ASSISTANCE AND SPECIAL SERVICES
Do not worry if you do not speak Italian! Isabella is pleased to speak with you in English, German, or French. Her husband, Carlo, speaks French and a little English. Marta, and Alessandra speak fluent English. And Carlotta speaks fluent English and Spanish.
In your confirmation notice, we will provide driving directions. Also, all of our properties are listed with Google Maps and you can search for the specific property name (i.e., Cretaiole, Moscadella, Le Casine di Castello).
Our family lives on our family farm in Pienza (called Podere San Gregorio), not far from any of our properties, and we are always available by phone and email.
Breakfast is provided only at La Moscadella—the other properties are self-catering apartments. However, you will find grocery stores nearby and everything you need in your apartment to prepare and enjoy your breakfast. Also, in the apartments you will find ground coffee, tea, sugar, salt, pepper, dried seasonings, and balsamic vinegar for your use in the kitchen. If you run out of these items, please let us know and we will bring more. In addition you will find a lovely welcome basket in your room which includes several items for your breakfast and other meals.
Yes, linens and towels are provided. Upon request and for a small fee you may have additional ones.
No, there are no phones installed in the accommodations. Occasionally we have guests who do not have their own private phone and for these we can loan a basic cell phone upon request.
We have a free Wi-Fi Internet connection available at all of our properties.
La Moscadella has a beautiful swimming pool—making this a great place to stay if you and your group are here in the summertime and you wish to swim. Also, for all of our guests, we recommend that they go to the gorgeous natural thermal water pools—some cold, some warm and some very hot—that are eons in the making and part of the natural territory (and so much more exhilarating and interesting than concrete swimming pools!). We think it is almost a sin not to take advantage of them. In 5 minutes you can reach Bagno Vignoni and in less than ½-hour Bagni San Filippo and Rapolano Terme with the most beautiful pools!
Yes! We have wood-burning grills available for the use of our guests—with plenty of free wood
Yes, there is a golf course in Bettolle—which is a 25-minute drive.
There are tennis courts in Pienza and San Quirico; outdoor swimming in San Quirico d’Orcia, Buonconvento, Chianciano, and Montepulciano; horseback riding in Sinalunga and Trequanda and mountain bike tours starting at Bagno Vignoni or directly at Cretaiole.
There is plenty of free parking at and near all of our properties.
We accept small, friendly, well behaved, house-trained animals at Cretaiole. Please use a leash whenever they are with you on the property for the comfort of the other guests, and immediately pick-up and dispose of their waste in trash receptacles.
Smoking is allowed only outside. The majority of our guests do not smoke, and some are very allergic to smoke. Therefore, we ask that the interiors of our properties remain totally free of all cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke. Grazie!
Only our guests are able to take part in the Dolce Vita activities. We want our guests to enjoy our special activities in a small group and with people they have come to know during their stay. We find this creates a warm, friendly climate full of relaxation and fun.
RESERVATIONS, PAYMENT, AND TRAVEL INSURANCE
The answer to this question is one of basic economics–when demand is high you must make reservations farther in advance. The months that are most in demand are late April, May, June, September, and October. For these times, we highly recommend that you begin to make reservations 10-12 months in advance to be certain you obtain the apartment you want for the week you want.
Due to our Dolce Vita program (which begins in early April and runs through mid-November) we offer our apartments on a weekly basis (from Saturday to Saturday). However, please contact us to see if we are able to meet your lodging needs whenever you are planning to come to Tuscany and we will do everything possible to assist you. In off-peak times (November – March) the minimum stay is 3 nights. Please feel free at any time to inquire about any length of stay—especially if your travel is imminent—to see if we have last-minute availability or if you would like to be put on a waiting list.
Every year we have a small number of guests who need to cancel their reservation, and the major reason they must do this is for illness or death of someone in the family. These are things that can happen to any traveler–and often they happen with little warning. In order to protect your travel dollars–for lodging, airfare as well as other travel expenses that you will incur–we urge you to purchase travel insurance in a sufficient amount that will cover all of your out-of-pocket expenditures. In this way you can anticipate your upcoming dream vacation without any worries or fears of what might happen if you should have to cancel.
It is not the same in Italy. Payment must be in cash as mentioned before.
The very best way to obtain cash with the smallest bank fees is with a debit card that accesses your checking account. Use this card in any ATM (called a “bancomat” in Italy). There is a daily maximum limit as to how much money you can withdraw per account—and this amount is established by your bank. You will find an ATM only a few kilometers away in Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia. You may pay for your lodging at any time during your stay. Also you will find a safe in your apartment where you can keep your money and other valuables.
PLEASE NOTE: It is extremely important for you to notify your bank and your credit card company that you are traveling to Italy. If you do not, the bank’s security software often will close down your account when the card is first used in Italy because the software suspects someone is using your card in a fraudulent manner in a foreign country.
Usually Euro 250-500. In the large cities of Rome, Florence, Milan, etc., you may find the upper limit per transaction to be much higher particularly at the airport and train stations. Many times the limit is one that has been placed on your account by your bank rather than a limit of the ATM.
Our offer and confirmation will include all costs such as the rental rate, heating and air conditioning, bed tax, and the optional Dolce Vita stay activities. While you are here, we will tell you about and arrange for other activities that you may wish to participate in, such as wine and cheese tastings, special dinners in the local vicinity, massage therapy, watercolor classes, guided hikes, cooking classes, etc. These are not part of the rental rate, but will have a very reasonable fee, and are totally optional.
