We stayed 4 nights in the summer of 2010 at the Villa De Fiori in Pistoia to explore the Tuscany region.
Excellent location, in the town of Pistoia, located almost halfway between Pisa and Florence. We rented a car at Pisa, drove to Pistoia and stayed here. Florence is an hour+ train-ride away, Sienna and the beaches of Cinque Terre just 1-day car-drives.
The villa itself is located amid the vineyards of the town. Getting there is somewhat difficult, with the roads and directions being somewhat confusing for the first-timer. Not much english spoken in the town, so make sure you get good directions when making reservations.
Our 'cottage' had a dining area with a cooking-range and utensils, bedroom and bathroom - all very clean and sufficiently spacious by European standards. A very well maintained and decent sized swimming pool in the midst of a pretty garden, was the main attraction for our 2 girls. Daily breakfast was usually fresh bread, with made-to-order (boiled/omlette/.. ) farm eggs, pastries and coffee; with fresh milk for the kids. The in-house restaurant is reputed to be one of the better restaurants in the town, and it certainly proved so. We had dinner there twice, and both times the food and house wine were superb. Other nights, we cooked inside, with local purchases.
The only hassle might be the lack of any shops nearby, so for any purchases (including groceries), you'll need some mode of transportation. We had a car, so this wasn't an issue.
All in all, an excellent base camp to explore Tuscany.
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