Here is some general information that should help you to answer any queries. Please also see Booking Conditions as in addition to our terms, this contains a lot of helpful and important information
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Agriturismo - This form of holiday is becoming more and more popular and has long been a favourite with Italian holidaymakers. It basically means a chance to stay in the countryside on a working farm, which usually has its own restaurant serving home-grown (normally organic) produce and traditional family recipes. It is a very unique holiday experience that we highly recommend. Warning - the food is excellent and the portions are generous!
Air-conditioning - When we state "Air-conditioning" in both the little introduction negative (film) strip and the right-hand summary strip in the property descriptions this means that the accommodation has some form of air-conditioning. Then in the actual text of the property description it will specify where the air-conditioning is in the house - for example in some cases, just the bedrooms will be air-conditioned or there may be a mobile unit that you can move to the room of your choice. Please do bear in mind the owner’s electricity bills and make sure you only have the air-conditioning on when you are indoors. The owners may charge you for excessive usage out of your security deposit.
Autostrada - are just like our motorways or latest dual-carriageway ‘A’ roads. (see Motorways)
Availability - Please do not send us a booking form or any payment until you have confirmation from us that your chosen property is available for the requested period. For some properties we can let you know the availability straight away but for others we need to contact the owner first to check the availability status and this could take a few hours if we have difficulties contacting them. We will keep you informed of the situation.
Barbecues - Many properties have a barbecue on their terrace. These will either be a standalone ones or more impressive built-in ones, sometimes featuring an oven in addition to the grill. Unless the barbecue is communal, in which case guests should check availability, guests will always be free to use the barbecue though they may have to purchase their own coal.
Bathrooms - We use "Bathrooms" as a general term in both the little introduction negative (film) strip and the right-hand summary strip in the property descriptions. In the actual text of the property descriptions we will specify whether they are bathrooms (with bathtub), shower rooms (with shower/shower cubicle) or washrooms (WC & sink) and how many there are of each.
Breakages - Please promptly report these to the owner, their representative or to us so that the next people staying in the property do not suffer any inconveniences. In most cases breakages will be deducted from your security deposit. If you have not paid a deposit and damage has occurred, the owner is entitled to charge you for replacements/ repairs. (see Security Deposit)
Brochure - For the time being we have decided not to produce a printed brochure. This saving in print costs can be passed along to you. Also it means that we are able to put up many more images of the properties and locations on the web than would be possible to include in a brochure. Each property has a summary table of all the main features, a property description with pictures and at least one gallery page with captions.
If you would like us to put together some holiday recommendations in print format we can send you some information in the post. Please let us know all the details of your request so we can best advise you.
Bus ticket - these must be purchased from a ticket office, tourist information, or from a tabacchi (newsagents) in the vicinity. Usually, you can’t buy them on the bus like you can in England. Sometimes, there is a ticket inspector on the bus who will punch your ticket when you get on the bus, otherwise you will have to do this yourself in the available machine. Try not to forget to get them stamped or else they won’t be valid.
Car hire - Our advice about whether car hire is recommended or essential is given in the summary column of every individual property page. Sometimes we say "Car hire is optional". By this we mean you can get by without a car and can walk to shops, beaches and restaurants. However, apart from the smallest islands which do not allow cars, we do recommend that you hire a vehicle since you will get a much fuller experience out of your holiday this way, and every island has a lot to explore. Whilst we are not agents for car hire companies in the Italian Islands, we have experience in this area and can advise you. In some cases there may be a lot of car hire firms to choose from on arrival at an airport, with some offices located outside of the main building. Usually, we will be able to help with directions to offices that are a short walk away.
Casa - we apply this term both to rustic country cottages (e.g. Casa Calamazzo) and to houses in towns that are not entirely detached (e.g. Casa Faro).
Casetta - we often use this term to describe apartments. Some may be on upper storeys, and in general will not be a detached building.
Child-friendly accommodation - For advice on which properties could be suitable for children, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss this. Since we have visited each property ourselves, we can advise on potential danger areas for young children in a property and we can recommend properties that have play areas, grassy lawns or amenities like cots and highchairs. Residences can be a good option for families with young children and it will give them the chance to meet other children to play with. Please note: we can offer advice only on what we think would be better properties than others for families with children. However, as any parent knows, any property (particularly ones with pools) can present danger areas for unsupervised children.
Cleaning - Final cleaning is included in your holiday cost but you will need to leave the kitchen area clean and tidy with all washing up done and make sure all rubbish is removed from your house at the end of your stay or else the owner is entitled to charge you extra. Please treat the accommodation with respect as you would your own home. Extra cleaning can often be arranged on request and paid for locally.
Cots - If you would like a cot, please advise us at the time of booking and we will try to arrange one for you. Occasionally there may be a small charge for this.
Driving Laws - there is a rule in Italy that all vehicles must always have their side lights on when driving (day or night), and they must always have their main lights on when on the motorway.
