Gia-Mia is located in an ideal setting for a holiday vacation in the Italian Abruzzo region for not only enjoying "la Dolce Vita" (the sweet life) but also for exploring the beautiful surrounding villages and the town of Sulmona, the City of Art. Upon my arrival, I was taken by surprise of the most breath-taking view of the Appiennes Mountains from the deck of my suite. I exclaimed to Mike, the owner, that the photos I had previously viewed did not capture their true beauty. The grounds are well-maintained with fountains, ponds, roses, figs, walnut trees and vegetable gardens. The Saggitario River runs swiftly at the edge of the property. One could spend hours just on the grounds alone. There are also nearby hiking trails and country roads with horses and Abruzzo cows grazing in the scenery. The suites were clean with a fully equipped kitchen. The shower had great pressure with an abundance of hot water! Mike was very helpful as he is a wealth of information in the history of the region as well as the mode of operation in researching and finding ancestral relatives. I was amazed at how he helped me find relatives so easily. Arnie, an employee at Gia Mia, is also extremely helpful and ready to meet any needs that may arise. He sometimes has an uncanny sense of what you need before you even know you need or want it. He helped me with bus tickets and schedules, train information, best cappacino and gelato cafés, and just on and on. He brought me walnuts, tomatoes (best ever) peppers, fresh figs, grapes and even would share some of his secret Italian recipes with me. He is a very sweet special addition to the Gia Mia experience.. A real Gem. A favorite restaurant of Mike's is Il Caro, located nearby in Pratola and I would highly recommend this also....Excellent food at very reasonable prices. I did not have a vehicle and I managed to visit many villages in the area taking day trips via the bus and train transportation: Pacentro(Madonna the American celebrity's father born here), Scanno, a gorgeous village high in the mountains with a Lake so very beautiful, Celano, and it's Medieval Castle with a fully restored art museum, Collelongo, a really cool town where several of their buildings are artistically painted with scenes of wildlife. Pescara and Loreto Apprutino also are very lovely and a short drive from Campo Di Fano. I would love to come back to Gia Mia and I will recommend to others.
Hidden Paradie Gem - Heaven on Earth
Guest Mugsy (London, Ontario)
Date of stay 09/30/13
My wife and I had the pleasure to visit GiaMia Villas and meet Mike, our newest dearest friend. From the moment we arrived, we knew we were in for a treat. The view from the balcony was truly remarkable and the villa grounds spectacular. Mike was so helpful and accommodating to our every need. We picked figs, grapes and nuts from the estate and enjoyed how life was meant to be....fresh air, good company and beautiful surroundings. We are already planning our next trip back.
Great reunion at the Villa
Guest Dr Dale (Michigan, USA)
Date of stay 09/17/13
We had a wonderful family reunion at Gia Mia villas. Our extended Italian family from the US, GB and Australia all shared the villa - each with our own "apartment" These are not just hotel rooms, but more of individual apartments. We had group meals on the lower balcony. All the rooms had a balcony with beautiful views of the mountains. Mike was a fantastic host. Personally dropped off some of our members at the train station, and willingly ran an informal "shuttle service" as needed. Mike became one of the family and a friend.
Wonderful way to experience the "Real" Italy
Guest Sandy (Bellaire, Texas, U.S.A.)
Date of stay 09/17/13
I located this rental on VRBO and was impressed with the photos and reviews. We were looking for a place to spend a week and explore Abruzzo where my parents were from. This gem in Campo di Fano made the experience magical. The villa is very nicely restored with excellent amenities and fabulous mountain views off the large balconies. The property is well maintained and the owner, Mike, is a great resource. He offered tips on places to visit in the area and was a great help in answering questions. We had a family reunion and most of the family stayed in the villa. There was a common area where we all gathered and ate meals on the balcony. It was delightfully cool and pleasant in September when we visited. There are many small towns that are a short drive away, such as Pacentro and Scanno, which make great day trips. The grounds are beautiful with an abundance of fruit and vegetables growing as well as a lovely rose garden. You can take walks near the property and we found it a relaxing and lovely spot. We highly recommend this property if you want to get away from the tourist areas and see the authentic Italy.
