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“La Doccia - a haven in the Tuscan hills” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Doccia

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La Doccia
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19/20 Ristonchi | Pelago, 50060 Florence, Italy   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #459 of 553 Florence B&B and Inns
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“La Doccia - a haven in the Tuscan hills”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2008

My family stayed at La Doccia in the height of summer and had a wonderful time. The enormous pool was the highlight of the trip for my children, and its magnificent views across undulating Tuscan countryside just added to the fun of swimming. Our room (Milton) was large - in fact all 4 of us slept in it comfortably - and had a lovely sitting room and kitchen attached. The terrace adjoining the room was a godsend in the summer heat, and the children could play there while we appreciated the views. The remoteness of La Doccia was perhaps its principal charm - one certainly feels that one is not on the beaten tourist track, yet it is located near enough to all the main sights to make it an incredibly convenient location. Our children loved the trip to the castle at Poppi. The directions to La Doccia given by our hosts made finding it very easy.

Stayed August 2008
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16 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2008

We loved our stay at La Doccia! We dislike touristy places and prefer to be out in the country and La Doccia is the perfect spot. The views from the deck off the main house couldn't be more stunning and the Mayhew family and their sweet dog Claudia were wonderful hosts.
We had one of the cottages off the main house with our own kitchen. Sometimes we cooked, sometimes we went out. We also had more than one memorable home cooked dinner in their dining room. We had cherry tomatoes growing outside our bathroom window and picked plums from the plums trees in the yard. Afterwards, Rupert gave us a lesson on how to make jam.
There is so much to do and see. We swam in the lovely pool, took long walks, gorged ourselves on gelato,took day trips in the car and had wonderful recommendations from the Mayhews regarding all.
All in all a great value for your money, in a perfect Tuscan setting!
We will be back.

  • Liked — The location and welcoming hospitality
  • Disliked — The road up is a bit curvy
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Leesburg, Virginia
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2008

I just had to write a review after reading the one bashing Sonia and Edward.

My husband and I stayed with Sonia and Edward way back in July 2002. We do a fair amount of international travel. We like to experience life as the locals do. We don't eat at touristy places and we don't stay at popular hotel chains. We found LaDoccia to be perfect. The drive up and down the mountain was such an adventure! The first few times were nail biters, for sure, especially if you meet another car or if you are doing it in the dark. But after coming and going a few times, it was no problem. We enjoyed the breakfast fine, it was similar to what we ate elsewhere in Italy. We had the Mayhew's cook dinner for us one night. It was an amazing feast and worth every penny. Yes, it was more expensive than many of the restaurants we dined at, but the food and the company were superb and it was freshly cooked especially for us. Edward and Sonia provided us with numerous excellent local restaurant options. We never ever felt pressured to dine at LaDoccia. They also helped us map out our adventures each day. The best one was our visit to Poppi Castle. If you think driving down the hill from LaDoccia is nerve wracking, you should drive the street we ended up on in Poppi! We thought for sure we were going to go right through the wall and plummet to our death! But we didn't....just another great adventure!

We so enjoyed our stay at LaDoccia. Sonia and Edward were perfect hosts. We felt so at home. They made sure every aspect of our stay was just how we wanted it to be. We still exchange Christmas cards with Sonia and Edward 5 years after our stay there. We can't wait for the day we can return...next time with our three boys! We absolutely have to take our children there so that Sonia and Edward can meet our youngest. He was born in April 2003...you do the math :)

  • Liked — The location, the hospitality
  • Stayed July 2004, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2007

La Doccia is off the tourist path, and my husband and I found this great. We both don't like going to places that are "tourist traps" and parting with wads of cash, La Doccia definitely a "local" place with it's charming, spacious, Italian architecture apartments/rooms and surrounding farming. We picked plums from the orchard, did a farm tour and ate local produce on the private terrace overlooking the view.

Whilst the owners are English (handy as we're English speakers), they were the only non locals around. The villages nearby are great, and daily (you must have a car) we got local produce, (the boar sausages are awesome!) our regular coffee and Italian ice-cream. Things were simple and relaxing, just what we want in a holiday. They're also about 1 hour from Florence by car or train so we went in for a day's action there, it's really easy to get about.

The road is a little challening on the last leg to the villa so it is better to arrive in the day, but to put it in perspective, it's fine, it's made for cars (i.e. it's not a 4WD road!). It's better with a small car (in fact, Italy is suited to small cars all round so go for a Fiat or something like that).

