I Took My Parents to Italy

Our spacious rental house in Sant'Angela in Potana, Italy.
Our spacious rental house in Sant’Angela in Potana, Italy.

It began with a loan.  My parents were kind to me when I told them back in 2002 that I wanted to buy a travel website.  They sent me a check to help me pay for it and then a few years later, it turned into my full time job.  I owed these wonderful people in my life something–and so I took my parents to Italy a few years later.

I had never traveled with my parents before, having moved out of the house I was raised in as a 16-year-old. I had never spent more than just a weekend or so in their company.  But with this trip, I could change all that.   And renting a house in Italy turned out to be one of the best travel experiences I have ever had!

This is coming from a travel writer and editor who in the years since has logged a dozen overseas trips a year.  None of where I’ve been since can match that thrill I got being on the flight with Mom and Dad, and getting into our rental car that first day and heading from Rome to Tuscany where our house was waiting.

We were very happy to have gotten a station wagon, that was a diesel and got great mileage.  As we drove through Umbria on our way to Le Marche, on Italy’s eastern coast, we took in the beautiful scenery and stopped for lunch in the town of Spoleto, home of  the world-famous Spoleto Festival.  We were all excited to see the house that we rented, which in a few hours would come into view.

But this was before the days of GPS, at least for us, so we had to follow the directions given to us by the house owners. Today if you did the same thing and got your own house rental, you’d use your iPhone to navigate and probably would have no trouble.  Our house was located in the tiny village of Sant’Angelo in Pontano, Le Marche.

The rolling hillsides of the Le Marche region surround the Casa Fontanelle.
The rolling hillsides of the Le Marche region surround the Casa Fontanelle.

This region of Italy lies near the Adriatic sea, and it’s much, much less touristed than Tuscany or even Umbria.  It seems that mostly it is Romans and Florentines who know about the beauty and remoteness of this place. For us, our rental was a perfect jumping off point to take day trips in the countryside, enjoy leisurely meals on our loggia, the back porch, or swim in the pool that came with the house.

Casa Fontanelle is a 17th century farmhouse which was completely renovated in 2000; it’s made of terra cotta brick, located down a hillside on a plateau. The walls are about 18 inches thick, nearly everything is made of brick, and the combination of tile, terra cotta and dark wood gives it a sturdiness that is satisfying–like the sound of a BMW door closing, a satisfying “thunk.”
This morning I spent a little time on the HouseTrip.com website, where of course, there are thousands of houses and apartments for rent all over Italy. It made me think back, wistfully, about that June week we spent with Mom and Dad in Italy.  There is no time I can think of that I cherish more–and now that they are in their late 80s, there won’t e another chance to do have an experience like that.
Do it now!