Renting an Amalfi Coast Villa
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.
A courtyard with a lemon tree separated the villa from the owner’s house.