Here are some comments from previous guests. These are kept in their original language.
Most guests leave comments on intermediary sites, such as Trip Advisor [see here T.A. testimonials for the Casa Colonica and the Fienile] or VRBO/Home Away [see here reviews for the Casa Colonica and the Fienile], but for your convenience a recent selection is listed here below:
FIENILE (2017): Doesn’t get better than this! Sara warned us that the weather might be cool and rainy when we planned our visit in March, but it was clear and sunny and spring-like every day, the cherries and almonds were in bloom, and the crowds in Florence were much more manageable than in the summer. It’s so helpful to have hosts who are both Italians (with an intimate knowledge of local sights and customs) and Americans (no language barrier, and lots of insight into quirks and pitfalls of travelers.) The apartment (Fienile) is GORGEOUS, with every comfort from fluffy oversized towels to exceptional water pressure, indoor and outdoor spaces to enjoy and a big, well-stocked kitchen. Il Poggiolo sits atop a hill, with dramatic views of the surrounding vineyards and olive groves, a secluded getaway yet only a few minutes to the train station (with free parking) for a quick trip in to Florence. An hour in any direction by car gets you to someplace spectacular – Siena, Lucca, Pisa, Florence – or with a bit more driving, Deruta, the coast, or Bologna. It feels both like “the middle of nowhere” and “the middle of everything”. A week was much too short! Grazie tante, Sara ed Allan! (Guy P., Trip Advisor Review for a stay in March 2017)
CASA COLONICA (2016): Absolument Merveilleux. Nous avons réservé pour 1 semaine la CASA COLONICA chez Sara. L’accueil est formidable. Sara nous attendait avec impatience et nous a fait visité les lieux et la propriété. C’est un ensemble de maison perché sur une colline “toscane”. les maisons ont été entièrement restaurées en respectant totalement l’esprit toscan. La vue est absolument merveilleuse depuis la terrasse de la Casa Colonica sur la campagne Toscane. C’est très sauvage et au petit matin, nous avons vu des chevreuils et des sangliers se promenaient dans les champs. Sara est toujours présente pour nous guidée et nous aidée à gérer la maison ou nos visites et nous a conseillé sur plusieurs visites. Les enfants ont été enchantées car ils ont découverts la campagne et un paysage idyllique. la maison est très bien équipée et rien n’a manqué durant le séjour. Un seul défaut : nous n’avons pas pu emporté la maison dans les valises….. Merci Sara pour ta gentillesse, ton accueil, tes conseils et ton sourire. Promis nous reviendrons. (Vanessa from Bordeaux, Trip Advisor Review for a stay in Aug. 2016).
FIENILE (2016): Beautiful stay. Relaxing, but central to everything. Four of us stayed on this beautiful knob of a hill in a lovely converted barn (but really, I could see no evidence of barn). The home was quite comfortable, the kitchen very well stocked, and the hosts were our friends by trip’s end. The home is near the Prada Outlet if that’s your thing; near more remote hill towns; near the A1 for speeding to other areas; near grocery stores (you have to drive), and very near to nature. (Mary Anna, Trip Advisor Review for a stay in Oct. 2016)
CASA COLONICA (2016): Casa fantastica e attrezzata, paesaggio mozzafiato e infinita cortesia della proprietaria. La casa è immersa nel verde della Toscana. E’ molto grande ed è provvista di tutto il necessario!Non ci sono rumori ed è molto fresca. La cortesia dei proprietari ha aggiunto un tocco di benessere al nostro soggiorno. Bellissima casa coloniale, tenuta molto bene. Ci torneremo sicuramente! (Sara C. Trip Advisor Review for a stay in July 2016)
FIENILE (2016) : Super Tuscany felt like home. We enjoyed Beautiful views and a memorable stay at Il Poggiolo. We shared a few days here with our dear friends. We were very happy with our room and accommodations. We had a well-equipped kitchen, which we cooked in each night. Il Poggiolo is near Florence, Arezzo, Siena and many other day excursions. Our hosts, Sara and Allen, were so kind and thoughtful. We look forward to visiting again. (Trip Advisor Member, for a stay in October 2016)
