Vacation rentals in Italy, whether an apartment in central Rome, a villa in Tuscany, a lovely apartment in historic Florence, or a palace overlooking a canal in Venice, are so appealing and romantic. The photos are beautiful; You can picture yourself sipping Chianti Classico as the sun sets behind the Tuscan hills. But vacation rentals are not for everyone. Our experience with sending vacationers to Italy for a number of years has replied in this set of questions which you can use to help determine whether you would enjoy a rental vacation in Italy.
Are you staying less than five nights?
Most vacation rental apartments in Italy require a one week stay, a few will accept less. Typically, you need to stock your kitchen and buy essentials such as toilet paper. If you will be spending just a few nights in one place, stay in a hotel and spend your time enjoying your destination rather than buying supplies. Short places may make sense if you are renting in several spots because you'll be able to carry your supplies from one to the next.
Do you like experiencing the local lifestyle?
You can gain new perspectives on the daily lives led by Italians because you will shop where they shop, experience the same views, and walk the same streets. If you consider it interesting to experience Italian culture while learning to make your own telephone calls and choosing your own fresh bread at the bakery, then a vacation apartment or villa in Italy may be for you.
Are you traveling with children?
When traveling with children, your pace needs adapt to their heads. If the children are not happy, no one is happy! They need their meals according to their own clocks, not restaurants'. With a vacation rental in Italy, they can breakfast in their pajamas, and, evenings, they do not have to wait till restaurants open around 7:30 pm to have their evening meal. You can prepare meals for them according to their tastes; A quiet plate of "pasta al burro" (pasta with butter) and a glass of milk may be just the thing.
In an apartment or villa, children can nap in one room and you can be in another, no tip pointing around a confining hotel room. Small children, in my experience, never really shift time zones, so may be wake at odd hours. When you are in an apartment or villa, you can close the door to the bedroom and take care of them in the living room without waking the whole family.
If you choose a vacation rental with an outdoor area, kids can get their "ya yas" out in the garden rather than in a hotel lobby. Even a small vacation rental can give you several spaces for people to hang out; The children can color on one table, while parents spread guidebooks and maps out on another – not usually possible in a hotel room.
When two or more families travel together, one set of adults can go out sightseeing, shopping, or for a nice meal while the children stay at "home" with the other adults, totally happy and capable to play, swim, eat, and nap With rather than going stir crazy in a hotel room. Or bring a nanny with you and find a vacation rental that will accommodate your whole crew.
Are you independent?
The owner or manager of your vacation rental may not be close at hand to help you. Once they have walked you through your apartment, you are on your own, except for emergencies, to apply their instructions to operate the washer or the heat or the phone. Nor is there a front desk or concierge to help you with reservations or directions.
Are you resourceful?
Will you enjoy shopping in local markets for your food and supplies? Things may be packaged differently and you may have to puzzle out labels. You may find no familiar brands. If you need something at the pharmacy, will you be able to communicate the ailment in sign language? The television set controls and the coffee pot will be unfamiliar, so will you be able to experiment with them without frustration? If you do not mind copying with unfamiliar processes and locations; If you can adapt when you can not find just what you have in mind, then you will do well in a vacation rental in Italy.
Can you do it better?
Italy is an especially challenging country for "Type A", hard driving personalities. Ancient bureaucracies rule the country with inefficiencies evident at every turn. Italian drivers can be madding. And there is no such thing as a line or queue for anything; It's all push and shove. For transactions at places such as post offices, you may have to stand in a mob only to be directed to the end of another mob. You probably could devise a system to do many things more efficiently, but it does not work to try to reorganize Italy! If you can cope with evident inefficiencies with humor and grace even, sometimes, with the help of a little glass of wine, then you will do just fine in a holiday apartment or villa in Italy.
Will you want to cook?
A real advantage of a vacation rental is the ability to prepare your own meals. You can eat when you want and what you want. There is nothing like having your coffee on the terrace of your villa in Tuscany as the sun rises over the vineyards! And if you have dietary restrictions, you can really take advantage of your own kitchen.
You can also save money. Eating all meals in restaurants can become expensive as well as time consuming. Buying and preparing beautiful fresh foods from the countryside can be a joyful experience and a highpoint in the day.
But, someone has to cook! A typical vacation rental may have all the cooking essentials, but not the labor saving appliances you are used to. No food processor, no mixer, or electric can opener, so more complex meal preparation may take longer than you are used to. It is sometimes fun to experience how grandma used to do it, but whipping egg whites by hand may be more than your arm can stand. So, consider whether that is how your cook wants to spend his or her time.
There are strategies to reduce the effort, of course. You will find pre-prepared entrees in the freezers and take out counters of larger grocery stores, and Italy has a wonderful type of restaurant, the tavola calda (hot table) which has take out meals elements, and the rosticceria which will sell you a Roasted chicken or other piece of nicely prepared meat to take home. The classic meal of pasta, a veal cutlet, and a salad is not a lot of effort, so keeping it simple may be important. When we have rented places with a larger group, we have taken a student-chef with us to prepare meals and do dishes (did I mention that dishwashers are not common), giving everyone a break. Some rentals properties have a cook who will come to you to prepare a lovely meal while you relax.
Do you need a daily housekeeper?
Most vacation rentals change sheets and towels weekly. Some offer a washing machine, but almost never a dryer for you to wash your own clothes and linens. If you need a daily change of towels and housekeeping services you should make sure they are available (at an extra charge) from your rental or consider a hotel.
Do you have time to prepare?
A little additional travel preparation may be required for a vacation rental. For example, there is no front desk where you may leave a wakeup call, so you should bring a portable alarm clock. No taxi queue out front, so you may need to think ahead to make arrangements for airport transportation.
Importantly, you also need to al
low the time for some advance reading. For example, you need to carefully read instructions on how to meet the owner, where to go, when to call.
In summary, if you need the services of a hotel at all hours to help you interact with Italy, to figure out where to go and how to get there, a hotel may be best for you. If you are interested in experiencing Italian culture up close, look forward to slowing down and experiencing a new take on daily life, or if you are traveling with children, a vacation rental in Italy will be a wonderful experience. On a budget, have special food requirements, or love to cook? The kitchen is a real boon. Whatever you decide, enjoy your vacation in Italy!