Villa Umbriana is in the tiny hamlet of Villanova and sits on a low hill facing Todi, which is known as one of Italy's finest medieval hill-towns. The views from the house and gardens are unsurpassed. Ours is a lovingly restored villa, built to an exacting standard with medieval stones and modern amenities. The house is prominently featured in the book of dream Italian homes called 'Restoring a Home in Italy' by Elizabeth Helman Minchilli. The house also got rave reviews as one of the architect's best works in a well-known American design blog called Willow Decor.
Our housekeeper is a great country cook with a warm and welcoming personality. She knows the property inside and out, can organise repairs, and is always helpful to guests. One of our greatest treasures!
VIEWS: Todi''s renowned Renaissance church (Santa Maria della Consolazione) is in full view from the pool area and garden. The villa is surrounded by fields (often planted with sunflowers), olive groves and vineyards. The gardens are laced with stone walls and the remnants of a medieval tower.
LOCATION, LOCATION! We are ideally situated to tour Umbria's attractions in Assisi, Perugia, Orvieto and Spoleto, to name just a few of the hill-towns less than an hour drive from the house. There are tennis courts nearby and a private language school in Todi as well as horseback riding stables only minutes from the house.
GARDENS: The pool area is bordered by hedges, roses, and fully enclosed by (chestnut beam) fencing. This enclosure makes it is easier to supervise children. There is natural shade plus a large canvas umbrella and chaise lounges. There are four marble-topped tables in the gardens, fruit trees and a kitchen herbs. Here, as everywhere in Italy, it is all about the pleasures of fine food and wine, which are meant to be savored and enjoyed: either under the kitchen pergola draped with flowering trumpet vines, poolside, or at one of two indoor tables. The outdoor barbeque is an open stone grill, Italian-style, with a supply of logs. The logs can be used outdoors or to stoke one of the three indoor fireplaces or the cast iron stove.
INTERIOR: The house is decorated with antiques and Oriental rugs: the emphasis is on style and comfort. There are terracotta floors and high wood-beamed ceilings. The spacious kitchen is the house's focal point: the raised fireplace is perfect for gathering round on a cold evening. Our housekeeper will always put a smile on your face with her gracious hospitality. She is happy to cook delicious country meals for guests upon request.
LAYOUT: The villa can comfortably sleep ten people. There are four bedrooms upstairs: one master bedroom suite, two doubles and a room with two single beds. Downstairs there is a guest suite, which comprises a queen-sized bedroom plus an adjacent sitting room/bedroom with two daybeds and a foldout sofa-bed. Bathrooms: 3 1/2 total; two of these are en suite. The villa has an uncomplicated yet flexible layout so it is perfect for two families and even additional overnight guests. It is also ideal for a romantic retreat.
ENVIRONS: Villanova is near the tiny hamlet of Torregentile, just 7 km south of Todi in the Umbrian countryside. Todi is ideally situated in the heart of the rolling hills of Umbria, which are covered with olive groves, fields of nodding sunflowers and vineyards. It is equidistant from many of Umbria's premier hilltowns (Assisi, Spoleto, Orvieto, Deruta and Perugia) and is very conveniently situated for touring the region. It is an easy one hour 45 minute drive from Rome airports. Ryanair flies from Stansted airport, London to Perugia, only a 35 minute drive to our house.
UNSPOILED: Todi lies in the green heartland of Umbria, Italy's only landlocked region and one of its most charming. Todi has been hailed as Italy's most livable town due to the beauty of its setting and the authenticity of its culture and cuisine. Umbria is a region that still feels relatively untouched by the flocks of foreign tourists drawn to its better known neighbor, Tuscany. Todi is still largely inhabited and run by the Italians who grew up there. The surrounding countryside- though dotted with splendidly restored villas and castles- is still tended mostly by families who have tilled the soil and looked after their olive groves and vineyards for generations.
SIGHTS AND FESTIVALS: Many of the region's architectural and artistic highlights are in Assisi, Perugia, Orvieto and Spoleto and Spello, all an easy drive from our house. Most towns are reachable by car within an hour or less. In many towns you will find Romanesque or medieval churches tucked away inside a meandering warren of cobbled streets that spill down hillsides; you will discover frescoes, oil paintings and art treasures that rank with Italy's finest. In each town you can enjoy locally produced fine food and wine before setting out to visit the sights. You can duck into local craft or wine shops, or enjoy a panoramic view of swathes of sunflowers in the warmer months. Music and dance is celebrated at world famous outdoor summer festivals: there is Umbria Jazz in Perugia and The Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto. There is yet more jazz played live in Orvieto in December. You can visit the wine museum near the vineyards of Torgiano and buy hand-painted ceramics at any number of shops in nearby Deruta. You can savor the celebrated red wines of Montefalco and buy the richly textured Umbrian traditional linens availalble at several shops Todi itself.
IN PIAZZA: Pastimes are plentiful in and around Todi itself. A cappuccino in Todi -which boasts one of the region's most beautiful piazzas - is a very pleasant way to while away a summer afternoon. And you don't have to worry about throngs of tourists: Todi is a quiet hilltown free from the maddening crowds of Tuscany or beach resorts. Visit the town's many good restaurants, pizzerias and gelaterias - they are wonderful enough to entice you back many times for the duration of your stay.