Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1329: Parker Villas, Casa Jen
villa sleeps 5, 7, 10, Trecastagni, Sicily
October 2004, 1 week
The villa was outside of Trecastagni in a residential neighborhood. It is a walled property with locked gates, so it felt very private. The property is on a narrow street which ends near a dirt farm road. The grounds of the villa were lovely with many trees, flowers, ornamental grasses, and an orchard.
A car is necessary at this property. It is about five minutes to fruit stands and ten minutes to the stores in town. We enjoyed eating at the villa, therefore I can't comment on restaurants in town. I'm sure restaurants can be found in the surrounding towns. We did enjoy restaurants at mid-day in Aci Reale and Taormina.
The building appeared to be historical from the outside, yet it was built in the 1960s. A great deal of the villa is covered in ivy. The stucco is in the lovely shades of a much older residence. The white interior has beautiful architectural features such as arched ceilings, terracotta tiling, split level living spaces, large fireplace, many windows and doors which open onto gardens and terraces, and a comfortable layout. It was extremely private.
The outdoor sitting areas are lovely. The patio off the kitchen has a woodburning oven and grill, table & chairs, and lights. A pool is being planned for the near future.
The furniture was in very good shape, comfortable and with ample seating available. The kitchen chairs could/should be a little more sturdy. The house was clean and well-kept. An artisan's cut-work sconces cast beautiful light at night.
The bedrooms have a great deal of closet space and dressers, so all our luggage and clothing could be out of site. The rooms are charming and, with five of us using three bedrooms, we had more than enough space, bathrooms (two were ensuite) and privacy. The bathrooms were large, tiled and with very hot water.
The kitchen was well-equipped. The dishwasher was a little tricky at first and the espresso pots small, but everyting we needed was right at hand ... including dish towels and an assortment of basic food to get us started. It was a fun kitchen to cook in and we enjoyed breakfasts at the quaint kitchen table or on one of the patios. Dinner was lovely at the dining table choosing dishes, glassware and linens from the well-stocked cupboards. Shopping at the markets for food was a most enjoyable experience.
Problems or Bonuses
We were surprised that Cas Jen was far more inviting and charming than the brochure photographs showed. It was much larger and more private than we had expected. We were happy to have the owner greet us and show us the various features and systems within the villa. The only thing that was a little annoying and which we hadn't expected was the two penned guard dogs which bark some at night.
We were surprised and delighted with the wonderful selection of books and CDs. The ba-boom of Etna on a few occasions was an interesting and "plus" surprise ... which reminds me that there is a hill between the villa and Etna, so you can not see Etna from the property. We did drive down the road at night to see the streams of lava.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We have rented from The Parker Company in the past, so we were confident in using them. Our agent Janine is very good at answering our many questions and arranging car rentals and such. The owner, Paul B., met us at the property and explained the property in English. He is very accommodating and gracious. The reality of the property far exceeded the published information.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
My family and I would stay at Casa Jen in an instant. We like the privacy. We loved the beauty of the property. We enjoyed the comfortable atmosphere (not at all formal, if you like formal settings). We also enjoy gathering herbs, fruit, and nuts for the table, so the rustic style kitchen was perfect for us. Don't expect a Cuisinart or a state-of-the-art stove. This is a basic, well-equipped Sicilian kitchen. The fridge is not large. There is a washer downstairs and a line to dry clothes on in the orchard. It affords charming, country living.
Things to do in this area
We didn't want to leave the property ... but we took day trips to Taormina, Piazza Armerina, Acireale, and neighboring towns around Mount Etna. Since we had an additional two weeks in Sicily, we stayed close to home and enjoyed the slow pace.
We ate at a very nice restaurant in Acireale: Ristorante L'Oste Scuro at Piazza Lionardo Vigo, 5-6.
Two favorite restaurants were not nearby, but I must mention them if you are traveling about: the restaurant at Tenuta Gangivecchio in the Madonie Mountains and Da Vittorio's in Porta Paolo along the southwestern coast.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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