Dining on Ischia, A Gem of an Island off the Bay of Naples
July 25, 2014
Colle San Paolo in Umbria
January 28, 2014
Shopping in Amalfi
July 29, 2014
3 Tips for Selecting the Perfect Tuscan Villa
March 8, 2014
1. Relax, stay awhile...
The Tuscan experience is best enjoyed on Italian time. Many of the most desirable properties we represent limit bookings to a Saturday-Saturday stay. While they are willing to make occasional exceptions during the off season upon request, during June-September, expect to book for a week if you are looking for a quality self-catering option. For stays of less than a week, an agriturismo/b&b or country estate are the alternatives. Staying for at least a week will give you the full experience you are seeking as travelers to the area, time to sit and watch the clouds pass by, or get to know some locals, along with 3 or 4 visits to the local sites and a larger city such as Florence for the day. There is also a strong likelihood during the summer that staying awhile will mean the chance to attend the wide range of local festivals going on throughout the region. The kids might even make some Italian friends!
2. Location, location, location...
Rather than penciling in 3 nights in Florence and 6 nights divided between two locations in Tuscany, for example, consider adjusting your itinerary to include 2 nights in Florence, and 7 nights in 1 central location in Tuscany. Or, another example, if your itinerary aspires to include stops in Florence, Tuscany, and the Cinque Terre, consider a week-long stay somewhere central like Lucca, where day trips to Tuscany and Florence are a possibility. Identify the sites your group would ideally like to visit throughout Tuscany, and select a location for your villa that allows you the luxury of a week-long stay. In determining your location as you evaluate the villas available, be sure to consider just how deep along country roads your villa is if you plan to do a fair amount of touring versus mostly la dolce far niente … Road conditions for driving and distance to the regional highways or autostrada can make a significant difference in your drive time and should be considered along with simply the distance in kilometers.
3. Quality and value...
Clients frequently ask us how recently the properties we recommend were renovated—an important question. Whether the décor is luxurious, country chic, or rustic charm, the properties we recommend are continuously maintained, with renovations occurring as needed to maintain quality for their guests. It is at the same time necessary to keep in mind that the Tuscan countryside is, well, in the country, it’s rural, and the logistics of supplying utilities alone are more challenging and in some cases costly than in urban areas. This can be a consideration in levels of luxury. Evaluating the amenities available at the villa options you are considering is an important step in the decision-making process—which amenities can you do without, and which are a necessity: a/c (not as common in the countryside as often assumed), laundry facilities, quality of linens, kitchen appliances, comfort of furnishings, and window screens (fairly rare). On the note of value and how much luxury you can afford, we like to evaluate the overall trip budget, and if you feel compelled to go for a little more luxury in your villa, then perhaps consider paring down your budget for dining out or day excursions to make up the difference.In Tuscany, out of necessity, centuries of careful cultivation of the land and preservation of the landscape have created an environment where, truly, “a little goes a long way” when planning a trip with thoughtfulness and care.
If you are planning a trip to Italy and considering booking a villa, please contact us to help you find the perfect place for your vacation.