25 May 2016
If you are looking for inspiration this season, then look no further than Monopoli, a gem of a town on the Puglian coastline.
Nestled on the Adriatic coastline in the north of the region, Monopoli is a shining example of a Puglian town, laced with idyllic alleyways, pretty squares and lovely painted properties. There's a real joy meandering around the town, especially on the pretty walled promenade facing the sea. Many artists have been drawn to the town and you'll understand why when you reach the picture perfect harbour with a scattering of fishing boats.
There are plenty of quaint shops in the town offering a range of excellent produce from the region as well as a number of boutiques for those looking for gifts or a treat.
In terms of restaurants, you will be spoilt for choice; Molopoli is home to over 100 eateries. Try ristorante Angelo Sabatelli for a smart meal, Il Guazzetto and La Dolce Vita serve great seafood and Ai Portici for some amazing pizza. And you mustn't forget to stop at Gelateria Caruso for some of the best ice-cream in the region.
In terms of beaches, there are a couple of cute ones in the town if you feel like staying put for the day, however, you are within easy reach of some of Puglia's prettiest beaches. Capitolo, a 15 min drive away, offers some excellent and well maintained 'spiaggie' with beach bars (such as Lido Sabbiadoro and Lido Pellerosso), sun beds and entertainment for the children. Those wanting something more rustic, should try the nature reserve of Torre Canne, slightly further south.
For day tripping, the town is ideally placed. Neighbouring Polignano a Mare is very pretty and worth a wander and a meal. Alberobello, a 30 min drive away, is a UNESCO world heritage site and a town which boasts a large number of Trulli, the pretty conical shaped properties found in the region. Also worth visiting are Ostuni, Martina Franca and Cisternino.
In terms of activities, you could take a vineyard tour and taste some of the fabulous Puglian wines, a culinary tour or a boat trip along the coast - why not rent a yacht for the day? You'll find it a lot more reasonable than other parts of Italy.
Getting to the resort couldn't be easier; it's a mere 40 min drive from nearby Bari airport. It's also possible to access the town from Brindisi.
All in all, Monopoli is a gem of a town. Whether you stay in a villa or converted Trulli in the countryside or in an old palazzo with sea views in the historical centre, it's hard not to fall in love with this part of Puglia!
View apartments in the Monopoli area
View Trulli properties in the Monopoli area
View villas in the Monopoli area
3 February 2016
Benefits of booking early
There is a false impression that leaving a holiday booking to the last minute will bring you an excellent deal. Italian resorts and accommodation providers notoriously stick to advertised prices and cheap airline prices often rocket close to the departure date.
If you book early, not only are you more likely to secure the desired resort and accommodation but also benefit from reasonable flights and early bird booking discounts. Many well priced properties with good feedback are already getting booked up for July and August, so book early to avoid disappointment!
Flexible payment scheme
January and February are months where many of us don’t have a lot of spare funds to pay for holidays as it's a time when bills and utilities can be extremely high, after the expense of December. We want to make booking your holiday as easy as possible, that's why we have a more flexible payment scheme to help you pay for your trip.
Book today with a low deposit and take advantage of early flexibility. Instead of our advertised 50% deposit, we are offering clients either a 25% deposit and remaining 75% balance 10 weeks prior to arrival date or a 20% deposit and monthly instalments.
View our property portfolio today and to take up our offer, please quote FLEX when booking.
1 February 2016
It's really difficult to beat a group holiday. We've all done it at some point, either skiing or celebrating a friends 30th or 40th but it's surprising that more people haven't considered a group summer holiday, even with the kids!
A group holiday, above all, is a great way to keep costs down. Most families renting a 1 or 2 bedroom property would be shocked by the difference adding another 4 people to the booking will make on the rental listing. It can also help keep travel and food costs down too. This also allows you to spend much more on activities whilst on holiday!
A bigger rental property often has larger grounds, meaning more space and area for the children to play in, especially if there are younger children.