CASA COLONICA (2016): Posto meraviglioso. Sono stata in questa struttura dal 20 al 28 luglio 2016 in quanto frequentavo la settimana intensiva della scuola di specializzazione in pedagogia clinica Isfar. L’alloggio era vicino alla sede di studio e raggiungibile in 10 minuti a piedi. Posto stupendo immerso nel verde, struttura pulitissima, ordinata, dotata di ogni comfort con una cucina ben attrezzata in ogni sua parte. Eravamo in 5 quattro adulti e una bambina, casa spaziosa con un arredamento di alto livello. Accoglienza e cordialità davvero speciali da parte della proprietaria. Posto consigliatissimo. (Silvia T., Trip Advisor Review for a stay in July 2016)
FIENILE (2016): A place to unwind and recharge with breathtaking views and extraordinary hospitality! I had the pleasure of spending a long weekend here in mid-July and by the end of the weekend I felt so recharged. Coming from a hectic work week here in Florence, the Fienile house was just what I needed. This home is located on a very beautiful piece of property. The house itself is a spacious 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home and the big kitchen has all the gear necessary to make some delicious meals. Personally, my favorite time was spent enjoying the evening view from the patio, watching the sunset while enjoying a cold glass of wine and some local goodies. There is beautiful su n room perfect for entertaining and a great place to chat while enjoying a spectacular view. Even in the heat of July, I was able to stay cool under the trees and the inside temperature was always nice. I got to sleep in the ground floor room and I was very comfortable, I loved the skylight in the room. I didn’t have to worry about mosquitoes while I slept, as there were screens on all the windows. Something that is not a common amenity here in Italy. Everything was so clean and comfy and all the kitchen items seemed brand new. I have a lot of allergies so I appreciated that everything was dust free and accommodating to those who are very sensitive to dust and harsh cleaning products. I enjoyed my time away from the overcrowded streets of Florence, walking around in nature and taking my time to soak up all the clean country air and Tuscan sun. There are many places around to hike and explore and the little town of Montevarchi can easily be reached by car. It’s a perfect to location between Florence and Sienna as well as the other small towns in the Chianti area. You can’t go wrong – this is an real gem run by wonderful people. So if you want to take a warm memory home from your travels – you’ll easily make many here! (Taylor Z. Trip Advisor Review for a stay in July 2016)
FIENILE (2016): Un posto da sognare e per sognare. Sono stata una settimana a luglio per motivi di studio (corso ISFAR) e devo dire che è la mia permanenza è stata piacevolissima: ero, con altre ragazze, vicinissima alla sede del corso; il fienile è spazioso, confortevole (cucina super attrezzata!), bagni nuovissimi, arredato con stile (luci soffuse, lampade, candele, colori ed elementi naturali), una biblioteca fornitissima di libri in italiano, inglese e francese, videoteca, la disponibilità al collegamento internet, e davvero molto pulito (biancheria profumata, morbida, avvolgente). Al mattino presto nel giardino si potevano vedere scoiattoli e alla sera caprioli. La sig.ra Sara, la proprietaria, è molto accogliente, simpatica, discreta… una persona con la quale scambiare piacevoli chiacchierate all’ombra di qualche albero secolare. Il prossimo anno ci tornerò per il corso ma spero anche con la mia famiglia ed amici! (Isabella, Trip Advisor Review for a stay in July 2016)
