Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3314: Gira! Italian Vacation Rentals, Villa Arzilla
10bed/10bath near Vitorchiano, Lazio
June 2007, 7 days
Villa Arzilla is in the country with no other properties in sight. We were amazed by the beauty of the place even at 1am when we finally arrived. There were 10 of us staying there for my wedding, which was held at the villa itself. The area was quiet, peaceful and very romantic. The nearest town is Vitorchiano, quaint and great for pictures. We like our privacy and Villa Arzilla was perfect! It exceeded my expectations of an old-world home in a beautiful setting.
I suppose you could drive to Vitorchiano for groceries but it would be at least a 30 minute walk. We drove and it took only 10 minutes or so. We did take a long walk and it was amazing: red poppies by the side of the road, fields of flowers, interesting properties with gardens and livestock. Vitorchiano has a bank, restaurants, drug store for postage and other necessities and an old enclosed neighborhood with great photo opportunities.
Villa Arzilla was built in 1617 and was refurbished in 2006. All conveniences are present and yet the building and land retains its old-world flavor. There is even an old Etruscan tomb on the property.
There are 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms -- yes, you read it right! Actually, there are 11 bathrooms because there is a half bath near the entrance of the villa. The villa is three stories -- a kitchen, dining room, living room, library/music room and a "honeymoon suite" on the first floor. The suite has French doors that lead to a sitting area with comfortable chairs and a sofa. From there you can walk a few steps to the pool.
The second and third stories contain the rest of the bedrooms. All the bathrooms are big, with beautiful blue tile and great showers. The biggest bedroom besides the honeymoon suite has doors leading to a balcony with stairs going down to the front lawn. I used these stairs to walk down for my wedding. The bedroom is quite large and even has an adjoining room with two more beds in it. A family of four (or more!) could fit in just that bedroom. The other bedrooms were mostly large, although two of them just had single beds. Quite cozy, actually. There are windows everywhere and you can see the property's orchards and beyond to the countryside. There is also a laundry room located outside right by the kitchen.
You can view the property directly: Villa Arzilla.
Several wonderful sitting areas: the one by the first-floor bedroom; one behind the villa; a large lawn; a huge area outside the dining room where you can eat al fresco. You'd have no problem fitting 20 people at the table. Also a sitting area by the pool and plenty of places to relax in the orchards. We rented the entire villa. The pool is large and there is also a smaller pool attached that reminds me partly of a hot tub (although the water is not hot) and partly of a children's wading pool (although a little deeper).
Furniture was in great shape and was quite comfortable. The villa was spotless and there were plenty of places for people to lounge.
See the House/Apartment description. And yes, the beds were comfortable!
My then-fiance and I do not like to cook. We splurged and hired two cooks supplied by the villa owner through Gira!, the agency. I will never, ever, ever forget the way we were pampered! They cooked delicious meals, served and cleaned up afterward. We didn't have to lift a finger. If you enjoy cooking the kitchen is very large and looks to have every amenity. More than one oven, a microwave, a fancy coffee machine, refrigerator, etc. The cooks (actually, I would call them chefs) created amazing multi-course dinners for us, complete with dessert. We had plenty of leftovers for lunches, too.
Gira! handled everything for us. They asked what we wanted to eat and submitted a list to the owner. They had groceries waiting for us upon arrival and even waited up until 1 am to serve us dinner! We had several plane mishaps and arrived much later than we had planned. I can't say enough about the food and service provided.
Problems or Bonuses
We were planning a small, informal wedding by ourselves, however, we had arranged for the cooks to make hors d'oeuvres and dinner. The owner surprised us by spending the entire day there decorating and putting up torches to light and hanging white flowing drapes around the sitting area. The cooks surprised us with a traditional Italian wedding cake complete with fireworks! What touched me the most was that one of the cooks took me shopping in Viterbo, a larger town nearby, for a wedding dress to replace the dress and everything else that was lost by the airline. I had nothing. She took me inside the shops and translated for me. She found a sweet shop where I could purchase some favors for my guests. She stopped at a beauty shop so I could purchase some makeup. I will be forever in her debt. Between the cooks and the owner we were all awestruck.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency was fantastic. The woman dealing with me, Susan, was friendly and helpful and never complained when I would email with my many different questions. She arranged the food effortlessly and even made sure we knew how to contact the owner and the agency's sister office in Italy if we had problems. We felt very well cared for. The sister office in Italy was extremely helpful as well, relaying messages to the owner when we were late arriving and helping me contact the airline about my lost luggage.
The information furnished on the agency's site was all accurate. The price was a great bargain, considering it was summer and the villa accommodated so many people (up to 22!) I always had someone who spoke English to help me.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
If I had my way, we would go to Villa Arzilla every year. We can't afford to do that but we will definitely be staying there as many times as possible. We had a dream vacation and wedding at Villa Arzilla, despite the lost wedding dress, etc. I will never forget the villa or the people there.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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