Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 175: Internet Villas, Case Tellaro
1bed/1bath apartment in Tellaro, Liguria
September 2001, one week
Case Tellaro are a group of three apartments in Tellaro, a colorful fishing village in Liguria (near Lerici on the Bay of Poets). The building directly overlooks the main square, where the locals gather and shop and let their children play. The square is at the center of a vertical village, with a narrow street that winds down to the sea, where waves crash at the base of an ancient church. Tellaro is like a stage set, with the Gulf of the Poets as the backdrop. It must be seen to be believed.
The apartment building is perfectly situated for those who want amenities at their doorstep. There's a tobacco shop on the first floor which sells newspapers and other sundries. Steps away are several cafes, a grocery with many gourmet items, three restaurants, and a wonderful bakery. A two-minute walk brings you to an ATM machine and a pharmacy.
The apartment building is modern, though there is no lift. We rented the top floor unit. Units are available on lower floors, too. We wanted the best view and so went for the top unit. Lots of stairs but the payoff was worth it. The owner is one of the few people in Tellaro with private parking; one space was included with the rental.
The appeal of our unit was the massive terrace with a million-dollar view. It is truly stunning. The rental agency said the terrace alone was worth the trip, and it was not exaggerating. You feel as if the village, and the world, are at your feet. In the distance one can see Portovenere and the island of Palmaria. The pictures on the web site do not do it justice.
The unit was clean and comfortably furnished, not in any sense lavish, but more than adequate for our week-long stay. The living/dining room opened onto the large terrace, as did the kitchen, which also has a dining table and chairs.
The queen bed was comfortable, and the bedroom has a large dresser and wardrobe. A small terrace off the bedroom was a nice touch. The floors are tile throughout and even on the hottest day the bedroom was comfortable. The bathroom was merely adequate. The tub had a lousy shower curtain contraption that did not work very well; consequently we frequently sprayed water all over the room.
The kitchen is roomy and well-equipped, plenty of pots, pans, knives, and dishware. We cooked several nights and had no trouble. The fridge is typical for Italian homes, on the small side. The washer/dryer combo worked, though not as quickly as an American unit.
Problems or Bonuses
The unit was actually nicer than we anticipated. The pictures and descriptions on the web site left us not expecting much, and we were pleasantly surprised to have our expectations exceeded. Again, the charm of Tellaro and the breathtaking views made the relative simplicity of the apartment seem inconsequential.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We had a pleasant experience with Italian Villas. Directions to Tellaro and the unit were only adequate, but we found our way and their English-speaking representative was waiting for us as we arrived. The landlady speaks NO ENGLISH, and Tellaro is not heavily touristed, so English is not widely spoken. But we speak rudimentary Italian and got along famously with the landlady, who made many recommendations and even cooked us a pizza.
Note from SlowTrav: As of January 2007, Internet Villas no longer represents properties. They are transferring listings; you may view properties at Villa Escapes.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would stay here again without hesitation. Tellaro is a very special place, off the beaten path and very peaceful. The people are charming, and Italians "in the know" consider Tellaro one of the real gems on the Ligurian coast. It's out of the way, but experienced Italian travelers will have no problems getting around. We do not recommend this for first-timers, though. And a car is a virtual must, although there is a local bus which connects to lines that take you all throughout the region.
Things to do in this area
This corner of Liguria, where the mountains meet the sea, is wonderful for people who want to experience different parts of Italy without venturing too far from their base. Tellaro is on the border of Tuscany, in a region known as the Lunigiania. From Tellaro one can easily visit Lucca, Pistoia, Montecatini, the Cinque Terre, La Spezia, Carrara, even Pisa and Florence. The hill towns above Tellaro have stunning views of the mountains to the north and the sea to the south. The charming towns of Lerici and Portovenere are accessible by bus.
We also spent a day in Sarzana, off the Autostrada, which had a riotous market on Sunday afternoon. One of the best beach clubs in Italy, Eco del Mare, is a short drive away (even walkable from the unit) and a 20 minute drive brings you to the massive beach resort in Tuscany, Forte dei Marmi. There is enough to see and do within an hour of Tellaro to justify a two-week stay.
Tellaro is home to several outstanding restaurants. Locanda Miranda has a Michelin star and we enjoyed the seven-course tasting menu. N'ta Grita is located at the base of the apartment building and is jammed with locals every night. Tell the girl "Elvira ci manda" (Elvira sends us) and you'll be seated, no matter how crowded. The bakery on the main square has hot "farinata" every night -- a delicious tart made with chickpea flour. The grocery store is very well stocked and sells local delicacies including "testaroli", which is a pasta-like dish typically dressed with pesto.
All in all, a magical corner of a country blessed with many wonderful places.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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