Frequently Asked Questions & Local Weather Affordable villa rental in Trapani Contact us: info@puresicily.co.uk   +447980575998 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Over the decades, we have been asked many questions. Just in case you have a similar question or query, some of the most common ones are listed here for you. If there is anything else you would like to know that is not answered here - please contact us. Click here to jump to the Online English FAQ below or Download a PDF version in your language. The Accommodation  Climate & Temperatures Paying for your Holiday Rental  Car Hire, Driving & Eating Out  Language, Culture & Currency  Telephone, Internet, Electricity, Water, Recycling & Refuse  The Mafia  Sources for further information The Accommodation Are the villas accessible? Villa Anna is accessible to wheelchair users and baby buggies. In 2006 a wet-room style walk-in shower room replaced the old bathroom and the entire ground floor and surfaced garden are accessible to all. Villa May is not as accessible but can accommodate most users. A baby cot can be arranged in advance by request. Please contact us with any special requests.  How do I find the villa? Between May-October one of us will meet you at Trapani Airport (or near the Marausa exit of the A29 Motorway if you land at Palermo) to guide you to the villa. A mobile phone number will be of use to inform us of any flight delays so that we can ensure you will be met. A comprehensive route map will always be provided to assist your arrival if you prefer to make your own way there. What time are the keys available? We are fairly flexible on this and will do our best to meet you at Trapani airport or at the accommodation to hand over the keys. We will normally walk you round the accommodation to explain which key does what.  Is there on-site help when we are there? We are fluent Italian/English speakers and are a two minute walk from the villas during the April-December period. At other times, on-site assistance can be requested by phone and we will try to be with you within 1 hour. Click to go back to question index Climate & Temperature What are the best months to visit? Between January and March you can expect some rain, but by the middle of April, the temperature rises and people start to visit the beach. Temperatures in May and June  are very warm, with July and August being the two hottest months of the year - often reaching above 40°C. September is warm like May and the sea and skies stay warm until the middle of October. It becomes a little cooler in November and December and it’s a good time to go hill walking in Sicily. See the beach page of the website for current weather forecast. Is the accommodation air conditioned? Most of the houses and flats we rent have been designed to traditional standards with high ceilings, shuttered windows and shaded verandas to keep the interiors cool. Some have A/C, others have fans. See individual property pages for details. Whats the sea temperature like? From June to September, the waters in the Lido Marausa bay are warm and pleasant. That said, April, May and October are fine for bathing if you are from northern Europe! Remember that the Mediterranean sea is semi-enclosed and so the temperatures are much warmer than the Atlantic. In July and August, the shallow Marausa sea waters stay warm until about 1 in the morning. Click to go back to question index Paying for your Holiday Rental When do I need to pay for the property? A deposit of 30% is required to book the villa, reimbursable in part if the booking is cancelled more than 40 days prior to the start of the rental period. The 70% balance must be paid in full or in instalments to be completed no later than 28 days prior to the commencement of your rental.   How do I pay for the property? We accept both GB Sterling (£) and Euro (€) currencies for Advance Payment. Customers anywhere in Europe can pay in Euros via BIC/SWIFT IBAN bank transfer. UK guests can pay in GB Sterling via BACs Transfer, Cheques drawn on a UK Bank or online by Credit or Debit Card via Paypal Secure. However, anyone paying the balance upon arrival must do so in Euro (€) Currency. Currency Exchange rates used will be those extant at the time of booking. Is a breakages deposit payable? A fee of €150-€200 will usually be taken upon arrival as a safety deposit against breakages and damage to the property and its fittings. This will be refunded at departure once an accompanied inspection has taken place and subject to no significant damage to our property or contents. Click to go back to question index Car Hire, Driving & Eating Out Is car hire recommended? Yes. Although our travel page provides links to bus, coach and rail services, if you intend to discover the island properly hiring a car is recommended. Check our travel page for more information. We can provide bikes for use on local roads, used at your own risk. I'm worried about driving in Sicily, what advice have you got? If you are used to driving in a big city you should be fine, but it's all about having confidence. Expect people to pull out in front of you in any urban area, and you wont go wrong. Cut-up drivers react with hot air and hand gestures in typical Italian style, but will rarely resort to verbal abuse or violence. ALWAYS CARRY YOUR DRIVING LICENCE WHEN DRIVING. Check the travel section for more