Is there Internet service in Italy?
The Italians love the Internet and email just as we all do. The property furthermore has an ADSL-Internet connection upto 20Mbit/s in download unlimited 24hours a day for 7 days a week. All you would need is a portable PC with a Fast-Ethernet-Card at 10/100 Mb/s or a wireless card and pick-up WiF signal also available in the apartment. If you do not have a laptop you can find Internet-shops right around the apartment. Many of them have long opening hours.
Booking is easy
Start with sending us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for a reservation and to verify the availability of the apartment or check out the on-line calendar, which allows you to make this check within this site and let us know any special requests you should have, so that we can adjust our standard price for your needs or give you additional information. We will reply to you within approx 48 hours and let you know:
- availability of the apartment
- the price for the rental period, if different from the standard or special requests have been made
- the amount of deposit you have to pay to confirm your booking
- the amount of the security deposit
- you will then have 1 week to confirm your intention to rent the apartment for the specified period and we will hold the apartment as temporary reserved. We will send you a paypal-invoice for the agreed deposit. You can then easely pay this Invoice, using any credit-card, without having to own a paypal account. Alternatively you will be able to effect a banktransfer into the account of the owner.
- if you do effect the payment of the deposit within that week, you should advice us about the transfer and upon receipt of the deposit, the apartment will receive a “booked”- status for the agreed period.
- you will receive a confirmation, that the deposit has been received (this may take some time, since bank often are rather slow and often advice through snail-mail – to speed this up, you best give us all the details of the remittance, so we can check quickly it, after you have effected the deposit).
- upon your arrival at the agreed date and time, we will take care of signing the rental contract (a standard contract-type is available in PDF format), you will pay the agreed rental fee for the entire period of your stay (unless you stay for months) and deposit the security-deposit with the owner. The deposit you anticipated during the booking will be deducted from the rental fee to be paid.
- We will welcome you, explain you all the basics and if there is time and you like it, we will make a short sightseeing tour to explain you best where you are and how to find your way and to make you feel at home.
- We will be reachable during your entire stay and you will never have the feeling of being lost nor have any other worries related to your stay.
I know that they use the metric system in Italy. What are the equivalents?
- One meter equals 3.3 feet, just a bit longer than one yard, or 39.4 inches.
- One kilometer equals 6/10 of one mile.
- One hundred kilometers/hour equals 60 miles per hour.
- One liter equals just a bit more than one quart.
- One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.
- One hectare equals 2.5 acres.
- One Fahrenheit degree equals 5/9 of one Centigrade degree. To convert Celsius into Fahrenheit, multiply Centigrade degrees by 9, divide by 5, and add 32.
How do I mail a letter or post card in Italy?
Mail service from Italy is improving but sometimes seems painfully slow. Postcards get last priority and you can expect to beat them home if you are staying in Italy two weeks or less! It is always a good idea to place them in an envelope and send them letter rate. Look for the post office “La Posta” in the center of town and make sure that you send your mail “posta aerea” (airmail).
How is driving in Italy different?
Driving in Italy offers some challenges. It need not be a frightening experience. It just takes a U.S. driver’s license, a car and a great deal more attention and concentration than we are used to when driving in the U.S or North Europe! Italy’s freeway (autostrada) system is as good as the U.S. interstate system but, given that it is a toll road, can be expensive.
When entering the Autostrada, do not enter the line for TELECARTE. These are for motorists with passes. You will just take a ticket on entering the highway that indicates your “point of entry”. You will pay (in Euros or credit card) when you exit, according to the distance you have driven. When exiting, look for the sign/symbol of the man taking coins. This means that there is an attendant at the booth and can make change for you. Credit cards are accepted.
While the autostrada tends to be safer, less nerve-wracking than smaller roads and less expensive as far as gas and time are concerned, the toll free “superstradas” are often times more direct than the autostrada and offer views of the surrounding countryside that cannot be appreciate from the interstate. Look for them on a good roadmap (available at local Italian bookstores). They are often marked S.S. We recommend the TOURING CLUB ITALIANO green map for the different regions of Italy. They are nicely detailed for navigating the countryside.
