If you are looking to discover the REAL Italy, you need to stay at this property. It's a classic, old Italian building next to a lovely local church. Downstairs, there's a small market that has all the food, wine, and essentials you need to live in a wonderful, rural, Italian town. The third floor has a spectacular view of Lake Orta.
I know you often wonder if the pictures do a property justice...but in this case, this property was BETTER than the photos. The atmosphere...the feeling of history...with MODERN conveniences..all made this a fantastic vacation for our family. We traveled in the Summer with our teenage daughter because her sister was rowing in the world championships in Varese. The building itself is an immaculate restoration of a centuries-old building. Each room has a unique character...with comfort. The kitchen is delightful, and our mornings were spent shopping at the market for fresh fruit, bread, milk, and cheese...and everything we needed. The market owner speaks NO English but was extremely helpful and charming. Our "point-and-hope" shopping technique was rewarded with a smile, and even better suggestions.
The property is about a 15-minute drive from Orta San Giulio and the lake front...but you get a sweeping view of the lake from the top floor. Orta San Giulio is charming and not too touristy. Day trips to Milan were an easy 45-minute drive, so you get the best of Italy: The mountains, the lakes, the history, and the fashionable modernity of Milan. Lake Como is an easy trip as well, and worthwhile...though quite touristy. It's smart to spend for a private boat tour of the lake...it was worth every penny (price negotiable).
The owner was extremely helpful, and Manuela (his assistant) spoke perfect English and explained everything we needed to know. They have a cleaning lady who can come as often as you need, and it is all very convenient. After a long day traveling in Italy, it really felt like home when we returned to the property. The church bells were lovely and not too loud...just perfect atmosphere. I wish we could give the property six stars!
One suggestion: When you rent a car...do NOT take a giant SUV like we did. The roads are very narrow! We managed quite well and did not scratch our lovely SUV. But it is much wiser to rent something compact for these old roads. It will make the driving much easier. The Villa, by the way, has a convenient parking area only a block away from the property--which was very convenient.
We would not hesitate to rent this property again, and highly recommend it to anyone who will be in this region...at any time.