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“Absolute gem in the Tuscan hills - amazing”
Review of Villa Pitiana

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Villa Pitiana
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Donnini
Certificate of Excellence
Bradenton, Florida
Level Contributor
304 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Absolute gem in the Tuscan hills - amazing”
Reviewed September 26, 2011

We stayed here for 2 days on our journey through Italy recently and it was the best accommodations that I think I have ever had or close to them. This place was, first of all, a historical gem with a story (it was a convent first, then a farm for a while), with wonderful service, good food (awesome breakfast for sure), great grounds and an amazing view. If you prefer the comfort of a Four Seasons room or luxury appointments everywhere, this place might dissapoint you a little. But, it was exactly what we were looking for. Beautiful scenery, peaceful, very attentive service and a very nice room (we were in a suite, which was a loft, with a spacious living room below).

Room Tip: Pick a suite, but don't have dinner at the hotel... too expensive and not worth it.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Mali_Urke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Pretoria, South Africa
Level Contributor
106 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2011

Recently went to Florence and decided to get out of the city. Villa Pitiana is a great break from the city. Spacious room, albeit that the loft area was a bit dark. Spacious grounds with a good 2KM walk. Make sure you have clear directions to Villa.

The pizza shop in nearby Donnini was GREAT !!!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jeets2804
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falkirk
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2011

My wife and I stayed here for four days at the end of June. We were originally booked in for a week, but were significantly disappointed and decided to leave early. We booked into Villa Pitiana because my wife had stayed there with her sister about 15 years ago and were looking for a nice place to relax for a week after a week of seeing the sights from a base near San Gimignano. On the positive side, the building and grounds are beautiful, and the views absolutely stunning (although the interior was not done up in nearly as grand a manner as when my wife visited 15 years previously). When we checked in we were upgraded to a suite (presumably because the place was almost deserted). While large, with fantastic views of the surrounding valleys and hills, the suite was very tired. It had a new bathroom (although there was no shower curtain, so the floor got wet when you took a shower in the bathtub) which did not match up at all with the rest of suite, which could have used a very superficial makeover to make it a much more pleasant and upmarket place to stay.

The staff, while nice enough for the most part, had a very lackadaisical attitude. They had just had a very busy time with a wedding (this would be a very impressive place to have a wedding) and seemed to be looking forward to an easier time for a bit. On the first day we went down to the pool, which is large but a little odd. While there is a very small, separate pool for kids to splash around, the main pool is very deep throughout its entire length. So it might be good for just swimming, but not really good for just relaxing in the water. Further, to get to the pool - which is surrounded by a hedge - you need to go through a narrow break in the hedge. There is a shower in the entrance (although many people didn't seem to realize it was a shower), which was a bit tired (and cold). More worryingly, however, there was a swarm of wasps which you needed to walk though to get to the pool. Not good. After going to the pool, we decided to have lunch, so wandered back up to the main building since there was a note saying that lunch was available at the bar. Nobody was at the bar, so we went to the front desk, where we were told that we could have a ham and cheese sandwich or a mozzarella and tomato sandwich. That's it - and they didn't seem to think this was strange.

This was indicative of the lack of amenities at the hotel. If you want a drink at a bar in the evening, you need to figure out that you need to go to the restaurant to ask somebody to come to the bar to serve you. And speaking of the restaurant, this was a very limited affair. There was no menu just outside the restaurant; rather, it was around the corner in the passageway to the elevator. The menu itself was very limited, with no daily specials. And it only changed every couple of weeks, so there was little choice. The food was not outstanding and expensive for what you got. Further, one of the waiters was very rude to us. We arrived at the restaurant at the time of our reservation. There was nobody there to greet us, so we sat down at a table next to a window. The waiter came out and told us that we could not sit there. We had to move. We could sit at any other open table – of which there were many – just not at that one. There was no reserved sign on the table. He did not explain why. Nor did he seem to understand that it was a problem that he had just embarrassed us by making us move tables. A few minutes later, another couple walked in and sat down at the original table. They were allowed to stay. I also had to return the beef that I had ordered because is was so chewy that the only way I could swallow it was in huge pieces. There is not much else nearby (except for a pizza place down the hill in the town, which we can recommend), so you will need to go fairly far afield to find anything else to eat. None of this is what one would expect from a 4 star hotel. You expect to be able to spend some time relaxing at the hotel - at least we did - with access to enough amenities to respond to your needs for food and drink. It just doesn't exist.

The hotel is relatively handy for the train to Florence - it is a 15 minute drive to the train station, and only a half an hour or so on the train into Florence. You need to get to the station relatively early to get a parking place. We were surprised that the hotel did not have a shuttle to the station - and they didn't tell us about taxi possibilities. Since we had a car, this was not too big of a problem, although it did mean that as driver I couldn't have wine with my dinner in Florence (not a deal breaker, but would have been nice…). Still, this is exactly the kind of service a hotel like this should provide. It is also near some nice places in the mountains. But, do not go to Villa Pitiana expecting to just be able to relax for a week - there is just not enough there to facilitate that.

