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Suite, Corte San Pietro (2)

Spring breaks in the sun

Move away from the mainstream this Spring and check out ExpertoItaly’s new collection of boutique hotels and B&B’s in Basilicata and Puglia.

Top of our ‘must-visit’ list is the extremely cool Corte San Pietro B&B, carved out of the caves and amongst the winding lanes and stairways of Matera’s ‘Sassi’ neighbourhood and recently featured in the Sunday Times article, ‘‘Got £500? The World’s at your Feet’.

Or head for the coast at Monopoli where you can linger over a cool glass of wine on the roof terrace of the Don Ferrante hotel, accompanied by the sound of lapping waves below.

Casa d'Eraclea

Beach beauties

If a sand-free sun bed and accompanying table for book, bottle of water and sun cream is your idea of heaven on a beach, then Italy’s lidos couldn’t be more perfect.

If, however, you’re looking for something a little more untamed, then the recent Times feature on ’50 Secret Beaches of the Mediterranean’ may give you a few ideas.  Amongst the recommendations in Sicily is the beach at Eraclea Minoa, with a sea-view stay at soloSicily’s Casa d’Eraclea.

'Stigghiola' in Sicily

Eat like a local in Palermo

How do you really get under the skin of a city during a holiday?  Client soloSicily has come up with one solution for its customers in Palermo – through its street food.

Palermo Street Food Tours are available to SoloSicily villa guests, led by locals by day or night.  With Palermo regularly voted one of the world’s top cities for street food, the tours are designed to introduce holidaymakers to the atmosphere and hidden sights of Palermo and, best of all, show them where the locals go for the freshest and best-value seasonal ingredients.

Read more here

Villa Bronzino, overlooking beach (1)

Budget can be best

Amongst its 350+ villas and apartments, client Croatian Villa Holidays offers the full range – from best-value to blow-the-budget.

Its Villa Bronzino falls into the first category – an amazing little villa right on the waterfront on the island of Brac, a short stroll from the pretty village of Pucisca and, to cap it all, under £90 pp per week in May!  Little wonder the Guardian included it in their recent round-up of Bargain Beach Holidays in Europe.

Vicenza

Alternative city breaks

Venice or Vicenza?  If you’re looking for a different sort of city break, head for some of Europe’s quieter less well-discovered towns and cities.

Vicenza in northern Italy, home town to Andrea Palladio, is a treasure trove of art and architecture, without the queues of its busier neighbours such as Venice and just a short hop from Treviso or Verona airports.  Find information on an ExpertoItaly break in Vicenza, and ideas for other lesser-known Italian city breaks in a recent article in the The Times.

Valentine's Day romance

Hot spots for Valentine’s Day

Rome, Paris, Sicily or Spain?  Check out this week’s Grazia magazine for the low-down on Seriously Smoochy Weekends for Valentine’s Day.

Dubrovnik

Short-break in Dubrovnik?

Visit the Unesco protected old town of Dubrovnik in February or March when you can wander round the city walls and enjoy leisurely coffee stops in medieval squares and cobbled streets that are free from cruise ship passengers.  A Croatian Villa Holidays’ short-break in Dubrovnik was one of several ideas in MSN Travel’s recent round-up of child-friendly February half-term breaks.

Greek drama

Greek drama in Italy

Brush up on your Greek drama this summer when the Greek Theatre Festival in Syracuse, Italy’s most important classical theatre event, celebrates its centenary anniversary with a programme of classical plays that includes Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Coephori and Eumenides and Aristophanes’ The Wasps.  For an extra dose of culture, spend your days exploring the Greek, Byzantine and Norman architecture of Syracuse and visit the magnificent baroque towns of Noto, Modica and Ragusa.   Read more here

Badia Tower, Sicily

Valentine’s love nests …

Don’t come much more romantic than soloSicily’s pretty 16th century Badia Tower, just outside Marsala and set amidst lush gardens on the vast Badia Estate.

The appropriately-named Venus Castle, built on the ruins of the ancient Temple of Venus at the nearby medieval town of Erice, boasts the best views of the Egadi Islands.   Check it out in the February issue of Marie Claire.

Sunday Times Ultimate 100 Holidays1

A bumper weekend in the press

Villa features dominated the weekend press with great exposure for several clients and encouraging reports of busy phone lines.

Croatian Villa Holidays was featured in the Guardian’s 100 Beach Houses while the fabulous Villa Solaris from its sister programme, Montenegro Villa Holidays, appeared in the Times’ ‘50 Best Mediterranean Beach Villas’ feature and took centre stage on the front page of the paper’s Weekend section.   Croatian Villa Holidays’ Villa Mimosa also appeared in the Sunday Times’ Ultimate 100 Holidays for 2014.

Sicily villa specialist soloSicily also grabbed a slot in the Sunday Times: Ultimate 100 holidays round-up with the latest addition to its programme, Giada, a beachfront villa in the south east of the island.  soloSicily’s Apolline, another villa in the south east of the island, also appeared in the Guardian’s 100 Beach Houses.