On the whole, the Italian drivers are aggressive and fast, but competent. Italian law forbids the use of cellphones while driving. Driving in Italy takes a great deal of concentration and it is necessary to be alert at all times. It is very important to have a navigator who reads the maps and signs and advises the driver.
It is a very good idea to become familiar with the international road signs, many of which are not used in the US. Here is a good website for the signs:
The official speed limit on Italian freeways is 130 kilometers per hour. This is approximately 80 miles per hour. Many people, especially Italians and Germans, ignore this! The police is not often noticeable but they do make use of photo surveillance. So be careful! You never know who may be watching. And never, never travel in the left lane, unless you intend to pass. The left lane is used strictly for passing and, once you do pass, pull back over into the right lane at once . If you don’t, you will immediately have another car on your tail, blinking its headlights at you. There is no courteous distance acceptable between cars in Italy!
Also, for more on driving in Italy, consult the Slow Traveler website
Will I need to rent a car?
Almost certainly no!
Italian public transportation is excellent. The train and bus systems are extensive in Italy and a perfect way to get from one large city to another (Rome, Florence, Venice, etc.). The Eurostar bullet train is fast, clean, efficient and on time. Here are two websites that give detailed train schedules in Italy:
So, if your trip is only to the larger cities, you will not need a car. However, many of Italy’s villages are separated by hills and valleys and bus service may run only once in the morning and afternoon. Several of the spectacular country homes, towers, and farmhouses are in “perched” locations, high on a hill, connected to the closest village (3-5 kilometers) by fairly winding roads. For ultimate flexibility and convenience in the countryside, it is necessary to rent a car.
For other hints on travelling consult this page
How do I use the telephone in Italy?
The apartment does dispose of a telephone for Italian local calls and emergency calls and any incoming calls, you can also make use of your cellphone in the apartment, however the signal might not be very strong in all rooms of the apartment, due to the thick walls and the surroundings of the old town.
Telephoning in Italy is easy and you will probably want to use a telephone, not only to advise your owner of your arrival time, but also to make reservations at a restaurant, call home, or even call the local tourist office for information. The Italians make use of their cellphones or a handy phone card called a “scheda” or “carta telefonica” to make local and long distance calls. These cards are purchased in Euro increments and are available at post offices, tobacco shops, newsstands and machines near phone booths. To activate the card, you simply tear off the perforated corner. To make a call, pick up the receiver, insert your card in the slot in the phone, dial your number, make your call, then retrieve your card. The price of the call is automatically deducted from your card as you use it.
Direct dialing may seem a bit complicated but it isn’t once you figure out all the city and country codes! All cities in Italy have a city code and the country code for Italy is 39.
Local calls within the same city – dial the city code (which starts with a zero) first before dialing the phone number.
Long distance within Italy – dial the city code (which starts with a zero), then dial the local phone number.
You can phone all land lines in Italy from the apartment and the relevant costs are already included in the rental fee.
What if my vacation rental is not what I expected?
It’s important to keep in mind that there are many similarities between the North American/European life-style and the Italian, and also many differences. Hopefully, it is these differences that have captured your curiosity and sense of adventure and have led you to Italy!
We have provided an accurate descriptions of the property. It is important to provide us with as much information as possible concerning your expectations, so we can help you make the right choice. Please remember that Italian houses differ from their American equivalents. The home is many hundred years old, which is why it is so fascinating! It offers a base for experiencing the marvelous culture and traditions of Italy.
Our goal is for you to have a happy and comfortable holiday. While you are at your vacation home, there are many ways that you can deal with concerns that arise. First of all, if it is a small matter such as a light bulb or a stubborn key, the owner is more than willing to help you. We speak fluent English, German and French and will help you to find a quick answer or solutions to your problem. Please be sure to contact us immediately as soon as a problem becomes apparent.
Can you offer a special rates?