CASA COLONICA (2015): Bliss in Tuscany! My wife I enjoyed 5 glorious nights in the heart of Tuscany in August 2015. Some highlights for us: 1. The tomatoes, grapes, apples, peaches and pears were all in peak season 2. We were about an hour away from everywhere we wanted to go (Siena, Florence) but on a couple of the days we didn’t go anywhere – we just wanted to be quiet and relaxed 3. We ran all through the countryside on dirt roads, up to a tower, through vineyards, it was nothing short of magical 4. Sara and Allen were welcoming and incredible: a stocked kitchen awaited us, linens that smelled like they had been dried in a summer breeze, the house spotless 5. There was a great community library that we took advantage of in the house and a bunch of board games too 6. The local grocery store was huge and had fantastic selections so we didn’t eat out except for once during our 6 days – we chose to go “home” and eat there It was everything we hoped that Tuscany would be. Added bonus: even though it was high 30’s outside the house stayed cool and breezy without air conditioning. (JD from Austin, VRBO #207356 l. Date of Stay: Aug. 2015)
FIENILE (2015): Excellent base to explore Tuscany. My wife and I rented Fienile at il Poggiolo with our two grown boys. We also had an Italian cousin stay with us. The house was very roomy and especially the kitchen. It was stocked with everything we needed to cook and enjoy our meals, wine, etc.. It was a very welcome place to come “home” to after drives in the Chianti hills and visits to Florence. The train station in Montevarchi had free parking and it was only a few euros to Florence. Sara was wonderful and was very eager to share her knowledge of the area and assist us with anything we needed. There were some basic supplies when we arrived so we didn’t need to go to the store the evening we arrived. There is a wonderful supermarket in Montevarchi. Sara had two baskets filled with brochures and maps of various towns in the region, and there were some guide books as well in her nicely stocked library. We really appreciated having this resource. Late afternoons and evenings were beautiful and there were nice views of the surrounding hills and the sunset, and plenty of room to sit outside. We would love to return and highly recommend staying in the spacious Fienile at il Poggiolo. Thanks Sara for a wonderful and memorable stay and all your great hospitality!!! Peters family, St. Louis, Missouri. (Adrian P., Home Away # 202254, Date of stay: July 2015)
FIENILE (2015): The perfect place to stay in Tuscany. Sara and Alan’s beautiful villa made a wonderful home base as we toured Tuscany. It was the perfect size for my husband and I, and 3 adult children. The villa had lovely historic touches but with all the modern updates and was very well equipped. Sara’s welcome book includes everything that you could think of to make the visit go smoothly. And Sara, Alan and their daughter Kyra couldn’t have been nicer. Wish we could go back next year! (Marla R. Home Away # 202254. Date of stay: June 2015)
FIENILE (2015): Stunning location with knowledgeable hosts! My brother, sister and I stayed for four nights in Il Poggiolo. What a wonderful time! The guest house used to be the barn, and it’s all been beautifully renovated. Our hosts Sara and Alan are both professors – Sara of art history, and Alan of the history of food! They were so helpful in pointing out all of their favorite locations in Florence for us to visit. Il Poggiolo is in the middle of the most picturesque Tuscan countryside. Long, dirt roads lead through rolling olive and grape vineyards. One day, Sara dropped us off near Mercatale, a tiny town 15 minutes away. From there, we walked to a giant, medieval watchtower that stood tall and imposing from everywhere nearby. It was a gentle hike, under an hour, and had the most spectacular views of Tuscany. On the way back, we stopped in one of Mercatale’s three coffee shops and got a cappuccino for the walk home. I will never forget this trip, and If I ever go back to Tuscany, I will definitely stay at Il Poggiolo again! It was a home away from home. (Caitlin & Alec – Concord, Massachusetts, Reviewed on Trip Advisor, Date of stay: April 2015)