Travelling in a group can also make arrangements easier as you can spread the organisation of the trip - why do it all when you have friends or family to help? It's time to delegate...Sharing the cooking if you want to use the benefits of the villa can be a great substitute for a night out.
Let's not forget, a group holiday can be much more fun as you are surrounded by like-minded individuals and can all partake in activities/sightseeing tours together. It's also great to know that you have the company of another family for keeping the children entertained during the day!
Let us do the work for you
Holiday Homes in Italy offers a great selection of large properties suitable for group holidays. Group bookings can be a hassle, so let us do the work for you! All you need to do is send us an enquiry and we can send options to the whole group. We can arrange payments from each person in the group, arrange transfers, meals at the villa, excursions to tourist attractions, boat cruises etc. For 10 or more people, receive 5% discount on price if booked before the end of February.
Here's just a few ideas of our larger properties;
Villa Donna Carmela - Located in Puglia, this villa boasts five bedrooms and four bathrooms and can comfortably accommodate up to sixteen people. £1,270 - £3,175 per week
Villa Le Marche - this beautiful Villa is located in the Marche hills with large garden, private swimming pool and panoramic view up to the sea. This villa boasts five bedrooms and four bathrooms and can comfortably accommodate up to sixteen people.
Villa Firenze Countryside lies in a panoramic position in the hills south of Florence and sleeps up to 22 people in 11 bedrooms. The house spreads out onto a large panoramic terrace where you can access both the main building and the four annexes which each have their own independent entrance.
Villa Acireale - This beautiful villa is up in the hills of Acireale, in a wonderful position with a superb view, with the hill sloping gently down to the sea through olive trees and colorful lemon groves. Behind the villa rises the imposing shape of Mount Etna. The villa offers 6 bedrooms and sleeps up to 14.
Click here for more ideas or send us an enquiry today and we can help you find the perfect property and take all the hassle away from your group booking.
3 January 2016
In terms of accommodation, Italy is the perfect destination to find that perfect villa. Villas in Italy are diverse; you can find modern high-end properties or rustic villas. What you will find is that all our villas in Italy are of a high standard of accommodation, ensure a comfortable and unforgettable stay. So if you are looking for a villa or house in Italy, you will be spoilt for choice.
We offer so many beautiful villas in Italy that we really were spoilt for choice but here are ten tempting picks for 2016;
Villa Baiaverde is a splendid brand new villa with a private pool (14x7m) situated in a sought after location with panoramic views of the sea. The villa, is surrounded by greenery and olive trees and offers a beautiful panoramic view of the sea. From £800 per week. Sleeps 6.
Trullo Cedro is a luxurious holiday home in Puglia. It has been carefully restored in classic Apulian style and offers a private infinity swimming pool with a 'beach effect'. It is located at the top of the beautiful hills of Ceglie in an idyllic location providing maximum privacy for its guests. From £1,100 per week. Sleeps 8.
Tenuta del Castello - a beautiful 4 bedroom farmhouse surrounded by olive groves and terraced areas and situated inside the Castello di Bibbione estate in Chianti. From £2,560 per week. Sleeps 12.
Villa Vista Como is a wonderful property located just a short drive from Bellagio. From the villa you can take in the most amazing Lake views as the property is located right on the Lake shores and surrounded by the peace and total seclusion that the private garden area has to offer. The property offers its own private beach and private harbour and terraces, all offering fantastic lake views. From £6,555 per week. Sleeps 12.
Tipico baglio - This sunny eighteenth-century country estate is located at the heart of baroque Sicily near Modica, and has been recently expertly renovated. It is surrounded by ancient olive, citrus and almond trees and offers two swimming pools, both situated in the sheltered and stylishly furnished Mediterranean courtyard. From £2,695 per week. Sleeps 10.
