7 September 2015

Autumn in Italy; great prices, less crowds and plenty of sun

Most tourists visit Italy in the high season months of June, July and August – even the Italians themselves staycation in Italy (can you blame them?) mostly during August. However, from mid-September onwards, Italy transforms into an even magical place (is this possible?), where an air of calm descends on the well-trodden places of interest.

Fabulously-priced properties

Visiting outside of peak season will bring lots of benefits to the potential holidaymaker.  Prices for a start are significantly lower and can range from 25% to 50% less than high season and you can normally cherry pick your choice of self-catering villa or apartment with ease.  Imagine finding a villa with a pool for well under £1,000 per week – in the south, you can even half this! You will be surprised how reasonable half-term week is too.

Tempting sunshine

The weather tends to still be good in September and often well into October in many regions – it can drift easily into the late 20’s in most places but obviously cooler in the mornings and evenings and becomes a little more unsettles to add even more drama to the beautiful landscape. For sun worshippers and sightseers alike, this can really be a refreshing change to the often stifling heatwaves of July and August.  Don’t forget parts of Italy were pushing 40C this summer!

Discover the real Italy

Visiting Italy in the autumn will often help you to discover the real regions; visiting historical towns and villages without the midsummer crowds, and driving on quiet country roads with blue skies can really be a joy.

Enjoy the festivals and activities

Another benefit is the fantastic food. Italian food is always fabulous but during the autumn period, many areas will boast festivals and start harvest season showcasing their local produce. It truly is a great time to explore the real Italy and blend in with the locals.

In terms of activities, there is plenty on offer.  The autumn period is perfect for a game of golf and other activities of interest such as sailing and diving, horse riding and fishing.

Where to visit

Autumn is fab all over Italy but here are our top 3 destinations for autumn sunshine in 2015:

1. Sicily – this island really shines in autumn. You will probably find some of the best weather all over Italy in Sicily in autumn, where the locals will often swim in the sea into November. A truly magical place.

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2. Puglia – deep in the south, this beautiful region boasts some of the cleanest beaches in Italy and its blend of rustic landscapes and kilometres of pristine coastline provide the perfect backdrop for some late season sunshine. The region’s raft of whitewashed towns and villages are a delight to explore out of high season and expect to still see life in the piazzas bars, restaurants, especially on the weekends.  The beauty of Puglia is that you are likely to find a villa with a pool for unbelievable prices in low season!

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View apartments in Puglia

3. Liguria. If you are still looking for a buzz, then the glitz and glamour of the coastal towns will not disappoint at any part of the year.  This region is noted for its mild year round climate (well it does sit next to the South of France) and offers one of the steepest and dramatic coastlines in Italy. The beautiful valleys and coastline shimmer well into winter, making Liguria perfect for those seeking sunny days, blooming gardens and proximity to the Mediterranean sea.

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View apartments in Liguria

Holiday Homes in Italy offers a wide range of self-catering accommodation in Italy, click here to search our collection of properties.

31 August 2015

Picture-perfect Positano; where the sun shines all year

The Amalfi Coast is quite simply one of the most inspiring and surprising stretches of the Mediterranean coastline and Positano in our opinion is the place to go. 

No journey here is dull; seen from the sea, Positano is set in a dramatic vertical panorama of colours with breath-taking cliffs and vivid painted Mediterranean houses against a backdrop of the blue sea.

Smart destination

The town has been popular with an group of travellers since the early 20th century, attracting poets, artists, authors and celebrities alike. It is not hard to guess why they chose it as their preferred holiday destination. 

The pastel colours give the town a theatrical feel not found elsewhere on the coast and with world-class restaurants, boutiques and statement villas and hotels, the town still attracts a smart, affluent crowd. 

