We are thinking of renting a villa in Italy - probably in Tuscany or near Lake Cuomo. I'm looking for recommendations. We have two kids, ages 8 & 9. We'll rent for a month and have different families come visit for 10 days at a time to "share" the expense. I've been looking at Homeaway and there are so many! Has anyone rented with kids in that region? My husband is an avid cycler and has visit the Tour de France twice before to do the "hills" before the peliton comes through so he is looking forward to good cycling. We want a house with a pool - is it too cold in late June? Any ideas will be helpful.
There are countless Villa Rental sites in Italy and many travelers have used one or many of the other sites. What really matters is if you find one, whether it be on Homestays or not (they are reputable) that meets all of your criteria and at a good rate. No it will not be too cold in Italy in June, it will be quite warm, in fact, especially in Tuscany and in Lake COMO. You might get lucky and find a pool that is heated but otherwise the sun is so warm each day, that I think the water will be quite warm enough to swim in. I've been to the Lake District in June and to Tuscany in May and indeed it was quite warm and beautiful. Note you should book as early as possible because these two areas are among the most popular for American tourists and while there are many, many villas, you are going to want to get first dibbs on your tops choices in the areas you are most interested in.
Where will this matter most? To your husband who wishes to cycle. If he has not already, I would suggest he google this year's Giro d'Italia race, which was not too long before the TdF and see what the race route was so you can possibly set up housekeeping not too terribly far from where some of the mountain stages might have been. For me, this would logically be more in the Como region as you are once again quite near the Alps and the Dolomites as well, so it's quite likely that in Como your nearer to the climbs. I don't know that the Giro is as known for its climbs like the TdF is, otherwise many riders would not compete in both races in the same year as it would be too physically demanding. That said, there are surely some Class 1 or 2 climbs in the Giro but doubtful of any HC climbs in that race.
OK here's the link I found the map for the 2010 race (not as easy as I thought it would be!)
So as I suspected, the climbs are in the Dolomites, not the Alps and the race route info that I read on other sites stated that the hardest part of the race was the end, where the mountain stages were and voila, that's where they are. So Como would be the closest to that area, though it'd still be a drive to get to certain points on the route - I assume that for a month you'd be renting a car? So your hubby can drive his bike over to the routes he wants to take and go from there. The race concluded in Verona, which is flat. There is a part of the race that went through Tuscany as it went to Montalcino where they also happen to make some very fine wine! Tuscany is hilly, but by no means mountainous.
So I don't know what your make/break options are, but everyone wants to have a good time. I imagine now if you start looking for a nice villa in Como, you'd have the TIME OF YOUR LIFE. The kids would be happy with the lake and the pool to amuse themselves with, the little towns along the lake, Oh so beautiful setting - it's pure heaven up there, I kid you not. Plus hubby gets to put on his Giro helmet and take the rides. As for more rental companies, I can find you more easily as there are many that several of our members here have used before with great results. Most of the companies over there enjoy great reputations because they rely on US to come and keep them busy!!
Let us know if you need more help and information!
Cinque Terre is as special as Como, but in it's own unique way and with a slightly different flavor. Too often it is overlooked by visitors and I don't know why - it's another little bit of waterside Italian heaven.
The kids will love it as they would Como. Not quite sure yet if at their age, there'd be enough to excite them in Tuscany but families do visit there and the villages are charming. Florence of course is wonderful, but the kids would have to be interested in art & history (Etruscan history especially, being in the Tuscan region) and well, they may be! There's good food, great wine (not for the kids) and beautiful views. Fun picnics?
So, be very glad to help with more planning and itinerary ideas as things proceed along - I've been working with many of our travelers through various stages of their trip planning and love to help. Been all around Europe and well, if I can help someone make their trip planning easier, well that's what I am here for and very happy to do for you!
I'll be around, as will our other Euro-traveled members so there'll be help on the way when you need it! Come on back when you need us.......
thanks for all the great info. We booked our villa - it is actually an apartment in a villa near San Gimignano www.iltufo.com . We are also applying as travelers with Servas and hoping to stay with host families on the Amalfi coast and in Rome
Glad you found your Tuscan villa and really excited to learn that you know about Servas! I am always recommending it to folks as so few seem to know about it but it is really an awesome way to travel. It's free accommodations anywhere in the world and the opportunity to meet new people and make friends that you'll likely keep for a long time, as well as get a better insight into your desintation by having the connection to locals.
I'm just so glad to finally hear of travelers who are going to be using Servas for in-home family stays virtually any place in the world. Servas does screen both Hosts and Travelers and one does NOT need to become a Host if one wishes to become a Traveler, it is only optional if you want to Host. All members are interviewed in the many Servas locations around the world, applications are filed etc. It is very safe and a lot of fun, not to mention a great money saver.
Good luck with your Servas membership process! For those interested in learning more about the organization (a non-profit) go to www.servas.org
Really nice information, i planned to go Italy with my family, but some confusion on my mind, but after this article i am sure about that, thanks for that, really great information, it is so helpful for me and other people also.
i planned to go this summer in Italy, Rome and Paris.
The house you've rented looks lovely Melissa! Nice pool as well so at least the kids will be entertained. I always find that as long as I find somewhere with a Pool, the kids are always happy!
My eldest daughter, Mala, is currently doing her year abroad placement in Florence and can't come back to England for Christmas so I think we're going to fly out to her instead. Will be interesting having Christmas day in Italy and now eating Turkey as we normally do here!
Any ideas on places to stay in Tuscany? Similar to what you found Melissa actually! Also any particularly special restaurants you can recommend that will be open for us to book on Christmas day!
Flights are all booked, we just need to sort out accommodation.
I would recommend the villa where we stayed b/c it is apartments so no matter the size of your group, you can get one or two apartments. We went to a nearby winery for a tour and meal and if you go to the www.iltufo.com website, I think they have a link to many area attractions. I also recommend a day trip to San Gimignano and Sienna.
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