Snakes!!! A strange question about Italy

Feb 8th, 2007, 09:24 AM
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If you want to go somewhere lovely and totally avoid any remote chance of ever seeing a snake, then Hawai'i and Ireland are your only choices.

PLEASE don't freak out over this. If it's a rural property in any other place in the world, yeah, there might be snakes. And bugs and vermin and spiders! But the likelihood of you actually seeing one is pretty rare because snakes are shy and prefer to avoid people and will flee if you give them the chance.

Don't worry about the house, and when walking in tall grass no matter where you are it's always a good idea to have a long stick to disturb the grass in front of you so anything napping has a chance to wake up and get away before you step on it.

Anyway, snakes on a property are a GOOD thing: it means fewer rats and other vermin which, unlike snakes, will not avoid your home!
cupid1 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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The chances of you encountering a snake are fairly slim, and in the house virtually nonexistent. We have snakes in the Dordogne (couleuvres and adders) and they appear only rarely, almost always in mid-summer, to sun on the stone terrace, but are truly spooked by humans and slither off fast if one approaches. I really doubt you'll even have a sighting of one, and if you do, it will be far more afraid of you than you are of it (well,actually, reading your post again, maybe you'll be equally scared)...

And yes, snakes are great for keeping other even less welcome vermin away...
StCirq is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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Yes, I've heard they're more afraid of us than we are of them, but I'm DEFINITELY the exception to that rule. I would have never even considered this an issue until I read the review on the house; the house is, after all, in Levanto and close to the beach and town. But apparently it's at the beginning of one of the CT trails, which is where I suspect they may be coming from. So if there are snakes "on the property," most all seem to agree they can't or won't want to "penetrate" the house, right? And is May warm enough weather to bring them out "sunning on the rocks?"
BarbMH is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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Don;t know where this property is - but any farm or house in farm territory wil have snakes nearby. The far will have rats and mic and the snakes just love to eat them.

However, they shouldn't be in that near the house. If people are seeing snakes ona patio or wherever it sounds like they might be living inder the house. (This happened to friends of mine who rented a house near a farm in Vermont. they left after the first night - saw 3 sepaarate snakes sunning themselves on a stone path leading to the front door.)
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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Okay, that scares me!! Snakes living UNDER the house? The house is not a farmhouse, it's a beach house. (Go to to see it. NOT a place where I would have expected snakes.) Whaddy'all think? Look like there could be snakes UNDERNEATH it??????
BarbMH is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 10:15 AM
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barb - maybe you should consider Hawaii instead of the Italian Riviera if you are so afraid of snakes. I wish this subject wasn't put on Fodor's Forum. Very few people like snakes but life does go on.
Madison is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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Barb, sweetie
PLEASE don't worry about this. The Vermont farm house mentioned was probably barely used and snakes were the least of the worries. We repeat: SNAKES AVOID PEOPLE. THEY DO NOT FREQUENT NORMAL HOUSES.

Being reptiles they must lie in the sun to get warm, so yeah, in May there might be some sun-bathing, but that isn't a concern for you. If they hear you approach they will flee. Repeat after me: IF THEY HEAR ME APPROACH THEY WILL FLEE. So don't worry another second about indoors, and when outdoors take a long stick with you and you'll feel better.

Plus you won't see a single one and you don't want to get back home and kick yourself for allowing the worry to ruin your trip!
cupid1 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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Barb, I noticed that you are considering two other lovely villas in addition to the one with the snakes. Perhaps you would be more comfortable staying in one of the other two places.

Once, we almost rented a villa, which we loved, not far from Sorrento. On some review website, we read that it has a little creek running down beside the villa and that it occasionally had a bad odor preventing the people who rented from sitting outside and enjoying the pool and the terrace. We decided not to rent it since we were going in a summer month and the problem could be worse then. We were glad we changed our minds. We found a different and equally lovely place which had the fragrance of lemons and nothing else! So, consider one of the other places you are looking at for peace of mind.

Enjoy your trip!
Marianna is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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I have spent about 250 weeks of my life in the mediterranean at places like the beautiful villa you are going to rent. And I have NEVER encountered a snake - neither in a house, nor in a garden or in the great outdoors. You WILL see a lot of lizards, which are very shy and completely harmless - but no snakes. Nature is absolutely harmless in Europe - the most dangerous beast is the common honey bee.
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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One summer I did quite a bit of hiking in the mountains of the Lunigiana region of northern Tuscany and I did see a certain variety of large black snakes several times. I even saw one of these in a tree. While finding one of these snakes was startling, the locals told me that this was a docile benign type of snake.

