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“Toscana Personified”

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Agriturismo Cretaiole di Luciano Moricciani
Ranked #3 of 62 Specialty Lodging in Pienza
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 25, 2008

My wife and I just returned from two weeks at Agriturismo Cretaiole. It was not enough. Picking Cretaiole as our home in Italy for the short time we were there was the absolute right decision for us. All the rave reviews you read here are only a glimmer of what Cretaiole is about and what it means to be there, making friends and sharing experiences with the other guests, all under the attentive care of the Moricciani family.

The Val D'Orcia is one of the most beautiful, most photographed areas in all of Italy. The landscapes are fantastic, the towns and villages are enchanting, and the people are warm and open with their hospitality. Cretaiole is all of that, perched on a hill between Pienza and San Quirico D'Orcia with fantastic views in practically every direction. The house is lovely, with its apartments well appointed and maintained. The grounds are immaculate, surrounded by olive groves, woods and fields below.

The activities available, planned and arranged on a weekly basis by Isabella, some at no additional cost, some at a very (very) reasonable cost, were perfect for us - whether it was touring a working farm and eating a Tuscan lunch with the workers there, visiting a small winery near Montalcino and eating a Tuscan lunch with the family there, or learning to make pici (I love to cook) and sharing a meal with all the guests of Cretaiole and all (almost) of the Moriccianis - Carlo, Isabella, Nico, and Lucciano. Lots of warm memories (along with all the great food and wine).

Cretaiole is a tranquil, real place. The Moriccianis are passionate, real people. If you want to know Toscana, meet her people, and see what makes this such a beautiful place, Cretaiole is the place to come and immerse yourself. We can't say enough good things about it. We will be back! And soon!

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank littletinperson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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359 - 365 of 405 reviews

Reviewed April 25, 2008

My husband and I stayed at Cretaiole with dear friends. The apartment we shared was perfect - comfortable, cozy, working kitchen where we cooked some meals. Spring in Tuscany is spectacular - cool evenings, warm days. We spent our days in the surrounding areas, exploring small walled cities, tasting local culinary treats, and hiking. Isabella was a wonderful hostess - helping to arrange interesting outings (including a tour and spectacular meal at a near-by organic farm) and even teaching us one evening how to make pici pasta. Our entire stay was perfect!

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled with friends
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1  Thank USADeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2008

This agriturismo is a cut above the rest and seems more sincere than others we got a look at. First, it is perched on a hill overlooking low valleys in three directions. In the valleys are the fields owned or farmed by the family. Pheasants crow, deer dart about, birds are everywhere and the sunrises and sunsets are absolutely picturesque. There is expansive lawn and the accommodation is a couple of hundred metres from the road so there is no traffic disturbance at all. Up the rise of the hill from the valley is Pienza (about 4 kms away) and the surrounding towns and fields.

There is an extensive vegetable garden which, when we were there, was full of ripe tomatoes, eggplants, melons, zuccini, carrots, lettuce and tons of herbs. All were available at no cost, simply for the picking.

There is no pool (the family believes deeply in this). There isn't an on site manager or maid but family members visit frequently. There is plenty of parking at a good distance from the building and room for bikes.

The family is pivotal to the success of Cretaiole. They have a solid week of activities available, many without additional cost, which you can engage in or not. These include pasta making, sampling of their fine oil and wines, visits to some Etruscan ruins, a Monastery and so on. There is plenty of advice about the area's cheese and all its other treasures including several stunning hotsprings. The family knows that you may want a lot or a little of them and they are sensitive to that!

The accommodation is very good. The rooms are spacious but not particularly bright. The main building, which is hundreds of years old, was completely rebuilt and beautifully so. It is very solid as is the furniture. The bathrooms are nicely done. The kitchens are very completely outfitted. You may feel that the weekly maid service could be slightly more frequent, if only to assure that the great accommodations remain in good shape.

