We have rented (4) different apartments for our upcoming trip to Italy. We would like to have gifts for each Apartment owner but we're limited with carry-on luggage space. Any suggestions from seasoned travelers as to an appropriate gift?
Nothing. They're people running a business, not your soon-to-be pals who've invited you into their homes. It'd be like taking a box of candy to the desk dude at Motel 6.
I agree with Ed. It's a business transaction. Just being excellent guests and recommending them to others (along with the fact that you're giving them money) will be more than enough. If they have a listing on TripAdvisor (and many do), do a favorable review (assuming you have a good experience, of course). They certainly will not have even the slightest expectation of anything at all in the way of a gift. That said, we'll be renting an apartment in Verona and plan to take the owners out for dinner while we're there. But that's because we rented the same apartment from them last year and really bonded with them then and since (via email). They were the exception.
I find it patronizing and condescending to leave gifts for people who are providing you with a paid service (and likely well paid), not doing you any favors. I've come across similar questions from other people on this forum. I'm not entirely sure why, maybe it is a spill-over of the "tip-everyone-everywhere" culture on US cruises, hotels, restaurants.
We just got back and I plan to send postcards from my home town. My Mom bonded with Daniela at Albergo Bernini over cross stitch and Daniela gave her a small sample of her cross stitch when we left. She intends to send a small sample of her own work. But again that is a different situation.
My cousin in Italy who owns an agriturismo (farmhouse) says he wouldn't mind a Rolex watch or something similar. All he gets from those 'cheap' German renters is a 'Danke Schoen' and maybe a postcard.
I think a nice gift would be a thank-you note that you leave behind, write a good review, and recommend the place to people on a forum like this.
We took a bottle of wine from our local winery. They loved it! I also have given calendars with photos of Seattle/Pacfic Northwest. Also, since there are now Hard Rock Cafes..we traded local Seattle pins with the waiters in Rome and Venice...we sure had excellent service!!