Villa Gordon is an ideal Italian holiday villa rental base for the Dolomites and the Veneto regions. It is a large house set in generous grounds, making it well suited for family and group holidays.
The house was built as a hunting lodge in 1906 by the Austrian Admiral Baron von Gerlach and his Venetian wife the Contessa Albrizzi. The furnishings and reception rooms are comfortable and generously sized. Round the house there is a wide verandah: ideal for drinks and meals, enjoying a view of the valley over pasture and orchard, surrounded by a screen of woodland.
The house stands just outside the spa village of Roncegno, perched at 500 metres on the side of the Valsugana and overlooked by the graceful slopes of Mount Fravort (2340m). At the bottom of the valley the river Brenta flows past on its way to the Venetian lagoon; you could arguably describe Villa Gordon as a "villa on the Brenta"!
Roncegno has all the facilities you will need on a day-to-day basis: bakery, grocers, greengrocers and butchers, newsagents, post-office (with fax machine facilities) and bank, with a 'hole-in-the-wall' cash dispenser. This is all within a ten minute walk from the house.
Roncegno enjoys a lovely position, with striking views down over the valley, castles and the market town of Borgo below in the distance. The simple 18th century parish church has a delightfully decorated organ and an altarpiece by Francesco Guardi. A major feature of the village is the Palace Hotel, a grand spa establishment with frescoed ball room and dining rooms, and terraces commanding a fine view over its park to the mountains beyond. It runs carefully designed health cures and has health club facilities (saunas, therapeutic baths, massage etc) which non-residents can use. There is also an open air swimming pool in its park, five minutes walk from the house and also open to non-residents.
For night life, the facilities are modest: a 'birreria' bar with juke boxes and football machines which will appeal to the young, and a pizzeria, pizzas of an excellent quality baked by the traditional method in a wood-fired bread oven. The pizzeria offers a 'take-away' service.
The house is set in an oblong plot of about four acres; in front of the building meadow stretches down 100 metres to the gate and access to the local road which takes traffic into the village. Traffic noise is not obtrusive, though this is a farming area and there will be tractors etc on the roads.
The house and grounds are safe for children.
The Basement: The basement is more like a lower ground floor: it has windows throughout. There is central heating in the basement should it be necessary in early or late season.
The kitchen and scullery make one large and comfortable living room, with a "breakfast area" and table for informal meals. It has recently been completely re-equipped with a five ring gas hob and oven, dish washer and refrigerator.
The laundry is equipped with an automatic washing machine, ironing facilities (these are repeated on the first and second floors) and "lazy Susan" clothes hanger.
Elsewhere there is a bathroom for the ground floor bedrooms, and a ping pong table.
The Ground Floor: The house is entered across the veranda, which is furnished with tables, chairs and benches for outdoor meals, and you enter into the drawing room. This is a tall room, taking in the first floor as well, with an elegant art deco staircase circling up to a landing below a ceiling decorated with art nouveau flowers. Around there are many African artefacts and books, dating to my grandfather's time in Eritrea.
The dining room is a large room, with sofas and armchairs around the fireplace as well as the dining room table which seats 12. The ceiling of the room is decorated with a faux Oriental design typical of the pre-First World War period.
The bedrooms are both large and well decorated, equipped with wash basins as are all the bedrooms. They are connected by an adjoining door.
The First Floor: This floor (left) completes the accommodation for what I describe as the "half house" in the rental terms and conditions. It comprises two twin bedrooms, a bathroom and the principal double bedroom of the house, which comes with its own little balcony.
The Second Floor: The second floor (floorplan below) comprises the additional accommodation to make up the "whole house" package: it adds two double bedrooms, a single bedroom and a bathroom, taking the capacity of the house up to 15 people.