Verdi di Santa Croce is a completely renovated 1 bedroom apartment made from the tower of an ancient medieval building in the heart of the city. The living / dining room has large windows that offer a spectacular view of the entire city of Florence and the surrounding hills, and the completely private terrace extends this panorama. Situated in the middle of the city, it's just a 2 minute walk to the Basilica Santa Croce and very close to the National Museum as well as San Marco Square. Perfect for younger couples, it's on the top floor (5th) without an elevator.

From Giannelli's book The Taste of Memories

The Soffritto

It is traditional in Tuscany to make a base of lightly fried vegetables, known as a soffritto, for preparation of dishes such as meat stews, soups, and ragout. The most common ingredients are onion, celery, and carrot although I often leave out the carrot. Naturally here in Tuscany, except in a few cases, it is fried in olive oil, filling the air with an intense and delicious aroma. Only when it is browned do you add the meat or the vegetables (if you are making a minestrone for instance). In many cases herbs such as sage, rosemary, garlic and bay are added to a soffritto of vegetables, especially when it is to be used to cook game. You can take whatever you like away from a good Tuscan cook as long as you never deprive him of his trusty soffritto!

Dear Friends,

We are proud to present the ninth edition of our Doorways Newsletter. On behalf of the VillaNet staff, I would like to welcome our new Marketing Director Cori. One of her many tasks will be to update the “About Us” page on our website to include the archives of our newsletters up to this date. So, I encourage you to log on our site in the next couple of weeks to get the complete story.

Also, we are in the process of adding new properties on our website. These include nice villas in Tuscany and lovely apartments in Paris. We also still have some great properties in Portugal available for the Euro Cup 2004.

We thank you all for the wonderful comments you sent us after your stays. One of our next goals is to create a comment page on our site and we would love to include your testimonials as well as pictures of your trips. So, please email or mail us whatever information you would like to share so we can include your story.

Have a wonderful fall and remember that the best properties are getting booked now for next summer. So, don't wait to start planning your next vacation rental.


Emmanuel de Ricard, President

A funny but true story (for Halloween)

One winter evening a funeral director was driving a long black hearse, with a coffin in the back, down Mont Arrive hill. It was pouring rain, with much thunder and lightning. All of a sudden he saw an old gentleman walking on the footpath beside the road, completely drenched and leaning carefully on his cane as he navigated up the hill through the storm. The driver immediately felt sorry for the old fellow and thought he should offer him a lift. So he pulled across the road and up alongside the old man, shouting "Would you like a lift?" No sooner had he spoken than another flash of lightning lit up the area around the hearse, and a loud crack of thunder sounded. The old man took one look at the driver, with the hearse gleaming in the brightness of the lightning, turned a much whiter shade of pale, and leapt straight over the low wall near the estate, running for all he was worth.

Corinn (Cori) is our new Marketing Director. She and Emmanuel have been married for 9 years and have two adorable children, Yohan (6) and Tatiana (almost 4). Raised in Wisconsin, the two of them met as students at the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire) when he was an exchange student from France. She has traveled extensively and speaks Spanish and French fluently. Her experience as a school volunteer (PTA, Room Parent, etc.) has advanced her gifts of organization. Her present hobbies are travel, cooking, and subsequent entertaining. She's very excited to become more involved in the everyday business of VillaNet and has lots of fresh ideas to help inform the public about the quality rentals we offer.

What can be done about jet lag? When one of our clients is flying from California to France for instance, to stay in a countryside villa or an apartment in Paris, the time difference of nine hours is substantial. No traveler wants to face that groggy, droopy feeling of time zone change. There are many "tricks" that frequent fliers have learned, to make the body adapt to the time differential. After several interviews and considerable research, let me summarize what I've learned from those who deal with this situation on a frequent basis.

  • Avoid consumption of alcohol.
  • Eat light meals while enroute.
  • Try to rest enroute, sleeping if you are able. The use of eye covers and ear plugs may help.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Ask your doctor about prescribing Melatonin. This is a hormone made by the pineal gland that rises and falls with the body's natural rhythms. Levels are higher at night, and lower during light exposure in the day. Not sleeping pills, Melatonin actually helps reset your sleep and awake rhythm.
  • Stay up late after you arrive. Have lunch if it's lunchtime, go to a movie, but don't take a nap. On your first evening eat a heavy meal rich in protein and have a glass of milk. Retire at the normal time you would go to bed in the new time zone if you lived there.
  • Set your watch to your destination time when you leave home, and try not to continually think about what time it is at home. Psychologically this will make the transition easier.

-Kathy Hayes, Editor

"The Villa Quattro is superb! The combination of a large central dining room, sitting room, plus terrace, with individual apartments ideally suited our party of sixteen. The view from the terrace made it tempting to sit there quietly sipping wine, but we did tear ourselves away to visit Lucca, its nearby beaches, Pisa and Florence." - RW, Westwood, MA.

"It was a very lovely house, inside as well as outside. The owner was very helpful and obliging. The whole family, young and old, loved the week at the house!" - BA, Viborg, Denmark

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