Well.  That holiday was one for the memory books.&

M and C Image
09/03/2009 - 08:33

Well.  That holiday was one for the memory books.  Not least because of the wonderful generosity and hospitality of Barry and Pat.  From picking us up at the airport and dropping us off again, and all the other things we did, we can't thank you enough.  We will most definitely be staying in touch.  The kids have already written, I believe. 

It was slightly marred by the house which I found through this site and unfortunately was not exactly what was advertised.  We will be reviewing it separately later and in the light of the very interesting article I saw on our return from Italy, here:


This may not be the place but can I add some comments to the article based on our experience.  If English is not your first language, and you are renting your property to an international audience and therefore including English-speakers, and putting your description online in English, please get someone who is a native English speaker to proof-read your description and if possible even to visit the property to ensUre an accurate description?  eg.  a cooker means a cooker - grill, oven and 4 or more stove-top rings.  4 rings on a worktop and nothing else is a hob.  It makes a big difference when you have 3 kids to feed for 2 weeks on a tight budget!  But anyway - more on that another time. 

Blimey, Rome was HOT!  But we loved it.  The Forum was astounding - nothing like what we expected.  The Colosseum area and amphitheater was great (see - I did listen to the guide!) amazing something that old is still in reasonably good condition.  The beaches at Lavinio and Anzio ware brilliant for the kids.  No car meant we had to use trains and busses, but it's such a shame that there is so much vandalism and graffiti.  Looking at it as tourists it would put me off possibly using the trains again.  However we see ourselves as a something a bit more than tourists, and so see past it.  We also came up against suspicion in the Lavinio area where we were staying as the locals initially thought we were eastern European immigrants, and it took a week or so to get through that we are English.  Once that was established the attitudes changed.  We would go into the local Pam and be greeted with smiles and "Good Morning".  We were seen as "The English Family" as there were no other English there.  We also came up against the rudeness and arrogance of some of the immigrants as one group of Indian lads shoved past us to get on the bus, pushing our youngest daughter right out of the way.    But this also meant no driving mad mountain roads, and so I came back so much more relaxed this year.  I may post some photos later.  We've come back with yet another view of a different facet of Italy.  And we are still in love with the country.  But we also know where we don't want to live.   Actually, it was a bit too hot for us, and we'd probably go further north - perhaps Umbria.  Our favorite so far is the Lake Trasimeno area.  But we've come back with so much to think about, ideas, things to investigate - enough to keep us busy till we go back again.  Hopefully next year if we can afford it.



Interesting stuff about your trip to Lazio Sud and you do have a point about the translation or lack of it and I do agree about the graffiti etc. The graffiti and the habit of using the road sides as rubbish bins is appalling and it's time the Italians woke up to this, however the rudeness of the Indian lads rang bells with me - I think it more likely they were dark skinned lads from down South doing the old hustle the foreigners when getting on or off the bus/train trick whilst attempting to pick your pockets. Even bum-bags are not immune to this, was it on a 64 Bus? I hope they did not get anything.Southern Lazio is great, I live here and we have frequent guests and they love it too but it IS hot in mid-summer, my favourite month is May for sight- seeing etc., give it a try!

We had three weeks in Italy in May (see separate posts: Rome / Campania / Positano) and the weather was perfect.  We have visited Italy a few times before, are exploring south-wards over the years, and did notice a big difference between north and south with poverty and messiness in some areas.Probably going to other places next year, but will be back, I have my eye on Sardinia and Puglia... we are at 'post kids' stage so that makes life a lot simpler!I hope you enjoy your memories (the better non-domestic ones that is!)

It has been a very hot summer, even for Italy. My son in Firenze clocked 31 degrees at 1 in the morning. The whole of Italy has been roasting this year. Shame you didn't enjoy Lazio - we love it but you do need a car and the whole coast from Ostia to Nettuno has been taken over by immigrants . With a car you can go down to Circeo, Terracina etc. To be honest, Italy is not a country to invest in if you can't speak the language and don't have the funds to put right the many mistakes you will make ( and we all have made) regarding set up costs, misunderstandings, unexpected bills etc.

Of course it is necessary to getting around in the place where you'd like to live, before actually go and buy a house. Hope that the article could be a good guide, and that you'll find a place in Italy that you like to see and also to live in. In Bocca al Lupo! 

M & CAlso confused as to the term 'immigrant' -  are you suggesting that there are different 'grades' of immigrant? A bit like the UK where the white South Africans/Aussies/Kiwi's are accepted but anyone with skin tone just a little too dark is not so readily seen as an equal human being.I would respectfully suggest that any one moving from one country to another is an immigrant - that includes the white British, Americans etc. in Chiantishire and the Albanians/Romanians etc. elsewhere. Italy doesn't have the best reputation for tolerance of other racial groups but this is slowly changing with more population movement and education.I am also not sure how a 'non-english' speaker is going to be able to access your information re: checking/proof reading ads. etc.I am sure that next time you will be better equipped to 'read between the lines', re: ads. or you could ask for more information from the rental owner before making a booking. As for the driving -  I think that 'Italian' driving is a widespread across the penisular, not just in the South.   