When we asked at the reception about leaving early - we had booked for a week - the person said she needed to talk with her boss, although she didn't seem to understand why we were unhappy. She focused in on the lack of lunch options. Although that was one thing, it was indicative of a much bigger problem with the hotel. She also asked us to write down exactly why we were unhappy so she could give that to the manager - which was rather insulting. Why couldn't she just relate what we had told her - it was not complicated. In the end, they were OK with us leaving, although it took a while to get an answer - and we ended up staying a night longer than we wanted because of this.

In sum, this is a beautiful building in a beautiful setting, which has not been maintained properly (the finishing in our suite was very haphazard) and which is very let down by the overall level of amenities and service. It is more than faded grandeur - it is neglected grandeur. We found out that the owner has opened a new fancy holiday village down the hill. There was somebody at the hotel trying to sell shares in the apartments. It looked very nice from the pictures, but it helped us understand what had happened to Villa Pitiana. The owner is obviously putting all of his resources into his new venture and trading on the reputation of Villa Pitiana while letting it go downhill. Very sad. We won't be going back.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank CairoToCapetown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2011

Villa Pitiana is the sort of majestic setting you see in romantic chick-flicks.

It’s a mansion (we called it a castle) from hundreds and hundreds of years ago tucked away in the hills. There are old, faded art pieces on the walls and artefacts in the rooms and hallways. My wife and I honeymooned there for 4 nights and we kept commenting that of all the places we visited in Tuscanny, the view from our balcony (room 6 on the second floor) was the best we saw. Our stay was spectacular.

What I think truly sets Villa Pitiana apart is that they have maintained the feel and spirit of the castle as it was hundreds of years ago. Yet, have modernized the things important to a 21st century traveller – like the bathroom. There was also an airconditioner which cooled our room right down.

The place is dark and the high ceilings do make you feel like you are in an old castle. We loved this aspect as it adds to the character. Beware that the couch in our room was dated and uncomfortable. For some more spoiled travelers it may give you the impression that this means the place is old and shabby. Remember, this isn’t a modern, American style 5-star resort.

Other big benefits are the front desk staff. They are extremely helpful, especially Claudia. She had time for everyone and was patient with our many questions.

There is a train station a mere 3 km away, and it takes you to Florence in only 30 minutes. The tiny town of Donnini – 2 km away - has a tasty family run Pizzeria which we enjoyed too. You don’t really need to leave the Villa though. The food in the dining room is pricey, but delicious. We had a rabbit dish one night as part of our 4 course meal.

One flag is that the castle is remote, so the only GPS which finds its specific location is the TomTom brand. The others get you close, just not quite there. There are signs in Donnini though.

We didn’t see every room and staff told us that room 6 – a two-level suite – is the best in the place.

If you and your partner are looking for a rural experience in an old Tuscan castle surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, this place is a true gem.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank adamnat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2011

Am back from Europe and loved every moment. The Villa Pitiana is a dream. Could not believe this place and my room was spectacular with the best view. I am infact going back to have my wedding there next year and we are very much looking forward to it.

This is a 13th Century Villa so if you are expecting plasma tv's and new furniture this is not the place for you. It's old, its rustic and charming and unfortunately you are in the Mediterranean so scorpions do live there but I didn't see any.

I don't know how I found this gold mine but the place, the food, the people, the climate were all amazing.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Karen037
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VPitiana, Direttore at Villa Pitiana, responded to this review, July 29, 2011
Dear Karen 037,
thank you very much, is really important for us to read your comment, and it makes us really happy to have been able to give you such a good service.
Thanks again and kind regards.
VILLA PITIANA
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2011

When my husband and I looked for a romantic holiday we Immediately thought Tuscany can be the perfect place (and it was) so we search for somewhere nice (as you do) and we came across Villa Pitania, the pictures gave us the impression that this place must be really nice and we went ahead and book a week in the Villa. When we got there we had to wait for good 15 minute before greeting by someone but that wasn’t a big deal, then we directed to our room which was out side the Villa, the view was very nice and the room seem ok but nothing special, the TV was very small, the shower was too small you couldn’t move init! The out side of the room was full of weeds and really not nice! We had metal table and chairs to sit on which were broken, also there was no light out side at all so we had to guess where we going! But that not all!

We then had 4 scorpions (yellow & black) in our room and when we told the receptionist about it, she said: ‘its ok, it won’t kill you!’ not an answer you wish for, believe me scorpions are very dangers!!!