Electricity and other utilities - Utilities like electricity, gas and water are almost always included in your holiday price unless the contrary is clearly stated. Occasionally there may be a small additional charge for air-conditioning or washing machine usage but we will always inform you of this before hand.
Energy - To conserve energy each home is fed with a fixed amount of electricity. The circuit breaker will switch itself off if you hit the limit. You can simply flick a switch to reset everything but you need to be careful not to run lots of appliances at once.
Ferry services - see ‘Hydrofoils’
Heating - Italian Law states that heating should only be used from the beginning of November to the end of March. Furthermore, heating should only be used for a maximum of 12 hours per day in order to conserve energy. However, this law does not apply to electric heaters and wood fires. Sometimes in the winter the owners may charge a little extra for heating to cover the extra electricity used. We can advise which properties have central heating, fireplaces or electric heaters.
Hydrofoils - these are small ferries that sit upon a pair of curved foils. When the ferry accelerates to a sufficient speed, the foils emerge from beneath the waterline and the craft skims along the surface. This makes for a fast ride and the services keep small islands such as Ustica and the Egadis well connected to the mainland and to one another. Cars cannot be taken on board hydrofoils but travellers can carry luggage on board. Ferries are often a slower, smoother alternative on the same routes as hydrofoils, and can carry cars. Italian Islands Limited can advise guests of timetables and fares.
Italian Islands Itineraries - Before you go on your trip, we will send you our recommendations of things to do in the local area and of places to eat out.
The letter J is barely ever used in the Italian language, but sometimes makes an appearance in Sardinian dialect.
Keys - We arrange for the owner or their representative to meet you based on the estimated time of your arrival, so that they open the property for you, show you around and leave you with the keys. In our directions sheet we always provide you with their telephone numbers. They will tell you where to leave the keys at the end of your stay or make an arrangement to pick them up before your departure.
Kitchen/kitchenette/kitchen corner - We use the term ‘kitchen’ for a separate room, ‘kitchenette’ for a semi-enclosed kitchen area within a larger room and ‘kitchen corner’ for a kitchen suite that is part of the main living area. In terms of appliances, there will always be a hob, a sink and a fridge as a bare minimum. Some have ovens and other features like microwaves, washing machines and dishwashers and these are listed in the summary table of the property descriptions and are usually referred to in the main text as well. Some are very well-equipped while others are simple kitchens designed for holiday living. Please be aware that you are unlikely to find things like kettles, teapots and toasters in an Italian kitchen. Although the Italians are coffee experts, if you are fond of a good cup of tea it may be a good idea to take your own teabags with you.
Local services - Unfortunately, from time to time local services can be temperamental and it is not uncommon in the islands to have the occasional water or electricity cut, particularly in the height of season.
Medical - Before you go, we will inform you of the nearest doctors/ medical centre / hospital and will give you the relevant emergency numbers.
Menus - Many restaurants provide translated menus to non-Italian diners, but this is not always the case, and some restaurants - especially those on the more remote islands - may not have a written menu at all, preferring to verbally recount what is available. Italian Islands is pleased to provide a menu decoder for guests staying at our properties.
Motorways - Beware of short slip roads coming off the motorways, with relatively sharp bends. Slow down well before exiting the motorway. Motorways are called Autostrada in Italian.
Names - Other than organic farms and holiday residences, our properties will usually have a prefix of Casetta, Casa, Villetta or Villa, and these act as an indication of the property’s size, "level of privacy" and outdoor areas. However, since we inherit some property names from their owners, this classification should not be regarded as complete or universally applied. Please view individual property descriptions and their photo galleries to gain a fuller understanding.
Nuraghe - The ancient Nuraghic civilisation of Sardinia has left thousands of fortified buildings, and some of these have endured the millennia so well that visitors can pay a small fee to crawl inside the cool walls and imagine what life must have been like for Sardinia’s original residents. Beware though - maps show thousands of these sites throughout the island but there is a risk that hours of searching will result in the discovery of little more than a ring of stone foundations! Consult guide books to find which sites are most worth a visit.
Organic Farms - These ‘agriturismi’ offer a unique holiday experience staying on a working farm and invariably being extremely well fed from its produce.
Prices - Please contact us for prices (in British pounds). Our prices are always on a per property basis and are not prices per person. They are usually given per week or per two weeks but if you are going for a different length of time then we can usually provide a quote for your exact stay. Prices are in British pounds and include the rental of the property, utilities costs, final cleaning, linen and towels. Some properties however - in particular the residences - offer additional services such as boat rides and donkey excursions, and will charge locally for these.
Problems - Should anything go amiss when you are away at your property, please contact the owner in the first instance. They are better placed to rectify matters than we at Italian Islands Limited, who should only be contacted (0044 845 0944 309 or 0044 1494 870956) if the problem is not resolved or if communication is inadequate. Bookers will be given a 24-hour mobile number to call in the event of a serious emergency.
