Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1730: Owner, Gelsomino
2bed/1bath apartment near Gravedona, Lake Como, Lombardy
Sept 17 - 22, 2005, 5 days
Countryside about 2 blocks (as the crow flies) or a 10 minute walk to Lake Como; this is an old stone home divided into four apartments (2 up and 2 down). The upper two are occupied and the lower two rented out. The house is situated in the countryside between Dongo and Gravedona. The road ran right next to the house, but there was very little traffic and not a problem. The closest house was perhaps 100-150 yards away. This is a very peaceful farming type area.
We drove as my arthritis did not allow me to walk the 20 minutes or so into town where the nearest grocery store and restaurants were located.
Old stone house divided into four apartments; the daughter of the owner lived on one upper unit and the other upper unit was rented to a couple who were out of town while we were there. It was quite peaceful, although if I opened the window at night, I heard dogs barking frequently (not close by) and the multiple churches began ringing their bells every 30 minutes starting at 7am. The second downstairs rental was not occupied while we were there.
There was a nice sized grassy area immediately outside our entry which was probably shared by the residents above us. There was an older kitchen type table and four chairs in this area. There is no pool.
The apartment was clean; the biggest "problem" was that there wasn't a nice chair in which to sit to read a book. There was an only an older couch, but the lighting did not allow more than one person to use this couch to read. There were four kitchen chairs which I ended up using to read. The apartment was clean.
Both beds were comfortable and the bedrooms nicely furnished. With only two of us, one bathroom was sufficient. The bathroom had been newly redone with modern fixtures (the shower was a bit slippery so I was careful getting out).
There is a full sized kitchen with gas stovetop and electric oven; there seemed to be plenty of dishes, glasses, pots and pans. There was a nice filter type electric coffeepot but no filters and we couldn't find any in the local grocery store. Fortunately we knew how to use the espresso pot. We ate only breakfast and lunch there but the kitchen was well enough equipped for cooking a full meal.
Problems or Bonuses
The owner did not speak English, but her daughter did; we were a bit surprised when she asked us if we brought our own linens, but they did provide towels when we said we did not have our own. I would have liked one or two nice chairs to sit in with table type light for reading.
Also, we were told that if we turned on the heaters (radiators heated by gas), there would be an extra charge for gas used. It was warm enough that this was not a problem.
We arrived at the airport at 5pm and didn't get to the apartment before about 9:30pm so never did get any dinner. I guess we should have asked the owner to have some breakfast type food available, but we had no trouble finding the supermarket Sunday morning and bought what we needed.
We were told to call if we needed anything or had any problems, but since there is no phone (and we didn't have a cell phone that worked in Europe), this was impossible. We were told that the TV got only Italian channels, but since it didn't work, this didn't matter anyway.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked this apartment through Giovanni here on Slow Travel; we never met him as he lives in Domaso and I presume is acting as an agent for the owner. We only saw the owner when we arrived and when we left, but her daughter stopped by once while we were there (actually, she said she stopped by the day after we arrived, but we were in town buying supplies). The rental was fairly represented by Giovanni.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
The upper lakes region has few tourists compared to the mid-lake area; we met very few people who spoke English (mostly German and Italian). This was not a problem as we pretty much stayed by ourselves. We did not do much sight seeing, but mostly relaxed in a nice place for five days. I doubt you could rent this apartment without a car as the place is a ways out of the towns.
As I mentioned above, I would like a nice chair to sit in (not the kitchen chairs) and better lighting, but would return here again for the peaceful setting.
Things to do in this area
We really didin't "do the sights" although we did drive down to Centanabia and take the ferry to Bellagio and on to Varenna. There appear to be some nice hiking trails above Gravedona and Domaso plus some older churches and buildings.
We never found the tourist info place in Gravedona, but did find the one in Domaso. The lady there gave us some excellent restaurant suggestions (three were closed - Ruffino, Da Lui and Da Mario in Domaso); we enjoyed the fixed price offering at La Comenda in Domaso and found the Enoteca del Porto (a wineshop restaurant) on the waterfront in Domaso ourselves. The service here was by a very friendly older woman who spoke a smattering of English. Our best meal was at the Ca de Matt in Gravedona, which is a bit difficult to find, but worth the effort.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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