The beach and surrounding coastline

The main beach, Spiaggia Grande, is one of the largest on the Amalfi Coast, and one of the most glamorous too. In addition to sunbathing, you can relax in one of the waterfront cafes and watch the world go by or take a boat from here to Punta Campanella, the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula. For the more adventurous, you can even take a kayak along the coast, taking in the spectacular scenery and pretty bays.

The surrounding landscape is simple and sumptuous; full of vineyards, lemon trees and olive groves with explosions of bougainvillea. Positano's Fornillo beach, which can be reached via a coastal path, is a more peaceful spot and perfect to spend a lazy afternoon in the Mediterranean sun if you are looking for an alternative to the main spiaggia.

There are many paths leading to the little mountain districts above Positano, perfect for those looking for a walk with spectacular and dramatic views.

The town

Adorned with multicoloured villas, winding cobbled streets, a quaint little beach and plenty of café's, restaurants and boutiques, the town has become the pin-up of the coast, attracting visitors from all over the world.

In the town, the cathedral and the 13th century Church of Santa Maria Assunta are worth a visit. Entrance is free and you can also access a medieval crypt from the nearby streets.


At night, the town comes alive. You'll find the most elegant dining experiences at Positano's top hotels, however you will really be spoilt for choice and there are plenty of reasonable but wonderful eateries in the town. 

Casa e bottega has great salads and juices, the Remmesse Beach Club is perfect for a romantic meal in front of the sea and for fresh home cooking italian style, where most of the ingredients are cooked in their garden, try La Tagliata. 

Finish off the evening in one of the cute alleyway wine bars or cafes or like the Italians, enjoy some of the best ice-cream on the Amalfi Coast - try buca di baccio! 

For those looking to dance the night away, Music on the rocks is a fab two-storey design-led club overlooking the sea.

Surrounding areas

If you do feel the need to escape Positano's magnetic pull, it's a great base from which to tour the coast. The island of Capri is a short hop, as is Amalfi. From here you can grab a bus to the hilltop town of Ravello, famed for its classical music concerts.


Holiday homes in Italy offers a great selection of apartment and villas in the area.  Here are just a few ideas:

Casa Bella Positano

Positano Sea View

Villa Limoncino
To view a selection of self-catering apartments and villas in and around Positano click here: 

Self Catering Accommodation Positano

Villas and apartments on the Amalfi Coast

Or to let us do the work for you, send us an enquiry form today!

21 May 2015

The Amalfi Coast road trip

The Amalfi coastline

Located in Salerno, Amalfi boasts some of the most impressive coastline and architecture in Italy.  As one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, it would be a crime not to drive along the coast if you are staying in the region.  Many people take this stunning road trip to marvel at the dramatic Mediterranean view and to experience one of Italy's most picturesque destinations.  For those who want to experience as much as possible, staying in one of the lovely villas in Amalfi will provide the perfect base form which to explore this breath taking region.

Picturesque Positano

Positano is worthy of a full-day stopover for those going on a road trip.  This little town is nestled into the cliffs of the spectacular coastline, making it an ideal spot for inspired summer getaways. Many movies have featured Positano, the Rolling Stones have written songs while holidaying in town, but its true appeal lies in the small cafes along the harbour that offer visitors such a magnificent view of the beautifully painted houses.  As with most villas in Amalfi, accommodation in Positano is wonderful because most houses and buildings are built along the cliffs, which adds to the natural charm of the already gorgeous place.  These houses slope down the hills and converge around one of the town's most famous landmarks—the Church of Santa Maria Assunta.

Spectacular Scala

Another hilly town worth stopping at is Scala, located in Campania. The town has a number of churches that have become top tourist destinations because of variety of influences in their architectural style. The Angevine-Gothic style is evident in the architecture of San Pietro Church, located in Campoleone. In Campidoglio, the San Giovanni Battista Church has a Moresque bell tower, while the Duomo of Scala showcases Baroque architecture and features the famous Bishop's Palace.