CASA COLONICA (2014): La dolce vita!!! Nous avons beaucoup apprécié l’accueil et le grand sens de l’hospitalité de Sara et Allan. Ce sont des hôtes disponibles et avec plein de petites attentions (beau panier d’accueil, invitation à un 5 à 7 à leur domicile et à se joindre à une fête de village). Nous avons trouvé fort intéressant d’échanger avec eux. Ils ont su nous faire partager leur passion de l’histoire et de la culture italienne. La Casa Colonica , où nous avons séjourné, est une vielle maison de campagne qui a été restaurée. Elle est spacieuse, bien entretenue et très confortable. La cuisine est particulièrement bien équipée. Elle est située entre les montagnes des Apennins et celles du Chianti. Le paysage extérieur est enchanteur. Les couchers de soleil sont superbes. En dépit de l’absence de climatisation, la maison reste fraîche l’été en raison de ses murs de pierres et du vent provenant des montagnes. Elle est située à proximité des régions de Sienne, Florence, Arezzo, Chianti… Toutefois, il faut savoir que les routes sinueuses rendent les temps de déplacement plus long notamment en suivant les indications des GPS. La gare de Montevarchi est une alternative intéressante et à proximité pour accéder aux principales villes. Aucun doute que les amateurs de la campagne Toscane y trouveront un lieu merveilleux de vacances. (Angela R., VRBO #207356. Date of Stay: July 2014)
FIENILE (2014) : Wonderful hilltop Villa in central Tuscany. Fabulous!! My wife and I enjoyed two weeks in this beautiful restored Villa. As an architect, I appreciate the respect shown for the original structure in the restoration and we enjoyed the modern conveniences of new bathrooms, windows, kitchen etc. all done with elegant taste. The furnishing was equally well done and complemented the Villa architecture as well as one can imagine. The Owners and managers are both history professors who have obviously put their passion into creating a wonderful facility. They maintain the building and the gardens in perfect condition. The listing is well done and gives a complete description of the facility – it is well furnished with all the little things one needs for an extended stay and it would be a perfect place for a family reunion. Located near the town of Montevarchi, it is centrally located within Tuscany so we were able to conveniently visit a different historic hill town each day: Bucine, Logo, Pienza, Cortona, Orvieto, Arezzo and Volterra all within a convenient drive. Yes, we highly recommend this rental and look forward to our next opportunity to visit Tuscany. (ROY L., Home Away # 202254. Date of stay: Sept. 2014)
CASA COLONICA (2014): Truly …. “la dolce vita”! Il Poggiolo is a wonderful old Italian villa situated on a hill-top over-looking the Arno valley and surrounding hills with scattered vineyards and olive groves. My daughter and I stayed there for a week, and one of our most enjoyable experiences was sitting in the garden at any time of day basking in the surrounding beauty and quietude. The rooms were spacious, with high ceilings, comfortable chairs and couches, and large, sturdy tables. On our arrival,our hostess Sara had provided a welcome basket containing pasta, fruit, and other snacks, as well as bouquets of beautiful fresh-cut flowers. There are 2 large bed-rooms on the 2nd floor, beautifully furnished and the beds equipped with smooth, extremely comfortable mattresses. The kitchen was well-stocked with utensils, utilities and ample counter-space, and was a pleasure to work in. Sara is warm, welcoming, friendly and extremely knowledgeable about Tuscany and has made numerous folders of suggested trips, places to visit, best routes to get there and good places to dine. I recommend Il Poggiolo most highly and plan to stay there on future visits to Tuscany. (Christina F. – Washington DC Trip Advisor October 2014, date of stay May 2014).
And here below are some particularly moving testimonials from the more distant past:
Il Poggiolo (Poem by Barry Hiscox, September 2008)
Alone, upon her private hill,
Il Poggiolo stands at will,
Her Tuscan family, free and easy;
Olive, Cypress, Sangiovese.
She seldom seems to be perturbed,
Whene’er her silence is disturbed,
By tell-tale wheel on gravel crunch
Of lodgers coming home for lunch.
The Grieco family has shown,
To all who come here, far from home,
That this is the only place to be,
If you want to visit Tuscany.
