from you!
This location is perfect for exploring central Tuscany and its many beautiful cities and towns including Florence, Sienna, Pisa, Lucca, San Gigimignamo. The apartment was perfect for a family of four. The terrace was great for morning coffee and afternoon wine. The village has great restaurants and a wonderful wine bar for relaxing with a good book. We enjoyed a great summer festival one evening and also caught an opera performance in the square while watching the Euro Cup final at a local bar. Cindy was very helpful with parking in Florence as well as an introduction to the pool and tennis club in Sambuca. Wish we were back there right now!
Perfect location for exploring Tuscany ans Chianti. Beautiful old town with a choice of restaurants on the doorstep. Apartment had everything needed for a stay and spectacular views from all rooms especially the terrace.
Medieval Fortress towns: San Gimignano, Volterra and Certaldo Alto to name a few. All within a quick drive from the property.
Wine tasting: Greve, Castellina in Chianti and local organic vineyards all within 5 - 30 minutes.
Siena, Florence and Pisa are all within one hour from the hamlet.
For those who would like to have an afternoon swim or spend the day lounging around a pool, I can direct guests to two different pools. One is at a nearby agritourism and the other at a private tennis/pool club with restaurant on site. There is a nominal fee of 7.00 euro x person (with discount family rates for children).
A drive to the seaside and Le Cinque Terre is an easy day trip from the property; either by train or by car.
The Badia di Passignano (Abbey) is a quick drive from the property and a wonderful spot to visit on Sundays. The restaurant Le Scuderie adjacent the abbey is the perfect place to sample first rate Tuscan fare. The wine list that Stefano the owner presents is exceptional, as is the food his wife Maria prepares.
|Rate Period||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly||Event|
My Standard Rate
4 night minimum stay
Rates are subject to change until reservation is confirmed