How to rent a Villa in Italy
Before renting a villa in Italy, it is important to understand what questions you must ask before signing the rental contract.
Nada Virgili of NadasItaly.com compiled a list for italia.org of the 20 most important questions to ask prior to renting a villa in Italy.
1. Will someone meet me at the villa and explain how everything works? Whom do I call if I have questions or problems? Whom do I call to arrange local activities and excursions? What are their working hours and when is their day off?
2. Will a “house instructions book” or other binder of instructions await me at the villa?
3. Insist on driving directions to the villa and a map to illustrate them, a list of what’s at the house and what you’ll need to bring, and information on activities and excursions that should be booked in advance.
4. What day-trips are easily made from this villa? How long a drive is it, in minutes (distance can be deceiving when you are not familiar with what conditions the roads are in), to the things I want to do and see?
6. How close is the nearest village with stores and restaurants? To get to sights in other towns, is the villa near transportation (e.g., a train station) or will I need a car?
7. Consider a villa’s location and the driving times to the activities you plan to pursue. An unpaved ten-mile road with hairpin turns, for instance, can take an hour to navigate. Is the villa on an unpaved road? How rough is the road, and for what distance?
8. What features does the villa have to keep our group entertained (for instance, satellite TV, a DVD player, a pool, a game room, ping pong table, a library)?
9. Does this villa have any features that render it unsafe for the very young or the very old? Do the staircases have railings? If there’s a pool, is it gated? Is it heated? Are fireplaces screened? Would a traveler with physical limitations have any trouble at the property (e.g., stairs, bathtubs, accessing it from the parking area)? If anyone in your group has special needs, be sure to mention these to the villa agent.
10. Is the villa staffed? If not, will I be able to hire staff (e.g., a cook, butler, maid) if needed? Do you provide housekeeping services more often than the once-a-week, which is standard for most villas?
11. Is there a phone? Is there internet access? If so, what is the charge?
12. Is there air-conditioning/heating? If so, what is the charge for using it?
13. Is the kitchen fully equipped? Is there an American-style coffeemaker? A microwave? An outdoor grill?
14. Will I need to bring any linens, such as beach towels?
15. What are the local store hours? If I arrive on Saturday evening, which stores are open on Sunday so I can buy provisions and supplies? How many minutes’ drive are these stores from the house? Is it better for me to stop at the store en route from the airport to the villa? If so, exactly what will I need to buy? Alternatively, can someone stock the fridge for me in advance and buy any household supplies we will need?
16. Can I pay for the villa with a credit card? What is your cancellation policy?
18. Are multiple sets of keys available in case different members of the group wish to split up for the day?
19. Does a fence separate the property from the main road? Have there ever been security issues?
20. Is a safe or lockbox of some kind provided? Securing valuables and travel documents should be routine whenever you’re away from home.
(mention italia.org to receive a special discount on Nada’s Italy Travel Tours to Italia)