“What do I need to know before I rent Tuscan villas?”
This is a question we hear very often here at ThriftyTuscany.com
For those feeling in dire straits looking for the right villa among the ocean of online options, we can totally sympathize. We all have gone through this process many and many times prior to getting into the property rental business, so we know first hand all the questions and concerns going through your mind during the booking stage.
Even if you love looking for properties, the information you have access to on the Internet is often very confusing making the task a daunting chore. The difference in price may be huge, and sometimes the same villa is advertised with different names and different pricing by different agencies.
There are just some key points that will greatly help you in the process, but you have to have experience to figure them out, and hot to find answers to them. Or you can just keep on reading to find out what you need to know before renting Tuscan villas.
This is by far the greatest concern. Tuscany is a large region. Look at New Jersey on the map: Tuscany is a tad larger than that. Therefore it is mandatory you narrow down your area of interest. Pick your villa in an area where there are the most interesting places you want to see, then check how far the highway is. Thanks to efficient highways you can get considerably far from your villa and be back within the day.
Thankfully, Google Maps provides a great tool for geolocating and planning.
During this process it is essential that you locate your desired property precisely. That is why we advise to look for direct villa rentals only, since agencies will hide the exact location of properties to avoid you getting a direct contact bypassing them.
If you wish to have a villa at walking distance to town, you may ask the owner, or check it directly on Google maps selecting the walking directions option. Most often Tuscan villas are plain smack in the middle of nowhere. You have to decide whether you treasure wonderful surroundings more than convenience, since you might find yourself driving to the grocery store more than you expected to. Remember that when you are away from home there are many aspects you need to figure out, so be sure you do not mind driving.
Do not forget to ask the owner how far the nearest grocery store is and its opening hours.
Having said that, it is of course implied that a rental car is almost necessary. There also are many villas at the fringes of town, but they undoubtedly are the minority. Moreover, towns might not provide sufficient public transportation to reach out to the places you want to explore. So, the answer to “Do I need a rental car?” is yes, definitely.
Ask the owner what type of access road they have. Some renters do not like white dusty roads, while others do not mind fording small streams. Be sure to consider rain and other climatic factors, also depending on the season you are going to be in Tuscany.
Towels and Linens
I yet have to see a villa owner not providing her guests with bed and bath linens. However, there’s always a first time. Therefor,e ask the owner if towels and bedsheets are included. Some also include kitchen and swimming poll towels, while others charge extra for them. How many weekly changes ar you getting with rent? Can you get extra ones, and at what price? Some like this type of service, while others do not want to be bothered with daily delivery and are just fine with washing towels themselves.
Included and Excluded Services
You need to have clear what services and amenities you will get included in the price, and also how much extras, if any, would be. While there is an almost infinite array of services, these are the most common ones:
– Heating. Is it in every room? Will it be necessary? Is it excluded, and how much per day?
– Air Conditioning. Is it available? Is there an extra charge for it? Many properties do not have/need it.
– Are there screens (mosquito nets) on windows?
– Do window panes provide total darkness?
– What tools, items and appliances are provided in the kitchen? What about cleaning supplies? Paper towels and toilet paper?
– Do you have video and sound players? Is there a satellite or dish television in your language?
– Is there a swimming pool? From when to when is it open? Will owners be diving in from time to time?
– 99% of villas provide once a week cleaning. Is extra cleaning available, and at what charge?
Rubbish and Trash Cans
Rubbish is not collected at the door in Tuscany, and most of Italy. You will have to carry it to the nearest (usually a hundred yards or so) trash collection bin along the road. Ask how far that is. Also ask recycling rules and what you need to do to recycle.
If You Need Help
Owners are most glad to help you with anything, but they often reside far from the villa. Ask to have a contact number you can call 24/7 for emergencies. Most importantly, you will need to be shown around and have appliances explained to you, so be sure someone will be at the villa upon your arrival. Owners or managers are almost always at the property, but make sure.
There always is a refundable deposit fee to be paid upon arrival or prior to your arrival. Ask how much it is, how it can be paid, and what the damage waiver includes. Usually owners do not charge for a broken dish, but be upfront on this matter. Owners hate to find out damages, whatever small, were concealed to them. Some owners will send the deposit back after a careful inspection, while others give it back to you after a quick look at their property. The deposit can vary greatly from a few hundred Euros to a few thousand, depending on the villa you are renting.
Ask if it is the hunting season and the villa sits on hunting grounds. Tuscan villas can be surrounded by woodlands. Hunters must stay at safe distance from them, but the sound of a shotgun at five in the morning is not exactly the sweet wake-up one envisions about bucolic Tuscany.