The Booking Process

So we’ve looked at your website and read the FAQs on “First of All...”. Where do we go from here?
We’ve chosen dates. What actually happens next?
What if we book within 60 days prior to the commencement of our rental?
We came to you through the internet, and we’re concerned that you really exist. Will you provide us with references if we want them?
Why doesn’t your website allow us to book online?
Are there any “extras” or “hidden costs”?
Is there a security deposit charged, and if so when do we get that back?

So we’ve looked at the website and read the FAQs on “First of All...”. Where do we go from here?

You can to discuss your travel plans. Tell us something about yourselves, your prior experience in Italy, ages of the children if any, when you're planning to come, interests, etc. We always like to know a little about our guests, so that we may welcome you in the best possible way.

We check on availability and we'll respond, generally within 24 hours, sometimes within moments. At times, we also like to speak with you, in order to have a real give and take, judge whether we're on the same wavelength, etc.

If the days you want are already taken, we'll propose potential alternatives.

In any case, we'll keep these dates available to you for no longer that 24 hours. You have to reply to us as soon as you can, or your dates are going to be again available to everybody. Remember: do confirm your interest in booking our apartment immediately or it might be rented to someone else the next day.

We’ve chosen dates and confirmed our booking. What actually happens next?

Once we settle on an available date that you want to book, we’ll place a temporary hold on it for you.

We’ll then send you a bill asking you for a security deposit of around 30% of the total rental amount, in the form of a transfer to our PayPal account. Payments must be in Euros.

We must receive your security deposit within 5 days, as we cannot hold a place without a deposit for longer than that.We don’t send out a receipt for the security deposit. Your PayPal receipt is your receipt.

The security deposit is exactly that. A deposit in case of eventual cancellation, unpaid utilities, damages etc. The deposit is infact returned to your PayPal account after your departure.

Your rent will be due 30 days prior to commencement of the rental and it has to be paid by an international bank transfer (a SWIFT transfer). We will send you a reminder invoice 15 days before your final payment is due.

About ten days before your actual arrival, we will contact you to discuss the final details of your arrival day and answer any last-minute questions you might have.

And then you’re on your way.

What if we book within 30 days prior to the commencement of our rental?

In this case, your full payment is due upon booking together with the security deposit. The rest of the above-described process is the same.

We came to you through the internet, and we’re concerned that you really exist. Will you provide us with references if we want them?

Yes. First of all, you should read the reviews of our former guests on SlowTrav.com These reviews are directly sent to SlowTrav.com's administration and we have no way to edit them or interfere with their publication. What is written there is just the plain truth about what happened when they stayed at our home.

This is already a good start, we believe, but if you still are concerned about our existence, we can also understand. Internet scams are not a fantasy thing, so... If you insist, we’ll try to have you speak directly with people who stayed in the flat before. In that way, you can cross-examine them to your heart’s content both about the property and about us, so that you can reassure yourselves that our apartment exists and that we won’t run away with your money.

Why doesn’t your website allow us to book online?

Our philosophy is to stress personal contact above all.

We believe (and all our guests have always agreed with us) that our home is not the kind of tourist-flat you just rent to come and sleep in at night. It is a very special place, it should be used by somebody who is sensitive enough to feel its history and beauty. We actually are very selective on our tenants and it is not rarely that we do not accept bookings from somebody we feel is not on our same wave-length. Call us crazy romantic fools, but we do consider it still our home and this is important for us.

Are there any “extras” or “hidden costs”?

Yes, lots of them -- and they will run up your bill drastically.

Stop, stop, just kidding! :-))

We try to fix an overall price that includes everything except the utilities.

Electricity and heating is almost always extra, unless differently stated in our booking confirmation. Why? For one overwhelming reason: tourists tend to leave the heating on 24 hours a day full-blast, whether they're physically present or not. Heating costs about three times more in Italy than in the US. So if you come at a time you need to turn it on, please be prepared for the consequences if you aren't careful about usage.

The most common "extra" is for final cleaning. It can seem higher than expected because sheets and towels are normally sent out for cleaning. In Italy, that costs several times more than in the US. Moreover, our antique hand-made Tuscany floor-tiles regularly require a special treatment and cannot be just washed by the first person passing by...

In any case, if you ask for extras, these are always specified in writing in the confirmation email we send you at the time of booking. No extra surprises here! :-)

Is there a security deposit charged, and if so when do we get it back?

Yes, we ask you for a security deposit at the time of booking.

If you have not asked for a land line in the flat, we will return your security deposit back to your PayPal account on the day of your departure, less whatever needs to be deducted (damages, utilities if they are considered extra etc.).

If you have rented the flat with the phone line, we hold your security deposit, and then we will return it to you by PayPal, hopefully within two weeks after the rental is completed. We say “hopefully” because the Italian telephone system is in a state of flux and it is impossible to track your phone usage without waiting for the phone bill to come in, something which can take 60 days or even a bit longer. We do just what agencies renting properties regularly do: hold your security deposit for the arrival of the phone bill.

In any event, you can be assured that we will be as prompt as we can be about the security deposit, and that there will be no flimflam about it. We will deduct what is to be deducted and send you the difference. Needless to say that we are extremely straightforward about this, and you need not worry about ripoffs.