Villas with centuries of history, home-cooked food,  the vistas, the local immersion and living like a true Italian are the main reasons why it better to rent a home in Italy.

A few years ago, when the blog was still a toddler, I had the opportunity to spend a long weekend at a villa overlooking Monterosso al Mare. Friends from Canada had rented the villa for 2 weeks around Easter to spend some quality family time,  explore Cinque Terra and the surrounding Italian Riviera. Coming from a hospitality background, I was, not only used to working in hotels but to spend my holidays in them too. It was with great joy that I accepted their invitation and became a fan of renting homes and villas whenever I go on holidays. So, I thought that I would share with you my ideas on why it is better to rent a home when you travel in Italy.

Why it is better to rent a home in Italy

The experience of a historical villa

Even though the Villa’s own church dated back to 1849, the main house was built originally in the 17th century and extended throughout the years. This meant that the interior was a bit of maze. Narrow corridors,  10+ bedrooms, and 3+ sitting rooms certainly added to the excitement, especially after a few glasses of the local Buranco. Like a small convent, the rooms are distributed around a central garden, where arched secured corridor in front of the rooms. The central garden featured lemon trees and a mix of wall climbing plants that provide shade in the hot summer months. The large stone, small stone, red clay brick construction, the private wine terraces and rooms with private balconies added to the coziness of this historical Italian property.  Even though this is just my experience, one can argue that finding a property like this is the first step into a truly immersive Italian holiday.

The vistas over the Riviera

One could immediately imagine that the estate’s position overlooking Monterosso al Mare was the main reason for the construction of the house, and one could also see that it was meant to be a leisure house, given the free space in front of the Italian villa. Either way, there is no point in traveling to Italy if the house where you are going to stay, does not grant you with cinematic views over the land which you traveled so far to discover. It was very therapeutical to be able to see the setting sun every day and to be able to enjoy the full extent of the afternoon easter warmth with this vista.

Home-cooked Italian food

Another tip for those of you who seek to rent a home in Italy is to find a house that provides a cook (not a Chef) that can prepare traditional home-cooked Italian food for your family. This made all the difference and one can almost not survive without an Italian grandma’s recipes at the dinner table, even it is someone else’s grandma. I learned how to make veggie ravioli infused with sage, and my absolute favorite, stuffed squid with peas. Plus you get to enjoy this wonderful Italian food on local colorful crockery instead of the plain restaurant white.

The local immersion

Luigi and his wife, the couple who took such great care of us during our stay, also provided us with insider recommendations of Cinque Terre. This was a life saver, as this particular part of the Italian Riviera is brimmed with tourists, and we wanted to experience it as the locals do. The “La Scogliera” ice-cream shop in Monterosso al Mare, the James-Bond drive through the tunnels from Levanto to Bonassola or the hearted door in Vernazza are just a few examples of what the gems Luigi and his wife informed us about.

Living like a true Italian

And lastly, what I stuck the most, was the Italian family communion felling that we all shared. Naturally, we didn’t speak Italian to each other, but the Italian habits of getting the whole family together for our daily home-cooked meal made with the house’s own produce, drinking the estate’s wine, becoming increasingly more demanding with the morning coffee, discussing meaningless subjects for hours on end, enjoying the serenity of your private villa overlooking the Riviera… Yes, it was all very stereotypical, but when you live in another continent, your year has 9 months of winter, it is as you are living the kind of atmospheres you only know from the movies.

If you want to discover more about my experience in Cinque Terra, and you are a fan of driving a convertible in Italy, head on to my Convertible drive in Cinque Terre post.



This why it is better to rent a home in Italy was written for have amazing villas all over the world, so be sure to check them out. All opinions are my own.

Nelson Carvalheiro

I am just a guy with a camera, trying to make sense of it all...

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I am an award-winning filmmaker and content creator that loves to create meaningful and inspiring films uniquely tailored for each client and their story. I am based in Lisbon and travel to destinations worldwide.
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