Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1157: Parker Villas, Villa Gigi
4bed/3bath villa outside of Rome, near Gerano/Tivoli, Lazio
September 2004, one week
Villa Gigi is definitely in the country. We chose it as a location for a week of near-Rome and in-Rome exploration. Located some 12 km off the A24 from the Castel Madamma exit, the nearest village is Gerano. The setting was extremely private (although we could hear dogs barking from other nearby homes every night); there are two gates on the way up the hill to the property, the lower one is kept locked. A car is absolutely necessary; nothing is within walking distance. Aside from the dogs, we found the house incredibly peaceful; everyone in the group slept very soundly.
We found the best way to visit Rome was to drive to the Ponte Mammolo metro station and park. Travel time on a weekday morning was about 1 1/2 hours from our door to the Vatican, for example.
We did no shopping in the village of Gerano, although there is at least a market there. Tivoli had two GS supermarkets and other markets, as well, where we did most of the grocery shopping. These stores were about 20 minutes from the villa. We either cooked at the villa or ate in Rome before coming home.
The building surpassed our expectations, it was like a small castle. On the lower (entrance) level there was a large entrance/receiving area, a game room with a ping pong table, a large fireplace suitable for cooking, a dining room, bathroom w/shower, and a long service hall with ironing board, washing machine, etc. Except for washing clothes and occasional use of the bathroom, we hardly used this level.
Upstairs was an en suite bedroom with doors to a large outdoor patio, two other bedrooms down a hall with a bath between them, a fourth bedroom in the main hall, then another hall to the great room (dining/living room combination) with an enormous fireplace.
The kitchen included a large table seating 8, a large stove with gas cooktop and electric oven, dishwasher, and smallish refrig. All of the common rooms have doors that open to the outside patio area surrounding the house. A huge freestanding structure in the yard houses a grill with built in pizza oven. The house was very well maintained.
Villa Gigi has extensive outside patio areas, all very private. The house is basically surrounded by patio with most rooms allowing access to the outside. Below the house and some 40 meters away is a large pool that was kept spotless while we were there. The private pool sits out by itself on the opposite side of the drive/parking area from the house. On the far side and under the pool is an outdoor full bath with shower, also very clean.
The house was very clean and it was larger than we needed. Much of the furniture was antique; some pieces were quite beautiful. We had more than enough furniture. The kitchen sat 8 as did the dining room. We could have had dinner for 8 downstairs, too, if we wanted. The towels were rather small although we had extras.
This was only our second Italy rental, but the showers were large compared with what we understood to be Italian standards. There were at least two hot water heaters with separate switches; still, we had to conserve hot water for everyone to bathe warmly. The beds were all rather hard. Two rooms had a double (queen), the others were twins that we had to push together. That being said, we slept like the dead, although some were bothered by the barking dogs.
We do a lot of cooking when we go away. This kitchen was well equipped in terms of pots, pans and dishes. The stovetop was a little tempermental, although, once lit, the burners were adequate. The huge grill and pizza oven outdoors were nice novelties that we did use. We managed to cook several meals for six with minimal problems.
Problems or Bonuses
We felt the property was better than we expected. Electricity was paid separately when we left as was firewood used. The firewood cost (40E) seemed high to us, but the electricity usage (135E) was less than we expected ... we used a lot of hot water.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We are still neophytes as this was only our second trip to Italy. We have used Parker twice and believe that we have received what we expected both times. (I am, however, now coming to think that Parker properties are on the premium side.) The onsite person was the owner himself and, although he and his wife spoke broken English, they were very charming and we communicated effectively enough (we speak no Italian). They presented us with local fruit and a bottle of champagne on arrival that we insisted they share with us and we had a lovely chat.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We had a great time at this villa but it is quite remote. We wouldn't suggest it as a place to stay if the main focus of the visit is Rome. As a place to explore the Tivoli area, and the Aniene Valley, or just to be out in the country with a lovely pool, it's a great property.
Things to do in this area
We didn't spend any time in the immediate area. Others who have stayed in the villa remarked in the villa diary about the local pizzeria, but we came back to the villa after a full day of exploration to cook, drink wine and sleep! If we had not stayed here, we would not have explored the countryside south of Subiaco which was gorgeous. (I guess this is yet another example of the slow travel concept: stay in a villa and explore the immediate area around it.)
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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