October 23, 2012
We rented this apartment in the town of Campo di Fano during the last week of September and were delighted with the property and location, which surpassed our expectations. The apartment was in a newly renovated building with modern apartments, clean and well maintained, with a lovely terrace overlooking the valley and mountains beyond. The host, Mike, was an added bonus in that he is fluent in English and Italian, guided us to charming nearby mountain villages, wonderful and reasonable local restaurants, and introduced us to the cultural aspects of the region. This provided us with a rich, authentic holiday and it was as if we had our own personal travel guide in residence. We chose Abruzzo primarily because it was the region my family originated from, and Mike was instrumental in making our search for my roots a successful one. He accompanied us to the town hall of records, acted as interpreter, and even assisted us in finding a possible long lost relative. Without him this could not have been accomplished. The apartment is a mere two miles from Sulmona, an unspoiled, mid sized town convenient to shopping, restaurants and the evening stroll popular with locals and few tourists. Nearby mountain towns of Roccaraso, Scanno, and Pescocostanzo are side trips not to be missed. Visits should be made in the morning before siesta begins; the towns are virtually deserted for three hours each afternoon. Campo di Fano, a lovely village of 300 people, is strictly a residential hamlet; we experienced its charm on its feast day honoring its patron saints, complete with brass band, Mass in the tiny church, and ending with fireworks late at night. Anyone looking for a true Italian experience without the crowds, at moderate prices, will not be disappointed in Abruzzo, in general, and especially Campo di Fano and Giamia Villas.
Long Island Couple
October 13, 2012
Beautiful setting and super-helpful owner
We arrived late in Sulmona and Mike, the owner, met us and helped us shop for groceries to get us through the night and breakfast the next morning. As other reviewers have stated, he is extremely helpful and made so much difference in the degree of our enjoyment of the week. When we arrived at the property (we had one of the two apartments on the top floor) we were astounded at the spectacular view of the mountains. Even though we had read that there was a mountain view, sitting out there for breakfast or having a drink in the moonlight is unforgettable and beyond our expectations. The property itself is comfortable for two people, although rather sparsely furnished for the price in terms of creature comforrts (otherwise would have had the top rating), quiet, pretty, and while psychologically away from everything is just a few miles from the charming town of Sulmona. We were lucky enough to meet another couple staying there in which the husband is in the same line of work as I am, and also another woman who had been traveling through southern Italy, so we all had a great time. Mike had us all go to a terrific outdoor restaurant in a winery vineyard where we were introduced to some delicious Italian cooking. We were also invited to take part in a ceremony honoring the 2 saints at a church just up the road, which included a parade, fireworks, and the chance to attend Sunday services. Mike also introduced us to another restaurant just a few miles away in an adjoining little town - don't miss it! The name is Il Carro - the food is delicious and the prices were astoundingly reasonable. The 1st of 2 nights we were there we got there at 7 and it was empty but by 9 it was packed - typical for Italy. Mike was also helpful with directions and showing us around Italy including the marketplace on Saturday. Campo Di Fano, the location of the apartment, is a town of 300 and Mike knows everyone. Don't miss going to Scanno and other places in the Appenines, although be prepared for endless hairpin turns and aggressive Italian drivers. The scenery is breathtaking! You are also only 40" from the Adriatic. If you are looking for an authentic Italian experience in Abruzzo with a great, wordly and English-speaking host, stay here!
October 3, 2012
We spent 3 wonderful weeks at Giamia in Campo di Fano. We had the entire top floor, one villa for myself and my husband and the other for my sister and brother-in-law, The villas are just as they appear in pictures, beautifully furnished with everything we needed and gorgeous views of lush green mountains. We were there during an unusually hot spell and having a washer & dryer available was an added plus. We cooked the majority of our meals there and even experimented with new recipes using world famous ‘red garlic’ which is only grown in the Sulmona area. But the best part of our trip was meeting Mike, his lovely wife Olga and their granddaughter, Ciara. They immediately made you feel like part of their family, very friendly, helpful and interesting to talk to. Mike even invited us to an “Immigrant Dinner” in Campo di Fano and we really saw the true Italy hospitality. Everyone was so gracious and friendly and even though we didn’t speak Italian, it didn’t matter, they made you feel welcome. We also attended church service with Mike and his family in a beautiful little church right in the middle of the village. During our stay, we ventured north to L’Aquila; south to Naples and Pompeii; east to Pescara and the beautiful Adriatic Sea; and, west to Rome, Tuscany and Florence. But, once again, the best part of our stay was Mike. What a wonderful person, he’s so nice and accommodating, always available to answer any questions or give recommendations (to delicious restaurants) and at the same time, always very respectful of our privacy. He made us feel like family and that is such a reassuring blessing when you are traveling. We feel honored to call him and his lovely family “our friends” and we’ll definitely be coming back to our ‘Italy home’. Thanks again Mike, we had a fantastic vacation.
