Staying in a villa while you’re visiting Italy or if you are an expat in Italy is the perfect way to experience the country. It will give you total freedom over your itinerary as well as privacy for you and your group. Villas are the ideal option for families or groups of friends who are visiting Italy while enjoying the stunning scenery, art and cultural heritage of the country.
What Is A Villa?
Originally, a villa was a type of upper class country home for Romans which eventually became highly fortified during Late Antiquity, often later being gifted to the church to be used as monasteries. However, in the modern world, a villa refers to an exclusive property which has an excellent standard of facilities, often including a swimming pool, game rooms, large gardens and outdoor dining areas.
There is a lot of variation between different villas that are available to rent so you will need to do plenty of research before committing to a contract with the owner. Some villas are shared with other guests while others are stand alone properties where you have total privacy. Other villas also provide you with a private chef and cleaning staff who come once a day to keep the property clean and tidy for you!
The following are some of the important questions you should ask before renting a villa:
Security Deposit And The Conditions Of Its Return.
When you rent a villa you’ll have to supply a security deposit which will be used in case anything is broken or damaged, to pay for repairs and replacements. When you’re arranging a rental villa you should always ask when your security deposit will be returned and how it will be refunded to you. Will the deposit be paid directly into your bank account or do you have to collect it from the rental property’s owner? Either way, you need to find out before you sign any contracts or make any formal agreements.
What Is Included In The Price Of The Villa?
When you’re arranging a villa rental you should always ask what is included in the price. Some villas will arrange for you to be picked up from the airport, or a nearby city, whereas in other cases the price may include cleaning services, a chef or other additional amenities.
If your villa rental price includes cleaning you need to find out what this entails and what your own responsibilities will be while you’re staying in the villa. Cleaning services may include a daily visit by cleaning staff or it could include a weekly visit by the cleaners. In a situation where you are expected to keep the villa clean on your own then you should find out if cleaning supplies are available in the villa or whether you’ll have to purchase your own.
Can You Bring Your Pets?
If you’re travelling with any pets you should make specific inquiries with the villa owners as to whether or not you’ll be allowed to bring your pets with you. Many villas do not allow pets to stay but if you do a thorough online search you’ll find plenty that do! When you are staying in a villa with dogs you need to be very careful to stop them from chewing the furniture or even digging holes in the garden because these could lead to you losing your security deposit.
How Close Is The Villa To Local Amenities?
Is the villa located close enough to the nearest town, shops and other amenities to be able to walk or are you going to have to rent a car? Is there plenty of public transport in the area or is the villa fairly remote and will therefore require you to have your own means of transport?
You need to find out before you arrive in Italy to rent your villa whether you need to arrange a car rental. If you are going to need a car, does the villa have adequate parking spaces? In most cases the villa should have ample parking although if not you also need to find out whether there’s on street parking available for use.
Is The Villa A Multi-Unit Property?
When you’re looking at the suitability of a villa you certainly want to discover whether or not it’s a multi-unit property. A multi-unit property may have several different groups of guests staying in it at any one time; and includes shared kitchens, living space and a shared swimming pool. For some people this is absolutely fine but if you want more privacy you should avoid renting a multi-unit property.
Is The Villa Air Conditioned?
Italy can get extremely hot during the summer months, particularly in the South of the country. If you’re renting a villa during the summer, when mid-day temperatures can easily soar above 35 degrees Celsius, having a good air conditioning system is really essential for a comfortable stay!
Don’t forget that unlike in the United States, air conditioning systems are fairly rare in Italy where most locals rely on small electric fans instead. This means that if you want to ensure that the property has proper air conditioning facilities you’ll need to ask in advance and possibly do a bit of searching to find a suitable rental villa.
Does The Villa Have A Private Chef?
When you’re renting a villa in Italy, having your own private chef for the stay will really make the experience memorable as you live in the lap of luxury! A private chef may cook you breakfast, dinner and even prepare you a packed lunch if you’re heading out for a day trip during your stay.
In other instances, the chef will only cook your evening meal and leave you to handle breakfast and lunch. If you do want a private chef and the villa you want to stay in does not offer it you may still be able to arrange your own to visit you in the evenings to prepare meals.
What Other Facilities Does The Villa Have?
While you’re staying in a villa you should always find out if it has Wi-Fi, a washing machine and dryer. This will allow you to do your laundry in the villa rather than having to go to the local launderettes. It’s worth keeping in mind that if you’re staying in a rural part of Italy it’s fairly unlikely that you’ll find a nearby laundromat so having access to your own washing machine is vital, particularly for longer stays.
In some cases, you may have to pay for the Wi-Fi separately, on a ‘pay as you go’ basis! This can be a significant cost if it’s added on the rental price.
Who Is The Point Of Contact In An Emergency?
You should always know the contact numbers for the rental property in case of an emergency. This should either be the owner, or a representative of the owner, who can be contacted in case of any issues that arise.
As well as this basic information, you should also make sure that you know the local police, ambulance and fire brigade numbers; just in case the worst should happen and you need the help of the emergency services.
Further Considerations When You’re Renting A Villa In Italy.
There are a few other things you have to consider before renting a villa in Italy.
Confirm And Double Check Any Extra Costs.
Once you’ve booked your villa and paid for it, you might discover on arrival that there are still extra fees to be paid! In some cases, the agency that has rented the villa might inform you that you are still required to pay an extra ‘agency fee’ or ‘incoming tax’ for your stay!
Sometimes, the agency fee can be an extra 30% on the cost of your stay; which seems excessive and so finding out in advance is crucial. The ‘incoming tax’, is a governmental tax which is charged per person per day; and varies significantly from region to region. This is sometimes included in the cost of the rental and at other times it is not; so asking in advance is a good idea.
Other additional fees that you might be asked to pay for include the cost of towels, firewood and air conditioning! Always ask the agency, or the owner of the villa, whether you will have to pay any extra fees on arrival.
Research The Different Prices Throughout The Year.
Generally speaking, the cost of a villa fluctuates throughout the year; with the high season having higher prices while in the low season their prices can significantly drop. This can work in your favor if you want to save some money by visiting during the low season.
When you’re looking into booking a villa in Italy, always ask to see the prices throughout the year so you can decide when is the most cost effective time to stay. Amazingly, sometimes staying just a week later can save you hundreds of Euros per person!
Ensuring A Positive Experience When Renting A Villa.
Before you arrive for your holiday in a villa you should already have a clear idea of exactly what you’ll be getting for your money and any other additional fees that you may be required to pay on arrival. You should also know about the nearby amenities, whether you’ll have a private chef, cleaners, access to a private swimming pool and if you’ll get free Wi-Fi.
Asking the right questions before you arrive will mean that you won’t be disappointed on arrival and makes certain that you don’t get any nasty surprises! However, don’t worry, because if you’ve done your due diligence in advance your stay in Italy will be wonderful while you enjoy the trappings of the luxurious high life in your villa.