Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3566: Doorways, Villa Mariuccia
Apartments in Massino Visconti, Piemonte
May 2008, 1 week
Villa Mariuccia is situated in Massino Visconti, overlooking Lake Maggiore. It is a lovely, ancient town, with winding narrow streets. The villa is in an excellent location, close to other buildings yet secluded. We loved the area. There were ten of us and, rather than having to wait around for everyone to be ready to go at the same time, each of us could safely leave the villa and walk around Massino Visconti, until the rest of us were ready to leave for our day trips.
There is a small grocery store about 50 yards from the villa and there is a pharmacy about 100 yards away. The owners of both were very kind and made every effort to understand what we needed. There is a lovely little restaurant/wine bar across the street.
The villa is lovely. It was in excellent shape for an ancient building. Each of the three apartments opens onto a common balcony overlooking a huge magnolia tree in the courtyard. Apartment A has access to the lower porch as well. If the apartments were rented individually, there would not be much privacy. There is also an owner's apartment in the villa. They share the lower porch with Apartment A, so there is less privacy when the owners are there.
There are several nice sitting areas outdoors. The lower porch is shaded and lovely. The pool area overlooks the lake and is outfitted with chaises and a shaded table and chairs. The flowers are spectacular: huge rose bushes full of blooms, 80 pots of geraniums and a driveway lined with hydrangeas.
The furniture was substantial and comfortable. The apartments were clean and the maid made sure that our needs were met. There were enough chairs in the living room/dining room in Apartment A so that we could all gather in the same room. Apartment C has a lovely little sitting room as well.
The beds were firm but comfortable and the bedrooms were well appointed. The three bathrooms were large, modern, clean and functioned properly. We had adequate water pressure and plenty of hot water in all three bathrooms.
The kitchen in Apartment A is the one that we used: it is small, yet we were able to cook meals there. We had ten people, so we did have to bring more dishes, glassware and silverware from Apartment C. The dishes were of good quality, yet not fragile. There were adequate pans. There didn't seem to be enough hot water to hand-wash many pots and pans at once, but there is a dishwasher.
Problems or Bonuses
The maid, Luca, was a wonderful surprise. She very kindly attended to our needs. Each day she was at the villa to sweep up the magnolia leaves, and if we needed anything, she happily helped us, though communicating with her was a bit of a problem.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency, Doorways, Ltd., was wonderful. Betsy was extremely patient and did not hesitate to call the owner with any questions that we had. In our quest to find the perfect villa for our family, her assistance was incredibly helpful. The on site person spoke very little English and seemed surprised that we had arrived at the predetermined time. She and her family were there Saturday and Sunday.
We were there May 10-17, a beautiful time to visit.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this villa to any group wanting an older structure in a lovely, small town. It is a great place to immerse yourself in the Italian way of life. I would not recommend renting just one apartment, because there would not be much privacy. We would definitely stay there again.
Just a note - it would be nice to have some reading lamps with adequate wattage. They did have overhead lights, but the ceilings are so high that the light was diffused and it was difficult to read maps etc.
Things to do in this area
There are some lovely day trips: Lugano, Switzerland is not far away. Stresa is close by, on Lake Maggiore. We took a lake cruise from Stresa to the Borromeo Islands. The castle was beautiful and its gardens - spectacular. We also went to the market in Arona.
There is a bar, San Salvador, at the top of the mountain above Massino Visconti, overlooking Lake Maggiore. It has incredible views and it is a great place for drinks and snacks. Adjacent to the bar is an ancient chapel, not to be missed.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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