Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2391: Italy Weekly Rentals, Chicca's House
2.5bed/1bath apartment in Gaeta, Lazio
September 2006, one week
The apartment is two short blocks off the seafront at Gaeta. I liked the area very well, and it was very handy to all Gaeta offers, but noisy late into the night on weekends.
There were innumerable bars, restaurants, shops, a bakery, butcher, open vegetable market and fish market within easy reach, some even visible from the apartment.
The building is from 1870 and is attractive. There is electronic door answerer and opener. The apartment was noisy on weekend nights in spite of shutters and curtains. One enters into a large foyer that would have been a dining room in Manhattan, from which leads a small bedroom, a galley kitchen, the large bath and the living/dining room. From that room, one reaches a large sleeping loft and the main bedroom. There are four small balconies from which it is fun to watch the Gaeta world.
I think there were eight apartments, but I didn't count them. There was no noise from the apartments.
Here is a direct link to Chicca's House.
There are four small balconies and a piazza immeditaely outside.
The furniture is vintage or traditional and in good shape. There's plenty of seating. One chair I would happily have taken home, as it was a perfect fit for me.
It was clean in general.
The master bedroom is very nice but the noisiest room in the house. The small bedroom is adequate but could use a little attention to keep its denisen from feeling second class. The loft is attractive and the only complaint was that it was dark, so not a choice for daytime lounging.
The beds were all different. The small bedroom has what is really a folding cot, but the person who slept in it thought it was fine. The loft was judged to be comfortable. The master bedroom has cotton mattresses which are generally thought very superior, but I never got used to it. My daughter didn't want to share a room, so she slept on the living room built-in bench and didn't complain.
With four women, one bath is a lesson in patience, but the bathroom is large and well-equipped, including a hairdryer, a washing machine and a cupboard filled with grooming products left by previous renters.
The washing machine either works oddly, or the automatic function is not working right. It had to be pushed to go into spin cycles.
The kitchen was pretty well fitted out with a variety of pots and pans, very eclectic in nature. There were loads of dishes and glasses and enough cups to serve 20-odd people!
Cooking was a challenge, because the cooking range while enormous and of high quality had been scrubbed so often the numbers and indications were scrubbed off. I had to guess at which dial worked which gas ring and at what temperature I had the oven set. It was a bit like using a woodstove. I didn't mind too much and cooked whole meals once a day.
There is an undercounter refrigerator and a freezer-- this last seemed odd, but my companions kept using it. When I couldn't find something we'd bought it was invariably in the freezer.
There is a long counter for prep work. There is a sort of mop room off the end of the kitchen filled with cleaning supplies as well.
Problems or Bonuses
It was much prettier than I expected and Gaeta was more vital and interesting than I'd imagined.
The number of stairs to reach the apartment were staggering when unloading the luggage into the apartment. They seemed endless, but after a week we got up them in no time. Permission and bids are obtained for an elevator.
There is no sensible and legal place to put a car when unloading. All the parking spaces are full anyway, but are resident parking as well. What is left is a busy single lane of traffic and there isn't a moment you can just stop to unload quickly. We blocked parked vehicles about 50 feet from the entrance, got our things out and then moved the car.
Parking in Gaeta is very difficult and the owners really need to get vehicle information from renters and have a temporary permit ready for them. Public spaces are hard to get and it cost us €16 per day to park our cars.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We were treated very well, but there were a couple of things they might have explained to Ann, who arrived first. She wasn't showed the door answering system and had to come down the stairs to let us in-- and this is no small thing.
Ann was told a parking permit could be obtained, but not how to get it. They were very kind to us in main and speak English quite well, although many conversations were in Italian. Their recommendations for shopping and eating were spot on, but a list of good restaurants would have been appreciated.
I won this apartment in the Slow Travel contest, and I am happy that I did. I liked Gaeta and the apartment very well. The price for the last week in September is normally €850.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay there again, but with earplugs. I took my best friend with me on this trip. I would recommend it to someone who liked staying out on the town late at night and who was in shape for the stairs.
I would not recommend the apartment for anyone with compromised health or who had small kids and strollers.
Things to do in this area
We tried trips to Caserta and Pompei. It's too much in spite of the closeness and the trains from Formia. We dropped a plan to spend a day in Naples. The days we spent running around Gaeta and to nearby places were delightful. Poking around Gaeta in a thorough way is rewarding and we should have done more of it.
Nearby are ferries to the islands, which could be splendid. Tiberio's villa is wonderful. Shopping is fun. I have written a trip report that includes photos of the beauties and attractions of Gaeta itself. La dolce vita would certainly be the top attraction here, and there are many ways in which to pursue it.
One of the nicest things was how very friendly and warm the Gaetani were, even at the end of the season. They were not jaded or weary of travelers even after months of summer hordes.
Note: Decobabe won her stay at this property in our SlowTrav 2006 Contest.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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