Apart from its churches, Scala is also known for its annual chestnut festival, the Sagra delle Castagne. The two-weekend festival every November is held in the town square and aims to further drive tourism and awareness of the town's local products.

Fascinating Furore

A wonderful contrast to Scala's classic ambience and Positano's busy environment is Furore's nostalgic and relaxing feel.  Dubbed the 'Painted Village', virtually the entire town of Furore is a work of art.  Amongst the many delightful villas in Amalfi, which are usually painted white, houses and walls throughout the town of Furore are painted with stunning images in bright colours.

With intricate wall murals all around town, Furore is best toured by foot than by car. Walking through the town is like visiting a huge, outdoor museum. A lot of the murals, done by artists who have visited over the years, depict local culture and atmosphere. Over the years, what started as a simple bit of fun became a tradition, so much so that Furore now celebrates with the event named Muri d'Autore. Every September, artists from all over the world gather in the town to contribute a new artwork to the walls of Furore, making it ever more colourful and inspiring year after year.

Sassy Sorrento

Sorrento is an old favourite and for those looking for a livelier resort. The town itself has excellent views over the bay of Naples and although there is no beach, there are plenty of bathing platforms for sunbathing and accessing the sea. This is the perfect place to explore the coastline with a busy harbour and plenty of boats to neighbouring islands (including Capri). The backstreets of the town come alive in the evening with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from.

Ravishing Ravello

Ravello is a must see town nestled in the hills above Minori which offers the theatrical gardens of Villa Ruffolo (with a host of summer events), pretty courtyards, ancient churches and some of the best views over the coastline. With its crumbling walls, rows of lemon trees and wisteria, the town gives just the sort of visions that you go to Italy for!

Finding a holiday hideaway

Holiday Homes in Italy have a great selection of properties on the Amalfi Coast. Have a look at our:

Apartments on the Amalfi coast

Villas on the Amalfi coast

Read More

Read our Positano blog

Read our Fall in love with the Amalfi Coast blog

Read our 5 things to do on the Amalfi Coast blog

Summer food festivals in Sicily

Bella Sicilia

The gorgeous Italian island of Sicily is a true jewel in the Mediterranean Sea. Abundant with culture and history, it is overrun by celebrations each year. Nicknamed 'God's Kitchen', the island offers those who wish to visit the best of Italian cuisine, from wines to pastries, and from pasta to seafood. While its welcoming shores are inviting all year round, the ideal way to enjoy this vibrant place is to come during festival season, when the streets are alive with partying and local products, fireworks light up the night sky, and festivities go on for days. By staying in villas in Sicily close to the action, visitors can get front-row access to these events.

Sagra dell'Olio in the Nebrodi Mountains

Blessed with breath taking mountain ranges and incredible beaches, the island offers the best of both worlds. Travellers who prefer a mountain view can go to the local town of Funari, located in the Nebrodi Mountains. Booking in to villas in Sicily here on the last week of July will reward tourists not only with a fantastic view, but also an unforgettable experience.

The Sagra dell'Olio, or the Festival of the Olives, is celebrated in Funari every July. The festival starts as locals gather to showcase locally produced olives, olive oil, and wine by setting up tents and stalls, and ends with a party filled with music, good food, and good wine.

Fruits of the Sea Festival in Marsala

The island is also an incredible place to visit for fresh seafood - after all, it is ideally located in the Mediterranean Sea. Visitors can take advantage of this by staying at the heart of celebrations, in one of the many holiday villas. In Sicily, there is an abundance of family accommodation in Mazara del Vallo, Marsala, the home of the largest Mediterranean fishing fleets. It is also where the La Sagra del Mare Festival, or the Fruits of the Sea Festival, is held every August. The culinary festival's highlights involve locals cooking seafood dishes in gigantic pans to serve guests, and culminates in a grand celebration of dancing, fireworks, and wine.

