My wife and I and another couple stayed here for a week in May 2011 as part of an extended Italian holiday that also took us to the Cinque Terre for a few days, to Emilia Romagna for a few more days, and to Rome for several more days. Easily, our week at the villa, luxuriating under Paola's loving care and guidance, was the high point of the entire trip.
Let's start with the essentials: You'll need a car . . . but that's about it. The house is completely equipped, including all kitchen appliances, a clothes washer, satellite TV, and super-strong wi-fi. For ANYTHING else in the world that you might need, there's a spectacular Iper-Coop just a few minutes away in town. (Even if you don't need anything, it's worth a trip!)
The car will get you into town, or to any of the many other towns (like Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano, Sienna, Assisi, etc.) all located within an hour or so of the villa. You can, of course, also take a car into Firenze, but the train is the way to go. The station in Lastra a Signa is only a five-minute drive from the villa, and the ride in to Firenze takes only 17 minutes. (NOTE: The last train back from Firenze is @ 9:00pm. We missed it one night, and had to take an 11:30 train to the Signa station on the other side of the river, and then walk back to our car which was parked at the Lastra a Signa station. It was no big deal.)
As for the villa, I can only confirm what the other reviewers have already said. Sitting atop a hill, overlooking our own olive grove and beyond that, the hills of Tuscany, it's truly magical. Access to the villa property is through a large gate, located a few hundred meters from the villa itself, and walking or driving that rustic road, lined with towering cypress trees and cutting through the olive grove, was a special moment. (We walked that road several times, in fact, heading to or returning from what became our favorite restaurant, Edy Piu, which is a few hundred more meters down the road from the villa property.)
Paola's "Welcome Wagon" of wine, pizza, bruschetta, cakes and other goodies was a really pleasant start to our week, and her personal guided tour of "her" Firenze was another great touch. The pool was brisk but enjoyable (I think we "opened" it for the season!), the landscaping was lush, and the entire setting was our vision of what a Tuscan villa should be.
If we have any regrets, it's that we didn't spend more time just hanging around, strolling the grounds and the immediate vicinity around the villa. We went to church with some of the locals on Sunday, at Santo Stefano a Calcinaia, a 13th century edifice that's another nice walk from the villa, and there were several other close-in sights that we wish we'd had more time to visit.
We'll be going back, though.
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- Also Known As:
- Florence House Rental - Villa I Cipressi & Villa Calcinaia Lastra a Signa, Italy