details. Where is the Nearest Restaurant? There are two restuarants in Marausa, both within easy walking distance of all our properties. A meal for two can cost between €15-40 including wine depending on where you go and what you eat. The best for fresh seafood is Tony’s BeachBar Restaurant (5 minute walk from Villa Anna), while La Perla is larger and also offers pizzas. Check our cuisine page for some useful suggestions on where to eat locally. I'm vegetarian, will I be able to eat out in Sicily? You'll be absolutely fine. Italian food is well known for its use of vegetables and non meat ingredients and Sicily is no exception. In the Trapani region you'll also find a variety of cous-cous dishes, a remnant of the Arabic traders that passed though centuries ago. Western Sicily is also known for its many fish and seafood dishes, but menus and staff are normally clear. If in doubt just say 'vegeteriano'. Click to go back to question index Language, Culture & Currency What language is spoken? Italian is the national language and we've left a few phrase books in the villas for you to use while there. If you hear the Sicilian dialect (’dee-a- letto Si-shill-ee-aano’ - a combination of Arabic, French and Italian) – just say ‘non capisco Siciliano’ (I don’t understand Sicilian). When it's night time in Italy, it's Wednesday over here...? No, no no. Sicily is on Central European Time (CET) which is GMT +1 with similar seasonal adjustment dates as the rest of Europe. Life in Sicily is laid back and despite their love for horn-honking and dislike of queues (they don’t queue), they often snooze their afternoons away in the shade or in the town squares playing cards or bocce (boules). In the summer months the locals avoid the blistering heat by taking a siesta between 13:00 and 16:00 - leaving beaches, towns and roads deserted for ‘the Tourist’. Mad dogs and Englishmen as they say... What religions are represented in Western Sicily? Catholicism is the national religion of Italy, and therefore, Sicily. However, this part of Sicily lay on the trade route between the Middle East, Africa and Europe and has a strong arabic and Muslim influence in not only religion, but architecture and cuisine too. What currency is used? Since 2002 it’s been the Euro. The Lire now only exists only in colloquial expressions like “man’c’una lira” (penniless). Most major credit cards are accepted with the usual European limitations on the American Express. ATM Cashpoints ‘Bancomat’ tend to work all week except on Sunday when the international networks sometimes go offline. As a courtesy, try not to use notes above €200 in smaller stores. Taking your transaction receipt is a legal requirement and the Guardia della Finanzia (Finance and Customs Inspectors) can fine you if you can’t produce it upon exiting a shop! What are the typical shop opening times? Although opening hours vary from shop to shop, most stores close between 13:00 (1pm) and 16:00 (4pm) daily and close again at 19:30 (7.30pm). In the summer many premises operate an ‘orario-unico’ (single period) and close for the day at 13:00 (1pm). Markets start early and are gone by midday. Larger supermarkets in Trapani close at 20:00 (8pm). Bars stay open later in the summer, often till 02:00 (2am). Banks are normally open from 08:30 (8.30am) until 13:00 (1pm) and again 14:45 (2.45 pm) till 15:45 (3.45pm) weekdays. There is normally no weekend or public holiday opening. You must pass through a security air-lock for most banks in Italy. Cashpoints operate throughout the day, but international networks are often disconnected for a few hours on a Sunday. Any unusual Insects or animals? Ants have been in Sicily for millions of years and, unlike its peoples who have been overthrown by every empire that has invaded, the ants have survived... And got bigger. Depite their size (8mm long) they are harmless. Mosquitoes (Zanzare) can be kept at bay with an outside burner or a plug-in indoor repellent. Snakes are small, rarely seen and tend to rush to get away from humans. Despite the abundant marine life off the coast of Trapani, there are no sharks or other creatures likely to eat you. Some small jellyfish give an annoying sting, but the waters are so clear you can see them before they come near you. Occasionaly in May and October the river flats near Marausa become home to migrating Flamingoes who stop off for a break on their journey from/to Africa. Click to go back to question index Telephoning, Internet access, Electricity, Water, Recycling & Refuse  Will my mobile phone work? Vodafone, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), Wind and ‘3’ provide GSM services across Sicily. If your phone is a GSM Mobile from another European Country it should work fine. Triband cellular telephones from outside the EU should also work. Contact your service provider well in advance of your departure to enable International Roaming or discuss your phone's compatibility and roaming charges. There are some mountainous ranges along the coast where your signal may peak and trough, but generally reception is good. How do I make a phone call? The international dialing prefix in Italy is ‘00’ followed by the country code you are calling. Italy is ‘39’, the UK is ‘44’ and the ROI is ‘353’. You must drop the leading ‘0’ if you are calling the UK from abroad: eg 020 8765 4321 becomes (00 44) 20 8765 4321. Bear in mind that if