Here are our updated step-by-step essential tips for renting a villa.
1. Before you depart call your cell phone company.
Why does this matter?
A working cell phone is essential when renting an Italian villa.
Check in with the owner or key holder as soon as you leave the airport to update them on your arrival time, or text throughout the week should a question or issue arise.
But first, do this…
Call your cell provider to ensure that your cell phone is unlocked and has the correct 900/1800 bands to be used internationally. You can then either sign up for an international call/date package, or rent or purchase an Italy SIM card.
Or, here’s an even better idea:
This means you can email, share photos, and Skype while you’re at your villa, or on a day trip.
This portable device (about the size of an average cell phone) is rechargeable and allows you to connect up to 10 devices.
The best part? Renting one is very easy.
RentVillas will arrange for a device to be delivered to your home prior to departure, along with a postage-paid return envelope. Call us today to reserve 1-800-726-6702.
Plan on using one—a lot.
Poor signage is common throughout the Italian countryside.
Your rental voucher will include GPS coordinates for your villa.
Rent a GPS unit with your rental car, or bring one from home with Italy maps loaded.
GoogleMaps is also a good bet… but bear in mind data roaming charges.
This is another great reason to rent a MiFi device!
3. Learn some basic Italian.
Don’t worry! It’s not about proficiency.
In reality, even a cordial “buon giorno” will earn you serious points.
We recommend having a few key phrases under your belt to be called upon when shopping or dining.
Because the sad truth is…
Americans are notorious for their lack of facility with foreign languages.
Do what you can to change this perception!
4. Stock up on groceries and household supplies before you arrive at your villa on Saturday.
Most stores are closed on Sunday.
Plan on stopping in the town nearest to your villa and visiting a local market (COOP, Conad, or Eurospin to name a few).
Buy enough food to last you through Monday.
Or, here’s an even better idea:
Request grocery pre-stocking so the initial shopping will be done for you. Contact RentVillas at 800-726-6702 for more details.
And don’t forget…
If you’re traveling in the spring, summer, and early fall, be sure to purchase plug-in anti-mosquito devices (Vape is a popular brand) and/or coils.
Mosquitos go hand-in-hand with countryside living!
5. Ask questions.
When you arrive at your villa, you’ll be greeted by the owner or a key holder who will provide an orientation.
Take the time to ask for instructions on operating appliances such as European-style dishwashers, washing machines, and stoves, as well as steps to take in the event of a power outage.
Hot Tip: Google Translate is a great tool for overcoming the language barrier.
Don’t rely on written instructions!
Cover all the bases, including utilities, such as heating (available November 1st – April 1st) and/or air conditioning.
6. Shop at the weekly markets.
Every town and village in Italy has a weekly open air market.
Here you’ll find fresh, seasonal produce, cheese, bread, salumi, housewares, and clothing, to list only a handful of available items.
The best part?
The markets offer the perfect way to learn about local cuisine. Keep an eye on where the natives shop—they’ll guide you to the best vendors.
7. Attend local cultural events.
If see a sign for an event in your local village, do yourself a favor and check it out!
Concerts, theater, and seasonal gastronomic and religious festivals are a fantastic way to get to know the culture of the region.
8. Allow time to simply enjoy your villa or apartment.
The secret to a great trip?
It can be tempting to plan to spend every last minute day-tripping and seeing the sights.
Consider carving out a day (or more) to simply enjoy your home-away-from-home with family and friends.
You won’t regret it!