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Review 135: Summer's Leases, Il Furioso


Review by John G. from UK

5bed/4bath villa near Todi, Umbria




The odd name of the villa conceals the most charming of surprises. Just over fifteen minutes from the motorway to Rome a quiet road turns into a winding country lane and eventually a dusty track. There is little to betray the presence of the villa, hidden from sight by trees, except for a bamboo shelter which protects cars from the sun which seems to shine every day in August in Umbria. Stone steps lead down to a terrace, and then successively house, loggia, gardens, pool, vineyard and finally the River Tiber. The house, whose many-levelled rooms, staircases and eccentric geography take days to learn is full of books, paintings, prints, antiques and old but comfortable and child friendly furniture. There is even an ancient and rather out of tune piano. We immediately felt not so much as the transitory occupants of a rented property, but as though the house guests of absent friends whose unaffected good taste is everywhere apparent.

The feeling of welcome the house exudes is complemented perfectly by the housekeeper Maria, whose complete lack of English and whose friendly tolerance can lead to comedy for those who speak no Italian. Bring a phrase book or practise your skill at charades. Our attempt at "another clean towel" was particularly amusing. Maria lives in a farmhouse nearby and often brings freshly laid eggs, and tomatoes and fruit from her garden.

Breakfast, laid out everyday except Sunday, by Maria, on the terrace at a long marble table is an abiding memory. The views across the Tiber Valley to the Umbrian hills as the sun began to burn away the morning mists were breathtaking. Peace and seclusion during the long hot days and balmy evenings was the hallmark of the place. It is a house I would describe as comfortable, lived in and friendly rather than luxurious. If you would choose an old, family run three star hotel in a quiet street in Trastevere over the Hilton International Rome, then this is the place for you. Expect to live as the locals do, to face the odd water shortage with equanimity, and to decide that Il Furioso is so relaxing a place to be that there is no need to go charging over the Italian countryside seeing the sights. We did, and liked it so much we immediately booked it again for a month.

Summers Leases who manage the property on behalf of the owner and her family are a pleasure to deal with. They are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their region and the properties they administer, and refreshingly honest about what to expect. They provide one of the best examples I have recently seen of personal, efficient and friendly service.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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