Our Monthly Electronic Newsletter
April 2005

The Trellis Villa

The Trellis Villa is a lovely property with an ideal location for discovering Provence and spending a relaxing vacation! Here you will be near many important and historic towns of Provence like Avignon, Nime, and Arles. At the same time you're in the famous Lirac vineyard where you can enjoy complete privacy and tranquility in an authentic country home. A farmhouse until the 1990's, The Trellis Villa has been fully restored and will accommodate guests with comfort and charm.

With a privileged southern exposure, the stone walls of this villa are surrounded by a completely enclosed garden featuring many cozy spots to relax while enjoying the flora and fauna of Provence with jasmine, lavender, roses and pink laurels around every corner. Sit by the ancient fountain and enjoy the soothing sound of trickling water. The terraces are perfect for a quiet breakfast or a celebratory dinner with friends.

Classified ad: "Wedding gown, size 18, extra-long train, fingertip veil, new $1600. Will sell for $400 or best offer. Worn once because I was an idiot!"

Deep Fried, Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Zucchini flowers are a delicacy in Italy. Although the fresh flowers are becoming more available in the U.S. in produce markets, they may still be a little difficult for you to find. Begin with specialty retailers in your area and, if that proves unsuccessful visit local farmers' markets or grow your own. If you are able to procure the flowers, this unusual dish will reward your efforts both in taste and beauty. The best zucchini flowers are those that are still closed. As well as an antipasti dish, zucchini flowers may be served as a contorni accompanying fish or meat.

12 zucchini flowers
3 1/2 oz ricotta cheese
1 oz parmesan, grated
2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1/2 c flour
1 c + 2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Sunflower or Olive Oil for frying
Salt & Pepper
Bed of greens

Prepare a batter by combining the flour, milk, butter, and a pinch of salt. Set aside to smooth out. Prepare the filling by mixing the ricotta, Parmesan, chopped parsley and another pinch of salt. With a small spoon, place some of the cheese filling in the center of each zucchini flower, carefully replacing the petals back over the filling. Carefully dip the whole flower into the batter mix and deep fry in hot oil until crisp and golden.
Serve warm on a bed of green salad leaves.

The Spring garden plan: to build a walkway made up of dozens of wooden squares. I decided I'd slice railroad ties into pieces for the sections. That's what I told the lumberyard clerk.

"You own a power saw?" he asked.

"No," I said. "Can't I just use my handsaw?"

He nodded slowly. "You could. But I just have one question. How old do you want to be when you finish?"

Dear Travelers,
I want to personally thank you for all the encouraging feedback on our new website, and we appreciate all the new ideas we cannot wait to implement to make your experience of renting villas with us even richer. Soon we will be adding some exciting new categories such as cooking classes and other services, and of course we continue to add new properties.

The traveling season has begun, and many of you are currently staying in one of our villas or apartments. We always look forward to receiving your comment form with your personal impressions. For those who are about to leave, we wish you a wonderful stay!

Happy Spring to all of you from our staff at!

Emmanuel de Ricard, President


The Ligurian Coast

Liguria is one of the smallest regions of Italy. It runs along the northwestern coast, washed by the Mediterranean Sea. Mountains separate it from Piedmont to the north, while it joins Tuscany to the south. Genoa, the home of Christopher Columbus, is the northernmost city, and Lerici is the southernmost. This region is most famous for The Cinque Terre.

The Cinque Terre is isolated and unique. Because of high steep cliffs that slope rapidly to the deep sea, covered with terraced hills of vineyards, olive groves and clusters of gaily colored houses honeycombing the rocks, the villages are far removed from the hustle and bustle of the French Riviera and the many famous cities of Italy. Because of the severe terrain, the roads are pretty impassible which accounts for the pristine unspoiled character of the area. Most visitors arrive either by train, ferry or footpath. The train stops in each of the five villages which are only 5 minutes apart from each other.

Each village has its own unique character, with age old history. The people chose this area because of the security of the cliffs, and it is said that when pirates did decide to attack, hot oil was poured on their heads from village windows. Portovenere has a particularly beautiful church, called San Pietro. It’s a steep climb but well worth seeing. This is the area of famous poets and writers including Shelly, Lawrence, Byron, and Dickens. The grotto where Byron and Shelly swam is a worthwhile historical site to see. The National Park of Montemarcello is a favorite of trekkers. Its botanical pathways lead you through flora and fauna typical of the area. Amazing marble quarries of Carrara, a castle, and much more await visitors. And be sure and save yourself enough time to watch boats come and go from the yacht harbor as you dine at a picturesque restaurant and watch the brilliant sunset. You’re in for a real treat!

Kathy Hayes, Editor

Use the Trains!

One of the most convenient and wonderful ways to get around Europe is by rail. All the major cities and airports, most towns, and many villages are connected on a thorough grid of rails. The charm and historical drama of trains seem to add another dimension to travel, particularly in this area of the world.

My most memorable time yet on the rail was an overnight trip from Venice to Nice. We had spent a glowing 4 nights in Venice, and strolled to the station after a delightful canal-side supper. We boarded the train late at night in the huge bustling and illuminated station. The friendly porter met us at the designated rail position and escorted us to our reserved sleeping car.

My husband is a train buff from way back, and so he spent most of the night lying on his bunk, leaning on his elbows, gazing out at the passing landscape. I remember occasionally stirring, opening my eyes to see his excited silhouette. The next morning we were greeted with a fresh hot breakfast served at our door. We found the accommodations impeccably clean, comfortable, and swift.

With the euro still holding strong, you’ll find some incredible buys on rail passes. Most are only available in the United States, and thus use US Dollars. We highly recommend that you get the right help from an agent who really knows what they’re talking about. Rick Steves is a knowledgeable resource and his "Guide to European Railpasses" is helpful when you get ready to put together your plan. If you feel confident to figure it all out yourself, the website is very helpful. Here you can get a Eurail pass, point-to-point tickets, multiple country passes, youth passes, etc.

There is a time and a place for car rentals, but it adds variety, culture and convenience to your trip abroad to use the rail system.

Kathy Hayes, Editor

Casa Segromigno"This villa is beautiful and in a great location. We enjoyed it thoroughly."
- R A, Wakefield, Rhode Island

Casa Segromigno is a lovely old villa in the countryside just outside Lucca. | Vacation Villas and Apartments |
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