Cretaiole is not for everyone. It is the perfect comfortable farm base-camp. It is ideal as an entry into a real Italian family's working farm life at the high end. It would not be for those looking for finer creature comforts at every turn. But it can't be beat for hospitality and genuine care in at least four languages. We're very glad it formed a week of our vacation.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled with friends
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2  Thank squash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2008

We traveled many places in Italy on our 16 day adventure and this was by far our favorite.
This wonderful family farmhouse was relaxing, friendly and offered many activities for the whole family. Our accommodations were very comfortable and we made friends with the other guest who were staying there at that time.
The Maricciani Family opened their home and traditions to us and made us feel like part of the family. We were lucky enough to be there during their olive pressing and got to sample the absolute freshest olive oil you will ever taste. We were not there for the pasta making night, when all the guest cook something and bring it to a community table but I heard it was fun. Oh, they also have a garden from which you can pick vegetables while visiting.
The small town of Pienza also has the best picorino cheese that you can smell from outside as you walk by the local markets.
We will definately spend more time at Cretaiole the next time we visit, 3 days just wasn't enough time to absorb all the local beauty.

1  Thank firecrkr52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2008

Without a doubt the highlight of our trip. Cretaiole is spectacular.
My husband and I forever will feel like a part of the family. The Agriturismo is located just outside of Pienza. Easy to locate. The arrangements for our stay were made with Isabella who speaks and writes wonderful English. At the time of our trip Isabella was days away from the birth of her new son and so we were met by Luciano who spoke little English and we spoke little Italian but things went great. We were showed to our apartment and all matters were discussed, how to turn on the heat, the stove etc... Luciano left us for the night with a bottle of wine and it was great. The apartment was clean and beautiful, fully functional with everything needed.
One of the best things was finding the leather binders on the chest of drawers with complete listings and itineraries of outings in the area. The family shop is full of awesome treats such as home made sausage, cheese, wine and grappa Oh yeah olive oil too. There is also a hermitage that is for the guests of the house. If you get a chance to tour it please do you won't be disappointed.
The best way to say this simply is, if you can stay here you should it is a little bit of heaven on earth.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank chb58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2008

My week at Cretaiole, in the Toscana (Tuscany) region, near Pienza was one of the most magical weeks I've ever had. You see a place on tv, and you read about it in books, but until you really get there, and see the sites, eat the food, smell the smells, and meet the people, you don’t really know what the area is about I had done all the research before going to Italy. Now, having gone, I know I picked the best place in all of, not only in Tuscany, but in the Val D'Orcia region, in choosing Cretaiole.

Agriturismo Cretaiole, though it was the first agriturismo in the region, is not nearly as well known as some of the others. It's a beautiful old farm house, perched on a hill and
nestled by olive trees, and cedars. If you stop to look out the back, you will have some of the most marvelous views of mountains and fields. Isabella and her family, Carlo, Luciano, and Lilliana, have created a warm, welcoming venue, and the apartments are marvelous. You will arrive and immediately feel like you are part of an extended family. At no time will you ever feel like a guest who has stayed too long, or that you are bothersome. And Isabella stops by daily to check on you and helps you with your plans for the day.

Cretaiole is a fantastic location to relax and sit outside and read, or nap, either in your room, in the hammock, or on very comfortable lawn furniture. Or, you can do as I did, and travel to many wonderful, rustic and interesting (and some a bit spooky) towns, mostly less than an hours drive. Isabella has created a several hundred page travel guide with a copy for each room. It has descriptions of all the local towns, their history, interesting things to see, and fantastic places to eat. To take it one step further...they have created day trip itineraries solely for your use. You are not only allowed, but encouraged to take the books with you. Just choose one of the itineraries, follow the detailed directions and you'll find yourself whisked away to old, authentic Italy. Places that haven't been changed in hundreds of years, where the people still work the land and celebrate life the same way their parents and grand parents did. Then there are the times to put away the maps and itineraries, and explore. The region around the Val D’Orcia is filled with gravel roads. Where do they go? I don’t know, and you won’t know till you take one, but take one. Driving down a gravel road, dust flying behind you, wondering who and what you will find at the next turn is a fabulous adventure. I did it several times and happened upon people and small hamlets that aren’t on any map, but held such charm and beauty it was well worth the chancing.