I actually found the article referenced in the original posting here really quite patronising - talk about stating the obvious - and at times, plain wrong and misleading . Am I the only one? For example:'People are extremely fussy about where they spend their precious Italian fortnight and they will not accept substandard accommodation under the guise of it being a ‘rustic’ house. 'This is just a silly statement. People holidaying in Italy do not all have the same budgets or expectations. As long as you are honest about your home and include pictures in your advertisement, people will book in full knowledge of what they are getting. If the house is priced accordingly, there will be no problem. We have what could be considered a rustic farmhouse, which we have started renting out this year and have had 100% positive feedback so far, in part, no doubt, because it's an absolute bargain compared to many (much more luxurious) rental properties. You get what you pay for, and the benefit of a more 'rustic' (and therefore cheaper) rental property is that people who otherwise might not be able to afford to holiday in Italy can go there. Also, shock horror, some people don't WANT a pristine, fully modernised house with perfect right angles everywhere. We consider the rustic-ness of our house a big selling point, as have our clients so far. It is certainly not substandard. It offers a very high standard for the market we're aiming for and the price we're charging.And:'The more facilities you offer, therefore, the more you will be able to charge and the greater number of clients you will attract.Properties that have facilities such as ISDN lines, Sky TV, a cook and maid service, heated pool etc, can command higher prices in what is a competitive and crowded market.'No sh**! Stating the obvious in the extreme. That doesn't mean that you haven't still got a decent market if you don't/can't provide these things, as long as (I say again) your pricing structure is correct and you make it clear what facilities there are and aren't. This article could have been so much more useful! 

I do agree with Fox that you price according to what you have to offer and also have an idea of the client group you want to attract, especially important if you are living on site yourself. Our guests this year have been 50% "middle class" English, the rest German Dutch and Danish, all with a love of Italy and especially of Marche, all had researched before they arrived so there were no nasty surprises and they all said the holiday exceded their expectations.They wanted a rural and if you like more rustic holiday, for me some of the high end rental accomodation could be from the interior shots anywhere in the world that pandered to a wealthy client group which is fine, but perhaps for a taste of the more "real" Italy a lovingly restored property with a more rustic feel is more authentic?A

Hi,  Whereabouts in South Lazio did you stay and explore?

We live in Itri, in South Lazio, close to Sperlonga and its glorious sandy beaches.

We are passionate about this area.  We came here on holiday and liked it so much we decided to make it our home.

I am currently putting together an English website about the SOUTH LAZIO area:  https://southlazio.shapcott-family.com


OK - flood of comments here.

Sorry if I've offended anyone by the use of the term 'immigrant'.  I han't put 2 and 2 together on that one!  It seemed to me to be largly Asian and N Africans, but they also seemed suspicious of us and many asked if we were Russian or Ukrainian and when we said we're English they suddenly relaxed.  I can only say as I found, I'm afraid.   Anyway - ya never know - I may soon be one.

Lazio is far more than the tiny part on the coast that we saw in 2 weeks, and more than just Rome - I fully  appreciate that.  Had we a better budget we'd have hired a car and traveled around more.  I did miss that - however I didn't miss the kids arguing in the back as we got lost (again) and it was my fault (again) and coming home stressed to the eyeballs as a result.  We had a very enjoyable time despite the other things.

"The main clientele in the Italian market are middle-class British families, well-heeled Americans, Germans and Scandinavians"

Yeah, right!  I'm well heeled.  Well toed as well, but not a lot of cash! 

I think the article relating to renting houses was maybe aimed at a different market to where we are, but the basics are still the same.  Our gripe was that the house we saved for, sacrificed for, etc wasn't what was described or kitted out anywhere near as well as the other houses we've rented for a £200 a week less!  URLs and many photos can be provided if needed!   To say it was a 4-bedroom was in part true and having told the girls for months they'd have their own rooms only to find it wasn't the case was disapointing for everyone.  Strictly speaking the 4th bedroom was a locked 1-bedroom appartment only accessible from the veranda and resembled a converted store room.  She wasn't even going to give us the key to it initially either - she asked if we wanted both sets of keys and it was on the 2nd set.  We didn't know it was a bedroom for almost a week!  So WHY were we paying for 4 but only used 3?  Just one of whole a string of issues.  We're going to put it down to experience and move on.  

It was ok, and as a base for exploring the area it's fine, provided you don't expect too much or want to stay there during the day with kids.  It's just too expensive for what it is based on our experience in other areas with 4 other houses.   Sorry.

But Rome was great.  Way beyond our expectations, we loved it and may go back for a weeklend break without the kids.  But we still prefer it a bit further north, I think. 

We've been looking at what's available for next year and the mid-range stuff where we sit is pretty much fully booked all year.   We love the rural setting, traditional houses.  We go self-catering cos we don't really like hotels and want to experience Italy as best we can in a short period of time.  Haven't been to le Marche yet.  We would like to try there, and Abruzzo as well.