Rent­ing an Amalfi Coast Villa

The Washington Post Sunday - - Way To Go -

When I rented my Amalfi Coast villa last sum­mer, I started in Jan­uary with a search en­gine query: “Rent­ing a villa on the Amalfi Coast.” I con­sid­ered only those rental agen­cies that showed in­te­rior and ex­te­rior pic­tures of the prop­er­ties, in­clud­ing Ville in Italia ( www. villeini­talia.com), Rentvil­las.com and Sum­mer in Italy ( www. sum­merini­taly.com).

My pri­or­i­ties were bud­get and lo­ca­tion: I wanted a weekly rental for un­der $1,000, and I wanted to be in a place that was not a prime tourist des­ti­na­tion. Sev­eral one-bed­room vil­las fit my cri­te­ria, and some were fea­tured on mul­ti­ple Web sites, some­times with dif­fer­ent names.

It is dif­fi­cult to vet an on­line rental agency, es­pe­cially those in Italy. A few tips: K Look for an agency that is com­mu­nica­tive and re­spon­sive to in­quiries about prop­er­ties. K Ask to be put in touch with clients who have stayed at the prop­erty you are con­sid­er­ing, and check ref­er­ences. K Make sure the agency faxes or e-mails you a com­plete rental con­tract, sends con­fir­ma­tion let­ters record­ing each step of the process and of­fers a se­cure site for pay­ment. Some agen­cies note on their Web sites that they em­ploy the se­cu­rity ser­vices of GeoTrust ( www.geotrust.com) or have reg­is­tered with Dun & Brad­street ( www.dnb.com), which keeps records of the cred­it­wor­thi­ness of busi­nesses.

I ended up go­ing with Ville in Italia, a firm based in Florence (tele­phone 011-39-055-412058), to rent La Sovrana, my villa in Pra­iano. A week’s stay cost $980 last sum­mer; ac­cord­ing to the Web site, a June book­ing is now $1,010. Mid-June to late Au­gust is usu­ally the most costly rental pe­riod.

I was not in con­tact with the villa own­ers be­fore ar­riv­ing at the villa, in­stead cor­re­spond­ing with the rental agency, pri­mar­ily via e-mail and fax. I charged one-third of the rental cost on my credit card when I re­served; 40 days be­fore my ar­rival, I charged the bal­ance. The agency then for­warded me con­fir­ma­tion pa­pers with the ad­dress of the villa.

Be sure to fac­tor in ad­di­tional costs: I paid a $53 clean­ing cost at the end of my stay, and heat, elec­tric­ity and air con­di­tion­ing were ex­tra. (I used nei­ther heat nor air con­di­tion­ing and was thrifty with elec­tric­ity.) I also paid a se­cu­rity de­posit of about $200 that was re­funded when I left. I was not hit with any ex­tra costs, and the own­ers didn’t even in­spect the villa be­fore re­turn­ing my de­posit.

— N.C.

BY NI­COLE COTRO­NEO

A court­yard with a lemon tree sep­a­rated the villa from the owner’s house.

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