Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1466: In Italy, Taormina Vistas
5bed/4bath villa outside of Taormina, Sicily
March 2005, One Week
The location of this villa is pretty stellar. It is right on the Mediterranean sea, and though there are other buildings around, it is fairly private. We liked the area very much - it was easy to drive to Siracusa, Catania, Mt. Etna, and many other areas of Sicily.
You must drive, or take a bus, to go to the grocery store or to restaurants. There is a dinky little grocery in the nearest town, and a supermarket, butchers, etc. in Taormina, and the other beach communities nearby also have shops and restaurants. It is not the best place in Italy for self catering, but it is do-able.
The building is not historical, and was in good shape. For the most part, it was very peaceful. There is a caretaker downstairs and she, and her family, can get a little loud.
There is a FANTASTIC outside sitting area. Actually there are two - one balcony below, off the living room, which has some shade, and then a very large terrace above, off the two sea-view facing bedrooms. There are stellar views of the ocean, the Isola Bella, and the hills below Taormina. No pool, though.
The furniture was OK and comfortable enough. There were plenty of chairs for us, but we were five people in five bedrooms. If there were more people (like a couple in every room) it would have been a little harder.
The place was not too clean. Mostly, it was dusty beyond belief. I personally had intense allergies (which I never suffer from) - I could not stop sneezing. It was early in the season, though, who knows the last time the place got cleaned.
The bedrooms are all very eclectically decorated and funky. Clearly this is someone's vacation home, full of things they've picked up in life's travels. Some of it is cool, it is certainly interesting. But very, very dusty, moldy, and kind of old.
There are plenty of bathrooms - four total, one for each bedroom, practically! Three bathrooms had bathtubs only; one bathroom (upstairs) had a skinny stall shower.
The kitchen was large and usable. There are all kinds of cool serving dishes, wine glasses, limoncello cups in the freezer ... The pots and pans were a little bit funky, but certainly usable. I cooked a big meal there, no sweat.
Problems or Bonuses
There are a few problems with this place. One is the caretaker. She lives downstairs, but her apartment is down a staircase leading from the kitchen. She has total access at all times, and came into the villa whenever she wanted. It wasn't often, but it did surprise some of us when she did. She was also very loud, talking to her husband and to her family (with some loud children). Sometimes this was a little weird. There was parking for two cars, but you had to have a clicker to get in and out of the parking gate, and getting two clickers was a problem for the caretaker.
There was a pretty big dust problem. It would have been nice to have a "house book," - like where to buy groceries, when the bus comes, etc. Also, the villa is pretty far from Taormina - there is a funicular a mile or so away, but you cannot walk there, because the road is too crazy, and you cannot park at the funicular, because it is expensive. So you need to take the bus or cab to town.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency was great. In general the information on the site is correct. I would definitely use In Italy Online again.
The price for the villa was only €1542 for the week, because it was low season. We all agree that it is worth it at that price, even with its problems. In the high season it goes up almost €1000. Then it is not worth it!
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I think I would stay here again, if it were cleaner (dusted) and also if I were planning on spending more time cooking and hanging out in the villa. It is definitely a unique, beautiful locale, and very spacious. The decks were awesome. Plenty of room for lots of people. It would be too hot in the summer, though, I think.
Things to do in this area
The town of Taormina is beautiful, and has lots of great restaurants. We were there in the off-season so had the place to ourselves. In the high season, there is more going on, and it is harder to get reservations. It is a trek, up and down the mountain, by bus, and expensive (€12-15 one way) by cab.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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