Review: La Torricella Hotel, Poppi, Tuscany

Tuscany: the very name brings visions of Italian medieval hilltop towns; stunning cities; Renaissance architecture; great wine, food, beaches and art.

Over the years, we’ve enjoyed the splendours of Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca and San Gimignano, so our latest visit took us instead to the scenic Casentino Valley.

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And there – about 25 miles east of Florence – we were taken to the La Torricella Hotel, overlooking the medieval hamlet of Poppi and the River Arno.

Here’s our independent review of the hotel and its suitability for people of all ages and fitness levels:

Q: Was the booking process simple and problem free?

A: Yes. For once, we didn’t book this accommodation online. Instead, we simply drove up to the hotel and asked if there were vacancies.

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Q: Does the La Torricella have street appeal?

A: Oh yes!!!. The farmhouse-style hotel sits high on a hill looking directly at Poppi castle and other ancient buildings.

La Torricella is surrounded by the National Park of Casentino Forest and everywhere you look is green and lush countryside.

Q: How did check-in go?

A: Smoothly. Reception staff at the La Torricella were efficient, professional and friendly. They spoke perfect English and were well presented.

Q: How was accessibility?

A: We drove right up to the free parking area, walked several paces to the main entrance of the La Torricella. The foyer was typically Tuscan,  inviting and modern – and the lift was nearby. We had no problems wheeling our bags.

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Our room was on the first floor and we caught the lift without a problem.

The hotel lifts had adequate space and the corridors were wide enough. The key to our room worked perfectly and was simple to operate.

Q: How was the room?

A: The entire hotel is built in the style of a traditional Tuscan farmhouse, with maximum use of stones, terracotta tiles, wood and wrought iron.

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Our room was classically furnished, with wooden beams on the ceiling, a queen-sized bed; modern tiled bathroom with a shower; plenty of wardrobes; and a desk.

The room was spotlessly clean.

There was also complimentary high speed wifi that worked well.

Q: Was the bed comfortable?

A: Extremely. The La Torricella’s country setting means the area is particularly quiet – and we slept well.

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Q: Were other facilities adequate?

A: Although we didn’t use them, there was a flat-screen TV; cable radio; telephone and a minibar.

Q: Did the room have adequate charging points?

A: The La Torricella room boasted several charging points and we were able to keep our seven devices operating with the use of our multi-cable charger.

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Q: Was the bathroom to the expected standard?

A: There was an en-suite bathroom with modern shower and fluffy towels.

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Q: Did you get breakfast?

A: Breakfast was included in the room rate. The room was easy to find and breakfast at the La Torricella was extensive and included local cakes.

Q: Were there any problems with the hotel?

A: No. the La Torricella provides comfortable accommodation at an attractive price in a beautiful Tuscan setting.

Age-Friendliness Rating

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8/10. The Casentino Valley is a glorious part of Tuscany away from the traditional tourist trail.

And, the La Torricella is an ideal base to explore the walled fortress hamlet of Poppi, with its castle that towers over the countryside.

Although we believe it is possible to take a train from Rome to Arezzo, and then a connection to Poppi, the remote location means that the La Torricella is probably best visited by car.

Once at the hotel, it is a simple matter to use use the reception, rooms and facilities. There are few steps; our room was spacious; and the bathroom was accessible to all. The breakfast room was clearly marked and the floor was generally level.

In our experience, the La Torricella is suitable for visitors of any age. It is a small(ish) family-run hotel with 21 rooms.

The hotel is situated on the top of a hill which offers the visitor a wonderful view of Poppi castle and surrounding medieval buildings.

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Review: Plaza Hotel, Venice Mestre, Italy

Most people who visit Venice are drawn by the astonishing canals, the architecture, mind-boggling history and the romance of one of the world’s great attractions.

The beauty of Venice is simply hard to beat.

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However, our latest visit was an overnight stay only, while we picked up a GoOpti Shuttle to Ljubljana, Slovenia.