Genoa offers attractions all year long. There is no high or low season in this town. However if you intend to stay longer, we will always be willing to offer you a special arrangement.
What if I have to cancel - Will I lose my deposit?
You are likely to forfeit your deposit unless you cancel for a major reasons covered by your trip cancellation insurance or you cancel with at least 1 month prior notice. However in case you have to cancel your trip because you are unable to reach Italy for events, like the volcanic ash cloud caused by the erruption of Eyjafjallajökull or similar events, the deposit will be fully refunded.
What are the sizes of the beds in Italy?
A double bed in Italy is comparable to our queen bed in size, therefore a single mattress of 193 x 170 cm for the bedroom and the sleeping couch 206 x 160 cm
What are my responsibilities as a tenant?
We ask that you treat your home in Italy with the same respect as you would your own home. All properties have been cleaned prior to your arrival. Please leave the house in the condition that you found it. Even though there are no final cleaning charges, it is always the responsibility of the tenant to wash up any remaining dishes and take away the trash upon your departure.
When you leave for the day, make sure that all windows are closed, as gusts of wind are not uncommon. This will also keep out uninvited guests.
Don’t forget that utilities are much higher in Italy than in other countries and that all lights and appliances should be turned off.
What about insects? Are there any?
In the summer, yes, but not too many. You will find maybe some, but Genoa is not a town infested by mosquitoes. Especially at night, open windows and bright lights will send a strong welcome message to the insects in the area. In the evening, try to keep the windows closed until it’s “lights out” when windows can be opened. It is always a good idea to bring your favorite insect repellant. The Italians also have a handy device for repelling insects. It is called “Vape”, and plugs into any electrical outlet. It slowly releases repellant into the air. This can be found at the Coop or any other popular grocery store. The cost is about $6.
What amenities can I expect to find?
The description of the particular property you have selected defines the amenities your home will offer. The kitchen is equipped with a stove, a refrigerator and a microwave-oven. There are dishes, glasses, cutlery and pots and pans provided for the number of people the unit allows. Linens are provided and the bedroom will be prepared for two people. The washing machines does not have any dryer, which are quite uncommon in Italy. You can hang your laundry outside, for drying them in the warm Italian sunshine, or use the facilities inside the bathroom.
Because our home dates back at several centuries, there is no air conditioning, as it is very expensive and difficult to retrofit historic buildings. The thick walls of the older homes provide excellent insulation to help retain heat in the winter and keep it out during the summer.
Telephone costs are quite high in Italy. This property does have telephone connection which allows you to make Italian local calls and emergency calls. You can receive any incomming calls as well. You can also make use of the cellphone. The property furthermore has an ADSL-Internet-Wifi connection at upto 20Mbit/s in download unlimited 24hours a day for 7 days a week. All you would need is a portable PC with a Fast-Ethernet-Card at 10/100 Mb/s or a wireless card signal of the also available in the apartment
For International Calls we would recommend to use the service of Skype.
Will there be provisions at the rental when I arrive?
The home is minimally stocked with a few spices, cleaning basics, oil, vinegar, salt & pepper and sugar and toilet paper.
We highly recommend that you have sufficient time after your arrival at your rental to pick up some basic supplies and staples (you find all the shops very close to your home).
A short list should include:
- bottled water
Although more and more Italian grocery stores are staying open the entire day on Saturday (such as COOP), many do close no later than 19:30h on Saturday. Almost all grocery stores are closed on Sunday. One exception is the EATITALY store in the port. It is open on Sunday mornings during all the year. You do not need to bring from home, soap, salt and pepper, detergent, candles. There are many occasions in Italy to dine by candlelight!!To bring along your slippers might be a good idea, even though the floors are mainly wooden floors, with the exception of the bathroom.
Should I be aware of any extra charges not included in the rental price?
Additional costs such as heat, electricity, extra beds, final cleaning, etc. are specified on the booking contract. The owner will keep track of these charges and will collect for them upon your departure. These charges are payable in Euros and are often deducted from the security deposit. For short stays generally the heating costs, gas & electricity and final cleaning are included in our rate.
