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As self-drive, self-catering travellers who like to buy fresh produce locally and stay in small towns or villages we found MERCATALE in the Chianti region of TOSCANA fitted our style neatly. Villa Sangiovese ticked all the boxes for us: spacious rooms (lounge, dining, bedrooms) with ample cooking facilities, a table and chairs overlooking olive and other fruit trees to breakfast 'al fresco' and most importantly, a very comfortable bed with cotton sheets. Do we sound
fussy? WeIl, I guess we are but a good night's sleep is just straight out essential for a great holiday. The ambience of a traditional Tuscan farmhouse was the icing on the cake. Hosts Lorenzo and Pia were most obliging, warm and welcoming. A brief interruption to WifFi was quickly attended to. Pia's basket of farm fresh vegetables was a nice surprise and the organic aspect was music to our ears. Did I mention that the apartment is 300 steps up the unsealed, olive lined road to the town centre (yes, I counted them... I love an early morning walk) Shopping facilities in Mercatale are tops with a surprising range of offerings (GF included) and friendly service, plenty of places to enjoy the obligatory espresso and other food and drinks. (Host Lorenzo supplied a sheet with popular haunts but a walk around the village will give you a good overview of offerings.) If staying for a few days, it is worthwhile working out which streets are one-way and a sure-fire route out!
This is ideal as a base for taking pleasant drives to explore and enjoy Siena, Lucca and Greve. We also appreciated being able to have use of a washing machine.
I travel with a few of my own favourite kitchen essentials (sharp knife, spatula and grater) but perhaps just a few more kitchen tools and lids for saucepans would be appreciated. We will be recommending this very comfortable, well-equipped and accommodating appartment so close to a charming small town to our Australian friends.
Lorenzo and Pia - 'grazie mille'