Questions - If you still have any outstanding issues, please do not hesitate to contact us. We want to make the booking of your villa holiday as easy as possible for you.
Representatives - We mostly provide villa and apartment rentals for independent travellers and we do not have a visiting representative service. However, all properties have a point of contact to assist you with any accommodation problems that may arise. We are also available to help you in the office and we will give you a 24 hour emergency mobile contact number.
Residences - A residence is a collection of apartments that exist solely for renting out to holidaymakers - they are not a private owner’s holiday home. Residences will usually have a custodian/receptionist on hand to offer advice and arrange excursions and there are often communal facilities to enhance your stay (like swimming pool, barbecue area etc). Extra services such as daily cleaning are often possible in residences. (See Residence Marettimo, Orsa Maggiore)
Safety and security - Crime rates are generally low on the islands, but you need to exercise the same security precautions that you would do at home. I.e. lock up the property and secure the shutters when you go out. This is important not only to protect your valuables but because it is an essential condition of booking that you take all reasonable care to safeguard the owners’ properties. Keep an eye out for pickpockets when you are out and about and make sure you do not leave anything on display in your hire car - lock it in the boot.
Satellite TV - When we say a property has satellite TV this usually means it will only have one or two English-speaking channels, such as the BBC World Service. (When we just say TV this means it will only have Italian Channels - see television)
Scuba diving The coastlines of the Italian islands often feature many diving centres where equipment, lessons and expeditions can be obtained. Where possible, we will pass on the recommendations of our local contacts. Some smaller islands - particularly the Egadis - are renowned for the relics that scuba divers frequently recover from the sea battles that took place in ancient times.
Security deposit - Many of our properties are carefully furnished second homes and therefore in most cases we ask for a security deposit against breakages. The amount of deposit required will be stated on your confirmation invoice and will be advised to you at the time of booking. The deposit is either payable to the owner upon arrival (Type A) or to us (Type B). (see Booking Conditions for more details on Type A and B Security deposits.)
Short breaks - Some of our properties allow stays of three days or more, especially in the low seasons and are perfect for a short break. Why not take advantage of some of the deals offered by the low cost airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet. Please ask us for prices and a list of properties where stays shorter than a week are possible.
Swimming pools - These are generally open from June until September but are sometimes open for extended periods weather permitting. Pools are unheated unless we state otherwise. They may be either freshwater or seawater pools.
Towels - Towels for the bathroom and kitchen are almost always included in your holiday rental price. You will always need to bring your own beach towels with you though as towels provided by the owners should never be taken out of the villa and are not for use by the pool either if there is one. In one or two properties large bathroom towels are not provided at all and in such instances Italian Islands Ltd will want prospective guests that they must bring their own bath towels.
Television - When we state that a property has (terrestrial) television, it will only have Italian channels. (See Satellite TV)
Under-Occupancy charges - We do not apply any charges for under-occupancy since our prices are per property and not per person. When we state a property "Sleeps 6" or "sleeps 2+2" etc. this is the maximum number of people allowed but there is no minimum.
Utensils - Well-equipped kitchens will have cooking utensils suitable for holiday use, like frying pans, saucepans, chopping boards, corkscrews and can openers etc. and will usually also feature things like moka coffee percolators. Guests who intend to be more adventurous with the wonderful Italian ingredients and who require things like a blender should advise us of their needs before booking - we keep a database that records which properties have the most extensive range of utensils.
Villa - Villa is a general term used by us. Usually it is used to refer to a large independent property, although it is also applied to some larger properties that have another building adjacent and are not always fully detached. In at least one instance (Villa Bellavista) the term ‘villa’ has been applied to a large property that has been subdivided into apartments that are rented individually. Our property descriptions will usually state if a villa is detached.
Villetta - Villetta basically means ‘little villa’. We use this term for properties that are slightly smaller than villas and that are usually semi-detached or in a terraced row. A villetta will usually have its own outdoor space but occasionally may have another property above or below them. However we do not apply the term to apartments - which we often call ‘casetta’ instead. Sometimes where a large villa has been divided into two separate dwellings (that are consequently semi-detached - see Villetta Hibiscus & Villetta Buganvillea) we refer to these individual dwellings as villettas. Often we refer to the little cottages or bungalows in a residence as villettas, (we would call them apartments or ‘casettas’ if they were on different storeys). See Names
Watersports - Italian islands are often ideal locations to pursue water sports: many of the smaller islands are famous amongst scuba divers and Sardinia is popular with windsurfers. Sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and diving are all common pursuits that are available near any of our properties, not to mention the many types of fishing. Facilities are usually found by the beach or at the port and diving schools may have a small booking-office in town/village centres. We at Italian Islands Ltd are receptive to queries relating to specialised interests and we are happy to research facilities that exist in the regions we currently cover.
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