Anyone staying in one place for more than a week, traveling as part of a large group or family with small kids, or just wanting to have their own space will want to consider renting a villa or another kind of vacation rental in Italy. There is something for every price range and in every environment – from a palace in the Tuscan hills to a one-bedroom apartment in central Rome.
Many of the best vacation rentals are historic houses, built hundreds of years ago. Italy has strict building codes that control the inside and the outside of a renovation. Because of this, some places can seem badly designed. The bathroom may be at the opposite end of the house from the bedroom. You may have to walk through one bedroom to get to the other. These are compromises that were made during renovation in order to preserve the historic nature of the house. Do not expect a perfectly laid out house - but do expect beautiful houses, full of charm.
Some vacation rentals are made from old farm outbuildings, like barns or chicken coops. They may be rough looking on the outside and the windows may be small. You will appreciate this in the hot summer, when the small windows keep out the sunshine, but in other seasons, the house may seem dark.
Because electricity in Italy is expensive, you usually find low-wattage bulbs and very few lights in most vacation rentals and some vacation rentals are based on the assumption that people will do very little cooking. These will have a small "kitchen corner" or "kitchenette." But they are usually still quite adequate for cooking complete meals. Make sure the vacation rental has a living room! Some places are set up so that you spend your "sitting" time in the kitchen, and there is no area with a couch and chairs.
In the summer half of the year the outdoor areas are very important since most of your time will be spend outside of the vacation rental, reading in the shade on the hot afternoons, sitting with a glass of wine to admire the sunset, or eating your meals. Apartments on estates may each have a private outdoor terrace or balcony, but some may rely on shared garden areas. It is nice to have a private area near your door, so you can easily carry out your food for meals. Most houses will have outdoor eating and sitting areas.