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Tuscany - Montepulciano - Politian Apartments

Roz

500+ Posts
Review based on our stay in Politian Apartments spring 2014.

Location:
Politian Apartments are at the south end of Montepulciano, on the main street, via Poliziano, near the Fortress. Montepulciano is a medieval Tuscan town in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, looking over one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. (Politian or Poliziano, is the term for an inhabitant of Montepulciano.) Below is the entrance to the apartments.

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Nearby amenities:
Montepulciano is a small town, and you can walk anywhere from the apartment in 15 minutes or so (as long as you can manage the hills!). The best coffee shop in town, Caffe Poliziano, is about a 5-minute walk. There are many excellent restaurants wherever you go. Several small alimentari and other food shops are along the main street within walking distance. For a larger store, you can go just outside town to the Conad supermarket, or drive to Chiusi (about 30 min away) for a big shopping center, which is open on Sunday.

House / Apartment
At the time we visited, there were four rental units in the house. I understand that they have now expanded to six apartments. We stayed in the “Red Tea” apartment, also known as Apartment #4. It was up one flight of stairs, very spacious with 2 large bedrooms and 2 good-sized baths. The house was originally the family palazzo of Giacomo and Maria, the brother and sister who manage it and take very good care of their guests. It has large rooms, high ceilings, and is furnished and decorated with many of the family’s original antiques. I believe the apartment where we stayed was recently renovated, and all the appliances were in excellent shape. We had rather unseasonably chilly weather during our first week, and I can report that the heating also worked very well.

Garden
The kitchen opens out onto a little stairway, which leads down to the area of the private garden reserved for this unit. It was a great place for a glass of prosecco in the evening (at least on the days when the weather cooperated).

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In 2014 Giacomo was working very hard on improving the garden area. It’s probably even nicer now than when we stayed there.

Furnishings
The apartment had everything we needed for a very comfortable stay. The wi-fi generally worked well, and when it occasionally cut off, Giacomo was very good about restarting the router and getting it going again.

Everything was clean and in good condition. Our two-week rental included a cleaning at the end of one week.

The washing machine did a good job, and we found it a lot easier to figure out how to operate it than in many other apartments we’ve stayed in. There were plenty of drying racks for hanging clothes.

Bedroom / Bathrooms
We used one bedroom for sleeping and the other as a study and for storing clothes. The bed was extremely comfortable, and we slept very well. The bedroom did face onto the street, but it was very quiet, since it’s a one-way street that had little traffic and no restaurants, bars, etc. that might have created noise. The bathrooms were in great shape, and the shower worked well.

Kitchen
The kitchen / dining area is combined with the living room. We didn’t cook meals, since there were so many wonderful restaurants within walking distance, but it seemed to be very well equipped with enough dishes, cooking utensils, etc. for 4 people. There is a dishwasher.

Problems or bonuses
Parking can be a little difficult, and you had better be good at parallel parking in a small space if you want to park right near the apartment. But we only had one night when we had to park a bit farther away in one of the nearby lots, most of which required payment from 8 am to 8 pm.

Giacomo supplied good directions for finding the place, but if you arrive after dark (as we did, when our plane was delayed), it can be difficult figuring out where you are going. GPS does not work well on those narrow streets, and it will only lead you astray. We ended up driving through town at least 4 times and blundering into the residents-only ZTL roads, before we found the apartment. We were very glad when Giacomo told us Montepulciano did not have ZTL cameras, and at any rate, the ZTL was only in effect until 8 pm that time of year.

Aside from that minor car-related issue, everything was perfect. We loved the apartment and the location, and had a wonderful two weeks there. The book with instructions about the house and recommendations for good restaurants in town was a well-put-together reference.

Agency and Representatives (and price)
We dealt directly with Giacomo, who was exceptionally responsive to all our questions and a great source of information about the town. He was not home when we first arrived, but his sister Maria gave us a warm welcome. If she hadn’t been on hand, we would have gone to bed hungry, since it was a Saturday night and all the restaurants were packed. But Maria wangled us into a great little osteria nearby, where we had a delicious meal.