We really enjoyed our time there, it's been one of our best holidays, restful, stunning scenery, good facilities, walks, local culture (not "created" but geniune) and you do meet some great other guests (if you want too, or you can just keep to yourself as well). I'd definitely recommend this place and it was priced very reasonably.

If you want a genuine fuss free local Tuscan experience, we recommend La Doccia.

  • Liked — the area
  • Disliked — directions and maps
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2007

This is the most glorious spot, high up, 3000ft or so and with panoramas across the Tuscan countryside of 270 degrees.

Surrounded by Chestnut woods, with puff ball mushrooms the size of footballs, and disused olive groves interspersed with plum orchards I couldn't have dreamt up such a rural idyll.

As any true Italofile would understand, the route up, zig zags round the mountain in true Italian style allowing one to take in the increasingly breath taking views.

The local food is scrumptious, fresh peccorino cheese, smooth and mild not to mention the boar sausages...better than steak.

I felt as if I were in a book, in a period drama even, waking up to breakfast on the veranda scented with lavender from the bushes infront and with views of the valley sprawling out below...an inspirational start to accompany my morning coffee, later in the late afternoon we joined the owner's son to pick the odd plum or pear followed by a dip in the pool to cool off and yet another deliciously Italian meal followed....some nights we were lucky enough to join the family meal - great fun and the food was better than some of the Italian trattorias I've eaten in!

In between the rest bites we would go for walks in the hills teeming with wildlife (I've never seen a black squirrel before!)There are hundreds of 'strade bianche' that pass homes selling honey or that lead you to monastries ..alternatively you could pop out for a gelato ....need I say more..

So serene, so close yet so far from the thousands of tourists visiting Florence (40mins away) , not to mention, Perugia, Arezzo or Urbino. A hidden gem for the tourist not wishing to follow the crowd (but you do need a car). La Doccia is furnished in a Tuscan style with all sorts of 'wot nots' to intrigue the guest. There is a mix of rooms or apartments in the main building with two more cottages next door. The hosts were most welcoming and instantly eased me into my holiday - perfect! I could wax lyrical about this magical place....but I think it's time for me to stop.

Just the place to get away from it all...............................

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2006

Tuscany is full of wonderful places to stay....trust us, this is not one of them!!!!! STAY AWAY!!!! I have always trusted Karen Brown's books but her information was grossly incomplete on this place.

I asked for directions to the hotel prior to booking but was told by Sonia that they would supply specific directions after booking was completed. I understood why when we arrived in Pelago after 5:00 PM in the darkness. Getting to this place is better done by goat or donkey cart, believe me. If you drove off the mountain, no one would find you until the wild boars had eaten your carcas! And, of course, they offered to prepare for us a 4 course meal at ONLY 50 EUROS PER PERSON ($68.50 per person!!!) !!!! The only reason they could ever get those prices is because once you've driven the amazingly steep, long, ever narrowing, ever higher concrete and then dirt paths to get to this place, they know normal folks would just pay the price not to have to drive back down the mountain and back up again for dinner. My husband decided he would rather drive back down the mountain than be ripped off - by English people offering Tuscan cooking at a ridiculously high tariff. We ate at the local restaurant in Pelago and had a perfectly lovely dinner for 38. euros (TOTAL - NOT PER PERSON) including coffee, wine and dessert.
We paid for breakfast the first morning and got dry bread and cold cereal - not even a toaster for the bread or a boiled egg. naturally, we didn't do that again! We had booked for 3 nights (and had to pay in advance, by the way before getting the directions). On the second morning, my husband asked Edward if he would refund our money for he last night so we could move on because we felt we had been misled about the location and Edward informed him that we could move on if we chose - but they would not refund the money. This was the end of November - they had no other bookings. I need to make certain that other people read this so that they are not led down the garden path or in this case, up a mountain in the dark on the worst trails I have ever experienced. Can't call them roads - because when the blacktop ends you keep climbing (with no guardrails) on steep concrete and eventually dirt paths! And, by the way, when we arrived in the dark, there were no lights and we had been advised to park our car in the car park at the top of the hill and walk down to the house - WHICH WE HAD TO DO IN THE DARK! STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLACE!

  • Stayed November 2006
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edward-Mayhew, Rupert Mayhew, son of the owners Edward and Sonia Mayhew at La Doccia, responded to this review, February 1, 2007

Karen Brown describes La Doccia as follows: ‘As you wind your way up a steep unpaved road through thick woods, you will no doubt wonder as we did how English couple Sonia and Edward ever found the secluded 70 acre property’. Karen Brown is very specific that we are off the beaten track, so ‘grossly incomplete’ seems a little harsh.

