Websites for rentals in Italy?

Jul 31st, 2010, 06:58 PM
  #21  
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 318
Yes, I will definitely report back! The entire experience with Bella Como has been wonderful - Lynne called me personally so I did not have to send my credit card info via email. She is very nice, told us about the assistant that will be meeting us, told us to call if we needed anything, etc. Very pleasant.

I would love restaurant recommendations, particularly for casual/affordable but good ones! And recommendations on any sights/activities that are a must would also be great. Thanks so much!
audreyleigh99 is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 06:49 PM
  #22  
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 318
Alright, reporting back as we have just returned from our trip. I would give Bella Como a B- overall. I would not recommend against renting from them, but would just rather be clear about what you are getting. We rented the Panna apartment I linked to above. It was absolutely gorgeous, the views were to die for and the pictures of the nicely remodeled and maintained space online were accurate. So no problem there, they have nice, upscale properties. My two complaints are as follows:

1. Misinformation about transportation - BC claims you do not need a car for the Panna location. They also recommended taking the bus in to the apartment from the train station upon arrival. Having experienced this firsthand now, I strongly disagree on both points. The bus is not a suitable way to get to the Panna apartment initially if you have anything but very small carry on bags, possibly with rubber wheels. The bus service is unreliable (frequently 30 minutes late, sometimes does not show at all), very crowded, and it is difficult to find your stop the first time around. I had to stand holding my 2 year old and her stroller for the better part of the 45 minute journey from the train station. The bus was so crowded I could barely see out and it is a miracle that we found our stop. I would GLADLY have handed over the 50 euros it would have cost for a private driver. In addition, the Panna apartment is located at the top of a very steep hill, about half of which is paved in uneven stones. You can imagine how much fun that was with luggage and a two year old. And I have to add that, while I am pregnant, I am still in fairly good shape as is my husband. Also, we had one carry on size bad, one medium bag and a small folding stroller. So it is not like we had tons of luggage or are out of shape -- I absolutely cannot imagine this trek if you had lots of luggage, did not work out or had any problems with walking. I seriously hope they do not try to rent this place to elderly people. While the apartment was beautiful we truly came to dread the daily trek back to the apartment in the afternoon; tired after walking around all day, sometimes with a few purchases, bottles of water, etc. it was really a pain. And it is very difficult to get to other towns on the lake from here. You are stuck with either the unreliable bus service or the strenuous walking every single time you want to go somewhere as there is no ferry service. And you will want to go somewhere most days as there is next to nothing to do in Mezzegra. Finally, this location would be just fine with a car but there is no parking space, so I do not think this is an option.

2. Lack of information - From the website, Bella Como seems to be a fairly comprehensive travel type agency. While they provide a few recommendations on restaurants and activities, you should not expect them to be overly helpful or volunteer information. This became clear upon check on when the girl rushed through a few basic points, noted that there was a pile of brochures prior guests had left in the corner and then left us. Given how difficult it is to get from Mezzegra to anywhere, a bit of information and a map would have been fabulously helpful and significantly improved our experience. It took us some painful trial and error to realize we could take the greenway to Tremezzo but not to Lenno with the stroller, and that there was no way to walk on the main road ever. Also, this could be just a cultural thing, but I very much felt that I was bothering them whenever I called to ask a question or even to ask for help with making a restaurant reservation through their "concierge" service. After paying for the rental I never again experienced a warm and chatty call from the owner. This is in stark contrast to our experience with a private rental in France last year where the rental agent stayed and talked to us, recommended sites and was generally very concerned that we have an enjoyable stay. I did not get the feeling there was this concern with BC.

So those are my thoughts for what they're worth . . .
audreyleigh99 is offline  
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