Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3642: Bella Vita Italia, Villa Austen
2bed/2bath house above Lerici, Liguria
May 2008, 1 week
Villa Austen is in the hills above Lerici. It is in a beautiful setting with views so stunning that you really feel like you shouldn't leave the house and miss time looking at them. The house has views over the Gulf of Poets and all the boats in Lerici's bay.
The villa is outside of Lerici and it is necessary to have a car. There is a house located next door to the villa, but you really can't see it and you have privacy when you are outside.
Villa Austen is not within walking distance of amenities. It is located in the hills and if you want to go into Lerici or San Terenzo you can park in the public parking lot and walk on the promenade to the restaurants and shops in either town. If you want to avoid the walk, you can go into the towns in the car and look for a spot in the limited parking areas but you would have to be lucky.
There is a small grocery store about five minutes away and a large one in Sarzana about 10-15 minutes away. Lerici has numerous restaurants and bars for coffee, as well as many shops. The promenade along the water is full of people walking and running day and night and you can stroll along it all the way to San Terenzo. The piazza in Lerici is large and a big gathering place for the local population. It is lined with restaurants and multiple gelato shops and it opens onto the bay.
The house was an old olive mill that has been completed restored. It is very vertical with a lot of steep stairs to the different levels, and probably not a good place for small children or people with disabilities. We enjoyed the house so much due to its wonderful character and it was comfortable and pleasant. And of course there were those views! The sitting room that was added on to the ground level of the house has large glass windows looking out to the garden and the bay below. The furniture in this room was comfortable and attractive.
When you come into the house from the driveway into the front door, you are on the middle level of the house. There is a sitting room on this level with a small porch that has the best views from the house due to its elevation. You take stairs up to a level with a beautiful modern bathroom and the laundry room.
There is a short flight of stairs up to one bedroom, small but comfortable. Opposite that flight of stairs is another one up to a larger bedroom with low eaves on the sides of the room and low windows looking out over the hills.
From the middle level of the house there is a flight of stairs down to the dining room with a long table and the adjacent kitchen which has a window with a view of the back garden. The dining room has a door to the new sitting room, and a door out to a covered porch with incredible views.
The covered patio on the ground level had nice comfortable furniture and views to keep you sitting and drinking wine by.
The furniture was in good condition, especially in the sitting room on the lower level. The long wood table in the dining room was perfect for eating in and could easily accommodate a couple of guests. The house was very clean when we arrived and there was gift of wine and cheese from Megan who manages the house.
The beds were comfortable and the bathrooms were completely updated and modern.
The kitchen was large enough to allow two or three people to mill around in it at the same time. It had everything you need to cook a meal, and we enjoyed two meals that we made there. There were plenty of pots and dishes and many of the spices etc. that you need were already there.
Problems or Bonuses
The views were more beautiful than we had imagined.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The property manager was Megan and she and her husband Luigi were so friendly and helpful. Megan left us a phone to reach her by, and she always got back to us right away the time or two we called with questions.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We loved the house and would definitely stay there again. It is not a place for people who have difficulties with stairs or who want to stay somewhere that doesn't require a car to get around. Villa Austen is charming and did I mention enough times how great the views are?
Things to do in this area
We drove to some of the nearby towns on the southern end of Liguria from the house, Sarzana and Tellaro. We also took the ferry from the dock in Lerici to Cinque Terre and Portovenere. Lerici was a great town to chill out in.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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