Siracusa seaview. Stunning 6 bed sea-front villa with private pool is situated in Fontane Bianche, a seaside resort, south of Syracuse. Stylishly decorated, it sits just a few hundred metres from one of the best sandy beaches on Sicily's east coast and offers stunning sea views. From £3,295 per week. Sleeps 12.
Villa Rosa Umbria is situated only 8 km from the centre of town, on the top of hill that offers one of the most spectacular views of the skyline of Todi and its medieval buildings, including the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione, one of the most beautiful of the Italian Renaissance. It's a typical stone-built farmhouse of the area, which recent and attentive restoration work has transformed into a prestigious, cosy residence. From £2,040 per week. Sleeps 12.
Villa Il Camino - The beautifully appointed villa with pool is located in the heart of the country, yet a mere five minute drive from the village. Surrounded by pretty hills and lavender and wild roses, it is perfect for groups and families. From £1,415 per week. Sleeps 13.
When planning a child-friendly holiday that will suit the whole family, Italy really is one of the top destinations in the world. There is so much to see and do making it one that suits any age and above all children are adored by the Italians!
The best and most economical way to see Italy, especially in a family, is to rent a self-catering apartment or villa in a country area for a week. Even though the accommodation comes with a kitchen, it doesn’t mean you need to use it as there are an abundance of restaurants but often being able to have the familiar snacks and food on hand will contribute an enormous comfort factor for your children.
Not only do you have plenty more space renting a villa or apartment in Italy than taking hotel bedrooms, this type of self-catering holiday offers you privacy and freedom. There are no schedules or timetables for meals and you can come and go as you please. And, not forgetting, there is no morning urgency to secure a lounger or your place by the pool as the pool is all yours and private; perfect for relaxing or keeping your children safely entertained. Kids can watch early morning children’s programs on television (they don’t seem to notice which language cartoons are in) and Mums and Dads can have that after dinner quiet time, all in peace and privacy.
For people travelling with young babies, it is worth putting a used pillow slip or blanket in with your packing to provide the comforting smell and feel of home, even if the property is provided with a cot or crib.
Whichever part of Italy you want to see, the regions are jam packed with things to do and experience - you will be spoilt for choice! Each night when you return to the same place and each morning when you wake up in the same beds, your children will relish the familiarity.
The whole family will find it more relaxing to be in the country with day trips to the city rather than the other way around. Most accommodation comes with a swimming pool or at least a garden or terrace, so cultural excursions can be balanced relaxation time back at the accommodation.
Meals in restaurants are much more fun than the UK; most Italians love children and will bend over backwards to welcome them and it is not frowned upon to take children out to a restaurant, piazza or bar in the evening. Over the summer, Italian children often stay up late as there is no school.
Many country restaurants also have lovely gardens or spacious piazzas where the children can play within eyesight, whilst the parents finish their wine.
One of the biggest challenges for any parent is how to get a dose of city culture. There are guide books for older children (such as those by Dorling Kindersley), which provide simple low downs, suggested itineraries and lots of pictures and diagrams that will help the children to better understand things in a visual way.
Hitting the beach
Italy offers some of the best beaches in Europe and it has always played a major role in The Blue Flag awards given by the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education), which assesses the best beaches and marinas through strict criteria such as water quality, environmental management, safety and services provided close to or within the beach area. Italy was assigned 248 blue flags in the last year alone!
The beauty of many Italian beaches is that the ‘lido’-style beaches are perfectly family friendly. Each beach normally offers facilities in terms of a bar, showers and toilets. There are lifeguards on hand and even better, many have fenced off play areas for children.
Our recommended areas
Whilst we believe that Italy is completely family-friendly, we have selected our top 3 family-friendly areas:
1. Lake Garda – the largest lake in Italy. This is a great all-round family destination. You have beautiful towns like Torri del Benaco, Garda, Bardolino and Lazise to welcome you, plenty of space for relaxing strolls on the lakes side and sunbathing on the small nice beaches. You can hire bikes, try watersports or a bit of fun for the families, there are amusement parks like Gardaland, Caneva and Movieland on the doorstep.
