For the last three years of my property hunt in Italy, I stayed in bed & breakfast accommodation instead of in hotels. First of all, Italian B&Bs are really lovely; simple and spotlessly clean. I have nothing but glowing reviews to post.
A typical Italian B&B is usually – but not always – quite a bit cheaper than a hotel. To add to the list of advantages, while staying in these houses – always owner-managed – there is great scope to actually meet the locals and to glean lots of useful inside information about the various localities being visited.
My very first venture into the world of the Italian B&B was when I went to look at property in western Liguria close to the French border. For details click HERE. Unfortunately, this sweet little B&B was at the top of a very steep escarpment, but otherwise it was a brilliant experience.
The owner, Luciana, couldn’t have been more hospitable: when I had a small problem with the hot water on my first evening there, she exclaimed: “Sono mortificado!” which was a small phrase I have since used to great effect!
My next B&B adventure occurred when I was visiting some property close to Pisa in Tuscany. This B&B consisted of a magnificently restored mill. For details click HERE.
Unfortunately, I had to share a bathroom for two of the three nights of my stay. After this experience, I felt that this was not an option for the future, as the gentleman who shared these essential facilities sounded like a water buffalo when performing his ablutions. On top of all the noise, the bathroom looked like it had been thoroughly hosed down and steamed up when my turn, eventually, arrived. But, I have to admit, the bedroom was lovely and my host and hostess were extremely kind and helpful.
Next stop on the trail of the perfect B&B was in the Baroque city of Lecce in Puglia. I stayed on a rooftop overlooking the centro storico and the views were fantastic.Click here for details.
Elisabetta, my hostess, presented me with a freshly baked cherry tart and a basket of culinary goodies on my arrival. So bountiful was this basketful, I barely needed to eat out at all.
I was heading to Gallipoli after my visit to Lecce and Elisabetta’s husband insisted on driving me there in his gleaming Merc. Again, kind, friendly and helpful people running an immaculate B&B. In fact, I would give Elisabetta a score of ten out of ten for the effort she put into ensuring my stay was perfect.
Last year, prior to signing the contract for my house in The Euganean Hills, I spent two blissful nights in a B&B in Verona. On the top floor of an apartment block close to the Arena, it consisted of three immaculate bedrooms, all en suite. Click HERE for details. I arrived late at night and Cristina, the owner – heavily pregnant at the time – rang out for a takeaway pizza and organised a glass of wine as though by magic. Breakfast was prepared and served by her handsome husband. I wonder if they had a boy or a girl…..
I also stayed locally in The Hills for several nights in March 2013, while preparing to move into my new home. This B&B, one floor above a terrific restaurant, has since become the place where my family stays in the event of my little house being full when they come to visit. With great views down the valley from Faedo, it is spotlessly clean and the rooms are spacious. For information click HERE.
Then last November, when visiting friends, I stayed in a tiny B&B in the city of Spoleto in Umbria. Tucked under the eaves my bedroom had two small windows which looked out over the tiled rooftops of the old city. The views from the apartment were magnificent and the owners – two sisters – looked after me in a truly friendly and helpful fashion.
Sprinkled throughout these great B&B stays, I rented apartments in Monterosso al Mare, Liguria and in Cortona, Tuscany. The apartment in Cortona was of a very high standard and I stayed there for four weeks in total. However, if you are travelling alone, the B&B option is far better. There is always someone around to help and, I must admit, it is quite a solitary experience staying alone in a strange apartment in an unfamiliar location for weeks on end.
After all these wonderful experiences, I would strongly suggest that anyone thinking of visiting Italy should seriously consider staying in a B&B. Affordable, friendly and spotless, they are a great way to meet the locals.