Last year, I spent hours/days/weeks/ looking over places to rent in Tuscany, for my friends and myself. I wanted each of us to have a bedroom and a bathroom- I was not able to find a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom villa, but I kept coming back to this location. I sent an email, almost a year ago, to Mr. Bertini, asking him all sorts of questions. Do you have a safe? Do you have a shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom?. Each time the answer was , "No, but I can put one in before you arrive". Neither item was a big worry, but Mr. Bertini was so kind and accommodating, that I decided instead of 2 weeks we would rent his villa for 3 weeks. Finally, the day arrived when we left Rome and came to Lastra a Signa. Mr. Bertini had given us great instructions as to how to take the train, and he met us at the station. He helped us with our bags, drove us to the villa, showed us how to use the house, then left us. He also offered to take us to the store the next day or to call the taxi for us. Totally not necessary,but completely kind.
When you rent a place, based on pictures from the internet, you never know if the pictures are shown at an angle, making the house look bigger, better, and when you get there, you could be disappointed. Here, the opposite was true. Each room was bigger than it appeared on-line, and so much prettier. There is something to look at every turn. It is so tastefully decorated, but also very cosy. The garden is wonderful, the views, what can I say? The views are spectacular! Each room was a treat to go into, the beds comfortable, clean, and the neighbors, owners of the nearby little store (a lovely non-English speaking couple), and the village, the people are so kind. Didn't speak much English but we made it work with our little Italian and lots of gestures. There is a great produce store in town, and other shopping. It was fun trying to communicate because they were so accepting and willing to work with us. Our first full day, one friend and I walked down towards the train station, saw a gentleman (who spoke no English) working in his garden. We stopped, and watched what he was doing. He came over, showed us- he had artichokes, showed us how to cut them, then all of a sudden, he cut several off, put them in a bag and gave them to us. We tried to pay him but he refused- needless to say that made a delicious dinner that night. This entire transaction took place without any english but a lot of gesturing, smiles and definitely kindness.
I cannot express how much we appreciated Mr. Bertini, our host and his kindness towards us while we were there. There was a cold snap and we were very cold in the house, we called him and he came over, showed us how to turn on the heat, explained the cost, and made us nice and cozy. Now that we know there is heat, we are very interested in coming back in the winter and enjoying the area and the villa. We had some issues, I lost my phone, tried to get another one sent over to me (didn't work, it is still over there in limbo). The entire time, we felt like we had a friend with Mr. Bertini, but of course, he is now our friend, Andrea, who generously offered to stay at the villa so we could go sight see, and wait for my phone. He spent hours calling FedEx on my behalf, even after I left, and then finally went down to their office and spoke with them, AFTER I LEFT AND WAS NO LONGER A GUEST!! So, while the house itself is spectacular, the host is even better. I cannot recommend this place enough- I have already sent pictures to two different friends and recommended it to an Australian couple we met on a tour in Venice. The physical place is so wonderful-the pictures don't do it justice, but..............the people are what truly make this a remarkable vacation. We will definitely be coming back, I think we all have a little crush on the owner, but at least, we all are friends now.