Sabine (de Paris, 2008)
Très chers Sara et Allen, de retour a la vie citadine, je dois vous remercier pour ce (toujours trop court) séjour a Poggiolo. Je me suis sentie régénérée après ces belles ballades entre oliviers et vignes: quel plaisir de passer d’un vallon a l’autre et de découvrir un étang …. une maison colonica ….quelques bosquets ….. décidément cette campagne toscane est un enchantement … j’adore cette lumière si particulière du petit matin, douce et dorée .. je m’attends toujours à voir surgir des anges dans les nuages bluettes!!!!!!!! et la vue sur les montagnes du Casentino…. j’espère une prochaine fois aller visiter l’abbaye de Vallombrosa si proche en voiture …..mais Poggiolo porte à une certaine et douce paresse …. A très bientôt j’espère, très amicalement.
Leonore und Peter aus der Schweiz (2007):
Zwei wunderschöne Wochen haben wir in dieser geschichtsträchtigen Gegend verbracht. Bei Sara und Allen wurden unsere Träume wahr. Das schöne alte Haus, mit viel Liebe eingerichtet, gab uns so richtig das Gefühl von romantischen Ferien und Entspannung. Spaziergänge durch die Weinberge der Umgebung und auch mal ein Bad im nahen kleinen See erfrischten uns an heissen Sommertagen. Wenn man dann vielleicht mal am Abend von den Gastgebern mit einem Glas Wein und Geschichten aus der Umgebung verwöhnt wird, schläft man unter dem klaren sternenbesäten Himmel wie im Paradies. Sara und Allen, wir danken Euch von Herzen für diese unvergesslichen Ferien.
Professors Diane and Ron Reichertz, McGill University, Montreal Canada (2006):
As we leave Tuscany we want to share some of our memories and impressions with others who might visit Il Poggiolo. Imagine a commodious half of very large casa colonica that welcomes you with flowers, the makings of a meal and a spacious kitchen as fully equipped as any North American home. But there is a big difference that constantly reminds you that you are in the hills of Tuscany. This lightsome house is filled with the richness of antiques against a background of arched windows and doors upstairs and down, all of which have views of treed hills, vineyards, olive groves and winding tiny roads. If you are on a writing mission your computer and other necessities are equally at home. If you are touring, you are within easy distance of endless sites of interest. Imagine that this house is up a country road and that it is surrounded by cypress trees and other beautiful vegetation through which you can see other colonicas spotted here and there across the hills. All this privacy and the vistas collaborate to create a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of the nearby tourist magnets such as Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Lucca and Pisa.
The two very knowledgeable owners of Il Poggiolo will point you in the direction of nearby villages – Montevarchi, San Giovanni, Bucine, Torre – all of which offer little-known beauty and most of which offer Italian staples and luxuries. If you are willing to travel a bit further there are half-day adventures to beautiful areas like the Vallombrosa, which is a forest, topped by a beautiful monastery. Loro Ciuffenna is a small medieval town built on a ravine with cascading water rushing through it. In the central piazza you can sit with a coffee and eat some of the best gelato in the world while listening to the many sounds of the river.
Another four minutes up the mountain and you are in an 11th century village called Gropina which is built around a 1000 year-old Romanesque Church. Here there are both aesthetic and everyday delights. After a short walk past the church you see a small cemetery from which can be seen the entire sweep of the Val D’Arno, full of medieval villages, vineyards and trees. Across from the church there is the tiny office of the Gropina wine cooperative, where you can buy excellent whites and reds (and extra virgin olive oil) at wholesale prices. Throughout the Val D’Arno there are fattorie, which sell their excellent wines from owner’s vineyards. All of these towns have hidden surprises such as houses where major artists were born (e.g. Massaccio in San Giovanni) and small churches with paintings that the government has returned to their sites. A brief talk with the owners (both professional historians) will acquaint you with special itineraries, such as the route that connects seven Romanesque churches.
After all this feasting on painting and architecture you then return to the wonderful house and its mixture of night sounds such as the hooting of owls, the singing of nightingales. Each morning the wonderful light of Tuscany is announced by a distant rooster’s praise of dawn. And all this doesn’t even constitute half of the area’s treats. Don’t just imagine Il Poggiolo. Experience it, as our family has over a period of 15 years. It has become a special place for all of us and remains in our minds as we go on about our University chores. We hope that you find it as special as we have.