Looking back I realized I had to chronicle one of the best summer vacations I’ve ever had. In July 2009 my wife and I put ourselves in the hands of Suzy and Bill Menard at Fattoria del Gelso, Cannara, Umbria Italy. What distinguished this vacation was the hands on warmth and guidance of Bill and Suzy and the entire staff. The updated farmhouse was wonderfully homey and afforded the privacy and comfort required for a restful vacation. The picturesque grounds are beautiful and clean. And after a day out and about, in and around the swimming pool we had a sweet early evening oasis to cool off and enjoy cocktails in. I traveled with my wife and another couple. Each day with the sun shining down on us we were treated to so much of Umbria that we had to plan for some down time. Suzy, Bill and staff helped us plan each day and addressed our needs as we went along, a custom designed on demand vacation. Days were filled with learning, relaxing and enjoying. There were trips to local wineries one of which we lunched at, tours of Assisi and Peruggia, which was also hosting the Umbria Jazz Fest, a private cooking class and evenings meals at the villa or at a nearby village restaurant featuring seasonal Umbrian fare. During our stay other guests included by chance, a prominent author, a news editor, an electronics engineer, and a CEO of a US Bio-Solutions firm. The evening dinners around the pool, anchored by the abundant flow of Umbrian wine were casual and carefree. The delicious nightly dining was not only a food lover jackpot but a wonderful social gathering featuring very interesting conversation among the guests. With discussion and opinions on politics, prose, business and the arts one could not help but feel reminiscent of European salons of the 18th century. As evening turned gently to night we watched the sun set gently over the horizon from our vantage nestled in the valley floor of the “breadbox of Italy” while gazing up at the lit up hillside of Assisi. Importantly we never felt that Suzy and Bill were pushing tours as much as they were treating us as guests in their home. They shared years of knowledge to make sure our experiences were great for us. I suggest you too leverage that knowledge by sharing with them what is you want out of your vacation. They will be prepared, they will arrange everything and you will have a great time. I hope you find the time and means to enjoy this wonderfully hosted vacation spot for a great time.