We collect reviews directly from our clients via email and publish them here. We hope you enjoy reading through them as much as we do, they are a paper trail of happy memories - and good tips!
From R.N. and family, UK, guests August 2019
“ We first visited Casa dei Fichi three years ago and knew then that we would return. Going back we were a bit apprehensive that maybe the memories of the previous time there would not be repeated but the minute we drove around the bend in the driveway and the house appeared I knew we needn’t have worried. Knowing the locale from last time we knew how to get to the house which wasn’t necessarily the case case first time round (careful not to end up driving down the wrong street and ending up into middle of the old town when you are not supposed to!) Also we knew the local big Coop in Venturina and with the flight into Pisa getting in at 12.30 by the time we had made to Campiglia Marittima we had time to nip there to stock up with our first shop before heading to the house for check-in at 17.00. We also had time for a quick drink in the beautiful town square (great ice creams for the kids at the Bacco Bar) and book a table at La Tavernetta for our first evening (Saturdays it gets a bit busy in the square so worth securing a table outside.) The dirt road up to the house had been a bit of a challenge the last time but I am glad to report it has been upgraded to an extent and now is no real issue at all. Tuning off the track onto the drive way of the house with the line of cypress trees never fails to bring a lump to your throat as the view and house appears after 400m or so. Whoever cleans the house between guests does an amazing job as the house was immaculate . The kitchen is fully stocked with every tool and could possibly need. The pantry full of essentials and plenty of fridge space. Books, toys, electronics a plenty to keep everyone occupied. A big stock of seasoned olive wood for the bbq and the pizza oven that are just great for making very special lunches and evening meals sitting on the patio or under the loggia watching the sunset. The pool is just perfect. Not heated but never cold and really fresh being fed by the houses well. The beds were all made up, plenty of extra linen and towels in the store cupboard and big silent fans in the ceiling of each room meaning not once were we uncomfortable sleeping despite the 30+ daytime temperatures. The week was made up of breakfasts on the terrace, swimming in the pool, pasta and pizza dough making for long lunches, afternoon walks, bbq evening meals or strolling 20 minutes down the hill into town for exploring, drinks and great food in the larger than expected choices of restaurants hidden away down little side alleys off the main square. The walks back up the hill in the dark was always a great source of excitement. Coming across families of wild boar, hiding and jumping out to scare the kids in the dark and telling scary stories makes the walk back and the steep slope fly by. Last time we did days out to Lucca, Pisa and Sienna so didn’t need to repeat these (although certainly worth it and all less than an hour and a half away). This time we took a day out and visited Volterra and San Grimignano as well as a trip to find some wild swimming on the river Celina (check out the book Wild Swimming in Italy). An afternoon at the beach along from Piombino after a lovely lunch at Restorante Canessa in Baratti was great too. All in not just a repeat of a previous holiday but perfect week made all the better by feeling you were back home to an extent. Bring on next time! As a foot note, I think it is worth describing how we got there. I love a road trip but that’s not best with two young kids. As such I set of in the car and met the family at Pisa airport a few days later. We still needed to hire a car as there were six of us in total but it did mean the Easy Jet flights could be done with no luggage and the family car loaded to the gunnels with more than you would every look to take on a plane. Hiring a 5+2 sear car (think Ford SMax, Renault Grand Scenic or Nissan Quasqui+) meant we could still travel around for the week in one car whilst the familiar car was left parked up. The first time I did a direct route via the Mont Blance tunnel and a stop at Vercelli between Turin and Milan for a day and a half 900mile trip to Pisa. Back was a repeat with the over night in Dijon France. Easily doable but not the most fun. This time I added a day to the trip south and after a day getting to Grenoble drove the Route Napoleon down to Nice and then a night in a seaside town 30miles from Genoa for a quick dash to Pisa the next morning. Much more fun! One thing to note is that since the collapse of the bridge in the middle of Genoa a year or so ago, getting through there is daunting. That Saturday morning there had been an accident on the detour route causing chaos. I did however follow the Waze app which took me off the signed route and through the middle of Genoa missing the whole problem and only 15 mins extra drive time. Well worth putting your faith in Waze! On the way back I did the same as last time but instead of the cost and waiting at the Mont Blanc tunnel I crossed the alps by the Mont Cenis pass. Again more fun and didn’t actually add much more time or distance. Thanks for making the family holiday perfect. It won’t be long before we are back.
From M&J P. from New Zealand, guests July 2019
“ We are just back from a very enjoyable 5 week European holiday, which included 2 weeks staying at Villa Castelonchio, Tuoro Sul Trasimeno, in Umbria. Our stay at Villa Castelonchio was the highlight of our trip and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. Barry and Karen where the perfect hosts and couldn’t have been more helpful and friendly. Their input on what to see and do in the area was fantastic, the only downside was that on the first night they introduced us to……Aperol Spritzer which we have developed a real taste for and now stock the ingredients ready for the coming summer in New Zealand and also sent us to their favourite local restaurant where the Pizza is superb and we will be hard-pressed to find anything close to in NZ. The villa was everything that your website said it would be and we couldn’t have been happier. The fact that it had a full kitchen was a godsend for us as we like to prepare our own meals for some of the time we are away. It was well appointed and the 2 level layout meant that the other couple we had staying with us for some of the time could have their own space. The villa’s location just a couple of minutes out of the Village meant that it was lovely and peaceful in a rural setting surrounded by olive groves and being just over the Tuscan/Umbria border meant that all the amazing tourist destinations were a short drive away, or as we did on a couple of occasions, a short train journey from the local station. Barry and Karen keep the place immaculate and between the Aperol Spritzers, the Pizza and the swimming pool we didn’t want to leave. We would have no hesitation in recommending Villa Castelonchio to anyone wishing to have a superb holiday in this location.
From S.W. and family, guests July 2019
“ We just wanted to send a special thank you again for all you did to make our stay at Villa Pietrina so very special. From the thoughtful gluten-free entries/lactose-free entries of the welcome basket, the beautifully prepared premises, the fun local tour to the Etruscan chapel and to see local frescoes, and the chef-catered dinner, and of course—the CAKE!—so much thoughtful work by you was put into our week in Tuscany! Sean and Owen loved their bike ride! We voted the chef-prepared dinner Best of the Week! And that is saying a lot given the beautiful Tuscan food. The moments we spent as a family at the villa will be a special part of our memories for a lifetime!
From A.A and family , guests June 2019
“ The villa was perfect: the best pool we’ve ever had, beautiful views from the terrace and the host Martina provided many extra touches which made our stay very comfortable. We would highly recommend this property. The only negative side was the extremely hard beds. Dan says: "Thank you, Andrea, I'm delighted you enjoyed it. I'll check the beds next time I'm over - we always sit on them, usually checking if they're too soft but clearly also a problem if they're too hard. "
From Sarah R-S and family, guests June 2019
“ A really enjoyable stay La Piazza Restaurant was better than ever Also the Trattoria at the top of the lane takes some beating.