Clare Breheny is a photographer from London. She has kindly shared some of her ‘Villa Pia Memories’ and one of her favourite photographs from the stay.
‘Our first trip to Villa Pia was just before we left Zurich. We had been living there for 3 years and it was time to move back to London. We wanted to do a road trip into Italy via the lakes before we left. It was only our second holiday with our daughter so we were really keen to make it as easy as possible!
We loved our stay at Villa Pia so much that it was the obvious place to recommend the following year when my parents wanted us all to go away for to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. My brother was joining us with his family from Canada and we wanted somewhere we could spend quality time together and not argue over shopping and cooking!!
On that second trip we tied it in with a week in Croatia beforehand and then flew on to a wedding in Spain afterwards. With so many airports and ports within easy reach it is such an easy place to reach.’
How did you first hear about Villa Pia?
‘We’d heard great things about Villa Pia from another expat family we knew in Zurich. Then we were at a wedding back in the UK and got chatting to another couple at our table. They started talking about an amazing child friendly holiday they had in Italy and, yes, it was Villa PiaQ After hearing about it from two different sources we thought we really should try it.’
What was it that appealed to you about staying there?
‘We were really attracted to the location as it is so close to so many places we wanted to visit. We were also really excited to have a villa holiday where we didn’t have to plan meals or cook.’
What were your first impressions?
‘We were really impressed with how many different child friendly areas there were. We knew there was no chance of our little one getting bored/ We also loved the fact that we kept finding quiet ‘corners’ to chill out in, as well as communal areas to socialise.
We felt at home really quickly. A very happy median between being guests that were taken good care of and having the freedom to treat the place as your own.’
What were the highlights of your stay?
‘We loved the views and the rural setting (whilst also being able to walk into the village or nip out easily if needed).
It’s a place where you can really and truly relax. We really loved that you didn’t need to lift a finger – no cooking, shopping, cleaning etc, but without the over the top service of a 5 star hotel; we didn’t need our toddler getting used to a turn-down service and someone carrying her bags!
The separate kids and adults meal times were awesome; being able to relax at dinner without spoon-feeding a child or telling them to sit down is priceless.
We also visited Florence, Siena, Assisi, Gubbio, Arrezo during our two stays and loved all of them.
The most memorable time for us though, was the evening we decided to surprise my parents with a little champagne reception for their anniversary. We all sat looking over the beautiful hills, chatting about what a lovely holiday we had shared, and then we were blessed with an amazing sunset. We coerced our three little ones into a picture, which is now framed in my parent’s home as a momento of the trip.’
Would you recommend it to friends?
‘YES, YES, YES! In fact, some of our friends are booked for this summer.’
How would you describe Villa Pia in three words?
‘Oh boy this is hard… can I have three phrases instead, please?
Unique (it’s not a hotel, it’s not a villa holiday).
Thoroughly well thought-out.
Everything you love about Italy, but organised in English!
Seriously, they have thought of everything and that is what makes it work so well.’
Thanks Clare, and we hope to welcome you back to Villa Pia very soon!