The dramatic view from Villa Kofinas
On the highest point of the famous Santorini caldera, nestled in the colorful volcanic rock stands, is Villa Kofinas. This property has a dramatic and unsurpassed view of the caldera, surrounding islands, azure Aegean Sea, and the picturesque village of Imerovigli from almost every vantage point.
Vibrant colors speak of sunshiny days.
Villa Kofinas is a place where style and opulence blend perfectly with beauty and tradition. The villa houses four luxury suites, each with a unique ambience, and offers professional high-end services coupled with time-honored Cycladian hospitality. The suites are designed in the traditional Cycladic style, each has a private terrace with either a swimming pool or Jacuzzi with a stunning view over the caldera and the Aegean Sea.
Beautifully renovated suites
Villa Kofinas was originally a group of houses built over 100 years ago and recently renovated in 2007 by a talented local designer. Careful attention was given to providing all possible modern conveniences while preserving the traditional architecture in the process. Each suite incorporates chic décor, stylish furnishing, pristine white washed walls, and use of local colors, and is immaculately finished with attention to many details. The result yields a dazzling effect!
Please note: At the owner's request, children over the age of fifteen are allowed.
Prices include: daily American champagne or Santorinian Vinsanto breakfast served on your terrace, daily housekeeping service, welcome basket (bottle of wine and fruit), laundry and ironing service, utilities, final cleaning.
Amenities include: swimming pool, air conditioning, mini bar, phone, satellite TV, DVD player, stereo, internet access, safety deposit box, porter service, car parking, fax service, travel agent service, concierge service, pool and beach towels, bathroom amenities (bathrobes, slippers, toiletries products, and hairdryer), and memory foam mattresses.
Guest fee services available on request: room service, spa treatments in your suite, local tours and events.
The Olympics Inspire us to travel!
The 2008 Summer Olympics are just over, and we're still reeling with the amazing accomplishments of the athletes we all watched. What worldwide inspiration! Thanks to NBC's round-the-clock coverage, the Olympics reached 214 million viewers, making it the most-watched event in U.S. television history, according to numbers released by Nielsen Media Research.
And of course the Olympics inspire us to travel! We wish we could see firsthand the beauty and majesty of Bejing, and all the wonders of the planet we live on. And many of you probably recently watched "The Bucket List" which also motivates us to travel now, while we can. It is definitely a wonderful time to put your travel dreams and wishes into action. But if you're like me, I don't want the hassle and uncertainty of managing the whole plan myself, yet don't want to pay outrageous fees to hire someone to put it together for me either. So, that's where RentaVilla can help. With 25 years' experience in renting villas and apartments in many countries of the world, we can assist you in putting together the trip of a lifetime. Step by step, block by block, let us come alongside you in building a customized travel plan, for an incredible stay, in a place you've always wanted to visit, at the budget you can afford. Deciding what country to visit is the first step, and then choosing one of our properties that best suits your needs and wishes is next. We can recommend and advise on both. From that point on, we can help you make reservations for local transportation, tours and excursions to sites, local spas, wineries, meals prepared at your home away from home, and everything else, down to such details as acquiring babysitters and maid services.
May I escort you to our FAQ (frequently asked questions)? Just look at the top of the www.rentavilla.com home page. Whatever questions you have about our services will probably be answered here, but if not, or if you just want to talk to a real, live person, don't hesitate to call us in Seattle at (800) 964-1891 in the U.S., or (206) 417-3444 from outside the country. Here are some interesting FAQ's:
Can we rent for less than a week, and is the rental period always Saturday to Saturday?
Normal rentals are one week, Saturday to Saturday. Occasionally villa owners are willing to bend this rule (either for rentals of less than a week or to allow mid-week departures), especially if it is off-season. Further, apartment rentals in some markets (such as Rome and Paris) are commonly done for less than a week.
What differences can we expect between a European and an American apartment or house?
Clients most often comment on the incredible feeling of living amidst the deep layers of European culture and history. However, they also mention that the luxury they most miss is an American-style shower. European houses usually have a tub with a shower wand, instead of a separate shower. Along with the charm and history you may also find old plumbing and you might need to be patient with the drains.
How will we know how to find the property and will someone be there to show us around?
You will get directions to the property about 3 weeks before you leave on your trip and depending on the property there is normally a local representative there to show you around. You can get more information on the arrival process on the How Renting Works page.
Do we need a car / can we walk into town?
For rentals outside a major city most people will want the convenience of their own car. However, Europe has a much better public transport system than the US, so look at the detailed property information to get an idea of what the options are for the particular property.
Emmanuel & his wife Cori
The strengthening dollar against the Euro has enticed many of you to do last minute bookings and start making vacation plans for the summer of 2009. Bravo!
