Here’s my review of the B&B Villa Zara, one of three places I stayed in when I spent New Year in Siena, Italy.
Location & Getting There
Before planning your visit to Siena let me give you a word of advice: the city is spread out over a series of hills. That’s pretty and also pretty sweat inducing.
The Villa Zara is not in the old town of Siena but on an adjacent elevation. It’s quiet, with a lovely garden and the Fortezza Medicea is still only a 15 minute walk away. You just need a bit of stamina to make it up the hill (or a car to go around).
I arrived in the city at the train station and — not being familiar with the geography of Siena — decided to walk the less than 3km to Via Collinella. Maria Chiara, the owner of the Villa Zara welcomed me with a smile and a jug of fresh water. If I was to do it again I’d take the no. 3 bus, so I’d only have to walk up the last 200m to the B&B.
They other guests seemed like an international mix of young and youngish people. However, I only saw them briefly at breakfast and heard them in the morning in the bathroom. Instead, I got to practice my Italian with my host. But no worries: she’s also fluent in English.
Room & Facilities
The Villa Zara is tiny — 4 rooms plus an apartment. So count yourself lucky if you can book here. At €35 a night (plus €1.50 tourist tax, found at triprebel.com; for regular rates check out the booking.com listing) for a single room with shared bathroom and breakfast it is one of the cheapest accommodations in Siena.
The Villa, though unassuming from the outside, boasts thick walls that should make for a pleasant cooling in the summer and a large garden.
I visited Siena in December, so heating was more interesting and turned out to be my only complaint. On the plus side: it’s centrally controlled and keeps the room at a good temperature. However, my radiator must have had air in it and kept clanging away whenever the heating was running. So my night sleep was cut short to between midnight and 7 am – when the heating was turned off. To be fair: they were on the case as soon as I mentioned the issue and I should hope they’ll have it fixed before the next guest moves in.
My room was small (appr. 8m²) but cleverly designed with tons of closet space around the bed, a wall mounted TV and a fold-away table. Plus I had access to a loggia and a small terrace, both of which I only had to share with the neighboring room.
WiFi works well throughout the building.
Breakfast is served in a small kitchen and featured a range of items from different cakes to waffles to toast, even including some cold cuts and cheeses (as opposed to the strictly sweet breakfast that is all too common in Italy).
For all other meals, you’ll have to head over to the old town. About 10 minutes on foot, after climbing the stairs, you’ll see a small bar/restaurant to your left and if you turn right and walk for another 2 minutes you’ll find a supermarket (Simply) to buy supplies and prepare in the B&B kitchen.
Not convinced by the Villa Zara in Siena? Browse my accommodation reviews or find other accommodation on booking.com: