Villa La Quercia is a beautiful house. Clean, modern and spacious. As can be seen by the photos, it has a huge living/dining/kitchen area which is ideal for family living. The 'wall of windows' out to the garden, lemon trees and pool create a bright, airy 'indoor-outdoor' feel, which, by the end of the week I was wishing that I could scoop up and transport back to my house in England.
Many rental houses are dark and cluttered, but this one feels very new and almost minimal, so that you can spread out your own belongings and not feel overwhelmed by tat. Excellent for travelling with children - usually I have to collect all the ornaments and hide them out of reach for the week - none of that rubbish here.
The house is hidden away in a Lemon grove, so you really do feel some privacy and peace. The grassed area has views out to the sea, and even though (at the beginning of April) the pool was too cold to actually swim in, the children did a lot of paddling and we enjoyed many hours outside. A very relaxing place to be.
The villa is very well appointed and the kitchen has everything that you could wish for (except maybe a microwave if pushed), and the extra fridge to keep drinks came in very useful indeed. The bedrooms, again are light and spacious, with lots of storage.
The only downside to this house is that the 2 extra bedrooms cannot be reached through the house - you have to go outside to get to them. We overcame this problem with a baby video monitor, and every night locked our 7 and 5 year old into their bedroom, knowing that we could see they were safe and could hear if there was a problem. We didn't realise when we booked, but without this technology, we personally couldn't have used the other bedrooms, as the children would have had to wander past the pool if they got up in the night. That said, once we figured out a system, it worked for us, but perhaps not ideal for very young children.
The location of the villa is perfect. 40 minutes from the airport, and a similar distance to Taormina. We were very excited about the volcano, and so were delighted to be close by. You can actually hear the rumblings from the house, and if you're lucky enough to be there during the many bouts of volcanic activity, on an evening you can stroll down the lane and watch the red glow from the top of the mountain. Spectacular. We also took a (long) daytrip to Agrigento, which was 2 and a half hours away, but well worth the journey. The local village has an excellent grocer, and the supermarket is only 10 minutes away.
A lovely lady called Cinzia sorts out the booking - she is efficient and extremely helpful. On arrival, even though late at night, she and her husband met us from the motorway to take us to the house and show us round. The villa was spotless, and Cinzia was in contact throughout the week to ensure that we were not having any problems.
I would definitely recommend Sicily - it is not 'touristy' (apart from maybe Taormina). If you are the sort of person who likes to go on holiday to find an English pub and a carvery this is not for you. (In fact if you are that sort of person, you should really stay where you are.) The shops and bars tend to not speak any English, but everyone is friendly and we got by, even on my scattered Italian. It has layer upon layer of astonishing history and the food and culture are amazing. We will definitely return.
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