Villa Vino

Villa Vino is a wine lovers' dream come true! Fifteen kilometers from the red wines of Montalcino and forty kilometers from Montepulciano, it is an ideal base for exploring Central Italy where the wines are second to none. The owners have restored this independent home and added a swimming pool. Perfect for a group of eight, Villa Vino is on the outer edge of a tiny hamlet called Buonconvento and just thirty kilometers south of Siena.

Tuscan Appetizers

The good food in Italy is always a big draw for visitors. And when you get home from your glorious time there, you long for the tastes and smells of the Italian table. May I suggest you plan a little get-together with friends and family who want to hear all about your travels, and make a visit to your favorite Italian deli or grocery to pick up a few things. Set two or more tables in the garden. On one arrange momentoes, postcards and photos you brought back with you, and on the other a red and white checked tablecloth spread with traditional appetizers and a hearty wine.

Hunks of heavy bread with a selection of salty cured meats, olive spread, and oils for dipping are delightful. Make crispy bruschetta with homegrown tomatoes and basil, or rely on the fresh produce markets in your area for these and other goodies. The cheeses that most please you and your guests could include Pecorino Toscano (a sheep’s cheese) and fresh mozzarella wrapped in lettuce with a spicy thin slice of salami inside. Get creative! After the mingling with appetizers and wine, serve a nice fresh salad with a light oil and vinegar dressing and a pasta dish of your choice. Squisito!

A travel agent looked up from his desk to see an older lady and older gentleman peering in his shop window. He was finishing a great week and felt a wave of generosity sweep over him. He called them in and told them he knew on their fixed income they could never go on vacation, so he was sending them on a fabulous trip with first class accommodations all expenses paid. They giggled with joy.

About a month later the lady came into his shop to thank him. He asked how their holiday turned out.

“The flight was exciting and the accommodations wonderful, but one thing puzzled me,” she said. “Who was that old guy I had to share my room with?”

Dear Travelers,

As many of you are currently enjoying your rental accommodations, we thank those of you who have returned and sent us such valuable feedback. It makes us happy to have been a part of making your time away from home such a pleasure.

It looks like 2005 is going to be a wonderful traveling year! We already have seen a lot of clients book their ideal place for next summer. Meanwhile we’re working to add new properties as well as additional pictures of existing properties that we saw on our French and Italian trip in June. I invite you to check the VillaNet website.

Enjoy your summer and keep on traveling!

Emmanuel de Ricard, President

Let’s go to Italy!

Italy hosts about one third of the world's art. It has a population of about 60 million and its popularity is no surprise.

Spectacular monuments and art collections, legacies of the dukes and kings who ruled Italy's many states are found throughout the country. Each major region has its own flavor and personality. Umbria is mountainous and hilly with a mystical quality. It includes many medieval towns with landscapes that have been the subject of numerous famous artists. Perugia is a modern city with centuries old beauty including the city wall and the Etruscan Arch. An annual music festival is held in Spoleto.

The cities of Rome and Venice fascinate the traveler with their unique history and architecture. South of Rome is the famous Amalfi Coast with popular towns including Naples with its National Museum and the Royal Palace. The picturesque fishing villages of Positano, Amalfi, and Sorrento are romantic destinations, along with the lovely island of Capri. The Ligurian Coast, also called the Italian Riviera, enjoys a mild climate resulting in a lush, almost tropical vegetation which is unusual in the north.

The narrow, picturesque coastal towns of Portofino, Santa Margaritta and the famous Cinque Terra are becoming more and more popular to visitors.  Sicily is influenced by many different civilizations from the Bronze Age forward. Here you must visit the Greek Temples in Agregento. Taormina is an incredible medieval town perched over 700 feet up on its own mountain above the beaches.  

Kathy Hayes, Editor

The story goes that a local car dealer who was known to take advantage, wanted to purchase a cow from a farmer. So the farmer priced the cow so the car dealer could understand:

  • BASIC COW: $499.95
  • Shipping and handling: $35.75
  • Extra stomach: $79.25
  • Two tone exterior: $142.50
  • Deluxe dual horns: $59.25
  • Automatic fly swatter: $74.55
  • 4 spigot high output drain system: $149.20
  • Automatic fertilizer system: $339.40
  • TOTAL LIST PRICE: $1,679.85

Fashion Outlets in Italy

The phenomenon of factory outlets that swept across the United States in the 1990’s is just catching on in Europe. Several are already built in Italy and many more are in the offing. In Tuscany you can find fashion and shoe factories where they actually manufacture these products and offer incredible buys. Kathryn and I are looking forward to scoping out a few of these when we travel next month! Here are some websites to check out:

Suzy Gershman’s “Born To Shop Italy” is a savvy guide packed with insider tips on where to find fabulous fashions, unique gifts and the best bargains on everything from antiques to housewares. If you like this aspect of traveling, your investment in this treasure is highly recommended. No matter where you visit, whether the Cashmere Trail in the Lake Como area, the outlets in Cortona outside Florence, Tuscany or Rome, there’s something for everyone. Check it out!

Kathy Hayes, Editor

Villa Serene"Our vacation in Villa Serene in Tuscany was wonderful! The house and surroundings were so beautiful and the people so friendly and warm. My whole family loved everything. Fabrizio cooked a great dinner for us which we enjoyed with local wine. He's an excellent cook. We hope to go back again."

- B.S., Far Hills, New Jersey

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