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Italy for beginners. Scicily, Sardinia or mainland?

(48 Posts)
poorincashrichinlove Thu 29-May-14 14:58:23

DH have decided to save hard for a proper family holiday next summer 2015. We would love to go to Italy but don't know where to start. The wishlist:
A villa or apartment (for 5)
with pool, terrace & bbq
within 1km of a beach (pref not big & touristy)
with 2km of a town (a small authentic italian village with basic amenities at least) with a few restaurants/trattorias to choose from.
I like the look of Scicily and Sardinia but I'm also romanced by Tuscany (but don't have a clue where t stay that's neat the coast).
Budget is. �2000-2500 inc. budget flights for at least a werk.

To save money I'll be booking online so would appreciate the well-travelled wisdom of mumsnetters who are familiar with Italy and can point me in the right direction.

SoldeInvierno Fri 30-May-14 07:43:07

I have only been to Sardinia and main cities in the mainland. In Sardinia you would definitely need a car. Alghero sounds like the town your DH is describing.

I have not got suggestions for villas but I think your budget sounds a bit low for 5 people. What are you expecting to cover with 2500? Just flights and villa? What about food, insurance, car hire, etc?

juneau Fri 30-May-14 15:10:49

The coast of Tuscany is not particularly nice - much of it is marshy and the towns aren't very pretty. If you go further north though into Liguria/the Italian Riviera you'd find plenty of pretty towns on the beach. San Remo, Diano Marina, Alassio. Alternatively, the Adriatic coast is basically a string of beach towns for its entire length. I can't recommend any specific resorts, as I don't really know it, but you could ask for recommendations on here. There are Ryanair and Easyjet flights to various places on or near the Adriatic coast.

Sicily is not really for the beginner IMO. Somewhere like Taormina fits the bill, but I doubt you'd find a villa for five in the summer holidays, plus flights, for under £2500. It's also very touristy, but there is loads to see in that area and you'd find English-speakers (I'm assuming if you're Italy novices you don't speak Italian).

I don't know Sardinia, so can't comment.

AmazingDisgrace Sat 31-May-14 00:21:32

Somewhere like Pizzo in Calabria might fit the bill? We stayed in an apartment in the Borgonovo development there last summer.

SoldeInvierno Sat 31-May-14 07:58:39

You could try Sant'Elpidio a Mare. Check it in TripAdvisor. I think Ryanair flies to Ancona from Stansted

poorincashrichinlove Sun 01-Jun-14 08:55:15

Thank you for all your advice and suggestions. It seems that I can rent a villa with pool in Scicily for about. �1000 per week in peak season. Flights would come to about �1500. On top of that we would need to hire a car I think, so another �300-400. We could self cater mostly but some meals out are a must.

My Italian dream is slipping through my fingers as the costs add up sad but I don't want a package holiday/all inclusive type break with a load of Brits on tour just because it's more affordable. I'm probably being a spoilt brat...

thedevilinside Sun 01-Jun-14 09:56:14

Try Marina Di Venezia, a hop skip and a jump from Venice and with its own beach. We booked through Euro camp, paid well under £1000 for the week and booked cheap flights through Ryanair to Treviso, Yes it's a mobile home, rather than a villa, but the parc is fantastic

juneau Sun 01-Jun-14 10:09:42

I agree - drop the 'villa for five' bit of your requirements and you could easily find something within your budget. Renting an entire house in peak season is expensive.

I've been to both Sicily and Sardinia and are both gorgeous so I am sure you will have a fantastic time with whichever you decide.

I preferred Sardinia myself and stayed at a small hotel outside Alghero, most hotels provide a shuttle bus to and fro, especially as the town comes alive at night! I stayed at the Hotel Portoconte which was just lovely.

In Sicily, I stayed at a small-ish town called Giardini Naxos, at the Hellenia Yachting Hotel. It was a bus ride to Taormini but you didn't really "need" to go there on an evening as Giardini Naxos has enough restaurants and evening entertainment.