The rate (95 euro a night in 2014) was quite a reasonable price for the location and facilities. Payment can be by credit card.

Recommend
I unhesitatingly recommend Politian Apartments to anyone who wants to visit this lovely area of Tuscany. I know that many people love Sant’Antonio outside Montepulciano, which I understand is a wonderful place. But our preference is to stay inside a village when possible, so that we can easily walk to cafes, restaurants and shops. Politian is perfectly located inside the town, on a quiet street but easily walkable to anywhere in the village. Giacomo and Maria are founts of information about the area, and could not be nicer hosts.

Things to do
Although Montepulciano is small, you can spend days there just exploring the town, enjoying the food in its many very good restaurants, and tasting the wine in the cantinas all through the town. Some of the day trips out of town that we especially enjoyed were to Pienza, Siena, and the beautiful abbeys of Sant’Antimo and Sant’Anna in Camprena. Visiting the gardens of La Foce was a special experience. La Foce was the home of Iris Origo, who wrote the very moving book, War in Val d’Orcia. We spent one wonderful day driving around Monte Amiata and visiting a few of the lovely little towns that dot the region. The Daniel Spoerri sculpture garden on about 80 acres outside Seggiano was a magical place, not on most tourists’ radar. It’s an area rich in varied experiences and exceptional beauty.
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Hi Roz very good review and I can only echo the recommendation. One quirky feature of the apartments is no TV. Giacomo is embarrassed by Italian TV, so won't put TVs in, but there is a radio / hi-fi and IIRC a shelf of CDs to choose from. OK I missed my daily fix of L'Eredita, but I'll accept that as the trade off for a place of genuine character.

We were lucky on our visit, that just as we were in the process of packing up to leave, Giacomo returned with a plastic bottle of 1st press olive oil - the first of the year and got us to taste it (Early November IIRC). The closest colour comparison is the lurid green of Gatorade - shockingly bright. The oil is wonderfully fresh, 'green' tasting, shockingly 'drinkable' and we've since been converted to look for the early crop oil, which last year I lucked onto an Italian olive oil specialist on Borough Market London, when I asked him if he had any, he pointed to the unpacked boxes "literally just arrived" :dancingcow:

regards
Ian
 

Roz

500+ Posts
Thanks, Ian. I had forgotten about the lack of TV, since I rarely watch it anyway. For me a good Internet connection is a lot more important. Yes, I love the "novello" oil too. We first experienced it on one of our first trips to Italy, when people were lined up at the little local market to get it before it sold out.
 

NoSpin

10+ Posts
Roz, we may have been there at the same time! We stayed the week of April 19, 2014. We were in the White Tea apartment.

Your write up is excellent and spot on. Montepulciano is an excellent town to stroll through and the Politian is in an excellent location. Like you when we first arrived I missed a turn and wandered into the ZTL, but no harm, no foul, and no ticket!

I would add two things and they may have changed over the years. Giacomo gave us a bottle of wine from what I recall was a family vineyard. I believe this was given to all guests, although maybe a minimum stay was necessary. Also, we stayed in the White Tea apartment and we did have a TV. I happened to remember that distinctly because there was a channel that had auto racing 24/7 and I never saw that channel in any of the other apartments we rented.
 

Roz

500+ Posts
Hi, Paul,

I think we may have arrived right after you left, since we were there the last week of April and the first of May. We did not get a bottle of wine, but a bottle of olive oil, like Ian.

I also wrote a report on that trip, which is here on Slow Europe. That was a wonderful time, and I am so glad we had those two weeks there.

Where do you live in Massachusetts? We lived in suburban Boston for almost 40 years, until we moved to Napa 7 years ago. We love it here, but we still miss Boston!
 

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