Girlfriends Rent a Villa in Italy
sightseeing, fine food...
Soon, we chanced the Autostrada
ourselves (life in the fast lane is 140-kph minimum). Arriving in
Santa Margherita, we bought tickets for the next ferry cruise along
the coast. San Fruttuosa took our breath away, with its miniature
impossibly blue, clear waters, and green hills dotted with just
a few old buildings. Lunch on a third-storey veranda overlooking
the scene was only eclipsed by the view of the handsome young man
sprawled on his boat, fast asleep, ignoring his own sign, 'boat
Later that week, wanting to
see the Piedmont wine country, we asked our friend Laura for help.
She guided us through the roads of Asti and Barolo, which gave phenomenal
views of the land and some insight into the prestigious winemaking
country. Large fields of sunflowers drying for their oils were a
surprising and interesting sight for us as well.
Another day, Laura led us into
Turin. The sights of the city's impressive buildings and ornate,
arcaded shops clinched our feeling that here was a city of quality
and culture, especially when we lunched on regional specialties
at Barattino, one of the oldest restaurants and confectioneries
in the area. Afterwards, we visited the cathedral of San Giovanni,
which houses the original Shroud of Turin.
at every turn...
gave us many happy impressions, mostly because of the wonderful
people we met. At every turn there was someone to help. Laura and
Sergio had become our true friends. Carmela and Dante also. They
and others became Italian 'angels' who helped us along the way:
the young man in Pavia who explained how parking meters worked and
insisted on putting in his own money; the lady in busy Aqui Terme
who gave us a parking pass so we could avoid being towed away. There
were many, many more.
Too soon it was
time to go...
On the last evening at the Casa,
our culinary skills reached new heights. An amazing cooperative
effort produced a true Italian-style meal that we served in the
elegant, wood-panelled dining room. We lit candles in honour of
the occasion and dressed in our finest. Inviting Carmela and Dante
as a way of saying a final thank you to them, we feasted on superb
pasta enhanced with fresh
tomatoes, garlic and peppers from the garden. Carmela's beautifully
decorated fruit flan added a grand touch to that last convivial
Rising before 5 a.m. on our
last morning in Italy, we returned to the airport in Sergio's comfortable
bus. As we breakfasted on the coffee and croissants he kindly provided,
the sun began to rise and mountains on the nearby horizon were bathed
in glorious hues of pink and grey. A wonderfully fitting ending
to our women-only group holiday!
Know before you
When: Our experience
has been that April, May and October are the most inexpensive months
to rent a villa. Rents can be one third of the high season rates
posted in July and August.
Where: While villa
rental properties are offered in many countries, we have found that
Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, in particular, provide a very
to find and book your villa: Most rental companies are
now represented on the web. A site such as Holiday
Rentals provides detailed information and photographs of available
villas. You can then contact and arrange a rental directly with
an owner. Alternatively, many established companies, such as Something
Special Villa Holidays, list properties and will take care of
the rental arrangements for you.
Casa Straneo: Sadly
for travellers the owners have decided to live permanently at Casa
Straneo, and this villa is no longer available for rent.
Cost: We work at
keeping our costs reasonably low. The two-week vacation featured
in this article, cost just under $3,000 each, airfare and all else
Bus and Taxi Service from
Malpensa International Airport: See Panicucci's Taxi
Service on the Net at www.panicuccitaxi-parking.com.
Panicucci also offers cell phone rentals.
Happy villa renting, everybody!
Back to GirlTalk
The articles in GIRLTALK Italy
have been independently researched by Journeywoman Online.
We thank the Italian
Government Tourist Board and Air
France for sponsoring this female-friendly information.
Together it is our aim to inspire women to visit Italy and
to travel safely and well.
P.S. Did you know that
Charles-de-Gaulle's airport in Paris is Air France's hub?
And from Paris, Air France can connect you to 10 Italian