I had a wonderful trip and here are a few thoughts.
HOTEL SITEA: Torino. This was a very nice hotel with an extremely helpful staff and nice room. The location was great for walking in the historical section of Torino. I ate at the hotel restaurant and it was very good. My room was nice and I had a very nice stay there.
CASA BELLA: Tuscany. This place was a jewel! The warmth of the owners and the beauty of the villa were enchanting to me. They were not prepared for our arrival, they seemed to be confused that we were coming that day, however they got prepared and we had a very nice stay. We ate all three nights in their wonderful restaurant and had unbelievably good meals. The breakfast in the morning was ready when we were and we had an exceptional time. The location was great for exploring Umbria, and southern Tuscany. I would highly recommend Casa Bella.
One place we visited which was not a far drive, was San Quirico d'Orcia. What a lovely town! We had been to Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, and Chianciano before, we were delighted with San Quirico!
Thank you for all your help.
We have just come back home after a wonderful trip to Italy arriving there on 09/24 and departing on 10/3. This was our second trip to Italy, the first being four years ago. This trip we flew into Rome, took the train to Florence, staying there 2 nights and thoroughly enjoyed our short time there. Picking up our rental car (rented through you), we drove out into Tuscany, truly beginning our adventure. We stayed in Valdechiana, near the Umbrian border, at Casa Bella one of your recommended B&Bs. As you said, we would not be disappointed, Mario and his son Carlo are extremely gracious and thoroughly enjoy hosting, cooking, and sharing their knowledge of Italy. Mario is a truly gentle, kind and caring man which is so evident in his manner. The 200 year old home has been lovingly restored, the baths lovely and the beds extremely comfortable. Most all of the ingredients used in meals prepared there are grown on the many acres that the estate owns. Incidentally, we entered the house walking under a grape arbor heavy with grapes which are used to make the house's homemade jam. As we drove away, I had such a warm happy feeling about our stay there; Mario is the best of hosts and it is so evident that he thoroughly enjoys the never ending work of hosting. We highly recommend Casa Bella!
We drove on to Lido de Camaiore on the Italian Rivieria and stayed at Villa Riviera Toscana. This is truly a charming property; a gorgeous mansion with lovely grounds, the former home of a renowned Italian artist which made it all the more interesting. Host Claudio was very engaging and helpful. Breakfast was very good, the town and connected beach resort towns all have many wonderful restaurants, bars, boutique shopping and lovely sights to offer.
Thanks again for such a great website and good service!
Lisa & Fabio G.
Our stay was excellent, the accommodations very nice, the food wonderful and Mario and his family a pleasure to meet. We will highly recommend them to our friends for next year. The restaurant we found to be outstanding for local food and service and not at all touristy. Their son, Carlo, is an excellent chef with a modest, but local, menu using their garden and a more than modest wine cellar. (and the breakfasts by Mario at the B&B were equally excellent.)
We hope to return in several years.
Jim and S.
Our trip to Italy was simply wonderful. This is actually the second time that I have used InItaly Online for my accodommations. There are two standouts this time. One is Casa Bella B&B. Mario is the host and he is so friendly and caring. Upon our arrival, he set up a tray of cheeses, breads, and wine for us to enjoy near the pool. The enoteca that is on site, and run by his son, is an excellent place for dinner. Even though this B&B is small, there is nothing small about Mario's hospitality. The other standout is the Verona Winery. Hopefully we will return once again to Italy, and when we do, I will use InItaly Online. It is a great source!
We had a wonderful time at Casa Bella. The family treated us the same way that they would treat loving relatives. We enjoyed every minute of our stay at Casa Bella. We came back to the States believing that we made new friends in a most delightful part of Italy. The scenery is great and the surrounding towns, which are worth visiting, are with in reasonable driving distance.
Joan & Fred T.
The highlight of the trip was the wonderful hospitality shown us by the Caratelli family. In particular, Meredith, an American young woman engaged to the son who lives with the family. Without her, we would have had a bit of trouble with language.
The accommodations were fine and very clean. The gardens, while not yet in full bloom, were lovely. The only drawback to the Casa was the road it was on. It was a busy, and therefore, noisy street. It didn't interfere with sleeping but was distracting when you were in the gardens.
There were many places to visit and I would urge anyone staying there to see Lucignano, which was only 15 minutes away and to have dinner at LaTavernetta or Vecchia. The family at Casa Bella can make reservations for you.
All in all, it was a wonderful Tuscan experience and thanks for your help in arranging it for us.
Let me first say one thing, Casa Bella was incredible. The host family were gracious hosts and they had a unique talent of making you feel as if you were part of their family. This I am sure was aided by the fact that we were the only guests staying there at the time and my 15 month old daughter was a big hit with the family, but nevertheless they were extremely welcoming. The property was beautiful and the rooms were very well appointed with stunning antiques. The breakfast was over the top, as every morning we had freshly baked cakes or breads as well as homemade plum jam (from Mario's own plums) and fig jam as well. We shared dinner with the family and some friends the first night which was more than we expected, even if we had to pay a nominal fee.
I could go on for a very long time about our wonderful stay, but I will simply wrap it up by saying fabulous and I cannot wait to return!
Thank you for all your help as it was very hard to select a property that could accommodate a small child and family. I can say without reservation that Casa Bella was everything I had hoped for and more. If I can be of any assistance in the future let me know.
It was a wonderful experience , and our host was so kind and did all for help us in a many discovered local treasures , like so many beautiful towns near and a very nice restaurant just a few minutes from them, the house is magnificent and full of many antiques and a very friendly dog OTTO.
