/ San Giovanni d'Asso, Tuscany
Italian Villa is a magnificent
home inside the charming Tuscan hilltown
of San Giovanni d'Asso.
Situated near a medieval castle,
the Italian Villa was built in the
16th century on one basic level,
with terraced rooms to separate the
living areas from the sleeping quarters.
beauty and old world charm of the
original structure of the villa with its exposed beam
ceilings, granite and tile floors
is a gorgeous backdrop for the comfortable
and authentic Tuscan furnishings.
The courtyard offers a splendid private
pool amid formal gardens, all nestled
within the ancient beauty of the
rolling tuscan countryside.
interior has been carefully renovated to include all
modern conveniences without losing
its authenticity. With
seven bedrooms and 5 bathrooms there's
ample room for up to 13 guests. Ideal for those
who wish to enjoy the bustle of local
shops, restaurants and cafes, then
retreat to the comforts of a large
private home and enjoy the soul soothing
views of the hills surrounding Siena.
As if this wasn't sweet enough,
included in the price is a maid 6
days a week, plus a gardener to tend
to the courtyard.
Without a doubt, staying at The Italian
Villa is a wonderful experience!
Money On Your Travels
Traveling to a foreign country presents
specific challenges as far as money. In Western
Europe it's really very easy, especially now that the Euro is
the standard currency.
This means that you can cross borders from
one country to another and use the same cash (very nice!). The
United Kingdom is still
an exception, where they use the British
Pound, but rumor has it that they too will soon transfer to the
It's very safe to meander through Europe,
but Americans can become targets for pickpockets. Therefore I
wear a money belt under my clothing. Here I keep my passport,
driver's license, cash, Traveler's Cheques, ATM and a credit card.
You can purchase inexpensive security belts and body hugging bags
at travel stores or check out www.savvytraveleredmonds.com.
Just as in the U.S., you'll find plenty of
ATM's on street corners, at banks, in airports and train stations.
You'll also find that most establishments in the larger cities
and airports accept USD (United States Dollars) for purchases,
but their rate of exchange is not as good as an ATM or bank. Therefore
you may want to order some Euros from your local bank to get you
started on your trip, and be sure and ask about free Traveler
Cheques (most banks provide this courtesy to their regular customers).
Just a short note about tipping in Europe:
the system of paying service people such as waiters, taxi drivers,
porters, maids, and others is different there. The wages already
include a tip so it's not necessary to tip on top of the invoice
unless you are particularly delighted with the service.
Check your specific villa or apartment rental
contract from Rentavilla.com because some property owners require
a cash security deposit at the time of arrival. You will need
to pay this in Euros and get a receipt. Then at the time of departure
they will return it to you, barring any damage. Also, any extra
charges stipulated on the contract will need to be paid in cash.
This may include telephone calls, utilities, final cleaning fee,
or baby crib rental. Again, not all owners ask for this, but your
contract will clearly tell you.
Travelers and Friends,
On behalf of the Rentavilla.com staff I
would like to wish you a fabulous and healthy
New Year filled with new traveling adventures!
2005 was a wonderful year for us. Several
trips to Europe and Mexico with the addition
of almost 100 new properties on our site
gives you more choices than ever. We are
planning on adding more new areas to visit
in 2006, so keep checking our website for
Also, gift certificates are now available.
Now through RentaVilla.com you can give
the gift of travel to those travel bugs
in your life. Does that someone special
have an upcoming birthday? How about $100
towards a villa vacation in Tuscany, or
a city apartment rental in Paris? How about
Valentine's Day in Venice near St.
Mark's Square or the Grand Canal?
sure that you can find many reasons and
many regions for giving. Just give us a
call or drop us an email and we will arrange
any amount for your very special gift. Voila!
Easy, unique and redeemable whenever and
wherever the recipient wants to travel.
Your gift will truly be remembered and appreciated.
Thanks for your continuing support and Happy
Emmanuel de Ricard, President
City of Art
Siena is the heart and soul of Tuscany.
Surrounded by the gently rolling hills
of the Chianti, numerous hilltop villages
such as San Gimignano, and the clay cliffs and
cornfields to the south, this outstanding
hill town is a wealth of culture and
artistic excellence. It reminds me of an old man
who's seen much hardship but survived
it all, standing straight, proud of his heritage. Like a hard working
peasant, his face is bronzed and wrinkled,
his steady gaze hinting
of acquired wisdom
and history. Such stories he can tell!
Siena had a difficult beginning. With
no sea escape nearby, marauders had their way with her. She was
pillaged and ransacked with regularity over the centuries, and yet
always survived. Divided into 17 districts (contrade), we still
witness the famous Palio horse race, where the Sienese exhibit their
love and respect for the old districts, recognizing each as a valuable
and unique personality. The people still embrace their civil and
religious traditions, and live in harmony in this historical and
artistic environment, which is unique in all the world.
Siena was a Roman colony during the Republican
age. During the Imperial age and the
early Middle Ages it went through its
most terrible times including attacks
from marauders, sieges, civil war, and
epidemics of sickness. Always dominated
by the greater power and rivalry of Florence, it struggled
to expand. Towards the middle of the
11th century the Consuls put in
a lay government. For the next century
Siena reached the height
of its political and economic
power, especially after the famous battle
of Montaperti in 1260 in which it defeated
the Florentines. The many magnificent
monuments of Siena were built during
this Free Towns period, including the
renowned "Piazza del Campo" and
the "Palazzo Publico".
Most of us are just not used to the depth
of historical significance that Siena exhibits, and the discovery
of it is personally exciting and academically stimulating. Let yourself "feel" the
culture as you step back in time. Capture
your favorite discoveries and revelations
by journaling and taking photos so as to enable
you to revisit them in the future. Taking
time for contemplation and meditation
makes it all the better!
easy and delicious salad is a nice accompaniment
to dinner, a lovely make-ahead to take to a potluck, or a filling
lunch served with a roll.
cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 chopped red onion
1/2 cup golden raisins
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
A few florets of fresh cauliflower for color
the dressing by combining:
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar or Splenda
Toss all ingredients together
until everything is covered
with the dressing. Best when
served within 2 hours, but saves overnight quite
all the pleasures of Provence
Saint Remy which is ideally
located near Saint Remy, in the
heart of Provence near such charming
towns as Les Beaux-de-Provence,
Avignon, Arles and Nimes. The villa
has been thoughtfully renovated,
featuring a private outdoor swimming
pool and can accommodate 8 to 10
with its four ensuite bedrooms.
those who enjoy walking, many paths
surrounding the property will
lead you to the top of the Alpilles,
to Roman vestiges such as the Arc
de Triomphe, and the town
of Glanum. Sit back and breathe
deeply of the scents of Provence!
house, most helpful owners, good facilities". —JA,
"We were very pleased with the Villa. Thanks for
your ideas and suggestions. Our
vacation in Provence proved to
be "French Fabulous". —GGB,
house and the property were wonderful! It was a great
experience that my husband and I won't soon forget!". —NO,
a little laugh
why the cowboy got a daschund?
told him to "get along
My four-year-old daughter is wonderful in all respects, except one. She
fibs. So I decided to tell her the story of the boy who cried wolf.
"He kept warning the villagers a wolf was about to attack, but when they came
running there was never any wolf," I explained. "And when a real wolf did come
he cried out but no one believed him so the wolf ate him! Isn't that terrible?"
Sophie seemed deep in thought for a moment, then looked up and reminded
me, "I was eaten by a wolf once, you know."
Submitted to Reader's Digest by Val Keogh
Newsletter editor: Kathy Hayes