you ring an Italian number from a UK mobile on Roam, the call is routed via the UK and you effectively pay for two calls. Alternatively, payphones accept credit cards, coins and phonecards from tobacconists. What’s Internet Access Like? You’re on holiday... give it a rest! We do not have internet connections at any of our properties, but if you need to go online, you can connect your wi-fi device at the local Beach Bar restaurant for free - subject to you buying something to drink or eat from there. The nearest internet cafe is in Trapani, near the military barracks by the cable car station. To avoid a big bill from your service provider, be sure to turn the ‘always-on’ functions of your mobile/cellular device off while outside your home nation. What voltage of electricity is used? 220v with 50/60Hz. UK appliances are normally okay to use as these use 240v with 50/60Hz. However, we will not be held responsible for damage caused to appliances with incompatible voltages and you should check with your manufacturer before travelling. Localised power outages tend to be quite rare, but do bear in mind that Italy and therefore Sicily, imports most of its electricity from France. Do you have a hairdryer? Yes. Guests staying in Villa Anna have access to a hairdryer, iron and ironing board, electric kettle and wind-up torches.  Is domestic tap water drinkable? Yes. The water is a combination of mountain spring and de-salinated purified sea water. All our accommodation in Marausa is connected to the mains network and have sealed underground drinking water reservoirs. However, there are plenty of roadside taps, fountains, and mountain springs around Sicily if you want to stop off and fill a bottle on your travels. Please don't waste water in Sicily - it is a precious commodity. What do I do with my refuse and recycling? If you're shopping in the markets you probably won’t have much waste, but if you do, remember that there are no kerbside collections in Italy. Rubbish must be disposed of in the large communal Eurobins alongside main roads. Full recycling facilities exist for paper, glass, plastic and metal near the lighthouse and beside main refuse points. The map we will provide will show you where you can find these facilities. Failure to empty the bins before you depart will result in a €25 deduction from your security deposit. Click to go back to question index The Mafia What is the Mafia? It's an underground criminal organisation whose origins date back to 1865. The name Mafia derives from a word used by Arabic settlers that described the islanders' dogged levels of self esteem, honour and courage in the face of countless invasions by most historical Empires. Misconceptions about the Mafia stem from the otherwise excellent Godfather films which were very much set in a long-gone era! The real life bloodshed in the 1960s and 1980s was short lived and most of the survivors were tried, sentenced and imprisoned during the famous Maxi Trials of 1986-7. Aside from the occasional high-profile arrest, the organisation has become elusive and invisible once more. Does the Mafia pose a threat to tourists? No. It's an underground criminal organisation and like most similar groups, the 'Cosa Nostra' (meaning 'Our Thing') operates on the fringes of society's spectrum. What happens in the criminal ether of any nation is rarely visible to residents, let alone tourists. The Mattanza's of the 1960s and early 1980s stemmed from infighting between families seeking to control the lucrative post-war building boom and latterly the US drug trade. Both issues are a documented part of the island's history now and its unlikely you will see anything untoward during your stay. If you want to read more on the subject you might like to read one of the books on the right. What signs will I see of the Mafia? Whilst tourists are safe, Sicilian shops and businesses still get pressured into paying a 'Pizzo' to the local Mafia for 'protection'. In 2004 a new movement started called 'Addio Pizzo' (Goodbye Pizzo) - which aims to end this protection racketeering. Establishments that are part of the movement display Addio Pizzo stickers so that customers know that their money is not contributing to the Mafia. Click to go back to question index I have an unusual request, need special assistance or help with booking. Whatever your question, don't worry - just ask us and we will try our best to accommodate your request and answer your enquiry honestly and in full. Please use our contact us page to choose the method of contact that suits you best. Click to go back to the top of the page Sources for further information Where can I find out more about Sicily? Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Michelin all produce decent guidebooks detailling the delights and culture of Sicily. For the bookworms amongst you, we recommend travelogues 'Midnight in Sicily' by Peter Robb and 'On Persephone's Island' by Mary Taylor Simeti. Those of you who prefer films, try Guiseppe Tornatore's award winning 1989 'Cinema Paradiso', The Leopard, and RAI Television’s mini-series ‘Giovanni Falcone’. If you wish, we can suggest a plethora of Sicilian guidebooks, cookery books, travel writing and DVDs for you to check out. Independent information about Marausa and Trapani can be found on Trip Advisor, LidoMarausa and WikiTravel. 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