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Reviewed 15 October 2013

8 of us from a small town in the US stayed for a week and loved every minute of the atmosphere. So relaxing and authentic. We had breakfast served to us every morning at the main farm and dinner a couple of nights.. The cooking class was great. Can't wait to fix the dinner at home. The 300 year old building we stayed in was so great with accomodations for all of us to have our own bathrooms.. The owner is very knowledgeable in things to do in the area and her son served as a tour guide one day..

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Terry W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 October 2013

For our first time to Italy and with our group of friends, 4 couples total, we wanted and found an authentic Tuscan villa to be our home away from home. When we arrived we found the house and the grounds as beautiful as imagined. It is what you could imagine a working Tuscan farm to be like, a large vegetable garden, goats, chickens, cats and dogs, even a peacock roaming the grounds. All very charming, to include the owner, Ulrike. She cooked us a welcome dinner, about 8 dishes, more food than we could eat but oh so very good. It was traditional style Italian farm country foods and many of the vegetables were harvested from her garden. The women of our group signed up for a cooking class and so enjoyed this. We made 6 dishes, appetizers to dessert, with our chef teacher Ulrike we prepared, cooked, and then with our husbands joining us, we ate our creations. We learned so much and enjoy the recipes Ulrike shared with us as well. I've already made the bruchetta. Bellisimo!! We did make a mistake in not having a car at our disposal and Ulrike helped us acquire a van for a couple days. Knowing we couldn't see everything in a week, Ulrike gave us great ideas and suggestions about seeing what interested us and fit into our time frame. We hired Ulrikes' son, Fabian, to be our tour guide for 2 days. He was such a pleasure and certainly knows the history of the country. We saw some of the beautiful region of Chianti/ Tuscany and learned so much. Such a great time!! You find yourself centrally oriented between Florence (Firenze) and Siena, Volterre and Assisi. It's a great get away place with easy access and warm and wonderful Tuscan charm. I strongly recommend this villa and the unique experience of meeting and working with Ulrike. You will consider yourself very lucky if you get to share a moment in her world. I will see her again someday.

(The fitness center is the great outdoors!)

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Nicola Norton W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2013

We were lucky to be part of the group celebrating the 30th anniversary of friends (see previous review) and stayed at Val Verde for 8 days.It is amazing that you can actually stay in such a picturesque place. Every time I walked to the villa from the parked car, I was shocked at how lovely the grounds, the rock walled buildings and the atmosphere were. It was such fun to have our "own" villa to cook in, relax in, stay up late drinking limoncello in.... and plan our next days' adventure. No, it wasn't a 5 star resort, and yes it was very tricky to find at first (especially in the dark) but that's not what we went there for. The vegie garden, the animals and Ulrike( the owner) all added to the charm of this lovely spot. It is quite centrally located to Florence and Sienna and a host of other small hill towns in Chianti. A car is a must to really see this part of the world. Ulrike was very helpful when my sister forgot her medication and arranged a speedy refill at the local pharmacy... quicker than any US pharmacy for sure! She also let us use her Co-Op grocery store discount card,attended a opera concert and after party with us, and took us on a wild, cross country drive to the sculpture park. (a must see!) As this was our first trip to Italy, we knew we would not be able to see it all. We concentrated on the Tuscany/Chianti area and after really living there (laundry,cooking, even a bit of sheep herding) we got a taste of what life is like in that area. We will just have to go back to see the rest on the next trip. I would not hesitate to recommend this spot for those who want a real taste of Tuscany.

Room Tip: Roads to many spots are gravel and it seems like you are lost all the time, but there at the end of the road is your villas or restaurant or winery!
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank ebande
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2013

My husband and I stayed in "Il Rifugio" for 5 nights as part of an Italian vacation. The location of the villa was perfect for traveling throughout the region. We easily made day trips to Siena, Florence, San Gimignano and Montepulciano. The Chianti region itself was beautiful and Ulrike was incredibly knowledgable about restaurants and vineyards in the area! Our apartment was quaint and clean. We had everything we needed and it truly felt like we were staying in a traditional Tuscan home. We were originally concerned that the apartment did not have air conditioning, but the room stayed very cool - it would not have been necessary anyway. The property is breathtaking and is a real, working farm complete with many animals - friendly dogs and cats and a funny peacock named Roberto! One of the highlights of the trip was the cooking class we took with Ulrike. As a "beginner" cook, Ulrike took special care of me and was very patient in teaching me to make chicken liver pate and panna cotta. We would highly recommend Poderi Val Verde for those travelers looking for an authentic Tuscan experience! :)

Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank Cynthia G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 September 2013

For our 30th anniversary, we decided to rent Casa Pineda within Poderi Val Verde's verdant grounds. Our plan was to have 3 other couples stay for a week in one of the 4 bedrooms, with our dearest friends coming and going each week. Each bedroom was different and we had fun picking out which room best suited each couple. Each time we had guests arrive, we watched their eyes widen and all remarked that it exceeded their expectations, as it has us! Our host Ulrike has been invaluable in her recommendations and her help with anything we asked about. If you tell her what your interests are, she will likely have something to direct you to. I'm a sculptor, so she suggested the sculpture garden in the middle of the forest in Viagliale, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. She is also great at recommendations for other non-tourist spots and all the best, most romantic restaurants. Another wonderful treat are the sweet animals she has that freely roam the grounds...especially welcome when you have left your furry "kids" at home. We bought several of the jams she has in her cellar from fruit trees on the grounds and ALL were wonderful. As we had a handful of great chefs staying with us, we only had a few meals that she offers, but what we did have that was cooked by her was delicious. If you are lucky enough to come and stay here, you might ouch out and get her wild boar in plum sauce! It was out of this world! We are already planning our return trip! Thanks, ULRIKE, Toto, Joilla, all the kitties (outdoors only, so no allergy fears), the goats (actually Cameroon sheep that look so much like goats even Ulrike calls em goats!), chickens, geese, and a peacock! Another favorite memory is a group of us trying to catch an errant ewe to reunite with its mama. Every day a new magical experience awaits! Treat yourself to a stay that is unparalleled by any other trip you could imagine!
The town of Castellina is picturesque and not usually overrun with tourists. 25-30 minutes west is the town of Poggibonsi, from which you can easily and inexpensively reach Sienna, Firenze Rome etc. A great central location. 2 hrs to Assisi is well worth the time and its an easy and well-marked road back to your home away from home! Ciao!

Room Tip: The rooms with the best views are 3&4. The best room for mobility impaired is either 3 or 2, although the tub/shower combo in room 3 may be a problem for those not able to step over a standard height tub wall. Room 2 is great for kids, and room 1, though the smallest is the most intimate.
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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