We had been flown from Australia to Greece to review the Scoot Airlines service between Sydney and Athens.

From there, we toured and researched Age-Friendly reviews of hotels and attractions in the Greek Islands, before heading to Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Germany and the UK.

However, for a single night in Venice, we were reluctant to pay the cost of accommodation near the canals – and we also wanted to be within local bus range of Marco Polo Airport.

It seemed like an ideal opportunity to review the accessibility of facilities at Mestre, the mainland part of Venice.

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And that’s how we found ourselves catching an ATVO bus from the airport to the Hotel Plaza, squarely in the heart of Mestre – a run of no more than 15 minutes.

Here’s our Age-Friendly review of the hotel:

 

Q: Was the booking process simple and problem free?

A: Yes. We went online to examine accommodation options, prices and location, then we used the hotel Plaza’s own website to book. The process was straight-forward and easy – and the cost was remarkably good for Venice.

Q: Did The Hotel Plaza communicate after the booking?

A: No, but we were  following the hotel on social media.

Q: Does The Hotel Plaza have street appeal?

A: Yes. The hotel is directly across the road from the train station and coach terminal in the centre of Mestre. It is a substantial building, with at least six levels of accommodation and a restaurant on the lower level.

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Q: How did check-in go?

A: Without a hitch. Reception staff at the Hotel Plaza were efficient and professional, yet also friendly. They spoke perfect English and were well presented.

Q: How was accessibility?

A: Excellent. We alighted from the local bus and walked about 100 metres to the front of the Hotel Plaza. It was a level entrance – and we easily wheeled our bags inside The foyer was large and modern – and the lifts were only a few feet away.

It would have been equally easy to access the hotel by rail, with a similar short walk from the train station. This station is directly linked to central Venice and serves European regional trains.

The hotel lifts had adequate space and the corridors were wide enough. The layout is simple to negotiate and the key to our room worked perfectly and was simple to operate.

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Q: How was the room?

A: Our room was classically furnished in warm colours and was particularly spacious with a queen-sized bed; modern marble and tiled bathroom with a shower and luxury toiletries; plenty of wardrobes; and a desk.

The room was spotlessly clean, air conditioned and sound-proofed.

There was also complimentary high speed wifi that worked well.

Q: Was the bed comfortable?

A: Extremely. The sound-proofing was particularly efficient and we slept soundly.

Q: Were other facilities adequate?

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A: Although we didn’t use them, there was a flat-screen TV with satellite cable channels, a safety deposit box, telephone and minibar.

Q: Did the room have adequate charging points?

A: The Hotel Plaza room boasted several charging points and we were able to keep our seven devices operating with the use of our multi-cable charger.

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Q: Was the bathroom to the expected standard?

A: There was a large, en-suite bathroom with modern shower, fluffy towels and toiletries.

Q: Did you get breakfast?

A: Breakfast was included in the room rate. The room was easy to find and breakfast at the Plaza was an extensive buffet, including eggs, bacon, fresh fruit and a variety of pastries.

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Q: Were there any problems with the hotel?

A: No. the Hotel Plaza provides comfortable accommodation at an attractive price on the fringe of one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic cities.

Age-Friendliness Rating

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8/10. Booking the Hotel Plaza online is easy. Once there, the accessibility features are first class. The hotel is centrally located at Mestre, directly opposite both the coach terminal and the train station.

It’s a simple matter to use use the reception, rooms and facilities. There are few, if any steps; the lifts and hotel corridors are large; the room door locks simple to use; our room was spacious and the bathroom was accessible to all. The breakfast room was clearly marked and the floor was level throughout.

In our experience, the Hotel Plaza is suitable for visitors of any age. Its location at Mestre is convenient for travellers using Marco Polo Airport, trains or coaches. It is also on the direct bus route from the airport.

Granted, Mestre is not the Venice of the canals and the gondoliers, but it is only a 10 minute train ride away from this dreamland.

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