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How to Choose your Vacation Rental Villa in Italy

A Glossary of Terms we use in our property description pages for all villas and apartments. Read this first to help you make your decision.

You've made the decision to rent a home in Italy, to become a player instead of a spectator. Your dream may be of a family reunion in your own private farmhouse - maybe on a Tuscan hill top surrounded by olive trees, or to explore the environs of Rome with your close friends, taking advantage of the countryside but close enough for easy trips into the city. Perhaps a romantic getaway to Venice, Florence or Rome is more of what you have in mind. Whatever the dream, whatever the type of accommodations, we have the home that will make you feel At Home - in Italy. We have personally visited these homes to lay the groundwork for you. The hard part will be deciding on which home.

The easy part of this process is deciding on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. Then you may want to consider location. Italy is only the size of Arizona, yet it varies in its landscape, customs, foods, sights and even language. If it's your first time to Italy, we suggest you read at least one good guide book before deciding on the area in this country of diversity you will call home for a week or two.

You then need to ask yourself what type of vacation are you looking for? Do you want to relax with your family around the pool and fit in sightseeing in a leisurely fashion, or do you want to base yourself in a centrally located position to minimize the traveling distance to major sights? List the amenities you would like, check off the ones you must have, and have an open mind when you are choosing between the homes you like. The homes may not have everything you are looking for, but you are sure to find a few that will suit your needs just fine.

Things to consider before looking for a vacation home in Italy:

- City life is perfect for enjoying all the city has to offer. Get to know her intimately. Explore her museums, restaurants and shops. Thrive in the bustling day and submerge yourself in her beautiful nights.
No car is needed, but if you want to explore the surrounding hill towns, you can take advantage of excellent public transportation as buses and trains run all day. But if your desires are to explore the countryside at your own pace, we recommend renting a car or hiring a private guide.

- The perfect location if you want easy driving access to the city AND the country. You may still be surrounded by other homes but it's less congested and you will usually have easy access to major highways, making it an ideal base for day tripping.

- These homes can be tucked away on a hillside, close to a road, nestled in a valley, on a farm or an estate, sitting alone on a hill. Some may seem isolated, but none are more than a few kilometers from the nearest town. Upon your arrival, some homes may seem further out than you ever imagined, but after your first day you will manage that "Strada Bianca" or "White Road" like an Italian, and realize that civilization is really not that far away. Not all homes are reached by these unpaved roads that can wind through the countryside and kick up enough dust to obscure the vision of anyone traveling too close behind you, but if it does, they are guaranteed to become one of the major topics of conversation when you return home. It's not Italian Bureaucracy that keeps these roads unpaved, but a conservation effort to prevent water runoff and erosion. After your first encounter you won't give it a second thought and may even enjoy the thrill of it.

- This is a great way to get a taste of Italian Life. Easy in and out access to day trips and usually close to the main roads. They are such a slice of Italian life that you will find yourself wanting to return home early for each evening's "passagiata" - that Italian tradition of taking a stroll through town at the end of a day. Drop in the local bar to have an aperitivio before stopping at the pasticciere to pick up some pastries or cake for you evening's dessert. By Wednesday, the owner of the bar you stop in each morning for your cappuccino and cornetto will know you by name. Too tired to cook when you return home from a hard day of sightseeing? These villages have the best restaurants where the produce on your plate just may have been picked in the garden outside the kitchen door that afternoon. Most likely you'll meet your neighbors there, if you haven't done so already.

- This is the Italian name for a hamlet or a small village. Here we will refer to it if the entire hamlet is available for rent. You don't need to rent the entire borgo and they all have residence staff to help you with any requests. They are great for large families or groups traveling together but still want their privacy at the end of the day. Borgos are also great to lodge an entire wedding party with friends. Many of them have their own church or chapel to make the town a complete wedding package.

- A fortified stronghold that usually began as a fortress and then was converted into a summer retreat for nobility. You are almost always guaranteed to arrive in awe, as they usually dominate the surrounding countryside. The spectacular vistas were first chosen as a defense against oncoming invaders. Their only purpose now is to enjoy the spectacular views. Although the price may seem steep at first glance, in actuality they are very reasonable given the amount of people they sleep. For less than the price of a deluxe room at the Ritz, you can live like a King, or as the case may have it, a Duke or Count! And they have their own staff! CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SAMPLE CASTLE

- These were official residences of Royalty built in major cities such as Venice, Florence and Rome. The name in fact came from the Latin palatium, referring to the Palatine Hill in Rome, where the emperors built their homes. Palace rentals are usually apartments within the Palace and have elegant surroundings. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SAMPLE PALACE