We are not a hotel and do not claim to be one. We are an Agriturismo, Karen Brown describes exactly what an agriturismo is in their guide and they describe the type of continental breakfast that guests are served at agriturusmos. If Mr and Mrs Stroul had read their Karen Brown guidebook correctly they would have known this. Karen Brown also states very clearly we have a minimum three stay and this is normal practice for farm holidays. La Doccia is not a hotel where people check in and out at their leisure; our small establishment would be unable to operate like this.

We advised Tommi Stroul and her husband to arrive before 5pm, which is before it is dark in the winter, but they were unable to. We are quite clear in all our descriptions of our property (including on Tripadvisor) that we are over 2000 feet above the sea in the Pratomagno mountains. This means that to reach La Doccia it is necessary to drive up the mountainside. Mr. and Mrs. Stroul should bear in mind that if you don’t want to stay at a house in the mountains you shouldn’t book yourself into a house in the mountains. The end of November is winter in Tuscany.

In our email to the Strouls on 20th October, we stated “We do a fine Tuscan 4 course dinner at Euros 50 per person but at this time of the year can be flexible if guests would prefer something simpler” The Strouls opted for the fine dinner consistent with the information contained in the Karen Brown report on La Doccia. They knew, then, exactly what the meal woiuld cost. My father cooks and for him to cook a meal is not the same as going to a restaurant. At La Doccia the meal is planned in advance. This means we go to the local town and buy the ingredients and prepare each individual meal. It is the same as having a chef for the evening cooking for you in a private house. They dined alone in the dining room without being disturbed by anyone, except by my father or mother serving the meal. They could choose the music and they also had the sitting room, with the fire lit, at their disposal for the entire evening. Mr. and Mrs Stroul also had their own kitchen in their self-contained apartment, which they could have used to prepare meals if they wanted.

The two nearest restaurants are less than a ten minutes drive from La Doccia, which is actually quite good compared to many parts of Tuscany. If this was too far for Mr. and Mrs. Stroul then perhaps a hotel in Florence might have been more suitable.

For the one breakfast they had at La Doccia, we offered not only the usual continental breakfast but also fresh orange juice, yoghurts, cereals, toast, and fruit.

Regarding their arrival in the dark, here the review is factually incorrect. When they arrived they parked their car at the top of the stone staircase, which was clearly lit, and I know this as I carried their suitcases from their car down the stairs to their apartment, for which I did not get a word of thanks. I felt a little disappointed having not received a thank you and I distinctly remember it.

We are sorry that driving in the mountains at night in the winter did not suit Mr and Mrs. Stroul and that they did not enjoy their stay. We want all our customers to enjoy La Doccia and Tuscany. All we can really do is re-emphasise that we are on the side of a mountain and that Tuscany is a very rural and mountainous part of Italy – which to many people is the real attraction and beauty of Tuscany.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rhode ISland
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2006

My wife and two children stayed for three nights at La Doccia in the middle of our 10 day vacation to Italy in June of 2006. It was, in terms of the experience and accomodation, the highlight of out stay in Tuscany. We stayed in one of the apartments off the main house. Edward and Sonia were gracious hosts and between them and thier lovely Lab Claudia both our 10 and 15 year old daughter were made to feel right at home.
The apartment was spacious, with great attention to decor and stupendous views overlooking the Tuscan hills toward Pontassieve and Florence. Our first night there were elected to take the evening meal and with the other guests were treated to a four course delight from Edward. A great time was had by all and relaxing late night chatting with wine on the terrace was delightful.
The pool was a great respite from the heat of Florence that was above 100 F, unusual for June. We elected one day to just stay at the villa and relax, a good choice. All of us would highly recommend La Doccia and would return there again in a heartbeat.

Stayed June 2006
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Additional Information about La Doccia

Address: 19/20 Ristonchi | Pelago, 50060 Florence, Italy
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Florence > Florence
Hotel Style:
Ranked #459 of 553 B&Bs / Inns in Florence
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are set in our own 30 hectares (70 acres) of tranquil woodlands and meadows full of wild flowers. 635 m (2000ft) above sea level with panoramic views to the west towards Florence over vineyards and olive groves. We offer four self catering apartments (photo of Milton shown), two self catering cottages and three bedrooms in the house for bed and breakfast. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
La Doccia Hotel Florence

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