All of our prices are in Euros. Here is one website that is useful to make a currency conversion to your country’s currency: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
PLANNING YOUR TRIP
Closest train station
Rome – Fiumicino
Florence – Peretola
Pisa – Galileo
Siena or Arezzo
Milan – Malpensa
Venice – Marco Polo
You will definitely need a car to stay in our area, otherwise it will be impossible for you to explore the towns and villages and the beautiful countryside around here. The nearest railway station is a 50 minute drive.
The car rental business is extremely competitive, much like the airlines. What is the best/cheapest today may not be the best/cheapest tomorrow. We offer you a strategy more than a name. Obtain bids from as many companies as you want. Our guests frequently use AutoEurope, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty, NOVA, and many others. Even after you have made your reservations, keep checking on rates from all the companies—you may find a rental special or rate drop has occurred since you made your reservation. Be certain you are comparing apples with apples as you compare the rates you obtain. Often you will find a company’s bid does not include all the costs and will seem much lower, but in the end it really is not. Be certain to include in your request additional drivers, a car return in a city other than the one where you picked up the car, GPS unit, etc. We are also happy to recommend to you a local Italian-owned car rental company that gives great service. The car rental “Il Girasole” offers a special discount to all our guests for the GPS navigation system, and they will be happy to set it up for you in order to arrive at our properties in an easy way. Write to us if you would like more details.
From the airport you can take the “Leonardo Express” train to the main train station in Rome (called “Roma Termini”).
With trains departing every 30 minutes Leonardo express non-stop train service takes you – every day of the year – from Leonardo da Vinci Airport to the center of Rome in only half an hour.
The train departs from platforms 23/24 in Termini Station, and is guaranteed year around, even in the event of strikes. For passengers with disability or reduced mobility trains are equipped with dedicated seating and equipped restrooms.
You will need to change trains at Roma Termini, and continue to Chiusi (or other city of your choice). When you purchase your train ticket for the Leonardo Express at the airport, also purchase your ticket to Chiusi (or other city) and in this way you do not need to waste time at the ticket counter at Roma Termini.
Note: BE SURE TO VALIDATE YOUR TRAIN TICKET BEFORE BOARDING THE TRAIN. You will see machines close to the train tracks. Insert your ticket into the machine and validate it. You will receive a large fine if you fail to do this and are found on board with an unvalidated ticket. This is true for all trains in Italy–not only the Leonardo Express.
If your travel plans will not allow you to get to Chiusi before the car rental agencies close, you can do one of several things.
Contact the car rental agency directly and ask them to meet you during off-hours (even on Sunday). Often they will do this for a reasonable fee.
Pick-up the car at the airport and drive from there.
Rent your car from an Italian car rental company. Contact them to negotiate a rate, and, ask them to meet you at the railway station at your arrival time. They are usually able to do this until 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and even on Sunday as well. We are happy to suggest a reliable Italian-owned car rental company in our area.
It is very difficult to impossible. Our area is not well served with frequent bus schedules, and none of our properties are close to railway stations.
Yes, this is possible if you are a strong bicyclist and are used to using your bicycle as your primary mode of transportation.
You may rent professional mountain bikes in Pienza at E-Bike Tuscany (www.e-biketuscany.com) or at Cicloposse (www.cicloposse.com). They both organize wonderful tours on request.
As you can see from the temperatures above, the weather is usually moderate year-round. Some evenings may be cool and breezy, so you may want to bring a sweater or windbreaker. Summer clothing such as shorts, t-shirts, casual pants and dresses are fine for the summer months and are appropriate almost everywhere. A cap or hat is also a good idea to protect your face from the sun. We recommend that you bring clothes that you can layer so you can adjust for your comfort throughout the day or from day-to-day.
DURING YOUR STAY
Check-in begins at 3:00 pm. Please call us if you require an earlier or much later check-in, and we will do everything possible to make things convenient for you.
Check-out time is by 10:00 am.
Yes, they will work but you must have an adapter to make them work, and also a converter if they do not include that option.. The converter is necessary to keep your appliance’s motor from burning out, and the adaptor is needed to fit the plug into our European-style, two-prong outlets. These items are not provided in the apartment, and it is a good idea for you to have them with you, especially if you are staying in several places during your vacation. Feel free to leave your hair dryer at home, however, because you will find one in your apartment.
If you have been to Italy before, you probably know that it is unusual to find window screens–but you may rest easy at our properties, because our windows are equipped with window screens.
Neither Cretaiole nor La Moscadella are air conditioned. But, their thick, cool stone walls help to keep the interior cool. We recommend that you do what we Italians do—when you are gone during the day, be sure to close the windows including the shutters to keep the sun out of the apartment. It will make a tremendous difference in the inside temperature. We have air conditioning at Casa Moricciani and also in Il Cielo at Le Casine di Castello.
Yes, from any of our properties you can get to a grocery store within five minutes. Do be aware, however, that hours of operation are very different in Italy compared to most countries—they usually are closed for a few hours in the afternoon.
During the summer time the Coop grocery store in Pienza is open in the morning from 8.30 am-12.30 pm, and always closed in the afternoons. You will find other little shops that are open in Pienza, San Quirico d’Orcia, Montepulciano and Montalcino.
Yes, yes, yes! Within 5-20 minutes you will find fantastic ristoranti, osterie, trattorie, and bars with delicious food at all price levels. You would have to stay with us for a long time to try even a portion of them.
All of these are available in Pienza. We will be glad to provide telephone numbers and to call the doctors for you if you need one.
One of the very best hospitals in Tuscany is near Montepulciano!
There are pharmacies in both Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia.
The nearest ATMs are in Pienza, Castelmuzio, and San Quirico d’Orcia and they are available 24 hours a day.
Yes. Its hours of operation are 8.00 to 13.00. It is closed on Sundays.