August 22, 2011
If you are seeking a truly 'unique' holiday adventure, a chance to experience one of the most beautiful regions of Italy, along with the rare opportunity to live each sunny day more like a 'resident' than a 'turista' then I urge you to book Michael Giamarco’s GiaMia apartments in Abruzzo for at least a week or two of your next Italian vacation.
The apartments themselves are brand spanking new with large terraces that have amazing views of lush valleys and breathtaking mountains. Each is equipped with a full modern kitchen, comfy beds, and bathrooms with large, incredibly delightful ‘power showers’ that are guaranteed to massage away any tension that could possibly remain in your body after a few days exploring Sulmona and environs. (Make sure you buy bags of Confetti. The sugar coated Almonds that are a specialty of this town!)
Mike himself is on hand to make sure everything is to your liking. Although he spent most of his life growing up in Canada, his love for his birthplace and the lifestyle of Abruzzo brought him 'home’ and his desire to share this experience with others led him to the creation of GiaMia. And aren’t we the lucky ones?
My wife and I have been fortunate over the years to have traveled throughout much of Italy. We have visited the mountains of Alto Adige, the lakes of Como and Garda, the lemon scented Amalfi Coast and Capri, and so many of the famous cities, sights and country sides that make Italy well, Italy. However, my wife is fond of saying that ‘our hearts came to rest’ when we came to the Abruzzo and discovered Sulmona and the little villages in the ‘campania’, such as Campo di Fano, that dot this unspoiled landscape. Prior to GiaMia, about the only way one could experience the special magic of this type of lifestyle, was to have family in the region. Well, now you do!
Treat yourself to a part of the Italian experience that you won’t find on any of the tours. Enjoy the great local food and wine, the warmth and genuine hospitality of the locals, and the feeling that you would stay in this place a lot longer if you could. And enjoy it all from the incredible comfort of your own beautiful apartment in GiaMia. We did…and we can’t wait to return!
Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
"Breath of Fresh Air"
August 2012 After arriving back home we (my wife, daughter and I) realize how much we love and now miss Italy, especially the Abruzzo. Just driving out of Rome to Abruzzo was breataking and arriving in Campo di Fano which is just outside of Sulmona was simple and emotionally gratifying. Yes this little comune or "paese" is where my maternal family is from but it wouldn't of mattered anyway it's just beautiful. Upon arrival at the Gia Mia Villas we were instantly greeted by Mike & Olga and given the royal tour of our accomodation. There is nothing to complain about, alot of work went into these villas and it shows. The best part was the view from our balcony which overlooked the Abruzzi mountains from which we could see other comunees ie Introdacqua, Bugnara & Sulmona. In the evening it was equally beautiful with lights illuminating the mountains. The suite itself was comfortable and had all the anemities, spacious, clean and safe ! One big advantage about these villas is it's location, your only 5 minutes from Sulmona which is such a pretty little medievil city to walk around and has all the anemities that one may need. This area is practically in the middle of Italy and taking day trips was made easier. You will be drawn to this area by it's beauty, fresh air, water and of course the cuisine. Staying at the Gia Mia Villas adds to the Abruzzi ezperience. We hope to go back one day and bring the whole family this time Thank you Mike, Olga & Chiara ! Fabio & Mary and of course Evelyn
August 20, 2011
Italian comfort @ canadian quality
Many thanks to Mike for the lovely week we spent in the hearth of Abruzzo !
He takes a big care of his guests.
A set of elegant flats are available, very easy to reach through the motorway and only a few miles beyond the exit. Nice balcony with panoramic view of surrounding mountains, wide shower place, comfortable beds, etc.
Very quiet, true country place, it takes only 10 min by car to reach the town Sulmona, where you can appreciate its friendly people, culture, art and many facilities (shops, hospital, "confetti" 's factories).
