Villa David

Villa David

Villa David

Lake Como, Italy

Villa David is a lakefront property located 10 kilometers north of Menaggio, on the northwest shore of Lake Como. The villa is located in a unique setting and provides access to the beach. The property includes private parking for 6 cars behind the house, an above ground pool, and a large panoramic terrace that offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

Lake Como view

Lake Como from the Villa

The house can accommodate 12 people in 5 double bedrooms and 2 single bedrooms. Villa David with its spacious and brightly decorated interior is the ideal holiday home for large parties. It consists of two floors (each 300 sq. m.). Outside, the property (2500 sq. m.) is directly on the shore of the lake, just a few meters from the public beach. On the large terrace (45m x 8m) is the above ground pool (5m x 3m).

Visit the Museum of "La Raccolta della Barca Lariana" just 50m behind the villa. The museum features over 600 boats that played an important part in the nautical history of the lake from the 19th century to today. Among them, there is a Venetian gondola from the last century which was built on Lake Como, and a Cisco, which is a typical English sailing boat also from the last century.

Villa David interior

Villa David interior

The village and its shops are about 600m from the property. The nearest golf course, tennis court, and equestrian club are 10 km away in Menaggio. The Lake of Como and in particular the northern zone of the lake is renowned in all of Europe as an excellent sailing area. This is the most windy area of the lake and the most unspoiled. The Breva, a temperate breeze of the Lake of Como, blows during the afternoons. This breeze guarantees enjoyment for sailing, windsurfing or kite-surfing. The area offers numerous alpine destinations and several trekking and mountain bike trails. The main factory outlet shops (Armani, Fox town, Ferragamo, Versace, Etro, Gucci, Mantero, Lario) are all within 10 to 30 minutes from Como. Malpensa/Linate airports are 1.5 hrs, Bergamo Orio al Serio airport 2 hrs, Saint Moritz 2 hrs, Venice 3.5 hrs, and Florence is 4 hrs. Bellagio, known as the 'pearl of the lake', thanks to its position between the two arms of the lake and the mediaeval village of Varenna, Tremezzo with the neo-classical Villa Carlotta (one of the most beautiful villas of the lake with its botanic garden and artistic masterpieces), the 16th century Villa Balbianello in Nesso, Menaggio, Varenna (Villa Monastero) and Como with its important historical buildings. Other activities include swimming, boating, sailing, windsurfing, hiking, golfing (Golf club Menaggio), flying, and horseback riding.


Comfort Guide for Renters of European Properties

Kathy with granddaughter

Kathy with granddaughter

Many of us are headed to Europe this summer to stay in a apartment or villa. I know - you've been getting more excited each week as all the plans are coming together on paper. But for some there's a little niggling worry about just what to expect when you get there. I thought it would be comforting and helpful to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that come across our desks. It's better to know some of the housing differences before you arrive rather than be surprised by them after you arrive. We want you to enjoy every minute of this adventure as it unfolds!

First time visitors to Europe immediately fall in love with the unique personality of the town or countryside they visit. Staying in a local property immerses you in the culture and history of the area, and you feel like one of the townspeople. But there are a few practical differences that you need to know. First of all, most of the buildings are ancient. Though this is a major contributor to their ambience, they are not usually modernized with air conditioning, screens on the windows, and such features that we may be used to in the United States.

Electricity is very expensive in Europe so swimming pools are not usually heated except by the sun and, though most properties offer a washing machine, because of the high energy cost of a dryer, they line dry their wash. Most European bathrooms offer a tub with a shower instead of a separate shower. And you'll find the plumbing is old and sometimes slower than you're used to. Though linens are furnished, it is standard to receive no more than 2 bath towels per person per week. Kitchens are usually equipped with the basics. That would include a sink, stove top, maybe a conventional oven and/or microwave, dishes for as many as the property sleeps, glasses and flatware, a sauce pan, frying pan, basic cooking utensils, and maybe a coffee maker. If you are looking for a property that has a well-equipped kitchen, watch for ones that mention they are a family home.

Now, after all that, here's the really good news. We can arrange for whatever extra luxuries you wish to add. You can hire a cook, a maid, even a driver. You can rent extra linens, have your laundry done for you, and in some cases you can even pay to have your swimming pool heated. Extra staff is reasonably priced and is usually the biggest blessing because it seems to extend your "play time" considerably. Imagine taking off in the morning after breakfast for a day of exploration and shopping, enjoying lunch out in one of the charming little cafes or trattorias you come across, and then returning home in the afternoon to a sparkling clean villa with all the beds made, the bathrooms done, and the delicious smells of dinner being cooked for you. All you need do is freshen up and take a dip in the pool or sit on the patio with a cool beverage as you wait for the dinner bell! Many travelers say these times make the best memories.

I'm thirsty!

"I'm thirsty!"

Some travelers want to know if they have to rent only from Saturday to Saturday. It's true that most of the European villas only rent this way, especially during high season (the summer months), but we'll be happy to ask the owner on your behalf if you need something different. Apartments are often on a flexible schedule, particularly those in the cities (Rome, Paris, Florence and such). And these apartments often rent for less or more than a week. As for Mexico, it's customary to rent from any day of the week and fewer nights than a week can be arranged. Just ask us.

