Our Monthly Electronic Newsletter
October 2005

Villa Affascinante

Villa Affascinante is a mid XIX Century building and has always belonged to the family of the Marquis of Rozzano. Facing southeast, at the mid-point of Lake Como, the Villa has views of all three arms of the lake and the mountains behind. Its large park has century-old trees: sequoias, cedars, oaks, and palms. The interior is beautiful with mosaic floors, a grand staircase and statue. These features and the elegant setting set this residence apart as a villa of superb beauty. The villa has been recently restored, but maintains its ancient atmosphere. It has all the amenities of a modern house, a private tennis court and private mooring at Santa Maria Rezzonico harbor.

French for Beginners

Here are a few words and phrases that will come in handy in France.

"Hello" to a friend is Salut!
A more polite way to say "Hello" is Bonjour
"Good evening" is Bonsoir
"Goodbye" to a friend is Salut!
"See you later" is Au revoir or A bientôt
"Thank you" is Merci

1 un/une
2 deux
3 trois
4 quatre
5 cinq
6 six
7 sept
8 huit
9 neuf
10 dix

To find trouver
Next to à côté de
Apartment appartement
Castle le château
In town en ville
In the country à la campagne
By the sea au bord de la mer
Family la famille
Mother la mère
Father le père
Small petit/e

Steak le bifteck
Pizza la pizza
Rice le riz
Bread le pain
Cheese le fromage
Fish le poisson
French fries les pommes frites
Enjoy your meal bon appétit!

de Ricard faimly

Dear Travelers and Friends,

Since 1983 when we opened our doors and wrote our first contract on a rental property, we've been listening to you, our clients. We ask for your feedback whenever you return from one of our properties and we take that feedback to heart. We love to hear about how wonderful your vacation was, and believe it or not, we deeply appreciate your candid criticism as well. Of course the good news makes us feel great, but the bad news motivates us to improve.

New Properties
In keeping with our commitment to our clients we've been making lots of improvements here at, and we'd like for you to know about them. We've been working hard to make your experience with us even more enjoyable, and to that end we have added nearly 100 new properties to our site in the last two months. As you may know, our staff was spread out this summer as we researched new properties in Mexico and Europe, in particular Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and some new areas of Italy such as the Lake District and Umbria. In Italy we also added new properties in our already existing areas of Tuscany, Liguria, the Amalfi Coast and Rome.

Book Online
In an effort to make it easier and more convenient for you to reserve your vacation villa, apartment or condominium, we have made it possible for you to book online through a secure server. This means less time and hassle for you, and all with the assurance that your confidential information is safe, secure and completely private.

New Maps
Maps have been a long-standing request from our clients. You will now find that there is a map for every property that we offer! Look for the View Map link on the right hand side of each individual property page.

As you click through our site you're sure to notice other features we've added to enhance your experience with We're constantly improving as a response to your input.

The availability of larger properties (6+ people) goes quickly. So if you are thinking of vacationing with family and/or friends in 2006, contact us soon and we'll start looking for the perfect spot for you. Or visit our Vacation Planner page to request information about any area that you're considering.

Bon Voyage!

Emmanuel de Ricard, President


Italian Lake District: the Northern Frontier, Part I

For 2,000 years the rich and sensitive have come to northern Italy to enjoy the beauty of the Lake District. Here they built castles and villas on the shores of the many lakes, enjoying the mild climate and typical Mediterranean vegetation against a marvelous mountain backdrop. This region is mostly a huge valley called the Great Plain of Lombardy and the Po Plain that was carved out by vast glaciers between the Alps and the Apennines. It's actually bordered by five nations including France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Historically the area has been under immense pressure for dominance. Being a rich region of resources, kings and rulers over many centuries fought endlessly for power and land here.

Lake Como

Italians are fiercely regional, thinking of themselves first as Tuscans, Milanese, Umbrians, etc., rather than Italians. Yet they're all bound together by a single language and supported by the great Catholic religion whose seat is Rome. But this northern part of Italy has always been separated from the Italian Peninsula and even now with the post World War II economic recovery the area has prospered so much that there are complaints that it's carrying the less prosperous south. Some even want to form their own independent republic, the League of the North. But it's very unlikely Italy will ever abandon the unity it has fought so hard for. And as a traveler you will find that all Italians share an interest in hospitality, are very proud of their country and region, and enthusiastic in their welcome!

crusty rollsCrusty Rolls

This tasty roll is delightfully rustic, ideal for serving with hot soups. The nice crust is easily accomplished with the production of steam during baking.

1 envelope dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1-2 Tbsp cornmeal

Sprinkle dry yeast over 1/4 cup of luke warm water in a large warmed bowl and let stand until it dissolves (3-4 minutes). Add 1 1/4 cups of luke warm water, the salt, and 3 cups flour to the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon to make a sticky dough. Scrape dough out onto floured board. Knead, adding sprinkles of flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).

Place the dough in a clean ungreased glass or ceramic bowl, cover with plastic wrap (tightly over the edges to contain the moisture) and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a work surface. Form dough into dome-shaped rolls by cutting or pulling off pieces a little bigger than a golf ball and pressing the dough into your cupped hand, pinching the seams together on the bottom. Place rolls on ungreased cookie sheets that have been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover lightly and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, placing a small empty cake pan on the floor of the oven. Brush rolls with cold water. As you place the rolls in the oven, place a dozen ice cubes into the hot cake pan (steam will rise immediately) and quickly close the oven door.

Bake 23-25 minutes, until golden brown. Makes 18 rolls.

Scuola PiccolaScuola Piccola This charming 17th century villa was once a schoolhouse for a large estate, and has been restored as the private home of one of the family members. The restoration was carefully designed to retain the original architectural features with vaulted ceilings, terra cotta pavers, and brickwork floor.

This beautiful home is large and will comfortably accommodate ten people. Views are classically Tuscan in the midst of olive groves. It is very private yet close to dining, shopping, and many enjoyable things to do and see.

"The villa was beautiful. We had a fantastic time and would highly recommend Scuola Piccola to anyone traveling to Italy.  Thank you!  Thank you!" - HG, Portland, Oregon

"Thank you.  We had a wonderful time.  The villa was wonderful!  I will use every time I need a home to rent." - JT, Seattle, Washington

"It was a wonderful Villa - clean and spacious and the kids really enjoyed the pool.  The cook was the highlight of our trip!" - KW, Harrington Park, New Jersey

Some serious questions to ponder:

If money doesn't grow on trees then why do banks have branches

Is Disney World the only people trap operated by a mouse?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride he sticks his head out the window?

And, for the kids:

What kind of animals can jump higher than a house?

Answer: All kinds of animals - houses can't jump!

Newsletter editor: Kathy Hayes | Vacation Villas and Apartments |
©2005 by, 1251 NW 116th Street, Seattle WA 98177 USA
phone: (800) 964-1891 fax: (206) 417-1832
designed by Well Built Web