Many, many of you are going to Italy to rent a villa for one overwhelming reason: to shop in the local markets for local products and spend your entire vacation cooking up splendid meals for yourselves and your guests. With all due respect to all you budding chefs, we must confess that this is NOT our personal idea of a true vacation. To us, a true vacation in Italy is two things: NOT having to cook, NOT having to shop for food, and NOT having to go out for dinner in the evening. The solution? A hired cook. Is hiring a cook more expensive than cooking on one’s own? OF COURSE it is, silly! Is it more expensive than going out to a restaurant? NO! And it’s often far less so. We have villas where, when clients arrive, we’ve organized a welcome dinner prepared by the villa’s caretaker. After that first experience, those guests often never go out, ever again, for the evening meal. All of the villas listed here have cooks available, at least part-time.
Two comments: Italy isn’t the Third World (although its politicians are doing everything they can to make it so). It isn’t as if cooks are just hanging around doing nothing, waiting for you to arrive, snap your fingers, and say “bucatini all’amatriciana” in a commanding voice. Cooks are in demand, and they know their own value. So advance arrangement is almost always a requirement. Moreover, you’ve got to stick to your plans. You can’t arrange in advance for a cook and then decide two days ahead that you’d rather eat out at Vissani every night. You’ve got to make a plan and hold to it. It’s only fair, after all.