After 4 sleepless nights and 4 scorpions in our room I had enough and has decided to complain and only then we moved room which was nicer but again nothing special to my opinion, the furnishing were cheep and in the bathroom you only get small soap and a shampoo! You defiantly don’t get much for what you paying for.

If you travel with kids please be aware there is nothing there for them to do! there is a small pool but its full of wasps & bees and if you have a problem then you have no one to talk to as there is no general manger in the place and also be aware of the man that try to sell you time shares! He won’t leave you alone!

So how would I like to visit this place again? NEVER! By the way, if you thinking of getting married there, please don’t! You waste your money. by the way, i have not seen a cleaner in the buliding for the whole week!!!! when the housekeeper cleaned our room she only changed the towels and that all. very poor.

The chef however, making a very nice food! and some of the staff are quite friendly.

Sorry but this is our experience and we have travelled quite a bit to know the different between good, excellent or bad, that was bad!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Nati07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VPitiana, Direttore at Villa Pitiana, responded to this review, July 29, 2011
Dear Nati07,
first of all we want to thank you to give us this opportunity to give a detailed answer to a so much detailed comment.
Unfortunately we don’t know exactly when you’ve been our guest and when, and that’s make difficult for us to understand exactly what are we talking about.
You know that our structure is composed by three buildings, the main Villa, the Garden House and the Locanda Chiassaia (a Farm House). Depending on which product you did book, there’s a difference in price, and in quality as well. There are also self caterer apartment, where just final cleanings are included.
The furniture, generally speaking, is quite rustic, this is to be in harmony with the location of the Villa, which is definetly countryside. The garden is pretty well kept, it can happen to find a weed somewhere, they grow up in a nothing, and sometimes, even if you cut them out a day, it’s not a guarantee that they won’t grow up again in a few hours, expecially in this season – Italian weather!

Sorry for the scorpions having worried you, in fact they are quite normal in the countryside in Italy, but you were told right, they are not more dangerous than a bee, at least not in Italy, and we can’t kill animals that don’t represent any danger without reason, would you?

Coming to children activities, this is an hotel, not a family resort, and we have no animation for children, but we never said or wrote the contrary. The pool is generally very welcome from our younger guests, and we have table tennis for free at disposal for anybody who asks for it. As everybody in Italy we love children, and they feel very welcome every moment, they walk around the hotel and the garden feeling at home, they come at the reception desk to help themselves with cards, rackets, balls, and whatever they need. They look at their ease, and we are glad of it.

We offer an already good housekeeping service, they cleaned the room of our guests every day, and that’s for sure, you can easily see them around the hotel during the day.

About the weddings, what we would like to recommend you is to read the comments about our weddings, also on our page on FB, you’ll be surprised by how many of them are really good. Probably the location, which is particular with this beautiful and unique view on the hills, or the garden, with its unique arboretum with secular trees coming from all around the world, or our meeting and restaurant rooms, handly decorated and furnished with ancient wooden furnitures, or our medieval cloister, where wedding ceremony are celebrated in a suggestive atmosphere, makes this hotel the ideal location to have an unforgettable Big Day.

Finally, our General Manager is in the hotel from early morning to late evening in order to assist everybody who requires his presence, if you have had asked the reception, he would have met you in a snap.

However, we would like to thank you again to give us the opportunity to check every corner of the hotel to verify every single point you highlited in your comment, and to drive ourselseves towards an even better service and care of our guests.

Thanks again and kind regards.
VILLA PITIANA
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed June 26, 2011

This was the part of our 2-week vacation in Italy that we were looking forward to the most, but was the biggest disappointment!

Shabby pretty much sizes it up. There were drapes in hallways taken down with the rods left up and places where pictures and other ornaments were removed from walls and the picture hangers left up. The main room had old, dirty 60s-looking furniture that looked so out of place. Our room faced the parking lot and driveway. It wasn't very clean and the furniture was shabby. The bathroom was clean but hot water lasted only a couple of minutes!

Outside, the pool area was unkempt. Granted it was early October when we were there, but it was beautiful weather to stroll the grounds and the pool area should at least have been swept. There was a broken wine glass on the steps outside from the time we got there until the time we left, two days later.

The views are spectacular and the building itself is beautiful. This place could be unbelievable if if were spruced up, cleaned up and maintained properly!!!


The food was fair.

The

  • Stayed October 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Travelhelp4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villa Pitiana

Property: Villa Pitiana
Address: Via Provinciale Tosi 7, 50066 Donnini, Italy
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Florence > Donnini
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Donnini
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Villa Pitiana 4*
Number of rooms: 59
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated at 430m above sea level; surrounded by olive groves of Valdarno & centuries-old trees of the Vallombrosa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villa Pitiana Hotel Donnini
Pitiana Hotel Donnini
Villa Pitiana Donnini, Italy - Tuscany

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