I also saw warning signs that read, "Attenzione Viperi!". It is my opinion that the primary purpose of these signs was to discourage people from trespassing on private property. Although I know that poisonous vipers do exist in mediterranean Europe I have never seen one and I believe that the likelyhood of casually encountering one is low.
Go4Fun is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 02:09 PM
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There was a bad movie about reptiles slithering in a particular Italian countryside area last summer. I believe it was called
"Snakes On A Plain"

maitaitom is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 03:01 PM
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Interesting question. The only time on my trips to various parts of Italy I've seen a snake was in the town of Positano. It was quite small - about 18 inches - and the only reason I noticed it was that a cat was playing with it. I had read that there are snakes in the Amalfi Coast area and was concerned since we planned to do some hiking (which we never did for other reasons). Only you can decide whether it's worth the risk of running into a snake while you're there.
gabriele is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 03:02 PM
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Yes, you can imagine that film was one of my favorites! (Couldn't pay me a million bucks to be in that one.) Okay, I am repeating after Cupid: IF THEY HEAR ME APPROACH THEY WILL FLEE. THEY AVOID PEOPLE. I know we could rent a different villa, like Marianna suggested, but if the climate and vegetation are the same throughout the Riviera, the wildlife will be as well, right? (It just never crossed my mind -- Riviera equals sun, beaches, beautiful villages and harbors... not snakes!)
BarbMH is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 03:12 PM
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Just curious...are there NO snakes at all where you live? Here in Northern VA we have snakes of all kinds. You hardly ever see them unless you head to the mountains, but they are out there. Why would you be any more concerned about snakes in Italy than wherever you live now (unless you live in Ireland)?
StCirq is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 03:42 PM
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BarbMH, Sorry to add to your fears but per an egyptian proverb "if you worry too much about a snake, you will miss the scorpians". So, look for the scorpians too

Just kidding. I empathize with your fear.
Feb 8th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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I have traveled extensively - much of Europe (including Italy), southeast Asia, and Africa. The only snakes I ever saw in my travels were two pythons and one cobra - one python around the neck of a guy in Prague and another around the neck of a man in Thailand, plus a cobra that some men were stuffing in a tall basket - ugh! Never any out in the woods. Like yourself, I'm deathly afraid of them. Asked a similar question on the Asia board before my trip to Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Yes, even pictures in a magazine scare me - and seeing one in TV causes the paralyzing fear to race through my body (and me to immediately look away). I was worried a bit during a hike we took in Thailand (guide told us at one spot that he'd seen a King Cobra there a few weeks before - yikes!), but I managed. Italy is a piece of cake by comparison(with great ice cream!). The chances of your seeing a snake are extremely, EXTREMELY slim. Have fun.
althom1122 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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I'm with you, BarbMH - don't like them at all. Actually when I was in Rome about four Januaries ago, I went to Ostia Antica for a day trip. It was quite deserted - I spent most of the day there wandering around. Only after I got home did I read an article saying that snakes often lolled around the old marble floors. Had I read that before I probably wouldn't have gone ;-)

Anyway, I'm a city girl as well, New Yorker, and have sometimes seen people wearing them around their necks here - twice in the subway. OY!

Enjoy your trip!
Mara is online now  
Feb 8th, 2007, 05:08 PM
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What is it with Ireland? Are there truly NO snakes there? Maybe I'll relocate! To answer your question, StCirq, there may be snakes around here somewhere (Philadelphia), but not that I've ever come across -- thankfully. I steer clear of the wilderness.)

This has really been helpful. I honestly feel a lot better to hear that so many people have travelled so extensively and that most have not had a "close encounter." (I certainly wouldn't be as daring as you, Karen; you said you're deathly afraid, too, and yet you went hiking in the jungles of SE Asia. Once in Malaysia we went to an island that (for some reason) had a large python in a cage and that was it... I was out of there in a flash!)

So here's what my dilemma boils down to: the (snake) house, almost directly on the beach in Levanto, or the house in Portofino (62 steps and 100 meters above the town)? The Portofino one is more expensive and a little less centrally located, but it's in Portofino. The other is right on the beach (we'll have a total of five kids with us), less expensive, but possibly snake-y. Is it worth it to pay the extra money for the place in Portofino? It's about $100 extra a night for a similar size house. I don't know much about Levanto. I've heard good things about it from one person, but can't find out much more about it.
BarbMH is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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No beach in Portofino, and you'll have 5 kids with you. Take the house in Levanto, on the beach. Your kids will enjoy it more than Portofino, I think.

In Portofino, they will have to take the bus to Paraggi for the beach, or the boat to San Fruttuoso. That can't be as good for kids as a beach right out front! Or at least, I should say the kids in my family would enjou the house on the beach more.

I'm sure someone will disagree, but I don't really think of Portofino as a great town for kids.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 05:56 PM
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I hope you take the snake house so you can write a trip report on your snake-less trip to Italy!
ekscrunchy is offline  

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