Your house is my house — Part II

Make your list, and check it twice — Determining the criteria for your perfect vacation rental in Italy.

Every time I share pictures and posts from my trips to Italy, inevitably I get asked about how I found our vacation rental property. What I’ve learned over the years is that it’s less about what rental agency or website I used, and more about knowing what kind of experience I want to have. This is the second in a series about finding the right vacation rental for you in Italy.

In Part I, we focused on the vacation rental experience. So if you think you’re up for it, let’s talk about how to identify the best place to stay for you and your travel mates.

Our rental high in the hills above Agropoli, in the Cilento region of Campania, south of the Amalfi Coast

Our rental high in the hills above Agropoli, in the Cilento region of Campania, south of the Amalfi Coast

In the 10 years I’ve been renting vacation properties (houses and apartments) I find it always starts with a list of requirements, and a preliminary understanding of what’s mandatory and what’s optional.

To start, you’ll need to determine how many bedrooms you will need, as well as the number of bathrooms.

I’ve seen some beautiful properties that have only one bathroom. If you’re traveling with 3 couples, that’s probably not going to cut it.

Then I think about the type and location of the property.

  • Independent house with total privacy (probably requires car)
  • Semi-detached house or townhouse closer to amenities (may not require car)
  • Apartment in town, within walking distance to shops, restaurants and public transport (preferable to NOT have a car)

What type of amenities will you require? Here’s my list of mandatory features, although they may not be yours.

  • Washing machine (I don’t ever expect there to be a dryer, but if there is, that’s a bonus)
  • Internet access with WiFi
  • Dishwasher (although I let this one go if we won’t be doing a lot of cooking ourselves)
  • Heat or air conditioning (depending on location and time of year)
  • Elevator (depending on floor apartment is on — and remember, in Europe, what Americans consider to be the first floor, is called the ground floor. The European first floor is the American second floor, etc.)
  • Shower (not tub with a spray hose)
  • Pool or access to pool (depending on time of year and location)

This is where the magic spreadsheet comes into play. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a vacation unless a spreadsheet is involved.

It’s taken me a long time to admit my spreadsheet dependency. I’ve been called “nerd”, “anal” and “deeply weird,” but I’ve found it’s the only way to keep track of all the properties I’m researching, and the easiest way to share your choices with your travel mates. So, I say it loud, and I say it proud, I love a good spreadsheet.

I’m attaching a copy of the master list of properties I used in our search for the right farmhouse in Le Marche, a beautiful region in central Italy, east of Umbria, bordering the Adriatic. Please note that this is for illustrative purposes only. The document is over 3 years old, so prices may have changed, etc. Please feel free, dear reader, to adapt and use as you see fit.

Villa rental — sample spreadsheet

What’s on your list of requirements for the perfect rental in Italy?

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