Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1086: Owners Syndicate, Tenuto il Gelso
5bed/6bath villa near Todi, Umbria
Aug 28 - Sep 11, 2004, 2 weeks
Tenuto il Gelso is located 7km from Todi on a quiet country road in the hills south of Todi. The villa is located on the same property as the owner's house, but we rarely saw them and never heard them, giving us a tremendous sense of privacy.
The location was ideal, as Todi offered not only a beautiful town to explore, but numerous shops, grocery stores, restaurants, internet cafes, etc. were close at hand. This villa was a perfect "hub" to "spoke" off of; an easy 10 minute drive from E45, giving us full access to all the great hilltowns, Assisi, and even Norcia. Orvieto was about 40 minutes via a lovely road along the river, giving us a convenient train station to go to Florence, or to hop on the A1 to Siena or Montefalco.
You have to take a car everywhere, but there are two grocery stores within 10 minutes, and another within 15 minutes - quite close, actually! There is a fantastic pizzeria/restaurant in Fiore, about 5 minutes away, and of course, Todi just up the hill.
The cottage is original to the property, but Tenuto il Gelso was built only 12 years ago. We were very surprised to learn this, as it has all the "old" charm you could ever hope to find in a villa, and looked very much part of the landscape. Probably due to the fact that the English owners are an architect and an interior designer.
The pool was very large, with numerous lounge chairs dotted around. The view was of olive groves and the forests of the surrounding hills. Very peaceful and beautiful.
Everything was in very good shape and clean, with a lot of big chairs and sofas. There is a maid that comes in a couple of times during the week in addition to a full Saturday cleaning.
With so much space both inside and out (two outdoor eating areas, each easily sit 8), including two living rooms, our group never felt cramped for room or privacy.
There are 4bed/5bath in the main house, and a cottage (included in price) with the other 1bed/1bath. Every bedroom was beautifully decorated with an ensuite bathroom, and all beds were doubles (some king, some two beds pushed together, which worked fine). The bathrooms were uniquely European; some had showers(small), some just had a hand shower in the tub, while the cottage shower offered to flood the whole bathroom each time it was used. That was solved by having those staying in the cottage use the spare bathroom in the house (cottage is only two dozen steps from the house).
There is no a/c, but there are fans in every room. I believe bidets and bathrobes were available in each bathroom, too.
There are two full kitchens, which became lifesavers - one was stocked with our Happy Hour groceries, while the other was used by the Bruna the cook to prepare many of our meals. Yes, a cook. Book her every night if you can. The value is unbeatable (10 Euro per hour x 4hours prep incl. shopping, + groceries for 8 people = 125 Euro for dinner, for 5 about 100 Euro) for a group, and Bruna is the local's choice to cater weddings, etc. he brings a full menu for you to choose from, or you can give her some general guidelines, and let her do what she does best - choose the freshest ingredients to make the best meal possible. We ate outside every night, but there was a large dining table inside if the weather is uncooperative.
Problems or Bonuses
We were a group of 8, with very demanding expectations. The villa was better than we had ever hoped. I honestly can't think of a bad thing about the place (although the funky-ish showers took some getting use to), while I was poetic about Bruna, the spaciousness of the house, and the large and lovely pool area. The fluffy, terry cloth bathrobes in each room were a very nice touch. While there was no a/c, which was a concern going in late August, the house stayed cool if we closed it up during the day. Oh - and the two resident cats and two dogs were adorable!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Owners' Syndicate was excellent to work with. I dealt with Carolina Brooke, and not only did she have the patience of a saint, but she always got back to me in a timely manner. One of the things I really liked about OS was that the price included 2 small cars that you could upgrade, and they have a deal with Maggiore that cuts the deductible in half (!), making the SKO almost unnecessary.
The owners of il Gelso were living in their house while we were there - helpful when we needed them, but not in the least intrusive. I believe both the Owners' Syndicate website and the owner's website were perfectly accurate.
Prices: 12/01/2004 21/05/2004 £1880 22/05/2004 28/05/2004 £2075 29/05/2004 4/06/2004 £2795 5/06/2004 25/06/2004 £2075 26/06/2004 9/07/2004 £2795 10/07/2004 3/09/2004 £3195 4/09/2004 8/10/2004 £2075 9/10/2004 31/12/2004 £1880
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay here again. I think for 8 it is ideal, 10 people is certainly do-able. The owner's have another villa, La Torricella, that I would like to stay in if we had had a smaller group, namely because it has fabulous views of Todi - downside was 2km of white dirt road to get to it. You can book through the owners directly instead of going through an agency - call Michael Blampied at tel: 075 885 3224/mobile: 338 240 9831. I don't know how different his prices are, and frankly, I liked going through the agency and taking advantage of their knowledge, car deal, and honesty.
For distances to other towns, I found www.mappy.com to be very accurate - just add five minutes to whatever time they give from Todi to account for the 7km distance.
Things to do in this area
Best restaurant: il Gelso with Bruna as chef Best pizzeria/restaurant: Rosa dei Vente in Fiore - lovely outdoor seating, fantstic food and pizza - we went twice!
Grocery stores: Eurospin has best prices, smallest selection. The Coop has better selection overall, higher prices. Both are just outside Todi in Cappucini.
Distances of Todi to: (add 5min for true 'from villa' time) Assisi – 50 min Amelia – 36 min Aquasparta – 19min Attigliano – 47min Baschi – 26min Bevagna – 39min Cannara – 46 min Carsulae – 30min Chiusi – 58min Citta di Castello – 1 hr 7min Civita de Bagnoregio – 43min Deruta – 20min Foligno – 45min Gubbio – 1 hr 9min Monte Castello di Vibio – 15min Montefalco – 39min Montefiascone – 58min Montepulciano – 1hr 15min Norcia – 1 hr 28min Orvieto – 37min Perugia – 35min Pigge – 44min Pitigliano – 1hr 19min Portaria – 40min San Gemini- 26 min Spoleto-50min Sienna - 1hr 50min Spello – 47 min Spoleto – 50min Stroncone – 41min Trevi – 44min
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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