More than Just a Key - Unlocking the Trip of a Lifetime

The first time we rented a villa was on a vacation we took with another couple to Positano, on Italy’s beautiful Amalfi Coast. The view from this 2-bedroom / 2-bathroom apartment was just as spectacular as advertised. Breathtaking, really. Very, very romantic. Everything was perfect … except for the tiny detail that the second bedroom could be accessed only by going through the first bedroom. We had rented a beautiful two bedroom apartment with an incredible view and zero privacy.

We want the surprises awaiting guests at Rocca di Benano to be good surprises — like how inviting, restorative, and relaxing an Italian villa vacation can be.

From the moment prospective guests contact us, I describe the villa and the area as accurately as I can and offer to provide all the personalized help they need to make their stay at Rocca di Benano a trip of a lifetime. I know how important this trip is to them, and I love to pass along tips that can make the difference between it being a project and a vacation: time-tested advice on flight itineraries, transportation to Benano, how and where to rent cars, international drivers licenses, and the various forms of trip insurance to consider; user-friendly information on getting to the villa (taking into account that said users might be jet-lagged) and everything they’ll find when they get there; and tips on all the “don’t-miss” attractions, vistas, tours, museums, trattorias, gelaterias, shopping opportunities, and cultural experiences guests would want to know about — whether they be found at Benano’s doorstep, in one of the lovely hill towns that dot Umbria, Tuscany, and Lazio, or on guests’ day trips to larger cities like Rome, Florence, and Assisi.

In helping our guests prepare for their villa vacation, I’m mindful of the experience we had renting another Italian villa in a rural part of Puglia. It wasn’t until we had driven around for what seemed like hours that we realized that the directions and hand-drawn map to the villa were wholly insufficient. We were relieved to reach the English-speaking villa manager on her cell, but she was at a soccer match and couldn’t get away to help us. She advised us to stop and ask for directions. Soon a group of men had spilled out of a bar and were leaning over our car’s hood studying the incomprehensible map, also to no avail. Finally, one of them hopped on his ape and led us for several miles in a totally different direction, to a place he thought the villa might be.


It was quite an adventure just to find the villa we had rented. The memory of the helpful Italian barflies is great to recall, but the episode made for an unnecessarily stressful afternoon. We are determined not to subject our guests at Rocca di Benano to any such drama.

I give our guests good directions to our villa and how they’ll get the key, but I don’t stop there. We realize it takes a lot more than directions and a key to achieve our goal of making sure our guests enjoy the best that our corner of Italy has to offer. I want them to unlock more than just a beautiful villa. I want them to unlock their trip of a lifetime.