PizzaFest in Seccagrande

No visit here is complete without sampling the best local pizza! Located in of Agrigento, Seccagrande has a sprawling beach that gets packed with tourists during summer. At night, the beach comes alive with bonfires and dancing, especially during PizzaFest, when locals set up stalls selling pizza and other traditional food. PizzaFest is celebrated annually at the height of summer, every second week of September.

If visitors tire of the superb beach and delicious pizza at Seccagrande, they can roam around Agrigento for a different kind of view on Italian life. The city is also known for the Velle dei Templi, a UNESCO Heritage Site consisting of the archaeological relics of seven temples - namely Temple of Juno, Temple of Concordia, Temple of Heracles, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Temple of Castor and Pollux, Temple of Vulcan, and Temple of Asclepius.


From townhouses to apartments and villas, Sicily offers some wonderfully comfortable accommodation,  to make that stay in Sicily special.  For a list of self-catering accommodation in Italy, click here.

View apartments in Sicily

View villas in Sicily

Take a look at our top 10 villas in Sicily blog

Read More

Check out our Sicily webguide

Read our Sicily blog

Read our Cefalu blog

Read our Taormina blog

Read our Modica blog

Read our Southern Sicily blog

Read our Trapani blog

Read our Top 10 things to do in Sicily blog

6 May 2015

San Ginesio – the gem of Le Marche

Le Marche is often overlooked by tourists but this beautiful region offers its own rich diversity of arts, history and culture that sets it apart from the rest of Italy and it a perfect location for a relaxing holiday in a traditional and unexplored part of Italy. If you are looking for a peaceful holiday, welcoming atmosphere and your own slice of Italy, then this hits the spot.

San Ginesio and surrounding countryside 

Situated on a hill, this walled town provides an ideal position from where to admire the Sibillini Mountains. It is hard to describe the beauty of the landscape with the green valley below and the towering peaks covered in snow. Although it’s a hill-town, it is rather flat inside the walls and as a town, it’s as pretty as any in Tuscany.  Quaint shops and a lively square framed by historical buildings dating back to XI century offer the visitor a welcoming atmosphere.

During the summer a few folkloristic festivals take place and the town seems to go back in time with actors dressed in costumes, drums, medieval music, dances and “battles”. This area offers a great base for walking and is close to ski resorts.

What to do

If you love the outdoors, then this is the place to be.  For walkers, the nearby Sibillini Mountains offer plenty of variety through pastures and woodland as well as dense forests against a backdrop of alpine scenery.  Paths will take you along rivers, past stunning waterfalls and caves, through gorges and up the many peaks.

Nearby Macerata is a fab local City immersed in Renaissance art and architecture. Its squares come alive in the evening and there are plenty of cafés and restaurants. For those who love shopping, the City is famous for its Wednesday market and there are some great little shops.

For the sun worshipper, Le Marche offers beautiful beaches.  It is set along the Adriatic Sea, with 80km of spectacular coastline.  In a mere 45 mins, you will find yourself at the wonderful seafronts of Porto s. Georgio and Civitanova Marche, where there are endless sandy or pebbly shores and natural bays along the rocky coast to explore.

Food and wine

Le Marche offers a wide range of centuries-old traditional food products and dishes featuring olives, ham and fish and there is an array of good wines including Verdicchio.  Local specialities such as pecorino cheese, truffles and roast pork are a real treat!  If you head up to the mountains, make sure you include a visit to one of the many great Rifugii that serve superb food using local produce.

How to get there

Le Marche is served by Ancona airport but it is also possible to access the region by Perugia and Bologna airports.

Where to stay

Holiday Homes in Italy offers a wide range of self-catering accommodation in Le Marche. Try these near San Ginesio and the Sibillini Mountains:

Casa Sibillini - 3 bedroom villa from £980 per week
Villa San Ginesio - 6 bed villa from £1,545 per week

Villa Sarnano - 2 bed villa from £920

Villa Usignolo - 7 bed villa from £1,335

Click here to view all our Villas in Le Marche