We were originally looking for a holiday villa or apartment near or on Lake Garda for the second week of our summer holiday in Switzerland and Italy.
We’d left booking quite late and we were really struggling to find somewhere that fitted all our criteria.
Ideally we wanted somewhere towards the south of the lake, private to ourselves and with a private pool but most of the holiday accommodation in Lake Garda is apartments with shared pools. The few private villas are massively expensive and certainly way over our budget.
So we ended up looking a bit further afield from the immediate Lake Garda surroundings and found what looked like a good compromise. In fact, it turned out to be better than just a ‘compromise’ and we were happier with where we stayed than we would ever have been in one of the holiday properties around Lake Garda itself.
We found a villa on Airbnb which was in a village called Mezzane di Sotto, about 40-minutes’ drive from the lake.
We had our own car and figured the drive to the lake was pretty reasonable and worth it for the better quality of accommodation, for a more reasonable price than we’d have paid in one of the immediate lake-side towns.
The accommodation is actually a ‘guest wing’ of an enormous great private villa in the hillsides above Verona. It’s owned by an extremely pleasant and friendly couple called Paulo and Maria-Teresa who live in the main villa and who have converted part of it to holiday B&B accommodation.
This wasn’t exactly the completely private villa we originally wanted, as the owners live in the main house and were around and about each day, but it was close enough and actually having them there was no problem for us at all.
We’ve never stayed in an Airbnb property where the owners are present before so weren’t quite sure what to expect. Would we get on with them? Would living basically in their house for a week cause any trouble? Would they tolerate our four children around their house, garden and pool?
It turned out to be absolutely no problem at all! Firstly because of the separate nature of the guest accommodation, which is completely self-contained with its own private entrance and patio area. There’s no access to or from the main house and you can completely separate yourself from the owners if you want to.
However, you probably won’t want to as they are both extremely pleasant, welcoming, friendly and helpful individuals who it was actually a pleasure to be around.
It takes a particularly sociable type of person to open up your own home to a stream of different guests every week and Paulo and Maria-Teresa knew exactly how to do it.
From the moment we arrived, they were friendly and welcoming, speaking good English and making us feel instantly at ease.
They were around the house most of the time we were there, but they had exactly the right balance of knowing when to leave us alone and give us privacy but also to come and see us to chat with advice and local info.
A couple of days they had friends and family around who themselves were all also very friendly and gave us plenty of space to enjoy the property.
The property itself is absolutely stunning. It’s a huge villa and the guest wing is pure luxury. Plenty of space, immaculately clean and well-decorated and extremely well-equipped. There were so many little finishing touches and extra added details, it felt like staying in a five-star hotel.
The beds were large and comfortable and every room had remote-controlled air-conditioning, which was an absolute god-send in the heat of early August. It meant the bedrooms were cool enough to get a decent night’s sleep every night and just helped us relax in the beautiful surroundings even more.
The absolute highlight of the villa though is the gardens and pool area. The grounds surrounding the house are huge and it is totally secluded and private with no nearby overlooking properties. The gardens are beautifully landscaped and some of the most incredible we’ve ever seen.
The pool area was private with high quality sunbeds and a jaw-dropping view over the Italian hillsides, over vineyards all the way down to Verona in the far distance.
A couple of times the owners were around the pool area with other members of their family who were visiting, but we happily shared it with them and most of the time had it all completely to ourselves.
We ultimately felt that staying here, in this village a little outside the main Lake Garda area, was more beneficial than staying at Lake Garda itself.
We visited the lake a few times during the week and it’s busy. The popular towns around the lake like Sirmione, Desenzano del Garda and Lazise are small and heavy with tourists. Although wonderful places to visit, we loved being able to leave at the end of the day and head back to the tranquility of the villa and small village of Mezzane di Sotto.
We were able to drive to Sirmione and Lazise within about 45-minutes but we had the added benefit of also being easily able to drive from the villa elsewhere – like Venice, Verona and Milan.
Also, despite being in what felt like a small, rural and remote village, there was a huge shopping center just 10-minutes’ drive away, with literally the largest supermarket we’ve ever seen in our entire lives (the Corti Venete) which sold literally everything you could possibly need as supplies for your holiday.
Also nearby are a variety of restaurants – whether you want a Burger King from the Corti Venete center (please no!), or a home-cooked Italian meal in one of the nearby village restaurants that overlook the local hillsides.
The name Paulo and Maria-Teresa have given their holiday villa says it all. It translates to ‘Beauty and Relaxation’ and this is exactly what it delivers.
Any fears we had about not having a private villa were totally unfounded and we had a fantastic time here. It’s incredibly beautiful, peaceful and relaxing. The weather was amazing, our day-trips out were all within easy reach and our days where we stayed in and relaxed by the pool were equally as enjoyable. We highly, highly recommend it be it for family, couples or group stays.
- We booked the villa through Airbnb here.