One of our family's personal highlights of the summer of 2008 was a week's stay at Villa Opera and Villa Santo. Rentavilla.com hosted 42 business partners and friends. All who gathered in Tuscany for that very special week agree that the experience surpassed everyone's expectations. The site was fantastic, the accommodations very comfortable and the meals prepared by Chef Stefano delicious!
Recently, many of our providers have supplied us with new pictures and films of their properties, as well as new chef and concierge services that will help us offer better service to you.
Our web design department is working very hard to come up with an improved look for the Rentavilla.com website. The site will include new functionalities to move faster to the property of your dreams. Also, the site will be translated into multiple languages by our multilingual staff in order to facilitate contacts from non English speaking clients and owners.
Special thanks to our many fellow travelers who sent us their villa experience comments upon return from their trips. Those help us keep a close relationship with the owners and make sure we always do our utmost to keep improving the quality of our rentals and the services associated with them.
We will talk soon and Happy travels to you all,
Emmanuel de Ricard
Plan to tour Italy,
Italy is outstanding in just about every way! 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, high above the beaches. And of course, almost everybody's favorite area is Tuscany, pretty much in the center of the country, but bordered on the south by the sea.
Amalfi Coast Villas
Down the 'boot' of Italy is the lovely Amalfi Coast. 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. We 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.
RentaVilla.com has 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 Mt. Vesuvius hovering over the city of Naples.
Rome Villa Rentals
When you rent a villa or apartment or bed and breakfast in Rome you'll find so much to see and do! What a dynamic, elegant, elaborately and richly structured city, stuffed full of history and art.
The Roman people are perfect hosts, helpful and friendly. And you'll notice a distinctive confidence and pride not found elsewhere, perhaps stemming from their fierce loyalty to the long and illustrious legacy of the Roman way of life. We stayed in a comfortable bed and breakfast offered by RentaVilla.com that fit our budget and was homey and very conveniently located. What a great home base from which to go out exploring each day!
You'll be amazed by the enormous number of elaborate statues and monuments in Rome, many of which feature water. Through the centuries, important public works such as aqueducts and public baths showed the power and wealth of Roman civilization. And Rome became the undisputed ruler of this area because of its ready access to water.
Be sure and visit the many and varied sections of the city. The ancient Center of Rome includes Palazzo Venezio, Palazzo Nuovo, The Colosseum, and more. The Piazza Navona area is captivatingly beautiful. The Piazza itself is considered Rome's most beautiful Baroque Piazza, and here you find the city's financial and political district, as well as their Parliament, government offices and the stock exchange. Don't forget to see The Pantheon! Trastevere is an old and picturesque quarter where the people consider themselves the only true Romans. The Botanical Gardens are a restful change for the busy tourist. The earliest Roman churches include Santa Maria and Santa Cecilia. Villa Farnesina is a fabulous house built by the famous banker Chigi. He designed it purely for lavish banquets, where artists, poets, cardinals, princes and the pope himself were entertained in magnificent style. You'll find many trendy restaurants, clubs and shops in this lively and young-at-heart area. (To be continued in the next issue.)
The stately Villa Tordelli
Lucca, in Tuscany
Villa Tordelli is truly an architectural gem nestled in the hilly countryside surrounding Lucca. This exquisite home is typical of the noble summer residences that belonged to kings and princes of the north. Large and lovely, the villa comfortably sleeps 16, with all the common rooms also large and lovely to support such an entourage. The present owners recently restored the residence to preserve the hand painted frescoes, arches, and original tiled floors. They added a mix of lovely period furnishings with modern and comfortable sofas, armchairs, and the new kitchen appliances and computer desk with Internet access we've become accustomed to. In the large and beautiful garden you'll find a surrounding stone wall, period terracotta lemon pots, a 5 X 10 meter pool, garden furniture and a barbecue. The view of the surrounding countryside is outstanding. Included in the weekly rate is 4 hours of maid service 6 days a week, all utilities except for heating, and all taxes. A cook is available upon request.
Note: As of 2007 all bedrooms have air conditioning
" We had a wonderful stay in Lucca at Villa Tordelli. The location and villa were perfect for the needs and plans of the two families. The property is beautifully maintained and has been tastefully restored. The property owners, Duccio and Chiara, were most pleasant, attentive and respectful of our privacy. The cook that they arranged for us prepared meals which were highlights of our trip. We actaully felt at home in this beautiful villa. We would highly recommend this property and hope to return someday."
- PC, Barrington, RI.
"What a paradise! We'll be back!"
- AG, Tampa, Florida.
"Villa Tordelli was magnificent. It was beautifully maintained with fantastic views of the countryside."
- RM, Houston, TX.
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.
For a Little Laugh
Some definitions that should be In the dictionary:
Mud with the juice squeezed out.
Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.
One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.
Newsletter Editor: Kathy Hayes