Self-Catering Villas and Apartment Holidays in Italy
Self-Catering Villas in Italy
Italy is more than a just glorified art museum, so catering to your own tastes is very important. The country is full of Leonardo da Vinci landscapes and Piero della Francesca views – all you need is the right ‘room with a view.’ The many stunning villas in Italy can offer just that.
is what most of us dream of. Farm stays (“agriturismo”) embrace everything from staying on a real farm to a converted granary or country estate. But you can often have a similar experience by choosing rural self-catering Italian villas. Accommodation might be in the guise of renovated former farm buildings, stables or granaries on an olive-oil or wine estate, and, on an adjoining farm, you could sample the local produce – from wine, olive oil and salami to home-made bread, cheeses, pasta or jams.
With creative conversions, the self-catering choice comes in a range of villas in Italy, such as an Umbrian farm-house, a Sicilian manor house, a truly scrumptious trullo, a bizarre beehive-house in Puglia. In Puglia, the masseria fortificata, the authentic rural residence, traditionally doubled as a fortress and a family-run working farm. But many have now been converted into luxurious country retreats.
Look beyond the typical tourist haunts and you will find some Italian villas that are excellent value for money and offer a warm welcome. This is true of much of the South and also in such unspoilt regions as rural Abruzzo,Liguria, Puglia, Le Marche, and Emilia Romagna.
In Matera, in deepest Basilicata, cave dwellings are enjoying a makeover after Mel Gibson’s controversial movie, The Passion of Christ, was filmed there. Offering a unique alternative to Italian villas, the cool cave-apartments reveal a labyrinth of Stone Age walls, carved out of tufa-stone, with views over a lunar landscape.
Even in perennially popular Tuscany and Umbria, there are still some ‘secret’ discoveries. The same is true of Lake Garda, the ski resorts, and on the most sought-after islands. When it comes to searching for family beach villas in Italy, be prepared to choose between a pricier, more functional beachside haunt and a rural apartment that is still only a short hop from the coast. Given the need for insider knowledge, trust a specialist tour operator rather than a random web search for Italian villas.
In the classic art cities, particularly Florence, Rome and Venice, the rental prices might seem high, but bear in mind the savings to be made by dining in rather than dining out. The appeal of a city-centre apartment also includes a superior sense of feeling like a native, whether shopping for fish in Venice’s Rialto market, or actually living in a Renaissance apartment in Florence. Smugness is part of the appeal, as is sheer convenience.
While the typical self-catering rental period for Italian villas is a week, some savvy operators also offer short breaks, including in Le Marche and Tuscany. There is usually a premium to be paid for villas in Italy with a pool, or coastal and city centre locations, but booking early through a specialist operator is still the safest bet.