PeresteckBalveda Mon 02-Jun-14 07:31:42

Sardinia is gorgeous but very hot and busy in July/August. I'd avoid the Costa Smeralda, very busy, very glitzy/eurotrashy.

Can't comment on Sicily or Tuscany.

Bunbaker Mon 02-Jun-14 07:39:57

If you can drop the beach requirement and be happy with a pool then I would go to lake Garda. The flight to Verona is only a couple of hours and it is a short transfer to the southern part of the lake. There are holidays to suit all budgets, loads to do and utterly beautiful scenery. You can manage perfectly well without a car as the public transport - bus and ferry is very good.

eurochick Mon 02-Jun-14 07:44:58

You've listed some of the most expensive bits! I think you will struggle with your budget. Have a look at Puglia instead.

antimatter Mon 02-Jun-14 07:51:22

How about going the very last weekend in August?
Prices are better and with year ahead you can find something.
I think Sicily will be cheaper than the mainland.
I would agree with others that all requirements of pool+beach+villa would be the most expensive of all.
I guess Croatia may be a cheaper option.

NeverTalksToStrangers Mon 02-Jun-14 07:53:08

I agree on the lake garda suggestion and also agree with the camping part. Going camping there ourselves this August. Great campsite and (by booking directly with them) our accommodation is only 750 yoyos for the week. Camping isn't tacky in the way that package holidays can be.

bruffin Mon 02-Jun-14 08:07:01

I said in Taormina in Sicily, its gorgeous and the food wonderful, although we stayed half way up the cliff. Lots to do a see in Sicily as well. The greek temples at Argenta, the volcanic islands of Volcano and Lipiri and obviously Mount Etna

Bunbaker Mon 02-Jun-14 08:09:24

Camping in lake Garda in August wouldn't appeal to me. Mosquitoes are a problem and it is too hot to be able to sleep at night. We needed the aircon on at night to cool the room to an acceptable temperature.

Allalonenow Mon 02-Jun-14 08:14:25

Pescara might fit your budget, with cheap flights available.
It's a very Italian resort.
I second Diano Marina and Alassio also.

Clayhead Mon 02-Jun-14 08:17:26

You can go to Lake Garda with a company like Eurocamp and rent a mobile home/caravan with air conditioning. They also have decks, BBQs etc.

ClairesTravellingCircus Mon 02-Jun-14 08:26:41

The Marche coast is nice just South of Ancona. The Marche region is very similar to Tuscany but slightly less touristy.

Numana is a lovely resort.

Also Bibione in the north east not far from Venice, but very popular with germans.

How old are the kids?

PortofinoRevisited Mon 02-Jun-14 08:36:47


unrealhousewife Mon 02-Jun-14 08:40:50

Puglia has good value accommodation. To save costs you could stay in a camping based resort, some have chalets. This might save you between 300 to 500.

SquidgyMaltLoaf Mon 02-Jun-14 11:46:31

I would actually head to one of the Greek islands instead - just as beautiful, food as good, but cheaper (and friendlier too IMHO). Sorry if that doesn't help!

JillJ72 Mon 02-Jun-14 17:27:28

Alternatively, turn the beach on its head and go inland, find a place with a pool. We stayed in an agriturismo in Tuscany last summer for a week, complete with pool. We then had two nights on the coast, near Cecina. The pool was definitely the better option, and inland was fab (I spent time in Italy when I did my degree so it was a trip down memory lane).

poorincashrichinlove Mon 02-Jun-14 19:06:23

more suggestions coming in, thank you. We have family in corfu so going to another greek island -although I'd love to-- would be like a kick in the chops of DB&SIL.

Coastal is a must. DH needs to be near the sea. I'm bot a fan of the beach and prefer a pool and a private one at that so I can unashamedly reveal my wobbly bits

poorincashrichinlove Mon 02-Jun-14 19:06:56

*not a fan

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