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Panoramic Views over Tuscany from lovely 2BD Flat in Medieval Fortress Town

Sleeps5
Bedrooms 2
Bathrooms1
Space 800 sq. ft.
Property type apartment
Minimum Stay 4 nights

Overview

About the property

Experience authentic Tuscan village life in a romantic setting

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.

More Details

Owner
Cindy Harding
Member since: 2014
Premier Partner

This HomeAway partner has demonstrated and is committed to fast response times, the best rates, and a great traveler experience.

Speaks: english, spanish, portuguese, italian
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
100%
Calendar last updated:
November 2, 2017

About Cindy Harding

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

Why Cindy Harding chose Barberino Val D'elsa

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.

What makes this apartment unique

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.'

Guestbook comments from the owner

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.
Oct 2006
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Amenities

Barberino Val D'elsa Apartment Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • apartment
  • floor 2
Building Type:
  • building
Meals:
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 800 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 1:00 PM / Check-out: 10:30 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 5
  • children welcome
  • pets not allowed
Location Type:
  • Monument View ...
  • Rural ...
  • Village ...
Theme:
  • Away From It All
  • Historic
  • Romantic
General:
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
Kitchen:
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
Dining:
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 5 people
Bathrooms:
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower , bidet , The bathroom is on the main floor adjacent the twin room
Bedrooms:
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 5
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 2 - 2 twin/ single , 1 sleep sofa /futon
  • The apartment comfortably sleeps four persons but there is a single sleep sofa in the twin room that can accommodate one more person if need be.
Entertainment:
  • Books ...
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
Outside:
  • Balcony ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
Suitability:
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...
Onsite Services:
  • Private Chef
Attractions:
  • churches
  • festivals
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • medical services
Notes:
There is a fantastic five star hotel within 10 minutes of the property that has a lovely spa that welcomes guests staying in the area. Ask owner for particulars.

Reviews

Exceptional! 5/5 -
(34 traveler reviews)

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Panoramic Views over Tuscany from lovely 2BD Flat in Medieval Fortress Town
average rating of 5.0 based on 35 reviews
Birmingham
5

Wow... do not hesitate to book this one.

  • 5 of 5

First of all, Cindy was the best. An American now living in Tuscany. She was so personable and attentive to our questions. We always use VRBO so you can feel and smell the true country you are visiting. And when I say smell it was the bakery down stairs that every morning you will smell the wonderful baked breads and pastries being baked. Barberino Val D'elsa host two great restaurants that we visited a couple of nights at around 9 PM after a long day of touring the countryside.

The property is in a great village close to every experience you can imagine in Tuscany. We drove all over, Florence a short drive away with easy parking outside the city. We drove to Pisa, Cinque Terre, San Gimignano, Siena and countless wineries.

The apartment is fabulous with all the items needed to use a base camp for the week. A great stocked kitchen, great hot water and pressure. Did I mention the fabulous views every morning and the sunsets are fantastic. The fresh air will give the you energy to start your days early to enjoy what Italy has for you to fall in love with. Grazie Cindy. September 2017.

  • Submitted: Sep 22, 2017
  • Stayed: September 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Wow... thanks for such a grand review... i am thrilled you had such a great time and enjoyed your stay. You have convinced me to spend more time in my own place!!!
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
5

Great holiday destination in beautiful mediaeval town

  • 5 of 5

This terrific accommodation in the Chiant area is well furnished and comfortable with beautiful views from the terrace and windows. The dishwasher and washing machine are a real bonus. Barbarino Val D'Elsa is well situated for day trips. Florence and Siena are both quite close by. Cindy's instructions are impeccable and she is very available to respond to any questions. The winetasting in the nearby square is excellent and the restaurant Il Campanellino, by the church, has excellent views and very good food. We would definitely recommend this accommodation.

  • Submitted: Sep 2, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: So happy you enjoyed your stay! Cindy
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5

Local, authentic, lovely.............just perfect.

  • 5 of 5

My family and I had a lovely 4 night stay at Cindy's apartment in Barberino Val d'Elsa. The apartment is everything we hoped, catering to our every need and with vistas over the Tuscan landscape to die for. The local's were very welcoming, with a couple of restaurants literally within a few steps. We were lucky enough to catch a local concert which just captured the community at its best. Of course if you want to go further afield......exit the fortress gates and explore Tuscany to your hearts content. Cindy.....thanks very much, we'd love to return in the future. 👌

  • Submitted: Jul 21, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Martin, I am thrilled you had a great time and were able to enjoy the concert. Do return! Cindy
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Nashville, TN
5

Lovely stay in Tuscany!

  • 5 of 5

We had a great stay with our small group at Cindy's apartment! The apartment is in an 11th century medieval hamlet. You immediately feel like you've gone back in time as you walk the quiet stone streets in the village. The apartment was clean, authentic and had all we needed. Cindy was very easy to communicate with and answered questions quickly. We enjoyed waking to the restaurants for meals and to the cafe or bar for coffee or drinks. The location is perfect for day trips all over Tuscany, or even Rome. We would stay here again! :)

  • Submitted: Jun 15, 2017
  • Stayed: June 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Kristi, so happy you and your family enjoyed your time in our home away from home.
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5

You really can't get a more authentic Tuscan experience. The Hamlet is beautiful.

  • 5 of 5

Excellent central location. The must see cities and sites all within easy reach. The village restaurants are excellent and friendly. Definately a trip back in time. The apartment is well equipped and comfortable. The treck up into the village and then up the 2 flights of stairs to the apartment itself could be a challenge for the less mobile, but we had our 77 year old mom with us and no issues at all. Cindy is extremely helpful to answer questions.

  • Submitted: Jun 9, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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5

Unique apartment with well stocked kitchen.

  • 5 of 5

Very nice apartment with a nice view from the master bedroom. The apartment was very clean with a well stocked kitchen for some Italian cooking. The hamlet of Barberino Val d'Esta is very cool with cars only being allowed into the old town at limited times. The location was convenient for exploring nearby towns and vineyards.

  • Submitted: May 31, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: I am happy you enjoyed your stay in our property in our enchanting fortress town.
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Map

Borgo di Badia a Passignano
Nearest Airport
35 Kilometres
Florence Peretola
Nearest Train
7 Kilometres
Poggibonsi Station
Nearest Restaurant
20 Metres
Il Campanellino
Nearest Beach
130 Kilometres
Viareggio
Car: recommended

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.

Photos

Rates & Availability

Available
Unavailable
Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Cleaning Fee $25

Rates are subject to change until reservation is confirmed

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

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