Our review farmhouse to the south of Siena in the hills of the Crete Senesi, with spacious apartments with many amenities and incredible panoramas all around
The first impression we had arriving at San Giovanni in Poggio was: WOW, what a view! This is the view of San Giovanni in Poggio as you arrive at the farmhouse - wouldn't you agree?
We stayed at this small country estate in the Crete Senesi just to the south of Siena (we could see the city from our front terrace) because it would make a great base from which to explore the area. The Crete Senesi are right next to the more well-known Val d'Orcia and share many characteristics.
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The season we visited is in Spring, early April to be more precise. All the surrounding hills are green, there are sheep passing in the meadows below in the morning but overall what you will find is silence throughout. Here is a view of the farmhouse by another guest, who instead stayed in early September at San Giovanni in Poggio and took these incredible air views of the farmhouse and surrounding hills.
Our thoughts on San Giovanni in Poggio
We loved: the very spacious apartments with so many amenities.
Ideal for: from couples to small families or groups, perfect for exploring southern Tuscany.
I imagine it will be even better in May and June, when there is the added color of the red poppies as they bloom in the fields, enjoying it all from this bench!
Our host Francesco meets us as we park by the main house and quickly starts telling us a bit about the estate. It is relatively "new" as it was just fully restored a few years ago, following all eco-friendly measures you can think of, from the reuse of all water through a filtering tank for watering the lawn and plants to heating units under our apartment floor that maintain perfect temperatures indoors.
One side of the house says "Podere San Fabiano" and, if you've paid attention as you drive up the road, you have passed several of these along the way. Francesco tells us that San Giovanni in Poggio was the most northern of the 25 farmhouses that made up the large San Fabiano estate, and up to the 1950s, this house and its 30 surrounding hectares (about 74 acres) were still being share-cropped. The farmer lived on the first floor while the stables were on the ground floor. There was no water nor electricity up to 5 years ago when Francesco started the works to bring both up to San Giovanni in Poggio. If you look around, you'll also see no electricity cables as he had them buried underground to make sure we can enjoy the view all around the farmhouse!!
Francesco presented us with a packet of brochures with information on the surroundings, including recommended restaurants in the area and in Siena and places to head off to in Val d'Orcia and Tuscany, with a map to help out. While Francesco doesn't live right there, he does live just behind one of the nearby hills. He lets us know he is there every day in the morning but also gave out his cell phone number if we need anything else at all.
Peace and quiet of the countryside
San Giovanni in Poggio At-a-Glance:
Type: 5 self catering holiday apartment
Location: Monteroni d'Arbia, 6 km (14 minutes)
Distance: Siena (30 min), Montalcino (40 min), Castellina in Chianti (60 min)
Transport: a car is necessary
Type of board: No meals provided
The estate only has 5 apartments, 4 in the main house and a separate one to the side. While we're just 5 minutes from the closest town (Monteroni d'Arbia), the only sounds you here are those of the birds, pheasants and sheep (bells and some bleating when they pass nearby). We stayed 3 nights, it was always very peaceful and quiet and just saw a few of the other guests on a few occasions. You can come to San Giovanni and use it as the ideal base from which to explore the area and Tuscany, but make sure to also stay long enough to enjoy a holiday of relaxation and quiet - we wish we had more than 3 days to spend here!
Our apartment was the smallest one, Aurora, but it didn't feel small at all. On the contrary, it was very spacious, with lots of space in the common area and the bathroom was large. Part of the hospitality we appreciated from Francesco was expressed in the details: a high chair for our toddler daughter, plus a small table and chair for her to play and draw on, a basket with breakfast supplies and 2 large water bottles. Generally, an apartment is fully "self-catering" so these amenities are definitely extra touches we appreciate. I soon discovered a dishwasher and washing machine in the apartment, with their own detergent, also not usually found in other rentals we've stayed in (the washing machine at least is usually a shared one and it's the first time I find the modern convenience of a dishwasher ;-) ).
We loved the style of the apartments: the style was minimal but perfectly in line with the country setting. The paintings in the apartments were done by Francesco's wife Paola and his son Giovanni while most of the furniture was designed by Paola and made to these designs by local artisans specifically for San Giovanni. Everything is in Tuscan style but not in the rustic style; we felt everything, from the kitchen to the bathroom, was very harmonious.
While all of the apartments are from 4 to 6 people, a larger group could take advantage and rent several of the apartments or all of the 5 apartments together to have maximum space and privacy. We could imagine a perfect small wedding being celebrated here outdoors as there is a lot of external space!
The pool is saltwater and has a side area with water jets, to further enjoy relaxing in the sun with a water massage. The shower right by the pool has warm water, taking advantage of the heated water the sun panels provide for the entire estate. The pool is gated, with our little girl we didn't have to worry about that being a concern.
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The estate is perfect for families, with the pool and all of the space around for running and playing around but overall I would recommend San Giovanni in Poggio to couples and families traveling together who would enjoy great views, full relaxation under the Tuscan sun and the perfect base from which to explore this area of Tuscany!
We loved and enjoyed our stay at San Giovanni in Poggio, we left hoping we could stay longer and plan to return in the future! If you're interested in seeing more photos and learning more about the other apartments, go to the official website
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