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Review 1389: Owner, Apartment Alba


Review by rod and anna hardy from New Zealand

1bed/1bath apartment in Todi, Umbria


May 2004, 3 weeks


Apartment Alba is situated a few steps from the piazza in the centre of marvellous medieval Todi. It is privately owned by Maria Grazia and Jens who live upstairs. It is extremely peaceful except for the fascinating chatter of the children heading in to their school in the early morning!

Nearby Amenities

Todi is a huge town (occasionally referred to as a city??). It has every kind of shop you could wish for (except a music store .. the nearest was in Perugia which is about a 45 minute easy drive on the autostrada). Plenty of wonderful trattorias and ristorantes, caffes, small shops selling vegetables, most groceries, and wine of course. The supermercato was huge and about a 5 minute drive outside the city walls. Lots of clothing shops .. one particularly good shop called Jazz which seemed to have 75% reductions on everything for the entire 3 weeks we were there. There were antique shops, shoe shops, hardware shops, great post office and lots of Bar Tabacs.

The House/Apartment

The apartment was in an historical building set amongst a tumbling myriad of homes on the medieval walls. The entire building was owned by Maria Grazia's family and our recently renovated apartment was on the ground floor. We shared the enormous entrance door and foyer with them. The apartment was beautifully clean and the bed linen was luxurious. There was a huge storage area with a gigantic cupboard for stowing away ones booty ...

The kitchen was in one corner of the living room and was sparkling stainless steel with every possible necessity available. We even entertained 4 New Zealand friends one day and they were very suitably impressed!! We enjoyed the wonderful antique table and chairs and relaxed at night on the comfy sofabed watching the TV and trying very hard to understand the news!!


A small set of french doors opened from the living area on to a tiny balcony which was just big enough to take the clothes drying horse. We used that a lot as there was no washing machine and the local laundry was not self service and seemed too expensive for our needs. The balcony looked downwards to the disappearing lane which tracked thru the tumble of houses perched on the wall and also upwards over the tiled rooves to the camponile which towered above. From here the birds soared from dawn til dusk and the sound of bells donged gently throughout the day.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The apartment is really best suited for 2 although I am sure the sofa bed would be adequate for sleeping on. It is very large, light and airy.


The bed was beautifully comfortable and the shutters kept out the brilliant moonshine at night and as the sun came up it laddered the bed with its shadow. The bathroom had a superb extractor fan and heating system. The shower was huge and spotless. There was of course the customary bidet!


I loved the kitchen and found it great to experiment with the wonderful produce bought either from a market from one of the many small towns close by or from the superb supermarket.

Problems or Bonuses

The best bonus was our wonderful hosts. Jens and Maria Grazia are a wonderfully warm and extremely kind couple. Jens is German and Maria Grazia a home-grown Italian from Todi!! Jens speaks very good English and Maria Grazia very little. However being an ex school teacher her speech is slow and careful and we were able to learn such a lot from her.

On our second day there we were invited to Sunday lunch in their home and we were introduced to a table groaning with Umbrian specialties.

They had invited their lovely friends Remo and Oriette who were very special and also very kind to us. We were fortunate to have at least 5 visits to their fascinating ancient flour mill and we were also invited to share a marvellous typical Umbrian meal with them. Remo is a very proud Umbrian and a keen cook who was thrilled to share his local knowledge with us. Oriette his wife is a truly vibrant, warm and entertaining Italian who spoke no english but her communication with us was great. We treasure their friendship and strongly recommend their hospitalty to any one wanting to share in the true Umbrian country lifestyle. They do have apartments for rent and also a B & B option . Their accommodation is lovely and rustic and their website is http://www.argoweb.it/appartamenti_molinodimolanoce/molanoce.uk.html

Agency and Representatives (and price)

Because of the realistic price for this property ... right in the heart of Todi which is perced on high a ancient ramparts overlooking central Umbria ... we chose to stay for 3 weeks. What a marvellous decision. It certainly takes time to begin to hear the heartbeat of a place and we did begin to feel the rhythm by the time we reluctantly left. However, we shall return!! The price for 3 weeks was 936 euro.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

We would stay here every time...

Things to do in this area

Todi is so very central. The carpark is at the foot of the town and reached by an elaborate funicular. We hired a car and spent most days discovering the adjacent towns. It was about an hour to Cortona, 45 mins to Perugia and about 30 mins to Orvieto. The autostrada are so easy to navigate and although the traffic seems to go very fast somehow it still feels safe.

There was a huge market in Gubbio which we were glad to find. Spoleto, Spello, Moltepulciano, Marsciano and Montefalco were among the fabulous day trips we enjoyed.

The town of Norcia is fascinating and specializes in different meat varieties. We had hoped to get to see the incredible wild flower display on the Pian Grande but we were about 2 weeks early. Early June is best time, I gather.

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

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