Moving from one hotel to another can be stressful and waste a lot of precious vacation time. Villas can offer you:
A home away from home while on vacation. Using the Villa as a central point allows you the freedom of traveling throughout Tuscany and returning to familiar surroundings.
The freedom to cook for yourself, have someone cook for you, heat up food and have food available anytime without having to adhere to any eating schedule. When you have children this could be a blessing that might save you a lot of money and a lot of stress.
If you're traveling with friends and family, this can be a way of spending quality time with each other in a comfortable and less structured environment. There is a big difference between meeting up in the lobby and just meeting up in your own living room.
When you stay in a rental property, you can better socialize with the locals and the culture because you are totally surrounded by it.
Although there is no doubt that you can find 2 and 3 star hotels that are cheaper, it?s what you are looking for in a vacation that counts. Villas can be more costly but the memories and experiences you get from staying in a Villa far outweigh staying at a hotel.
The countryside in Italy is still very fresh and unpolluted. This means that you may find yourself sharing some space with bugs, spiders and lizards but don?t be alarmed. Not only will they not harm you in any way, they are extremely important in maintaining the ecosystem of the area. All our Villas are clean and kept to high standards, but you can?t always control mother-nature.
Webster's dictionary defines a villa as: a country estate; the rural or suburban residence of a wealthy person; a detached or semidetached urban residence with yard and garden space.
Almost all of our Villas have a private swimming pool and/or tennis court. If they don't have a pool they are probably near the sea or a body of water where you can take a dip.
Among the many types of Villas you can find:
Rustic farmhouses that have been fully renovated.
Beautiful properties that are part of an estate.
Structures that have been divided into apartments which can be luxurious, rustic or quaint. These can be part of a much larger farmhouse, palace or estate.
The term cottage denotes a small, often cozy dwelling, and small size is integral to the description. In modern usage, a cottage is a dwelling, typically in a rural, or semi-rural location, (sometimes village) and often located one and a half storey property, although there are cottage-style dwellings in cities.
Whether you're in a Villa or an apartment, privacy should not be an issue. The owners and caretakers usually live in their own homes right on the property and are too busy running their business to be able to monitor your every move. However, they are always available to help you solve a problem or provide you with any information you may need.
In the cases where there is a communal pool and/or recreation area, these are usually separate enough from the living spaces that you can retreat to your rental and enjoy all the privacy you want. The communal spaces are also a good place to meet other travelers, sharing stories and they are a great place for children to meet other children and play till their hearts content.
Anytime is a good time to go to Italy. Every season offers its own charm and flavor. Some things to consider when choosing a time to travel are:
The coast and countryside are best visited in mid-May or September when the heat and crowds are less.
For city rentals we advice March, April or September. Another great time is August; this is because most Italians take this month off for their own vacations and leave the cities relatively empty and uncluttered. The only thing about August is the high heat that usually comes with it.
Remember, you're renting a house not staying a hotel. With some properties everyone can have their own bedroom with bathroom, but in most cases you will have to share a bathroom. Depending on the size of the rental, there could be more than one bathroom available and sharing this facility does not become an issue.
In most cases yes, for an additional fee. Villas that are in the budget to moderate price range usually leave it up to you when it comes to the cleaning and linen changes. You make the beds, wash the dishes and do the laundry.
In the higher end rentals, maid service are arranged for 2 or 3 hours a day included in the price of the rental. This means someone comes in to do the house cleaning and change the bed linens and towels once a week. This does not mean that the maid does your laundry, baby-sits or cooks, they just clean the house. Any additional services you may require of the maid have to be discussed with them directly and additional fees paid directly to the provider upon completion of the task.
If you want a Chef, we can arrange to have someone come and cook for you, also at an additional cost. If you hire someone and then cancel at the last minute you might be required to pay anyway since the person reserved the time slot for you and depends on these jobs to make a living. All outside help that you hire have to be approved by the caretaker or owner as they might not feel comfortable with having strangers on their property.
