European Travel: Stay in an Italian Villa
Stay in Italy in a Villa
Who has not dreamed of getting away for a couple of weeks, perhaps with some European travel?
Have you considered staying a month or even an entire summer season in an Italian villa? Italy is a wonderful tourist location year-round, with fantastic shopping, gorgeous countrysides, amazing architecture - and don't forget the food and wine! For those that want to soak in the experience, living in a rented villa, country house or apartment is an excellent alternative to pricey hotels. Moreover, you can unpack and relax in the comfort of your own "home away from home."
With the Internet, these days it is easy to browse hundreds of potential Italian villa properties by price, region, size, and proximity to key cities and landmarks. With the click of a mouse, you can easily compare prices and availability. Some websites offer excursions, as well, including cooking classes, wine tasting and more.
Make your European travel dreams a reality! Read on for tips and ideas to use in planning your next vacation.
European Travel and the Italian Villa Experience
Anyone who has read the book, Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes, or seen the 2003 movie starring Diane Lane, has likely fantasized about living in (let alone, restoring) an Italian villa. Your own personal experience in renting a villa will depend in part on the property that you select.
There is a wide range of price points, styles and locations among available villas for rent. For example, a stone house along the Amalfi Coast that will sleep 9 people will set you back $5,000 USD or more for a week. If you'd rather stay in a rustic farmhouse near Pisa, you may be able to get a weekly rental rate bargain of $2,500 for the same number of people. Some smaller apartments in Rome go for as little as $1000 USD a week.
Shopping for and cooking your own food is part of the charm when you stay in an Italian villa. You don't need to plan every meal at home, but experiencing the local grocery stores with the intent to make your own authentic pizza, enjoyed with a glass of Chianti is priceless. The atmosphere is more relaxed and personal than that of a hotel. Just remember that there will not be room service. Cleaning up and making beds will be your responsibility.
Many people love the immersion experience of temporarily living in the region to soak up the culture in a manner unique from typical tourist locales. Often, the owner of an Italian villa will introduce you to neighbors and may even give you a "behind the scenes" view of his or her village.
When planning to book an Italian villa, give yourself plenty of time. Larger groups (6 or more) will need to reserve the property about a year in advance. Not surprisingly, summer is high season. Rates will be steeper and properties more scarce. Not all villas are available during winter months as some owners do not pay to heat them through the season.
Booking fees may require a deposit of up to 75% of the rental fee in advance, with the balance due before you arrive. Check the small print to see if any is refundable in case you need to change plans or cancel. Additional fees typically include a damage deposit and/or utilities charges. You may wish to purchase trip insurance if it is available before heading off for your European travel!
Be sure to read all the details of the contract and ask lots of questions before putting your credit card down!
Let's Go! BBC Show on the Tuscany Region
Where Else Can You Find Available Italian Villas?
What if you need an Italian villa immediately, or there are not any properties that strike your fancy on the "traditional" websites like the ones shown above?
Some property owners advertise on eBay or Craig's List. Other sources are found in travel magazines, or alumni or trade publications (I always see ads for vacation properties in my Bar News and in Columns - the University of Washington alumni magazine).
You can even check the newspaper for available properties for European travel. If you're really creative, run your own Craig's List ad saying that you are looking for a property and specify dates, locations and price.
If you want to move off-line, working with a travel agent can be a safe and efficient way to get your travel needs met. Typically, the agent's fee is paid by the listing agency, so you will not be out of pocket for this service.
One good resource is the Chicago office of the Italian Government Tourist Board. Call 312-644-0996 and they will give you names of Italian brokers with whom you can work.
Be sure to specify any requirements or conditions that you desire with respect to the property. For example, many brides and grooms enjoy having wedding ceremonies in foreign countries. Do you need a villa large enough for a wedding party, or for an entire reception?
Think about the Italian villa's proximity to towns, as well, considering grocery or other sundries that you may need while on your trip.
Views of Sicily
Book your Travel to Italy and Reserve an Italian Villa Now!
After writing this article, I am ready to head back to Italy! Next time, we will stay in an Italian villa, most definitely.
I have visited the country twice and loved it immensely both times. From the Amalfi coast, the Island of Capri, north through Naples to Rome. Then from Rome further north into the Tuscany region, through many delightful hill towns, towards Florence! You can't forget Pisa and Venice. So much to see and do. Italy is centrally located, as well, so other European travel is convenient on your trip.
Frankly, I think it would be hard to pick just one region and stay. However, I think I could make do, after viewing some of the magnificent properties available... and renting a great little car.
Have a great trip!