To begin, the location - though getting to the property takes a bit of travel down a long gravel road, you will not be sorry. The area is stunning, peaceful, and lush. The long road itself is an experience worth having, with gorgeous views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Then, pulling up to Podere Felceto, you will find a well-maintained property with manicured gardens, wild flowers, clean and picked up grounds, and you will feel the care that was put into the place.
Roberto, Jussara, and their two daughters (Yara and Sara) were wonderful hosts. They were helpful, courteous, and warm. They had hoped to host a group dinner on the first night we were due to arrive, but in the end they didn't have the numbers they needed. Roberto gave me the news over email and then offered to book us a table at a local restaurant instead, which he did. And let me tell you, the place he booked - Cantinetta Sassolini - was terrific. Not expensive, not high-end, but so damn charming and unbelievably delicious. True local meat, simply done with olive oil, salt, and pepper. The zucchini flan, give me a break. The cheesecake in the glass - almost killed us.
Roberto and Jussara brought the property back in the 90's when only the main Villa had been updated (not renovated or altered because there are zoning laws against changing the structure of these old villas). They slowly worked on the adjacent buildings, turning a large tool shed into a beautiful cottage, and much more. They installed a lovely pool, and created small nooks around the property to relax or hide in the shade when it's hot. Jussara is an artist and art historian by training. And she designed all of the metal structure on the property, along with some of the ceramic pieces (I believe). One can tell, after meeting Jussara and getting to know her personality, that her attention and hands have been on every inch of the property - with care.
We stayed in the cottage, which we loved. It was nice to have some privacy, although i suspect that other main rooms are also relatively private, just sharing a roof. The cottage was cozy and clean. They have nice furnishings and a comfortable bed.
The breakfast was delicious. Typically some local and scrumptious cured meat, Pecorino cheese, fruit, toast with local preserves and butter, fresh espresso coffee, orange juice. If you enjoy chatting, Jussara will gladly oblige. And she is a wonderful conversationalist with many stories. Roberto has great info on the local sites and knows everybody, as he grew up in the neighboring village.
Yara and Sara were kind and hard working. Sara helped us figure out the bus schedule to get to Firenze for an early entry time into the Ufizzi. We wouldn't have been able to do it without her.
We really loved our visit to Panzano and Podere Felceto.
Lastly, go to Ristoro di Lamole in the small village of Lamole. It'll take 30 minutes on a dirt road to get there, but it's up higher in the hills than Panzano, and it's one of the best meals around in the best location imaginable.
stayed from 06/17/2019 to 06/22/2019