In the event that you leave your vacation house before the end of the agreed stay, make sure you let the owner know, so that your security deposit can be returned to you.
To whom do I pay the security deposit? What other "formalities" should I expect?
All rentals require a security deposit in Euros. The amount of the security deposit is noted in the booking contract that you signed when booking the property. This amount is paid to the owner (or his/her representative) when you arrive.
Italian law requires the owner to “register” all guests. This involves “surrendering” your passport to the owner for a short time so that s/he can fill out a form with your name, place & date of birth, country of origin and passport number. S/he will return your passport promptly. Alternatively you could bring us a photocopy of the passport along (together with the original), that will allow us to return you the original passport immediately and with no delay.
The city of Genoa applies a tourist tax of EUR 1 per person/day upto a max 8 days for all persons above 14 years of age. Persons assisting patients in the local hospitals and few others are excluded from the payment of this tax. For the time being we consider this amount to be included in your rental fee, so that you do not have to worry about extra surprise charges.
Will there be someone to meet me when I arrive?
Yes, either the owner or the owner’s representative will be present at your arrival to welcome you and to show you around. Before you arrive, it is helpful to make a mental list of things that you will need to know and that will ensure that you are comfortable in your home. Some questions might be:
- Where do I take the trash?
In Italy, it is uncommon to have individual trash pickup. There are large public trash and recycling receptacles along the roads in all towns and villages. In Vico della Rosa and Santa Maria di Castello the trash containers are very close in a side road.
- Where do I park my car?
- Where are the linens?
2 sets of bed, bath and kitchen linens are provided for your stay.
- How can we wash our clothes?
The vacation rental provides a washing machine. You can also ask the owner where the closest “lavandaria” is. Self-service laundromats are also available very close to your home. However, small privately owned laundries provide a good value service.
- How do the stove and oven operate?
this can easely be explained on your arrival
- How does the TV/Satellite TV work?
There is normally no TV in the apartment, if you do need one, we can provide for it, but since there is no external antenna or satelite-dish you would only receive local TV channels.
- How does the heating system work?
If you are traveling during the cooler months (November through April), make sure you find out how the heat system works, we will help you with this of course and explain it on your arrival. The apartment has it’s own heating system, wherefore you will not have to rely on any central heating system.
- The vacation rental does not include maid and/or cooking services, should you need any of these, please let us know at the time of booking and we will verify whether anybody can be made available for this.
- Where are the closest grocery store and shops and when are they open?
They are all around the apartment, very nearby. The opening hours are generally from 8:00 to 12:30 (except for Monday mornings) and reopen at 16:30h to 19:30h (Monday through Saturday, however Wednesday many food-shops are closed in the afternoon).
- Are there local festivals or special events we should know about?
Please ask us if you are uncertain
- We do speak English, German, French and Italian. Vacation business, is not our main business and we do this for fun and with pleasure. We will do everything to welcome guests and make them as comfortable as possible. Let’s be honest, not all the shops however speak all these languages, but in Italy, almost anything can be explained with gestures as well as words. Bring your Italian dictionary to help with this process.
What time should I arrive at my vacation rental and at what time must I leave?
You may chose any day for the start of your stay, however we the time should be agreed on before your arrival. Normal arrival time is between 1pm and 8pm, but we can eventually agree on any other time of the day at your convenience. Departure is between 8:00am and 10:00am. The owner does not live on the property, but is willing to meet the guest at any other time as well. It is important to call the phone number +39-347-35268103 if you are going to be significantly delayed. Please let the owner know if you will be leaving early before the scheduled departure day. Otherwise, your security deposit may not be returned to you in a timely manner. Also, if at all possible, try to arrive during the daylight hours. It makes for a much more relaxing arrival for you. It will allow us to accompany you and to make you more familiar with the immediate surroundings and to introduce you to the city. Furthermore you might be in time to buy one or the other things, you may need for your stay or to make a booking at the restaurant of your choice and have a relaxing start of your holidays.