Archive for May, 2010

From: Gillian at One Stop Italy

More and more of our customers are choosing a 2 centre self-catering holiday in Italy rather than the traditional two weeks in one place. In my experience this makes your holiday seem longer, as you get the thrill of discovering two different places rather than just one. So now I always suggest it as a possibility from the outset when discussing options. It’s amazing how often people then say “oh, I’d never thought of that, what a good idea!”

It also means you can take advantage of good value single flight fares, flying into one airport and leaving from another. Car hire in this case is no problem, you just pick your vehicle up at say Pisa and drop it elsewhere usually for just a small extra charge.

Some people like to travel no more than an hour or so on the change-over day, maybe from Tuscany into Umbria for example. Others go further afield from say Tuscany in Central Italy to the Veneto in the North, or the Italian Lakes. Or down to Rome or the Amalfi Coast beyond Naples.

The end result is a tailor-made holiday. Starting building yours at www.onestopitaly.com


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From: Gillian at www.onestopitaly.com

A big response to my previous blog posts about Lake Trasimeno, so I thought today I’d talk about one of our properties in that area where there are just a few July/August weeks still remaining. I went there myself many years ago and it has always been very popular with families because there are a lot of sporty activities on-site:  swimming pool, table tennis, volleyball ground, tennis court, bicycle hire.

It’s called Quiete and it’s located in a quiet spot just 13km from Lake Trasimeno (where there are watersports of all kinds). There are three apartments in the property and the rental price for the school summer holiday period is Euro 705 per week (approx. £625 at current exchange rate) for those sleeping 6 people, and the the one sleeping 8 is a bit more expensive. Very good value for money. Plus you have the Etruscan town of Cortona at approx 15km to satisfy any cultural requirements! You can fly from Stansted to Perugia, from where it  is only a short drive to the accommodation.

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From:  One Stop Italy.  Visit our website at www.onestopitaly.com.  Contact us here.

One of the most frequently-asked questions at One Stop Italy is from parents enquiring if the villa they are considering for their holiday in Italy is “child-friendly”. My answer is invariably neither a Yes nor a No, but an explanation of what I understand by the term.

Italy is probably the country where children will receive the biggest welcome anywhere on earth. In restaurants the waiters will scurry to get a highchair for the little one, and at weekends you will see extended families enjoying their meals together. Everyone from granny to the tiniest of tots will be at the table.

This welcome extends to the rental properties on our books – I can only think of a couple of places where the owners stipulate “no children under 12” and that is usually because of expensive furnishings and decorations. Everywhere else they are welcomed. But that does not mean to say that a holiday house is “child-friendly”. Even a fenced-in swimming pool can be a danger if the gate is accidentally left open. There are unlikely to be stair-gates. Gardens may be terraced according to the lie of the land, not flat. Etc. etc.

So in a nutshell, it’s a question of keeping an eye open for the safety and security of your children, just as you would in any unfamiliar place. And asking our advice as to which properties we think are particularly suitable for toddlers or children of a particular age.

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From: Gillian at One Stop Italy.  Bookings & Enquiries: +44 (0) 1603 812212.

I’ve been given advance notice today of a promotion that we’ll be advertising over the next few weeks – 20% discount off our standard rates for selected properties.

Unlike many holiday offers, this one also applies to holiday rentals in the peak summer months of July and August, when the children are off school. In fact it’s valid for holiday dates from 1st June until 30th September, so those who want to travel at quieter times can also take advantage of this special deal.

There are over 250 properties throughout Italy included in this offer, and you have have to book with us before 30th June 2010 to qualify for the discount.

If you’re interested, the first step is to contact me by phone on (01603) 812212 or by completing our online contact form. It’s important that you let me know the size of your party and your preferred dates and any other requirements please.

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From: Gillian at One Stop Italy. Bookings and Enquiries: +44 (0) 1603 812212.

Typical Val di Chiana scene, with hilltop town in distance

One of our rental properties, Santa Vittoria, in the midst of the Val di Chiana

I’m going to talk today about a part of Italy very close to my heart, and that is the Val di Chiana in Southern Tuscany. Less well known than its blatantly more commercial neighbour Chianti, it seduced me with its subtle charms on my very first visit in 1988, and I have never found anywhere in Italy I prefer.

Essentially it’s a large fertile valley full of vineyards and olive groves stretching from Arezzo to Cortona, dotted with medieval hilltop villages. You can spend weeks pottering around here and never get bored. And there’s so much to do for day trips: Florence is about an hour on the train, Siena a 40 minute drive, similarly a short drive to Montepulciano with its streets lined with wine shops and Pienza, designed by Pope Pius II in Renaissance times. Lake Trasimeno and Assisi are easily accessible too.

And because its not Chianti – where prices tend to be higher – you get more for your money in the small towns and villages of the Val di Chiana. Holiday rental accommodation is good value and also in shops and restaurants the difference is noticeable. (Also, I’m always rather pleased when my fellow diners are locals rather than tourists, aren’t you?)

For this reason we often recommend holiday houses in the Val di Chiana as an ideal, gentle introduction to Tuscany for first-timers. Would you like to visit the Val di Chiana?  Contact us here and we’ll talk through some ideas with you.

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From: One Stop Italy. Bookings and Enquiries:  +44 (0)1603 812212 or contact us here.

Le Mura at San Gimignano

Le Mura - just 300m from San Gimignano. The photo says it all!

When you’ve been arranging holidays in Italy for over 20 years, certain trends emerge.

At the very beginning, people were most interested in houses which were within easy travelling distance of the great centres of art: Florence, Rome, Venice etc. Essentially they were there for the culture.

The next big thing was swimming pools, as rural farmhouses started to be restored and rented out to holidaymakers.  So you could combine lolling around in your private villa with day trips to churches, galleries, museums etc.  Something for everyone.

Next it was the beach … a villa with a private pool, access to the coast and also places of historical interest.

And now?

Well it’s the simple life really. The most frequent request we have nowadays is for a villa or farmhouse apartment within walking distance of a town or village with shops and a restaurant or two. It seems that people want to go out in the evening without having to worry about drinking and driving in unfamiliar territory. And they love strolling to the local shops each day for their bread, fruit and veg, ice creams etc. Click on the link for a few more examples of  properties to rent in or just outside Italian towns and villages.

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From One Stop Italy. Bookings and Enquiries:  +44 (0)1603 812212 or contact us here.

PAGLIAZZONE, 2 small houses with shared pool, each sleeping 4 people. Book both houses together and get 10% discount. Rental prices from Euro 450 each per week. Location: Bucine, Tuscany.

La Casina at Pagliazzone

La Casina at Pagliazzone

La Veranda at Pagliazzone

La Veranda at Pagliazzone

Still good availability for summer 2010.

Two beautiful little houses “La Casina” and “La Veranda” which can be let together or separately. Surrounded by a very large, well-kept, fenced garden shaded by tall pine trees and adorned with flowering plants, these houses are ideal for those who want to spend their holiday in contact with nature.

Each house has its own private garden area equipped with garden furniture and a barbecue. The beautiful pool (6 x 11m, depth 1.30-1.90m), shared by the two houses, is in front of  “La Casina”. The furniture, especially that in “La Veranda” is of excellent workmanship and the houses are very comfortable.

Bucine is only a short distance from the houses and has shops and services of all kinds and Levane, Montevarchi and San Giovanni Valdarno are also nearby. Florence, Siena and Arezzo are about an hour away by car. On request it is possible to arrange at the house typical Tuscan dinners.

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