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Archive for June, 2010

You could be sitting here - July & August dates still available

Let us help you find a last-minute villa holiday in Italy.

See our LAST MINUTE DEALS at special discount rates and our BEST VALUE HOLIDAYS here.

Or give us a call on (01603) 812212 to discuss your specific holiday requirements.

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Regular readers of my blog posts will know that I’m a bit of a footie fan and have been following Italy’s fortunes in the World Cup as my “back-up” in case England didn’t progress in the competition (!!).  Well, it worked in 2006 …  but yesterday the Champions were defeated by lowly Slovakia and have failed to reach the next round.

Their coach Marcello Lippi has manfully taken the blame for his side’s poor performance, but in truth the team never looked like winners. In fact they didn’t win a single game, and only really started playing when it was too late.

So it all rests on England now. I gather they’re ramping up the penalty practice.

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From Gillian at One Stop Italy.

Casa Federico, on the Tuscan/Umbrian border

Just had to pass on details of a great value-for-money Italian villa for which we are already taking bookings for 2011. (Sorry, it’s already fully booked for the whole of July and August 2010.)

You can see photos and full details of Casa Federico here. Prices range from Euro 1080 (approx £930)  to  Euro 1800 (approx £1550) per week, depending on when you stay.

Situated on the Tuscan/Umbrian border, Casa Federico sleeps 10 in 5 bedrooms with 3 bathrooms. It has a large equipped private garden, private swimming-pool, barbecue and gazebo. It also satisfies the growing demand from our customers for villas which are within walking distance of a town or village : the house is just 1km from Mercatale di Cortona which has all kinds of shops.

Book Casa Federico now, here.

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From Gillian at One Stop Italy.

Many of our customers who are holidaying in Italy for the first time find it a bit overwhelming at the beginning when they are choosing a rental property. There’s so much to think about, and so much choice, so where do you start?

I always begin by asking them a few questions about the location of their ideal holiday home.

Distance from the airport. Is this a factor?

Is sightseeing important to you? If yes, which places do you intend to visit during your stay?

Do you require a property in a remote, isolated or secluded position, e.g. high up in the hills or mountains?

Or is walking distance to facilities essential?

Will you have the use of a car during your stay?

Does the holiday property have to be within striking distance of the coast?

As two thirds of Italy is made up of hills and mountains, and holiday properties are generally rural, you can see why it’s important to know the answers to these questions. I’ve heard many horror stories from clients who have booked a holiday rental “blind” on the internet and found out to their cost when they arrive that it is not really suitable because it’s too high up / too  many steps for elderly members of the party /  not flat enough for children to play safely in the garden etc.  All these issues and more can be easily addressed if they are discussed beforehand with someone who is experienced enough to ask the right questions. Which is, I hope, where we come in ….!

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From:  Gillian at One Stop Italy.

A quick reminder as we enter the last-minute booking season for this summer – we are happy to spend hours looking through our programme of houses for the perfect Italian holiday villa or apartment for you, so you don’t have to.  Just think, that leaves you free to watch all that wonderful football on TV!  Just tell us your key requirements:

Dates, number of people, budget if you have one, and anything else which you regard as essential. Either give us a call on (01603) 812212 or send us your details here.

We’ll then tell you what we’ve found, and make a few suggestions and recommendations. All free of charge and at no obligation.

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From: Gillian at One Stop Italy

As you can imagine, I have a vast store of anecdotes about my various visits to Italy over the past 20 or so years. Sometimes my mind wanders back to funny things that I have seen or have happened to me or my family whilst over there, and many years later the memory of them still brightens up a dull day.

This morning I was thinking about the time we were sitting in the garden of the house we were renting and noticed a couple of men standing around some lemon trees in the grounds of the house opposite. The men looked like farmers and their conversation was animated, involving quite a bit of pointing and arm-waving.  The discussions seemed to go on for ages, and I was fascinated by it all but of course couldn’t see or hear enough to understand what was going on. Then suddenly one of the men had clearly had enough, grabbed hold of one of the trees and moved it! Then did the same to another! And another! We then realised that each of these young trees was in an individual tub on wheels. The talking point had obviously been about the correct position for them to be in to get the most sunlight.

My husband and I couldn’t stop ourselves from laughing, watching all these trees gliding about with the lemons shaking, like some surreal version of Strictly Come Dancing.

I can’t see a lemon nowadays without thinking of it!

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From: Gillian at One Stop Italy.

Of all the nationalities, surely the Italians have it all …. a rich history and culture, a wonderful climate, a highly-developed sense of style and design, delicious food, fine wines, a beautiful language.

Yet look deeper and you will see that most Italians feel more closely attuned to their region than to the nation state of Italy. For example, they’re Tuscans first and Italians second. Why is this?  Well there’s such a strong sense of regional identity because the country was not unified until 1871, when Rome became the capital.  So the countryside is dotted with castles, fortresses and walled villages, reminders of a turbulent past when regions fought each other for control of territory.

There are 20 regions, each of which has its own capital and is divided into a number of provinces. The provinces themselves are then further divided into smaller administrative bodies called ‘comuni’, which are a kind of local council. The comune is the hub of all village life in Italy!

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