WITH MY BEST REGARDS
Casa Bella was even better than you described. We arrived right at 8:00pm after an exhausting day of touring thru Tuscany with a "picnic" of cheese, wine, bread, etc. and they were quick to take out the wine glasses, plates, knives and everything we needed to enjoy our "picnic". They do not do laundry and we couldn't communicate well enough to find a place nearby that did. They sent us to a dry cleaner who would not do our "intimates". It all worked out fine tho. Would highly recommend the B & B and we are quite fussy! Love your web-site. I'll be sending my friends there! Thanks for ALL the great tips!
We loved Casa Bella and would go back again to stay there. Paolo, and his father, Mario, were very friendly and helpful. They recommended a couple of local restaurants that were very good. One in Lucignano, "il Goccino" and one right in Foiano della Chiana, "Al Viale" which the "mama" was actually doing the cooking! We tried some of the restaurants you recommended, one in particular was very good in Monteriggioni, "il Pozzo" was excellent! and it was our favorite town too!
Again thank you for all your help, it was very easy dealing with In Italy, I have recommended it already to several people.
My and Alisa's honeymoon in Italy was a great experience. Our decision to stay in Tuscany and Umbria was well chosen. We, like many, rented a car and drove distance. The switchbacks can be treacherous but the scenery was a breathtaking compromise. For anyone who is interested in driving the Tuscan hill country, be warned of the dozens of speeding motorcycles that make the hairpin turns at ~90KPH. Also be warned that painted lane dividers mean nothing to Italians since three lanes mean you can feasibly stack 5 cars wide.
We found a great place to eat in Florence called "del Carmine" where the food was terrific and the wait staff... a pleasure.
Casa Bella, an awesome place to stay. Paolo and his father were gracious hosts and the accommodations were outstanding! Breakfast was the traditional yogurt, freshly baked croissants, biscotti, juice and cappuccino (awesome cappuccino!) We spent our nights in the sitting room with Paolo's father. We were able to get along well with only rudimentary Italian and a handheld translator. We missed the fields of sunflowers by a few months, but will give us a good incentive to come back.
Lucignano, near Casa Bella, is a delightful small village and home to a number of lovely restaurants. We had our best meal in Italy while in this village.
Casa Bella was the highlight of our trip. The setting could not have been better - the 400 year old farm house contains the best of both worlds: modern conveniences abound, yet the lovely antiques and perfectly preserved beams and old stone floors give one the feeling of having stepped back into the renaissance. Our hosts, also, were most gracious, and their personalities mirrored that of the house - hip and modern in some respects, yet full of genteel renaissance-like refinement and wonder. My only regret is that we were not able to spend more time there - a situation we plan to remedy next year.
Mary Lee M.
Casa Bella B & B - what can I say? It was absolutely perfect. Mario, the owner, was so dear and interesting and kind! His son, Paolo is rather shy and his English is quite poor, but he was a very accommodating host. The rooms were full of charm and uniqueness - we and our friends were the only tenants so we felt most special. The pool was not completed, but it was a bit too cool for that anyway. The view of Mario's sunflower fields was so serene. We logged a lot of hours sitting outside on their small deck under a tree with the smell of the jasmine watching butterflies and just staring out at the gorgeous and peaceful hills and blue sky. The breakfast meals were served whenever we were all finally ready for it. Mario graciously offered us grappa each night and we enjoyed conversation with him. There's not much right in the little town of Fioana (and when we first saw the town we thought we were staying in the town and were VERY disappointed.).You drive through the town and the B&B is essentially at the end so you feel quite like you're in the country.
We drove the 30 minutes to La Chiusa in Montefallonico for a lavish and fabulous meal. The owner, Umberto was charming and his daughter, Francesca and Massimo who waited on us were so friendly and joyful!
Casa Bella is a delightful B&B -- perfectly located, filled with gorgeous antiques, and most of all, hosted by gracious and cultured owners, Mario and Beatrice (their sons Paolo and Carlo were really not involved at all). The breakfasts were wonderful, the room was beautiful and comfortable, and they gave us lots of tips about where we should visit, etc. On their advice we headed to Gubbio to catch a rather unbelievable Italian festa, Festa dei Ceri, which was delightful to be a part of. We would certainly return to this B&B! (Note: Mario and Beatrice really did not speak any English!)
All in all -- we were thrilled with our accommodations, and can't wait to use InItaly.com again!!!
Thank you so much!
We had a lovely time at Casa Bella B&B. The house was beautiful and the owners were very friendly and helpful. One of the two brothers (Carlo) was in the United States when we arrived, and Paolo (the other brother) did not really speak English. This was not a problem as my friend speaks Italian. Paolo sent us to some excellent restaurants each night that we were there, and helped us plan our day trips to various towns. The location of the B&B was perfect - we could drive to all of the towns we wanted to see within an hour. The views were breathtaking.
I highly recommend a restaurant named Lo Steccheto located in Marciano Della Chiana. It was a ten-minute drive from the B&B and the food was excellent. The decor was American/Italian kitsch and the whole evening was wonderful. We had a very helpful waiter who is studying to be an accountant, and spoke very good English. When we commented on this, he laughed and said that it was a bit difficult being a waiter and speaking English as his school did not teach him about different types of fish or chicken!
All in all, a lovely trip and a wonderful place to stay. Thank you for your help with the reservation. I will definitely be returning to Tuscany (especially in July or August to see the fields blossoming into sunflowers).