Don't worry about finding your property from the airport. When your final payment is made to us on the rental of your choice, we will mail a packet of information to you. This includes a voucher saying that such-and-such property is to be yours for such-and-such dates. Arrival instructions include directions to the property, the name and phone number of your contact person(s), and information about the area. At least a week before you arrive, we suggest you telephone your contact person, get acquainted a little and confirm your expected arrival time. They will then be there to meet you when you get to the property. They're always happy to welcome you and show you around. This is a great time to ask specific questions about how to use the appliances, where the best restaurants are, etc. If there is any problem during your stay, be sure and call this local representative immediately. If the problem is not resolved within 24 hours, please call us. We cannot help fix a problem if we do not know about it!

Now, are you excited?! I know. I've been in your shoes many times! Hopefully this has helped you be better prepared. But the best advice I can give you is to go with a fun-loving, relaxed attitude, and roll with the changes you encounter. If you are a first time client, you're in for such a treat that you will never want to travel any other way! Bon Voyage!



One of many watchtowers

One of many watchtowers

The Glorious Amalfi Coast

Here I sit dreaming about another place and time, far from the final nip of winter. I have to say that in all my travels, the amazing sunny southern coast of Italy has been the most breathtaking in form and color. And as I thumb through Giuseppe and Roberto Sabella's The Coast of Amalfi, the strong, vivid memories flood back to me.

The Appenine spur stretches between Gragnano and Salerno and is punctuated with the lovely island of Capri off the tip. All along this jagged mountainous coastline are steep cliffs that meet ravines and there taper off to form small semi-circles of sand. Clustered around these stream-fed beaches are small towns and villages, their colorful houses clinging to the rocks and each other, making a collage of color and form stacked skyward from the aquamarine sea. Because of the topography the beauty and charm of these communities is unique and stunning.

The Romans were the first to realize that this was not only a major maritime crossroads, but that it had potential to be a highly sought-after place to live, where the aristocracy could idle their time away in luxury. Thus sumptuous villas began to be built as early as the first century A.D.

Buttresses of Mount Comune

Buttresses of Mount Comune

For centuries the southern coast of Italy could only be reached by sea, thus isolating it from reform. Numerous traditions that have stood the test of time include the architecture where the most characteristic feature is the vaulted roof structure, a rather flattened dome-shaped roof that is prevalent. Architecture students from around the world come here to study.

Each of the villages dotting the coastline has a unique layout and charm. Probably the most well-known is Positano, recently featured in the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun". But I found Amalfi, Sorrento, Santa Agatta, and many others just as wonderful. These towns grew on a thriving ship building industry as well as trade and agriculture. You will still see many citrus plantations, and the delicious liqueur lemoncello is made locally. Of course tourism has become a major industry since modern transportation.

As you tour this warm and dynamic coastline your senses will be filled to overflowing. Each area has its unique and fascinating sights, sounds, and tastes. My husband and I had some of our best and most reasonably priced meals in small family owned restaurants in the countryside along the way. This is where you find the locals dining, which is a good indication of excellence. The people are warm and friendly, very proud of this area and their heritage, and will make you feel welcome. While here be sure and take a tour of Naples and the ruins of Pompei in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. Take one of the modern ferries from Sorrento or Positano out to the garden island of Capri. There are several grottos that are fascinating excursions as well, both on Capri and on the mainland.

We have many choice properties on the Amalfi coast. Everything from apartments in town to lavish villas in the countryside can be rented for your home away from home. All have splendid views of the bay, the island of Capri, and/or the mountain hovering over Napoli. Italy is beckoning!


Dom DeLuise

Dom DeLuise

In Eat This, It'll Make You Feel Better!, Dom DeLuise shares this treasured family recipe as he remembers his mother's very simple Italian peasant cooking.

Mamma's Marinara Sauce

4 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 28-oz cans ready-cut peeled tomatoes or 5 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 6-oz can tomato paste
4 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
10 fresh basil leaves
freshly grated cheese (I suggest a combination of Romano and Parmesan)

In a deep frying pan heat the olive oil and gently sauté onion until limp, and add garlic for last 5 minutes to bring out the flavor. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes.

Put on medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over pasta. Tear basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle on top. Add pepper and grated cheese to taste.

Makes about 2 quarts of sauce.


Emmanuel in Siena

In Siena

Dear Travelers and Friends,

We have added a few special deals on our site, so for those who want to plan a last minute trip, please go to our specials page and book your villa now!

For those of you who have already chosen your European villa, Kathy's article will give you some valuable information. I also encourage all of you to go to our links page for additional help.

We keep adding new properties on our site, so come visit us often. One of our new destinations soon to be online is Morocco! You're going to love this enchanting area.

Best Regards and keep traveling!

Emmanuel de Ricard, President


Apartment Michael Angelo

Apartment Michael Angelo

Apartment Michael Angelo

Paris, France

This spacious and well furnished apartment will provide you with a wonderful location on Rue Michel Ange from which to explore the beautiful city of Paris. The apartment is in a quiet residential area of the 16th arrondissement. It is within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and close to metro and bus stops which will give you easy access to most of the Paris monuments, museums and shopping areas. Within a short 5 minute stroll you can find many different shops or savor many kinds of cuisine including; French, Chinese, Japanese or Turkish. Please note that this apartment is available only May through September but other periods may be available upon request.

"We did enjoy our stay in the apartment and in Paris very much. We hope to return many times!"

-HD, Alameda, California

"Great locale. Very satisfied overall!"

-KM, Wyoming, Michigan

"We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the apartment, and our time in Paris was magical. The view of the Eiffel tower provided extra excitement. We are deeply appreciative for the ability to have such a gracious home for our group. We mastered the two metro lines quickly, visited the neigborhood stores and bistros, and could not have asked for more!"

-LT, Washington DC

Happy Mom's Day

Happy Mom's Day!



Newsletter Editor: Kathy Hayes

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