Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5192: Owner, Casa Bosco (8784)
4bed/2.5bath house near Chiavari, Liguria
October 9, 2011, A week
Casa Bosco is located on a large hilly estate behind a locked gate near the village of Chiavari. Chiavari is located between Genoa and Cinque Terre. Portofino and Rapallo are within easy distance too. The train is very accessible also. The house feels rather secluded although there are homes within shouting distance. Casa Bosco is about a five minute drive from downtown Chiavari and a few minutes more to the beach. There is also a walking path to town but it would be an aerobic workout coming back! The house is surrounded by olive trees and is a wonderful place to stay. One week was not long enough. I had a hard time leaving the house everyday as I just wanted to sit out on the deck, read, drink wine and listen to the sounds around me from birds chirping to people working.
In my mind, one would need a car to really enjoy this property as it would not be easy carrying groceries up the hill from the supermarket located a few kilometers away. The supermarket was about five minutes away by car as was the center of town. There are plenty of places for dining, coffee and shopping in Chiavari. While we were there, there was a fruit and vegetable market everyday in the market square. There is also a fresh pasta shop in the nearby shops.
I am not sure how old the property is but it has been remodeled fairly recently and is in excellent shape. It appears to have been decorated by IKEA but that is not a bad thing in my mind. The house is an independent two story structure with plenty of area to relax outdoors and with plenty of windows and doors with shutters. One enters the property via the upper floor where the two double bedded rooms, one bedroom with two twin beds and one single bedded room are. There is also an open area with a large armoire for additional storage and two bathrooms on this floor.
The bottom level is reached by a decent staircase. At the foot of the landing, there is a living area on the right with a fireplace, sofa, desk and a wireless Internet connection that is included with no extra charge. Straight ahead is a living room with a sofa and at least two easy chairs. There is also a television and bookshelf.
On the right from the staircase is a half bath with a washer and an area with cleaning supplies. This half bath had the smallest sink I have seen in a long time. Farther to the left was the rather large kitchen which was more than adequate to make most meals that one could want to make while on vacation. We prepared most of our suppers here with groceries that we found in town. Just off from the kitchen and attached to the living room is a dining room with seating for at least eight.
There is at least one other rental on the property, Casa Bianca but it is not even in earshot of Casa Bosco. I am not sure if there are others.
The garden area was quite lovely and spacious. It is not shared. There are several areas one can sit outside including on the little deck with a little view of the ocean. On the deck is a picnic table and a number of lounge chairs. There is also an area where one enters the house that one could have a table and relax. There wasn't a pool but the Mediterranean is just a few kilometers away. I would dare say that there is about a half acre of land that one has to one's self at this rental.
Everything was in quite good shape, clean and fairly comfortable. The chairs for the dining room table were wooden and of the fold-up variety but had seat-pads on them. I didn't spend much time in the sofas but found them comfortable when I did. There was plenty of seating for just the three of us and when we added three more for dinner one night, there was till plenty of places for people to sit.
The beds were adequate. I have found the beds in Italy to be a little harder than I am use to but I didn't go to Italy to sleep! The bedrooms were adequate with at least one chair in each room. The bedding was nice and modern but, since it was October and a little chilly, we borrowed the bedspread from another bed to add to our warmth. The bedrooms are well lit by windows with shutters. Another plus for this place was the bedside lamps! I love that!
The bathrooms were adequate though the grout could use some elbow grease. The shower in the bathroom nearest me was okay. My husband liked it but I hated that it was either a deluge from the overhead shower-head or the nozzle that only worked when the knobby thing was pulled out and I kept hitting it so I ended up with the deluge. The shower in the second bathroom was wonderful as it was in a shower/bathtub set up with a shower curtain. When I first glanced at it, I thought it was one of those set ups where you had to sit in the bathtub with the hose and nozzle to get clean. Later, I investigated a little closer and found an overhead shower-head with room to escape the deluge. Sweet!
The bathrooms contained the usual goodies like a hairdryer and liquid handsoap. Each bathroom also had a small window that was high up. Each bathroom contained a bidet, of course.
The kitchen was quite usable and we cooked a number of full meals there including having company over for supper. The pans are what one usually finds in a rental, nothing special but they were clean and adequate with matching lids. There is plenty of silverware, dishware and Italian coffee makers. We did run out of coffee spoons when we had company. There is also a toaster and microwave oven. The refrigerator was good size and the freezer was awesome with a pretty good area for making ice. I do wish that there had been some decent sized wine glasses. The lighting in the kitchen isn't the best but wasn't the worst either.
Problems or Bonuses
So many bonuses such as the estate, the hosts and the gifts they left us, the peaceful location and the herbs in the yard.
Casa Bosco is a little tricky to find as it is off of the beaten path and you really have to know what you are looking for when you follow the directions to the house as the driveway is very easy to miss as is the street that takes you past the driveway. My husband said we should have checked out the Google map before we left home.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked the rental via e-mail through Jennifer, who is married to the owner, I believe. She was easy to work with and answered all of my e-mails in a patient and timely manner. Mauro, the owner I believe, met us when we arrived and walked us through the rental and answered all of our questions. He also left us with his number and a spare cellphone for local call use. Jennifer is English, I believe, so her English is impeccable. Mauro has lived around the world and his cultured English is also impeccable. I feel that the rental was better than what was advertised and the value of what we paid was more than well compensated by the rental and the owners. We paid €1000 for a week in October but there were only three of us.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would most definitely stay here again but I would not recommend it to my best friend unless she took me with her!
I will say that I am a traveler with simple needs. I want a place that is clean, quiet and comfortable. I want a place with enough room to relax in. I also want a decent kitchen to cook in. This place more than met those needs. I wish that we had had more time in this lovely spot and hope for the day when we can return.
Things to do in this area
In town, we walked along the beach, swam in the Mediterranean, visited the local cathedral, shopped in fresh pasta shops, a local deli and the open vegetable and fruit market.
We drove up into the mountains, to a small ski area that I can't remember the name of.
We rode the train to Riomaggiore and spent a number of hours just exploring the town and having lunch at Trattoria La Grotto followed up with some gelato.
We drove north and explored Rapallo, Santa Margherita and Portofino.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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