Domestic help is not cheap in Italy so be prepared to pay fair market price for these additional services.
In most cases childcare can be arranged however don't expect them to speak English. If you find that you will require childcare, please let us know as soon as possible so that we let you know if this is possible or not at a particular property.
If you're old enough to sleep in a bed, then you count as 1 person. The doubling up concept is not welcomed and we discourage it. You should rent a property that offers everyone a bed and is big enough to accommodate everyone comfortably.
If you have specific allergies that you need to avoid, i.e. cat, dog, dust, mold, etc., let us know and we can ask the property owners about these triggers. We can?t however, guarantee that you won?t experience allergies nor are we responsible for any medical or financial situations you may encounter.
The only pet that might be welcome is a dog and this is after getting permission from the rental caretaker or owner. Because a lot of people are allergic to different dander, fur, etc., it is best to avoid bringing them. You might not have a reaction to your dear pet, but the next renter might have a problem with what your pet leaves behind.
We do our best to quote you a final price that includes all the pertinent charges, however there are some instances were additional charges do occur like:
Leaving the heater or air conditioning on, full blasts, for 24 hrs. In Italy, energy costs are about 3 times higher than in the U.S. If your usage of power and gas becomes excessive there could be an additional cost. We recommend using the A/C and the heater only when you are present.
In few cases, there will be a cost for washing and drying the bed sheets when the amount of sheets is very high, say 14 sets or so. As mentioned before, washing machines take 2 hrs to do a load and there are no dryers. When the quantity is so high, they usually send them out to be cleaned.
If there are other extras, they will be specified in our descriptions of the individual properties, which can be found at our website under the Property Info Sheet.
Letto Mattrimoniale this translates into a matrimonial bed. Imagine a mattress that is bigger than a Full but smaller than a Queen. That's a letto matrimoniale. Very comfortable, very spacious and most commonly found. In some rare cases, you can find a King type bed and that means you got lucky.
Twin Beds these are usually narrower than the U.S. twin bed size, however, sometimes you do find wider beds.
2 Twin Beds push together, in order for the rentals to have maximum usage of their beds, sometimes they will put 2 twins together in order to make a double bed. You need not worry about the 2 beds sliding apart, in most cases people don't even notice.
Una Piazza e Mezza a.k.a. French bed This bed is slowly going extinct and for good reasons. Many owners want to place couples in this bed and we feel that it is not big enough for two. As far as we are concerned, this is a very comfortable bed for 1 person.
In our bedroom property descriptions when we say:
Matrimonial Bedroom or double bedroom we mean accommodations for a couple. If the bed is 2 Twins put together, then we try and let you know by using descriptions like Queen/Twin bedroom or 2 twins pushed together.
Twin Bedroom we mean a room with 2 Twin beds.
Single Bedroom we mean a room with 1 Twin bed or a bed.
Most mattresses are regular orthopedic spring mattresses that meet American standards. In some properties, they still have the woolen mattresses much coveted by the Old Italian aristocracy. If you get the opportunity to sleep in one of these woolen mattresses, you will probably experience the best sleep of your life.
If you don't feel safe in Italy, you won't feel safe anywhere. The crime rate in Italy does not begin to compare to the crime rate in the U.S. It is very low and non-violent. Most crime occurs in the way of pickpockets, car theft, getting robbed while you were out for the day, et.al. The use of weapons to carry out crimes is almost nil in Italy and you can walk anywhere at any time and feel safe and comfortable with your surroundings.
Although in the large cities you might see gypsies begging and loitering around being a nuisance, most of their crimes are petty and if you just don't let them intimidate you, they'll leave you alone. These gypsy clans roam Europe moving around in their Mercedes Benzs and deluxe Air Stream trailers, begging and stealing for income. They've been doing it for hundred of years and will continue for another 100.
Please use common sense to avoid any unpleasant experiences by closing the windows and locking your doors when you go out. If you have a car, don?t forget to lock it when you park. Keep you money and valuables close and you should have a wonderful and crime free adventure in Italy.
