Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5181: Owner, Villa da Schio
2bed/2bath apartment in Costozza, Veneto
October 10-15, 2011, 5 nights
This large and comfortable apartment is on the top (third) floor of a lovely, historic villa, surrounded by formal gardens, in the small village of Costozza (Longare) just a few kilometers south of Vicenza. It is extremely private, quiet and sunny with large south-facing windows and an extremely large terrace with views the south and southeast. Guests are provided with a remote-control entry to the villa gates, as well as keys to the private entrance. The villa and gardens are nestled into the Berici Hills, with beautiful long views south to the Euganei Hills outside of Padua. We found the apartment ideal for visiting Vicenza (about 10 minutes), as well as Marostica, Bassano del Grappa, Asola and Maser -- as well as Venice and Padua.
A two-minute walk "down" through the villa's formal garden leads to the main gates. Steps from the gate to the left is a small osteria. It is built into the wall surrounding the villa, and was once the family's ice house. Steps from the gate to the right is a small but well-provisioned alimentari which offers freshly baked breads and pastries each morning. This store, along with the compact but very efficient kitchen facilities and large dining table in the very ample "sala," made breakfasts extremely pleasant for our fairly large family. We ate lunch and dinner out, but the facilities would be adequate for these as well. Several additional restaurants are within 10-15 minute ride by car. There is ample private, very secure parking.
We were welcomed to the apartment by the owner of the villa, who is descended from the villa's original family, and who lives on the second floor of the villa. This is the only rental apartment in the villa. The villa and gardens are of sufficient historic interest and beauty to attract occasional small groups of tourists who are willing to pay for the privilege of visiting.
The front door leads to an ample ground-floor vestibule, and a wide and graceful stone staircase with furnished landings on each level. The top landing serves as a sunlit (when we were there) foyer to the apartment. To the left is an extremely large bedroom with a private bath and doors to a terrace planted with wistaria and other greenery.
Off the foyer to the right is a spacious and sunny "sala" (living room, dining room, small kitchen unit). Continuing through the sitting room to the west, one reaches a very ample second bedroom with a private bath.
One has the sense, then, of enjoying private space upon entering the massive front wooden doors, continuing through the furnished stairwell, through to the upper landing/foyer with rooms to the left and right across the southern facade of the villa. A perfect "divided" apartment offering privacy for both bedrooms. (The "western" bedroom is smaller, but has the more elegant bathroom with soaking tub.)
The villa is built into the side of a hill, therefore the apartment level benefits from having an extremely large terrace "at grade" with the living space at the east end of the apartment. Morning sun makes this a delightful place for alfresco breakfast. There is no swimming pool. However, the large, terraced formal gardens to the west of the villa with paths, stairways, fountains and important-looking statues by Orazio Marinali (1643-1720) are a delight to look down at from the apartment, as well as to walk in. A glass-enclosed loggia, accessed by a long, beautiful outdoor staircase, provides another indoor-outdoor space that can be enjoyed by guests.
The furnishings are an eclectic collection of old and antique chairs, tables, bureaus, large wardrobes, etc., that have accumulated through generations of inheritance. Even the more expendable ones that have ended up in "the rental" are lovely, and would be considered family heirlooms by most standards.
A very large oval dining table and many chairs are more than ample for a large family. The terrace alone would comfortably accommodate small cocktail party! We found the furnishings extremely charming, if a little time-worn, and typically Venetian. Family portraits and other photographs and oil paintings in impressive antique gold frames populate most of the wall space and table-tops in all the rooms. In short, this is about as close as most of us will get to visiting the family's country place -- with the family being a noble one.
Beds were extremely comfortable. Bathrooms were excellent, especially the one en suite with the "western" bedroom.
The Italian powers that keep check on how historic properties are updated have apparently prevented the owners from installing a "built-in" kitchen. As a result, a sink, cooktop, as well as a full complement of attractive dishware, is housed in a custom furniture-grade wooden cabinet. Very clever, attractive solution, and in keeping with the decor.
Problems or Bonuses
Upon arrival, the renter must phone the owner so that the gates can be opened. Long flights of stairs must be climbed (although there is a welcome assist with luggage if required). Don't rent this apartment if you can't or won't climb.
Be prepared to cope with the idiosyncratic workings of old locks, gates, etc. If you enjoy traveling inside an insulated cloud of hotel amenities, you might want to pass on this apartment, but you would be missing a rare and wonderful experience.
The owner might not like hearing this, but in my opinion this property is best enjoyed for longer stays -- five or six nights to a week or more. It takes time to get into the rhythm of living in a gated villa -- but once you do, you won't want to leave.
Our surprises were all pleasant ones. We found the rooms larger than they appeared to be online. Bathrooms, not pictured online, were pleasant surprises as well -- as was the size of the terrace.
Other "bonuses" included a tour by the owner of parts of the villa not included in the rental, and a winery that enabled us to sample locally produced products.
The facility is apparently used as a venue for weddings or other events from time to time -- so a prospective renter might want to ask about that. I feel sure the owner would alert a renter to this, as he is totally forthcoming and if anything conservative in describing the features of his property. His goal seems to be that all surprises be pleasant ones. He succeeded with us.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We dealt directly with the owner, who speaks English and is extremely accessible and helpful.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would definitely stay here again, and I have already recommended it to friends.
Things to do in this area
We found this apartment to be ideal for visiting Vicenza and surrounding attractions (Marostica, Bassano del Grappa, Asola, Maser, etc.). A drive to Padua and Valsanzibio (Bernini-designed gardens) was extremely enjoyable. A day trip to Venice (we parked in Tronchetto) was easy. Ideally, one should have enough time to relax and enjoy being in such peaceful and lovely surroundings.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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