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Review 146: Abbazia di Vallingegno, Abbazia di Vallingegno


Review by Mare from Seattle

2bed/2bath apartment on estate near Gubbio, Umbria


September 2001, 1 week


Abbazia di Vallingegno, near Gubbio. Mare from WA, 09/01Location: Abbey is 30 km NE of Perugia, 12 km south of Gubbio on highway S-298. Easy to find, as the Abbey is only a few hundred meters from the highway on a level gravel road. The rural countryside and views are wonderful.

Day trips to Assisi (40 km), Spello, Foligno, Perugia, Gubbio, Gualdo Tadino &Umbertide are very doable from this location.

Agriturismo: Built in the year 1,100 the Abbey became famous because St. Francis (San Francesco) of Assisi stayed there. Legend has it that he met and tamed the wolf in nearby woods.

Abbey is a working farm situated on 40 hectares. Amenities include a swimming pool with panoramic territorial view, horseback riding, mountain biking and trekking the Franciscan trail. It has a reception hall and a small church, or perhaps more appropriately a chapel, in which services are held.

Apartments: The complex consists of 6 beautifully restored apartments with traditional tile and wood beam ceilings, which show the flooring and roofing tiles. Our apartment was simply decorated and very clean. We rented the smallest apt, a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom with a love seat in a small sitting area, dining table with 4 chairs and small kitchen (under counter refrigerator, gas burners, sink). The kitchen was the perfect size to prepare a simple breakfast or lunch but too small to prepare elaborate meals. The kitchen was adequately equipped for cooking and eating.

Bedrooms and bathrooms were on the upper level and accessed via a spiral staircase (a challenge with our wheeled luggage). One bedroom had a queen bed; the other had two twin beds (good arrangement for a family with small children). The bathrooms were modern but tiny; both had telephone booth sized showers. Water pressure was great and we had plenty of hot water.

Rental from Saturday Saturday was $350 USD ($50 day). 30% deposit due in advance to reserve apartment and balance due on departure. Price included linens, heat, gas, water, electricity and final cleaning. A check or wire is required for deposit (we sent a US check) and paid balance with VISA at time of departure.

Owners: Ornella Mulazzani and her husband, Stefano Vagaggini, escaped big city life in Rome, purchased the abbey and turned it into a working farm and agriturismo.

Ornella speaks fluent English, German and Italian. Ornella was horrified to learn that we were on the plane ready to leave for Italy on 11 September. She allowed us the use of her computer so we could let people know that we arrived safely. She is a very charming and friendly host. She and her family live at the abbey and she is readily available for questions.

Stores/Shopping: Gubbio is only a few minutes away and has a very large COOP in addition to the usual shops. There is a gas station/grocery store just meters from the abbey’s driveway that has a very good supply of food basics, including cheeses and salamis. When Bruce told the gas station attendant, in Italian, that it was a beautiful day, he corrected Bruce, explaining that "It was not a beautiful newspaper." Oh well, at least Bruce tried.

Restaurants: Another plus is the on-site restaurant (guests only) that serves breakfast (L 10,000) and dinner (L 35,000). Breakfast consisted of coffee, tea, fruit juice, toast & jam and sweet bread or the jam tarts popular with Italians for breakfast. Dinner is a set menu (no choices) and consisted of at least five courses including house wine (way too much food for us—we could have easily split one meal between the two of us). In addition, there is a conveniently located restaurant a few kilometers north of the abbey on the main highway called Oasi Verde Mengara. It is located in an agriturismo complex of the same name. A review is forthcoming.

Our impressions: enjoyed staying here very much and would not hesitate to stay here again should we revisit this part of Umbria. It was clean, friendly and offered a very convenient location for our explorations. We thoroughly enjoyed Ornella and her two dogs; Stella and Bobby.

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

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