Part of the information supplied to you about your rental will include the contact number of the rental property owner &/or the caretaker.
For any electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning & water supply problems or any other need please contact them a.s.a.p. Keep in mind that in Europe the instant gratification responses are not possible. When you hear that it will get fixed immediately, what they are really saying is sit down, get a cup of coffee and don?t plan your day around our visit. It will get done, just on European time.
If the problem is relatively minor, like where are the closet hangers, don't contact us. There is nothing we can do from our offices about getting you the hangers. The person to contact is the rental property owner. If you can't find the owner, can't understand what they are saying or if the solution to your problem is not satisfactory, then you can contact us. Our telephone number provided in your Street Directions pamphlet, please keep your reservation number on hand.
For some people the villas are spotless and for others they could use more cleanliness. It all depends on your definition of clean. We have chosen these properties and these owners because they meet our criteria on many levels, including cleanliness. When renting a villa you must keep an open mind and be flexible enough to roll with the punches. Although the owners do their best to ensure that your villa is ready for your arrival, sometimes they only have 3 hours to get a property ready between renters. This means that if the renters before you did not do a good job at washing the dishes then you might find yourself doing some washing before you use them. It is not possible to inspect every dish, fork and knife before your arrival. If you can?t compromise on these issues, then you?d probably be better off staying at the nearest hotel.
Since most streets are too small to accommodate large garbage trucks, in Europe dumpsters are placed in areas where everyone in the neighborhood can access them. Ask the caretaker where your dumpster is and use it as a way to meet the locals.
For most of the large country villas this is possible. Of course the basic necessities like soap and toilet paper will come with the rental. If arrangements are made to stock your rental with food provisions, then please pay for them immediately upon arrival. Because of the famous Italian hospitality, most housekeepers will hesitate to ask you for the money which they have already fronted for you, so don?t make them ask for it, just give it to them. As you can imagine, these housekeepers are not rolling in the money and can ill afford to loan you what they have.
If you hire someone for certain ?extras? like cooking for you, please pay them daily or at least every other day, Don?t wait for the end of your stay to settle the accounts and risk forgetting paying someone in your rush to depart.
You're not in a hotel you're in a rental property. Europeans do not practice the change the towels everyday belief. Everyone gets 1 bath towel, 1 hand towel and 1 face towel per week. Should you wish to wash them in between changes, you can use the washing machine on property or nearby.
NOTE: Italian washing machines wash really, really, really well, that's why one load takes 2 hours! What you will have a hard time finding is a dryer. In Italy, fresh air is the only way to go. If you don?t have a drying rack in your room, ask the caretaker where you can hang your laundry.
Linens are also on a weekly schedule rotation. Like the towels, you can wash them and let the sun dry them should you wish to launder mid rotation. If you have guests and linens have to be changed too often, there might be a per-change fee charged. If you plan on having guests, talk with the renter and discuss what, if any, extras fees are applicable for both towels and linens.
Upon arrival you will find the appropriate supplies in the way of toilet paper and soap already in the bathrooms. Should you run out of things during your stay, then it is up to you to purchase additional supplies and replace what has been used.
In most cases you will be able to connect without problems. Do bring a plug adaptor, not a voltage adaptor, but a prong shape adaptor, which can be plugged into the Italian shaped wall socket. The majority of laptops can operate on both 110 and 220 current, but it is imperative that you ensure you have this feature. Also bring a phone cord to plug into the phone jack. We are not responsible for any damage caused should your laptop not have this interchangeable current feature. When it comes to phone charges, there are no free phone calls in Italy, so just leaving an open web connection can be very costly. For any technical help you might need, ask the caretaker to direct you to the nearest computer store where you arrange and pay for any services.
Another option to bringing your own laptop is to use the hundreds of public internet business that can be found just about around every corner and in the most obscure of places. Should you need to receive huge documents via e-mail, your best bet is going to be the internet points since most villas do not have DSL/Broadband capabilities.