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Customer Review

on 13 June 2006
We have found delightful places to stay in a number of European countries using Alastair Sawday's Special Places to Stay series of guides. We have never been disappointed with any of the B & Bs, inns, auberges or small hotels which we have been introduced to by Alastair Sawday. He and his team seem to have an uncanny knack of finding out of the way, interesting and comfortable places to stay, always with welcoming hosts, who are often interesting people in their own right.

Therefore we were looking forward to trying out Alastair Sawday's Special Places to Stay - Italy. We had great fun using the book earlier in the year and were not disappointed in any of our "finds". We were introduced to several new places to stay. I will just mention two which particularly stood out.

The first is in the Italian lakes on the banks of Lake Como in a village called Cadenabbia, just up the road from the ferry terminal where we arrived over from the beautiful town of Bellagio. It is entry number 16 in the book and is called Alberghetto La

Marianna. The description in the book had sounded too good to be true, but I can confirm that it is accurate in every respect, from the description of the B & B to the delightful Paola who runs the B & B side of the business and her larger than life husband, who is a passionate and superb Italian cook. He told us that in the winter when they close the albergho they go to the US where he teaches Italian cookery. We are returning to their delightful little hotel later in the year.

The second is on the way to the Adriatic coast from Bologna and is as described in the book, in the country surrounded by vineyards. It is called Azienda Vitivinicola e Agrituristica Trere entry number 85. The bedrooms were delightful and we ate a lovely dinner in what we were told was the refurbished cow byre (or shed); a lovely meal accompanied by their own rich and delicious red wine.

We enjoyed ourselves so much that we have another Italian trip planned later in the summer using Alastair Sawday's Special Places to Stay Italy guide to search out yet more hidden hotels to stay. Unlike some other Italy guides which we have used for rural retreats in Italy Alastair Sawday's descriptions are always detailed, accurate and in English! He also gives detailed directions, which is essential to find small Italian B & Bs in the country! Therefore the research must be detailed and painstaking as some must be very difficult to find, but I am sure the work is rewarding and fun!
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