BlogHouse Chicago at Villa D’Citta

Welcome to Villa D'Citta

Welcome to Villa D’Citta

There is something to be said in favor of the staycation, or – as I call it – hometown travel. You never know what you might discover in your own city or town. You could come upon a gem that was there all the while.

This is exactly how I feel about Villa D’Citta, a Flipkey property and boutique bed and breakfast in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life and consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the city’s geography, neighborhoods, and landmarks. Yet the existence of this opulent mansion had eluded me all these years, even though I must have driven or walked past it dozens of times. Recently, though, I was lucky to stay at Villa D’Citta, as it was the site of BlogHouse, a four-day blogging conference and workshop, which I attended with a group of other travel bloggers and the professionals from Navigate Media Group.

The mansion dates back to the late 1800s when it was built as a summer cottage for wealthy tycoons. It has since been renovated and today it is a luxurious Tuscan-style villa, complete with a private grotto and full gourmet kitchen. Each room is well-appointed and features common amenities, and even some that were new to me (flameless, remote control candles, anyone?). The rooms, with very Italian-centric names, vary in size and in the number of people they can accommodate. I still don’t know how it happened, but I was fortunate enough to be rewarded with my own room (most everyone else shared rooms). I was assigned the Euro, a single on the top floor of the mansion. It was plenty of space for just me, with a spacious closet, a safe, a flat-screen LCD television, and an electric (also remote-controlled) fireplace that works as an actual heater. The Euro does have its own bathroom but it is detached; I had to walk just a few steps down the hallway to get to it but I had it all to myself.

Euro room

Euro room

To go along with this gorgeous property is the unsurpassed service and attention to detail provided for all guests. Cathy Hartmann, Director of Villa D’Citta, is known to “run a tight ship”, but she is extraordinarily pleasant and accommodating. She’s also one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met. Along with her assistants, Cathy spends long hours at the villa, making sure everyone’s needs are met.

As for the actual BlogHouse experience, it was enlightening and invaluable. I learned a great deal about the business of blogging and I’m excited to put my new plan into action. I won’t outline all of the details here and now; instead, I’ll leave you with some photos of the gorgeous Villa D’Citta.

Villa D'Citta parlor

Villa D’Citta parlor

Our BlogHouse workspace

Our BlogHouse workspace



Gourmet kitchen

Gourmet kitchen

If you’re traveling to Chicago, or if you live here and are looking to do some hometown travel of your own, definitely consider Villa D’Citta as an accommodation option. I cannot recommend it highly enough and I’m currently trying to come up with a reason to stay there again.

Along with Flipkey, thanks to Megabus and Gogo Inflight Internet for making the BlogHouse experience possible.

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24 Responses to BlogHouse Chicago at Villa D’Citta

  1. Greg | Travel Blue Book June 16, 2014 at 4:51 am #

    Wow! What a beautiful place. I love the Lincoln Park area of town. Lot’s to see and do. Looking forward to hearing more about what you learned at Bloghouse!

    • Francesca June 16, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

      Villa D’Citta is incredibly beautiful! Lincoln Park is perfect for visitors; as you say, lots to see and do. There will be more BlogHouse goodness to come!

  2. Lisa | LLworldtour June 16, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    I miss that kitchen and all the food that came out of it! #Cookies
    Miss you all too of course! 🙂
    Lisa | LLworldtour recently posted…Video Interview: Jessica WatsonMy Profile

    • Francesca June 16, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

      I miss the gang, as well! #cookies #winefromthewall

  3. Jan Ross June 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    We stayed there as well and still can’t believe how fabulous it was. We have not found a B & B yet that has compared. Did you all check out the Grand Tuscan Suite? That’s where we stayed – and we never wanted to leave!! We also loved the pizza oven and the Panini maker; so nice to save money on food. You can read our review here, if you are interested –
    Jan Ross recently posted…Islands of New England: Heading Out with Blount Small Ship Cruises AgainMy Profile

    • Francesca June 16, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

      The Grand Tuscan Suite is insane! So huge and gorgeous. I’m going to check out your review – thanks for visiting and commenting!

  4. Leah June 17, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    I can’t believe this place exists in Chicago. It’s so beautiful and could easily be at home in Tuscany. Lucky you!
    Leah recently posted…A Flavorful Food Tour of Buenos AiresMy Profile

    • Francesca June 17, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Yes, I was quite lucky to be able to stay there!

  5. Jenny @ A Thing For Wor(l)ds June 18, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    So good meeting you at Bloghouse! And love the take you did with this post, as Bloghouse as a staycation. I definitely have to get back to Chicago soon—I never got to try that farm to table heavy metal restaurant you were talking about (?), or the deep-dish pizza!!

    • Francesca June 26, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      Yes, please come back soon! I’ll take you to Three Aces myself! (That’s the “farm to table heavy metal restaurant”.)

  6. Mindi June 19, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    We can’t wait to return to Chicago and stay at Villa D’Citta again. It was quite an experience on so many levels.

    • Francesca June 26, 2014 at 4:13 pm #


  7. Cathy Sweeney June 19, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    That is so cool. I’d love to stay in an old Lincoln Park mansion — especially one that’s been so beautifully maintained and decorated. I used to live in the Lincoln Park area, but certainly not in a mansion like this. 🙂 Navigate Media did well in selecting the great city of Chicago for BlogHouse!
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted…Halifax Highlights: Old, New, and Déjà VuMy Profile

    • Francesca June 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

      They sure did well, Cathy! Seems that all the out-of-towners really loved Chicago and Villa D’Citta.

  8. Traveling Ted June 19, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    You are such a tease withholding all the #bloghouse info for later. You probably will keep it to yourself and laugh as you pass me on the Nomadic Samuel Top 100 bloggers. Perhaps if I ply you with a beer or two sometime this summer you will divulge some of the tips.

    The house looks beautiful, but I see no mention of the wine spigot. I am sure that will get its own post sooner or later. Great pictures and good to know this place exists.
    Traveling Ted recently posted…Big Bend Chihuahuan Desert photo essayMy Profile

    • Francesca June 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

      Ha ha, the wine in the wall. Yep, I unintentionally left that out. Perhaps it deserves an entire post of its own?

  9. the lazy travelers June 21, 2014 at 6:29 am #

    seriously can’t decide if i love the grotto or the kitchen more!! can’t believe this is in chicago, how cooooool.

    • Francesca June 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

      I think if I’d mentioned the wine tap built into the kitchen wall, you’d love the kitchen more (especially the wino).

  10. Clare June 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Wow! Looks lovely! And I love the idea of discovering local gems through hometown travel. It’s something we should all make the effort to do more 🙂

    • Francesca June 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

      Yep, lots to be said about “vacationing” at home!

  11. Lucy June 23, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    What a fantastic place! It really does look like you could be in Italy rather than Chicago. I’m a big fan of local travel too, it’s so easy to overlook gems that are in your own backyard but travel doesn’t always have to involve an epic journey!

    • Francesca June 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      I may have to borrow that line, Lucy: “…travel doesn’t always have to involve an epic journey.” I couldn’t agree more!

  12. Aggy June 25, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    Wow that is truly a gorgeous place, lucky you to have stayed there!
    Aggy recently posted…Food and Culture TourMy Profile

    • Francesca June 26, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      I know, Aggy. I’m so lucky and was totally spoiled while there!

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