Our son enjoyed swimming in a pool with a slide in the next village, and could ride a donkey in another village very close. These so lovely animals are bred there and visitors can feed them.
My wife liked very much the natural environment near the local river Sagittario.
Its water is crystal clear and you can see the stones in the bottom. In the country-side you can meet wild animals (we've seen a fox) and herbs (thyme, lemon balm, agrimony, so useful against infections and for a good digestion ).
My wife picked plenty of leaves and made them dry for a tisane.
I appreciated the typical products of the region, which are particularly tasty (red figs, yellow peaches, blue grapes, almonds, red garlic of Sulmona, salami of L‘Aquila, special cakes made with waffle iron).
Also one of the best bread types of the valley is baked in the same village of the house, Campo di Fano.
I could also attend to art shows and concerts with international artists.
We recommend you a holiday in Mike's villa !
from Sabina County, Italy
arrived 20th Aug 2011
Oct 11, 2010
Letter of Reference
GiaMia Villas, host Mike Giammarco
Mike, please find attached a summary of my experience at your rental accommodation. Feel free to use any part of this summary that you wish or forward my email to future potential guests.
GiaMia Villas has provided me and my travel partner with a rare opportunity to experience the local culture of a small, quiet, rural Italian village. Set amid country hills and valleys, the villa itself is of first class quality. It is modern, clean and comfortable, furnished with all things needed for our one month stay. Our favorite place was the large balcony overlooking the villa's fruit, vegetable and flower gardens, pond and fountain, flowing river and distant hills and villages. Our stay included invites to the homes of local families, where we could see what their daily lives were like. We were also generously invited for coffee and meals and to their church services. Our host, Mike Giammarco, was exceptional, introducing us to his family members and neighbors and involving us in local events. He was always available to answer our questions and assist us in any way we needed. For me, this holiday at GiaMia was second to none and I am very excited to recommend it to others looking for a unique and personal experience in Italy.
58 Patterson Crescent
Red Deer, Alberta T4P 1J5
Phone: 403 755-7877
Sep 15, 2010
"Great Stay in a Great Flat"
"We were in Italy for a couple of weeks as I was doing research for a book and for articles I'm writing. In particular, I was in this area to do research on my grandparents and wanted a good base from which we could see the area.
GiaMia is a very pleasant place to stay. The flat was roomy, and all of the appliances were new and in great shape. The bed was comfortable, and we liked having a terrace from which we could look over the river and valley behind the property while enjoying wine and cheese. There are a washer and dryer for use by tenants, and the rentals have flatscreen TVs.
Mike, the owner, was very cordial, helpful and nice. He even helped me find out information about my grandparents, and for that I am more than grateful. He also offered us watermelon, figs, grapes and limoncello and gave us directions to local markets and sites.
GiaMia is in the country, although it is within walking distance of Campo di Fano. Its location makes it perfect to explore the area. If you have a car, you can get to Sulmona (the largest town in the area) within 5 minutes, to a number of national parks within 15 minutes, and small hill towns within 5-30 minutes. Pescara, a town on the Adriatic Sea, is 40-45 minutes away, and Rome is about 2 hours west.
We plan to go back and will stay at GiaMia again.
Chris and Mike Cutler
Las Vegas, NV
December 18, 2009
My family and I spent a wonderful week at the Gia Mia Apartments in Campo di Fano, Abruzzi Italy this past summer. As we have stayed in other apartments in different parts of Italy before, I truly have to say the Gia Mia apartments are a home away from home. Our hosts Mike and Olga were most gracious and friendly. The apartments open concept has all the amenities, rooms were very large, bright and airy and our meals alfresco were spent on the huge terrace overlooking the beautiful Maiella mountain range. Rome is 2 hours away, white sandy beach 45 mins., away and Ovid's Sulmona, the confetti city is 20mins., away with wonderful shopping, outdoor market and souvenirs. We miss it already, can't wait to return. Five stars for sure.
GiaMia Villas are absolutely beautiful! Hosts and owners Michael and Olga went out of their way to make sure our stay was perfect! Everything is brand new, the balcony and views are spectacular. During my stay in Campo Di Fano, they made me feel like I was part of their family. Buses run right at your doorstep to take you wherever you want to go. Only 45 minutes from Pescara airport, the location is convenient, gorgeous and hats off to Michael and Olga for building this gem! Can not wait to return!