- Again rooted in the Latin to describe a Roman country estate with a substantial house. Later its definition changed to include a large and luxurious country house where the wealthy would flee to escape the city's summer heat. We do not use the term lightly; our Villas must stand up to the definition. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SAMPLE VILLA

- Usually in the country but can also be found in the suburbs. These homes vary from well furnished and elegant to rustic. They include original farmhouses and restored buildings that existed on farms and country estates. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SAMPLE FARMHOUSE

- A small house that is often on an owner's property, usually a caretaker's house, carriage house or other very cute small storybook home. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SAMPLE COTTAGE

- Apartments can be found in the city, suburbs, country, villages and hamlets. They can be located in Castles, Villas, Palaces, Farmhouses and even large converted farm buildings. Recently we are seeing newly restored farm buildings converted to apartments. These are great for groups traveling together that want to be close by, but have a bit of privacy, or for couples that don't want the isolation of the larger properties. Think of our American apartment complexes where you have a next door neighbor, a shared pool, and sometimes laundry facilities, but that is where the similarities end. Imagine an old converted stone barn with exposed chestnut ceilings, an antique stone sink, and a restored manger right in your dining room. Breathtaking! You are really in Italy! CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SAMPLE APARTMENT

- A house in a town or city. Normally, but not always, consisting of the entrance on the ground floor, living space on the first floor and bedrooms on the third floor. Most of these homes can go back to the time the town was built, frequently to the Renaissance period or earlier. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SAMPLE TOWNHOUSE

We list the number of people the home sleeps by listing the number of people that can be accommodated in bedrooms plus the number of alternate sleeping accommodations. Any beds that are not in a bedroom, or any cots, daybeds, sofa beds, etc will be listed after the +. For example, 6+1 means there are enough beds for 6 people and one other type of accommodation. All will be clearly listed on the property description page.

Beds in Italy do not have box springs. They usually rest on iron or wooden slats and sometimes even rope that is tightly tied to the bed frame.

Not all mattresses in the same classification are the same size. Twins can come in three slightly different sizes, but when put together can still comfortably sleep two people.

- King size beds are rare in Italy and are sometimes called Castle Beds.

- Our description includes one mattress or two singles put together, the size ranges from an American Double bed to Queen bed.

- When Twin is stated on the description page, the bedroom has two single (or twin) beds, a single room means there is one single bed in the bedroom, triple means there are three single beds in a room.

- A bit smaller than an old-fashioned Full bed and can comfortably accommodate two average size adults, recommended for honeymooners. If you are tall, make sure there is another bed in the house!

- Sofa by day, pull out bed at night. This can be a single or a double.

- A single bed that is covered and serves as a small sofa. It only sleeps one person.

- Day bed with a twin bed underneath that rolls out. Sleeps 2 singles.

- These are single beds that are shorter in length and can accommodate children up to 12 years of age.

We are bathroom fanatics and feel it is one of the most critical components of choosing a vacation rental. Our standards include but are not limited to modern fixtures in good working condition, cleanliness, and hot water. Of course, sometimes you can't do anything about the water pressure, but we will always try to let you know.

Bathroom with Shower
- A sink, toilet, bidet and a shower stall with a door, walls or curtain.

Bathroom with Tub
- A sink, toilet, bidet, and bathtub with a hand held or wall mounted shower.

Half Bath
- A sink and toilet but without a shower or tub. Also referred to as Guest Bathroom or Powder Room.

Shower Room
- A small bathroom with a wall mounted shower and drain on the floor, no shower curtain or door. Most have a sink and toilet but the entire room can get wet when you close the door.

Sitz Tub
- These bathtubs are half the length of a regular bathtub. They also have either a wall mount showerhead or hand held shower.

Some homes are supplied with large, well equipped kitchens while others will have a kitchen corner or kitchenette. You will always have enough service ware for the maximum amount of people that can occupy the house, but if you are planning on a lot of cooking it is best to inquire with us about its facilities. The larger the house, the greater your chances of a well-equipped kitchen as it is expected that cooking will be done in a larger house filled with family and friends.
Note to coffee lovers: Even if you find an American drip coffee maker in the house, it won't taste the same as home since all beans are dark roasted and finely ground. If you find yourself longing for a good ol'cup of java, we recommend bringing along coffee bags by Folgers or Maxwell House.

Amenities and Facilities are listed in the property description page under their own heading. If you don't see the amenity listed, it isn't available for that house, but contact us with your wish list and we will be able to offer you alternatives.

We use the Italian convention for numbering floors. The ground floor is the equivalent of the American first floor; their first floor is an American second floor, and so forth. This could be important to you when you are looking at an apartment that does not have an elevator and we state it is on the fourth floor. That fifth set of steps may make all the difference.



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