My list of dream holiday places is long like a China wall and I’m still adding new positions to it. Renting a summer house in Tuscany, was one of them for a long time. And I could not be happier when we finally rented one last summer!
Oh well, calling it a summer house is a big understatement. This 100 year old villa, called Podere dei Venti, is something that we all search for in Tuscany – an authentic Tuscan style of living. The whole estate is overlooking Amiata Mountain and offers spectacular panorama of the area. When I saw it with my own eyes for the very first time, I had to literally pinch myself. Is this place even real? It is, so save this address and thank me later ;)
Renting a house in Tuscany – few tips
One may ask what is challenging in renting a villa in Tuscany. You open the internet, find a villa and book it. Well, whoever thinks this way surely have never tried to rent a villa in Tuscany. So few things:
Why it’s so expensive?
First, yes the internet is full of websites offering tuscan villas for rent. All with eye-catching pictures of stunning properties. The issue is the commission. Basically every nice summer house for rent I found was really expensive. It is not a secret that real estate brokers take significant commissions, therefore the cost of the villa offered through these kind of channels can be doubled or even tripled. That makes the whole holiday experience expensive, even if you share the cost with your friends or family.
The game changer is to find the owner of the villa and book it directly. What means without any broker. What means without commission. To connect directly with properties’ owners I have my own tricks. I collect contacts from my friends who visited a nice place and I know, I would like that place too. While travelling, I ask waiters in restaurants or bars if they know someone who is renting a nice summer house in the specific area. In the tourism focused regions everyone knows someone that they can recommend to you. Basically, I do the whole research myself and do not rely only on what internet pages offer me. Not so simple but this effort pays off.
Why everything seem to be booked?
Secondly, if the place is nice and the price is more or less affordable, there are zero chances you can book it last minute. As simple as that. All nice places, not only in Italy, are booked way before. In case of summer house rental, when families with kids are limited to vacation months of July and August, you need to be really fast and plan ahead to book something for high season. Also, many people when leaving the place is already booking it for next summer. What makes it even harder to find a free slot if you are not a returning customer. What is my advice? Be fast and if you like something, try to book it as early as possible. Even a year ahead. Yes, you heard it right, a year ahead. You may think it’s too early for planning but when it comes to planning holidays, some chances appear only for those, that are fast in making decisions and can plan early.
Podere dei Venti Villa and what it offers
The property we rented in Tuscany is called Podere dei Venti, and gives the feeling that you arrived to your own, Tuscan summer house. No “hotel feels like” impression. The Villa itself is a perfect summer gate away and has this Tuscan vibe that I absolutely love. The building is around 100 years old and still in mint condition. It was fully restored few years ago and well maintained over years. I was really amazed how carefully the interior is decorated with beautiful, vintage pieces. Every room, every corner, every shelve is filled with either some art or vintage treasures sourced locally.
The villa has two connected floors, each with its own entrance what makes it possible to rent them separately. It can accommodate up to 12 adults and baby crib is available on request. On the ground floor, there are two double bedrooms, each with it’s own bathroom and toilet. There is also a kitchen with dining table, a living room with open style fireplace and two terraces. One bigger with giant table and the other one smaller and overlooking the pool.
On the upper floor, there are four separate bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and toilet. There is another kitchen, dining table and living room area with sofa. One of the rooms on this floor has its own, small terrace offering absolutely gorgeous view.
The villa is fully equipped with all the furniture, dishes, cutlery, pots, glasses, wine glasses etc. You will also receive towels and bed linen and the washing machine is available on request in a separate building located next to the swimming pool. One thing that is missing, and I wish the villa had, is the dishwasher. So you need to wash your dishes yourself, but at least, the view from the kitchen can reward that ;)
The pool area
Last but not least, the swimming pool. t’s a full size pool, not just a small paddling pool. Actually, I was surprised how big the pool is as it looked smaller on the pictures. There are also sun beds, sun umbrellas and inflatable toys available by the pool.
How much does it cost?
This is the most asked question and it was also one of mine, when I started to search for the villa. First of all, you need to be aware that villas in Tuscany are pretty pricey. Every time I was trying to book something, I was shocked how expensive this kind of renting can be. Especially when you start browsing any of the common summer house rental pages.
As we booked our willa directly from the owners, the price was much lower than on the official renal portal. The villa costs 1700 euro per week in July and 2000 euro in August, what is significantly less than anything else I found before. Especially, if you wish to have a willa with a pool and nice view. Basically, nice view and a pool can double the price as this is what gives the “experience” and makes the whole difference between properties.
What to see around?
Castel del Piano – the nearest town located just 3 km away from the villa, this is where you will find some small cafes, a supermarket, few restaurants and other shops. The Piccina Church located in the center is where the Palio is held every September.
Montepulciano – the beauty of this city is just beyond words and I highly recommend to visit. Narrow streets will take you back in time and the views will leave you speechless. You can stroll around whole day to discover countless picturesque corners. This is a true paradise for every enthusiast of photography and architecture.
Siena – worth a trip even if you are in Tuscany for just few days. The heart of Siena is a famous square Piazza Il Campo, known worldwide for the Palio run – a horse race run around the square, that takes place twice every summer.
Bagno Vignoni – small village in Val d’Orcia with natural hot springs and a waterfall on the hill, from where you can enjoy beautiful panorama of the area. A perfect place also for an evening apperitivo in one of the local bars or restaurants. Hot springs use is free of change.
Bagni San Filippo – another hot springs locations, still not very known among tourists. It’s located in the forest, outside the small town of Bagni San Filippo. This place will take you to another world as the white landscape looks actually like covered with snow. The entrance is free of change.
Saturnia – hot springs that became worldwide known thanks to its Instagram’s popularity. The place is beautiful, but be ready that it may be really crowded. The small town of Saturnia is also worth a stroll. Its cute little restaurants will welcome you with a nice meal or cold drinks in the shadow.
Pienza – this UNESCO Heritage is filled with historical buildings and located on the hill overlooking beautiful Tuscan landscape. Basically, every single street and corner of Pienza looks like a postcard from Tuscany. A must visit place!
Cortona – another Tuscan gem worth exploring. Will charm you with the main square of Palazzo Comunale or Piazza Signorelli, one of the filming locations for Under the Tuscan Sun movie. Countless number of small Italian bistros will tempt you and won’t let you stay hungry for sure.
How to book Podere dei Venti villa?
Once you google the name of the villa you may find it on few official renting websites. But as I mentioned before, the price offered via broker can be doubled or even tripled. Booking your villa directly with the owners is the cheapest and most convenient option. You can do it via email by contacting directly Elisabeth: firstname.lastname@example.org
When travelling to Tuscany, you may also be interested in my other article about this picturesque area, that you can find HERE.