NEWPORT, RI, June 2004 – Simply smashing! That’s what a fall sojourn to Italy can be. From vineyards to olive orchards, from chestnuts to funghi (white truffles), the fruits of the land are plucked, smashed, bottled and packaged to assuage jaded palates and cultivate such gourmet addictions as extra virgin on bruschetta, please.
Wimco, the Newport, RI, and London-based luxury vacation villa and hotel reservations company, offers tips on how to rent a countryside villa in Italy this fall in order to get close to the fun and frenzy of the season. Janis Gordon, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, suggests the following steps when considering a villa vacation:
Know where you want to go. In the case of Italy, for example, harvest festivals abound in Umbria and Tuscany throughout the fall. If you are not sure, seek out a company with multiple regions and ask their help in comparing unique qualities of each region. Use their expertise, and augment it with your own travel guide research.
Select a reputable villa company and one that has been in business for some years. (Wimco has been in the villa business for 21 years.) Work with a villa company whose staff are knowledgeable about their product and who who can guide you both on and off their website. (Wimco staff personally visit each villa that Wimco lists in order to assure quality to its clients.)
Be sure the villa company that has a website also has a printed catalog. This gives credibility to the company. (Wimco publishes the Vendome Guide to Italy, which is a full-color destination guide as well as villa catalog that is available by website shopping cart or by phone order: 800 932-3222). When shopping for a villa, remember that an owner often will not be as objective about his own property (he is trying to get you to rent it) as a villa management company will be (with numerous properties, they can steer you to the most appropriate and make adjustments if a particular villa is near construction or temporarily less desirable.) Ask the right questions in such detail as: Is the villa private from other homes? Does it have the number of beds in sizes you need? Are children’s bedrooms approximate to supervision? If the party includes couples traveling together, are bedrooms equivalent in quality? Does the swimming pool have stairs? What attractions are near the villa? What festivals, vineyards, shopping, museums, golf, antiquities? Is there a local management company for airport meet/greet and villa orientation and who covers off-hour emergencies? Can the villa provide such hotel-type amenities as massages, personal trainers, chefs, provisioning services? Is there a domestic staff to assist vacation needs? Is the staff included in the rental rate, or is it additional? If additional, are quality domestic staff available?
Wimco’s own menu of Italian temptations includes over 150 villas scattered from the Amalfi Coast and Capri to the culinary capitals of Tuscany and Umbria where harvest festivals are de rigueur throughout September (grapes), October (olives) and November (chestnuts and funghi). Weekly rates after September range from $1,650 for a two bedroom villa, from $2,500 for a four bedroom villa, and from $3660 for a six bedroom villa.
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