Isabella and Carlo have also setup a list of possible event where you can learn and do things without having to travel far outside of Cretaiole at all. There is the Uccelliera Vineyard in Castlenuovo Dell'Abate to visit (fantastic Nobile and Brunello - never had them before, Brunello is now my favorite wine). The local olive press where you can view, learn and taste how fresh olive oil is made (and how different fresh is from what we get in the U.S). There is much more, one of my favorites is the Hermitage tour. This is on land the Moricciani own. Isabella will walk you through the tour and explain the Etruscan history and religious symbolisms of the place. Additionally, there is the weekly pici class, where you are instructed on how to make pici, a regional dish done only in the Val D’Orcia, is something that should not be missed. You will learn the history of pici during the class – which is fantastically fun, and you will finish with a gastronomic delight of pici, sausages, bread, wine, cheeses, fruit, grappa, vin santo. It’s a time where everyone gets together for a feast and sharing of stories, friendship, laughter, and food, a perfect end to your time at Cretaiole.

During all of these adventures, whether driving someplace, or taking part of the pici making class, you will start to realize the wonder of the land and it's people. I was in awe, not only of the land, the activities, the food, the countryside and they cities, but even more by the passion Isabella, Carlos, Luciano, and Lilliana have towards Cretaiole and the Val D'Orcia.

When it was time to leave, I had some tears in my eyes. These people poured out their love and passions freely to me. I felt like I was leaving a very dear friend I might not see
again for a while. But as sad as that was, I knew I was better. My heart, mind, and soul where all refreshed and lightened beyond what I ever imagined a vacation could do. And my outlook on the world and my own life was changed forever.

I'm not sure exactly what Val D'Orcia means in English and it's not important, but I think it should translate to Valley of Life. I believe, Agriturismo Cretaiole and the Val
D'Orcia and all the people there, are truly the heart of Italy, not the tourist heart, but the real heartbeat, the hands in the dirt, raising families, loving each other, and loving their friends, real live heartbeat of Italy. And while you are there...you will get caught up in that heartbeat and never want to leave.

But, once you are gone, all you’ll have to do is just close your eyes, and breathe and think back and you’ll feel your heart beating in time with Val D'Orcia and find yourself transported back to Cretaiole and suddenly you'll feel a warmness in your chest and a wide smile on your face. Agriturismo Cretaiole and the Val D’Orcia, they are a place and a people you won't forget and will want to see many times more.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled solo
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2  Thank etrain55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2007

Our family stayed at Cretaiole for a week in September 2007 and absolutely loved it. The property, the thoughtfully appointed rooms, the views, the close proximity to various hill towns and the excellent hospitality made it one of the highlights of the trip. We were travelling with our six month old baby and it was perfect - they had a crib, highchair and baby bath all set our for us when we got there. At night, the baby could sleep with us just outside her door drinking a glass of the wine produced at the farm, eating fresh veggies out of the garden and staring at the postcard-perfect view. You couldn't make it up. Highly recommended for families and anyone who wants a great home base for exploring Tuscan hill towns including Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano and Siena.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled with family
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1  Thank VancouverGirl45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Agriturismo Cretaiole di Luciano Moricciani

Address: Strada Statale 146, Km 4.5, 53026, Pienza, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Siena > Pienza
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 62 Specialty Lodging in Pienza
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Agriturismo Cretaiole, a restored medieval Tuscan farmhouse, with panoramic vistas, has apartments to accommodate groups from 2-7 people. Come and embrace the enduring spirit of Tuscany! Weekly rates include authentic Italian experiences, such as a pasta-making class and Tuscan dinner. Located between Pienza and Montalcino, in the heart of the Val d'Orcia UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cretaiole is as delightful for adult travelers as it is for families. Assistance available in English, French, German. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Agriturismo Cretaiole Di Luciano Moricciani Hotel Pienza

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