My 3 friends and I stayed at Cretaiole in La Casa del Contadino for a week in May. I cannot say enough about how wonderful our accommodations and our hosts were during our stay. First, our rooms in La Casa del Contadino were beautiful, clean, comfortable and well stocked. It has the comfort of being in a home while also being on vacation in one of the most beautiful areas of the world! La Casa del Contadino is a set of rooms that can hold up to 7 people located upstairs at Cretaiole. You enter first into the living area/dining/kitchen. Down the hallway to the right are the bedrooms and bathrooms which are laid out in a row along the left side of the hall: 1 bedroom, 1 bedroom with a 3/4 bath, 1 bedroom, and another 3/4 bath at the end of the hall, next to the last room. The beds were very comfortable, and each room had an incredibly picturesque view from its window. All bedrooms had either a closet or amoire and a dresser for ample clothing storage. Bathrooms were typically European with toilet, bidet, sink and shower. Make sure and bring your own soap, shampoo, etc. The kitchen has a beautiful stone sink, a stovetop, dishwasher and refrigerator, and all the dishes and cookware you need, including Italian stovetop coffeemakers (Mokas) - 2 large ones and 1 medium. It was such a luxury to be able to fix breakfast in the morning and dinner at night and eat only one meal out a day (there are amazing restaurants in the area, by the way! Don’t miss them!).
Isabella has organized a number of activities you can choose to participate in during the week. A few are included in your stay and others are extra. Our group participated in the farm tour, which includes the area next to the homes of Isa and Carlo and Carlo’s parents. The family cures meat, and makes cheese, olive oil and wine, and during the tour, you get to see all of this in action. It was an amazing way to understand both the local food and to better understand the tradition of only living off of what you grow. We also had the opportunity to purchase these items, which we used for our home-cooked meals during the week - yum!!
Our group also participated in the olive oil tasting. Carlo is a professional olive oil taster for the region, and he and Isa took the group through the ins and outs of how to find the best olive oil. We also got the chance to rate 4 different olive oils with the rating system that Carlo uses when he tastes professionally. It was fascinating to learn that the key components to good olive oil were not what I would’ve thought.
The whole Moricciani family is kind and hospitable and do an incredible amount of work to make your stay the best it can be. Isabella is an incredible organizer and is not only extremely helpful with any advice you may need or help with reservations, but she is also a very vibrant, intelligent, fun person to talk to. If you have the opportunity to learn some Italian, you won’t regret being able to visit with Carlo and Luciano (Carlo’s father and original founder of Cretaiole). Especially Luciano will give you plentiful opportunities to practice and it’s obvious he appreciates your language efforts, no matter how little you know!
All in all, an amazing experience. Tuscany and Val d’Orcia (the specific region where Cretaiole is located) were truly beautiful, peaceful and restful for the soul. If I were to return to anywhere in Italy, I would go there. I recommend that if you’re planning to be in the area, that you stay within the area, rather than using it as a place to day trip to larger cities, like Florence. It has many great things to offer!
NOTES on ATMs:
ATMs are tricky in this area. There are only a few and not all of them work. I was glad that I had been collecting cash at Deutsche Banks along the way before we arrived in Pienza. I arranged with my bank ahead of time for a larger than usual daily ATM withdrawal. Then, by using Deutsche Bank ATMs in Italy, I was able to withdraw 700 euros at a time, rather than the usual 200-250 at other banks. I highly recommend Deutsche Bank!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.