Villa Scouting Trip Report


I’ve just returned from another whirlwind trip scouting villa rentals for clients, and there is much to report.

The State of Villa Rentals in Italy

For visitors to Italy, there simply could not be a better time to rent villas.

The on-going recession in Italy has taken a particular toll on the Italian nobility, many of whom have turned to renting or selling their vacation homes. Russians are coming, particularly to Como, and snapping up properties in the fire sale, such as the former summer home of the Bulgari family, which was recently purchased for $7.4 million.

Both from a business and sentimental perspective, families are always happier to keep the homes and rent them rather than sell, if possible, and the properties that I visited are on the rental market for anywhere from $3,000-$70,000 per week.

If you are taking three or four couples to one of the $3,000-to-$5,000-a-week properties, that works out to just around $110-$240 per couple, well in line or below what you would pay for comparable surroundings—and less privacy—at a hotel.

Where I Went and Villas I Visited

I’m concentrating my villa research on:

    • The Amalfi Coast
    • Chianti (Tuscany)
    • Val d’Orcia (Tuscany)
    • Lake Como

I visited 14 properties with two to nine bedrooms during this trip, and, naturally, I also sited some great day trips and places to eat in the area. In Panzano, Tuscany, I had lunch at Dario Cecchini’s, the butcher now made famous by Mario Batali and Bill Buford’s book Heat. On Lake Maggiore, I visited the cheese aging specialists who make guffanti, a fragrant goat cheese, and Frantoio Osvaldo Vannini, an olive oil producer, in Lake Como.

Here’s a peek at the villas I've seen:



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