View apartments in Lake Garda
View Villas in Lake Garda
Read our Garda blog
2. Sardinia – if you are looking for a pure beach holiday, Sardinia ticks all the boxes! Sardinia is very family friendly and you will certainly see a lot of well equipped "lido" style beaches, where children can play safely with plenty of activities to keep not only the children happy but adults alike! Sardinia’s beaches have won many awards and have featured highly in International Magazines.
View apartments in Sardinia
View Villas in Sardinia
Read our Sardinia blog
Try Villa Daisy - great for families; pool, garden and walking distance of a beach...
3. Tuscany – dotted with vineyards and olive groves, this destination is perfect for a more rural back-to-nature type countryside holiday. Neighbouring Umbria and Le Marche will offer a similar experience but for its sheer beauty and popularity, Tuscany offers offering spectacular scenery, authentic cuisine and a great splash of culture for the parents. The children won’t be bored, you can still take a day trip to the beach, there are water parks and lots of activities like cycling and horse-riding.
View apartments in Tuscany
View Villas in Tuscany
Read our Tuscany blog
Italian skiing so far this winter has been almost entirely reliant on snow making equipment as there has been a lack of snow seen in recent years. This has not only been a pattern in Italy but across most ski domains in Europe due to unseasonally high temperatures.
Latest weather models suggest the period of high pressure over most of Italian resorts is moving on and we can expect that more typical alpine weather will prevail for early January. Weather forecasts on 2 Jan are predicting significant snow fall over many resorts from 3 January onwards.
In terms of skiing, many Italian resorts have demonstrated to skiers that they almost certainly have capacity to open pistes due to the excellent snow making facilities on offer. Availability in January is still good, so it’s a great time to bag a bargain and benefit from the first real snow falls which will without doubt see most if not all of pistes opening during January in time for the peak season starts.
Holiday Homes in Italy offer a range of self-catering ski apartments and hotels in ski resorts;
View self-catering ski apartments
View hotels in ski resorts
View our Italy ski resorts guide
3 December 2015
With almost three quarters of UK skiers and snowboarders planning to hit the slopes this year, Tesco Travel Money has carried out a comprehensive review into the resorts that give the best value skiing per kilometre around the world, to help skiers and snowboarders get the most pistes for their money.
The research, which provides a completely unique insight into the value of skiing based on the cost of a 6-day lift pass in 1,942 resorts across 54 countries, ranks both Sauze D’Oulx and Sestriere in its Top 10 resorts for the best value skiing. The popular Italian Milky Way ski region in Northern Italy encompasses the resorts of Claviere, Sansicario, Sauze D’Oulx and Sestrière.
At just £139.61 for a 6 day adult ski pass or £0.44 per km of skiing, the resorts provide some of the best value skiing per kilometre of piste worldwide. The lift pass in these resorts enable you to ski a staggering 320 kilometres of piste, providing a lot of skiing for your money. The area represents a mouth-watering 212 pistes (7 green, 67 blue, 97 red and 41 black) and 69 ski lifts.
Skiing in the Milky Way area is characterized by wide open spaces, panoramic and sunny slopes that connect traditional villages with modern amenities. From the peaks and slopes you have magnificent views in all centres. The vastness and variety of the area can satisfy both the more demanding skier, thanks to the variety of long and difficult slopes, and those who are dipping their toes into the world of skiing for the very first time. Snowboarders are also well catered for in the Milky Way with a fantastic new snowboard fun park available in Sestriere as well as mini parks available in each of the resorts themselves.
Staying in a self-catering apartment can help you even more on your next trip - not only does it give you flexibility (and great pricing as many hotels do not discount) but also the possibility to spend the odd relaxed night in, saving not only on bars but also expensive restaurants. Both Sauze and Sestriere have good supermarkets to stock up on supplies and reasonable Italian wine!
Skiing can be a notoriously expensive hobby, so why not head to the Vialattea this season.