Self Catering Vacations in Tuscany - Affordable holidays in Italy

Fun under the Tuscan sun

Are you longing for an escape from a long drawn out winter--a chance to re-charge & re-energise under dreamy summer skies in a lush green landscape? A rewarding holiday that will please the kids & parents alike--Italy sounds perfect but perhaps a little expensive? Why not consider a Self-catering Vacation in Tuscany - an affordable Italian holiday option. What could be more relaxing, more romantic & more inspiring than spending an indulgent week or two housed in a charming 16C Villa perched on top of a hill - olive groves & vineyards stretching for miles --a panorama encompassing one of the most stunning, timeless rural landscapes in the world. After all, what are we here for? La Dolce Vita - naturally!

Italy, especially Tuscany has long been a highly desirable holiday destination - the art, culture & history are legendary - as are the food & wine. Once upon a time Villa stays were only for the rich & famous - fortunately, not so these days. Thanks to the numerous expats who have bought into the lucrative real estate market & restored seriously beautiful properties to a very high standard - Italy boasts many interesting vacation options for the savvy traveller. Once these unique properties have completed the long, expensive restoration process, their owners are often in dire need of a financial boost - hence some lovely affordable holiday rentals are on offer during the spring, summer & autumn seasons.

What is Self Catering accommodation? This is currently the most popular holiday option in Europe - suitable for singles, couples, groups of friends & families --which means basically everyone! The type of accommodation is varied & priced according to facilities, size & location however as the rental market is extremely competitive often so is the price - particularly in the low seasons - prior to & after the European summer. "Self catering" means you will have your own kitchen to prepare meals yourself - this facility alone can save hundreds of Euro normally spent on eating out in restaurants each night & is a great comfort when travelling with young children.

Which type of property to choose? A large range of accommodation types exist in the Italian Vacation rental market & Tuscany has it all--simply choose your fantasy! Listed among some truly amazing properties you will find large refined Villas, quaint stone Farmhouses, charming village houses, majestic Towers & Castles, serene Monasteries & Cloisters -- generally most offering self catering faciities...the key to an affordable family holiday. It makes sense to choose your location first - opt for an area that interests you - then make your property choice according to your requirements. If choosing a country location, try to secure something reasonably close to one of those tiny Tuscan hill-towns with good commercial facilities such as banks, supermarkets & a post office. You will be able to take day trips to the larger towns for sight-seeing outings.

How much should I expect to pay? Price structure depends on

  • the size of the property & its facilities (ie swimming pool, wellness centre etc)
  • the number of guests
  • the location
  • any extras requested (ie meals, daily cleaning, baby sitting etc)

For example - on average an apartment catering for 2 adults & 2 children should cost between 650-850 Eu per week - depending on the season. Many cost less -- some cost more. Extra cleaning costs between 50 - 60 Euro. There may be an extra cost for heating during the cooler months - this should be clearly stated on the website.

What can I expect from a Self Catering Vacation property? Renting a self catering vacation property in Tuscany allows you time to settle into the daily rhythm of Tuscan life at a local level. Imagine arriving at your lovely new home which is equipped with all the comforts you could possibly need --what would you expect to find? A home away from home...

  • a welcoming host/hostess to help settle you in
  • a well appointed kitchen - for those who can't wait to experiment with the delicious local produce --a welcome hamper of delectable goodies
  • a relaxing living room furnished with cosy furniture - a library of books, dvd's & games to keep the children amused
  • a charming garden & swimming pool perfect for hours of idle leisure
  • airy bedrooms with windows flung open to the garden scents & breezes

What are the positives of choosing a self catering vacation?

  • By choosing not to stay in a conventional Hotel you may find yourself off the beaten tourist track - no need to vie with the tourist hordes in the towns lining up for gelato or restaurant tables.
  • Your hosts will be your saviours providing invaluable local information regarding everything from the best local wine & places to eat. They may even invite you to share a meal.
  • If you are not hiring a car, often your hosts will collect & return you to the nearest transit point --just ask.
  • Child minding is often easily available
  • Meals & cooking classes can be arranged.
  • Country properties often have fabulous activities for children involving them in farm duties with the animals etc.
  • For those travelling with children --you will be able to settle them into a routine thanks to a "homey" environment.

Any negatives? None than I can think of!

What can I expect from my hosts? Having enjoyed many of these vacations myself, you can expect a very warm Tuscan welcome from your hosts if they are residing on the property. Or you may be met by the custodian who will help settle you in. A welcome basket usually awaits - with basics such as coffee, tea, milk, olive oil, a bottle of wine - enough provisions for your first meal. Fresh linens are always supplied.

On departure there is only one rule - leave the property as you found it - within reason. There will be a cleaning fee which will take care of basic cleaning for the next guests. This is usually paid on arrival with the balance of the accommodation costs. If there have been any breakages (accidents happen!) be sure to let your hosts know in advance - at least before you vacate the property. Departures take place by 10 am.

How can I find Self Catering vacation properties in Tuscany? There are many websites now listing all types of self catering accommodation --many owner direct. The list below features what I consider to be the most comprehensive sites (easy to navigate) with detailed information & clear images - so important! All these sites feature vast lists for the region of Tuscany. It may take some time but be sure to compare the details before you commit to your booking.

Buona vacanze -- Happy house hunting & Happy holidays!


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