Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1570: Brigolante Guest Apartments, La loggetta
Apartments on a farm near Assisi, Umbria
Summer 2005, 1 week
"In the middle of nowhere" sounds bad, but the Brigolante farm is actually in a very beautiful yet unpopulated area of Umbria, although just a few minutes from Assisi. Staying here you will be surrounded by fields and orchards and woods, with the feeling of being in an otherworldy pocket of quiet and relaxation. Yet, just a short drive will take you to one of the most stunning towns you might visit (as long as you don't visit it in the middle of the day when all the other visitors crowd it!).
Assisi is large enough to support the whole range of businesses, most important of all a small supermarket. Yet, the town is very touristed and most shops cater mostly to tourists and therefore specialize in the kind of bric-a-brac that is bought by daytrippers to bring back home as souvenir. Just further on down the road, Santa Maria degli Angeli has a more day-to-day shopping scene, with regular groceries and other shops.
The building is an ancient farm that Rebecca and her husband restored after having been abandoned for a new home (built in modern shapes but fully covered in stone, just like the old farm, so that it doesn't stick out). They did an incredible job of redoing it in a way that resulted both comfortable for the modern-day traveler and yet respectful of its past, also renovating old furniture like XIX century beds. The general style of the apartment furniture respects this very traditional style, yet it's very functional.
The front patio is equipped with lounge chairs and benches that are partially shaded by trees during the day, so that one can chose whether to sunbathe or sit in the shadow. There is also a small area with a roof and a large table that seats six and might be used for eating outside, or just for sitting in a deeper shadow if you are very sensitive to direct sunlight. There is also a small flower garden.
The first thing I noticed on entering the apartment was the perfect cleanness of everything: it must be said that the people who do the cleaning in the property really do a great job! The apartment is quite small, but rooms are large enough, and especially the kitchen-living room is quite large and equipped with an old table that comfortably seats four. Plus our apartment had a small sofa.
The bedroom hosts an ancient bed, a great piece of XIX century furniture with extremely tall headboards. Also the bed is very high, and I had to climb on it or even jump up to sit on it. I felt short! ^___^ Also the chest of drawers was an old piece perfectly restored and topped with a big mirror and a vase of fresh flowers from the garden. The bathroom is HUGE, with a shower, a whirlpool tub and a washing machine hidden in a closet.
The kitchen is a regular kitchen like the ones Italians have in their homes, except for the fridge that is quite small, but still large enough for a week stay. Pots and pans were of good quality: all pots stainless steel and non-stick pans, brand new.
One thing I missed was a tea cup: the dish cupboard held espresso cups and tall and slim mugs, but no tea cups or caffelatte cups, which are better if you don't drink espresso and want to dip your bread, butter and marmelade in your tea or caffelatte. Yet, I know this is a very Italian thing, and most of the Brigolante guests are not Italian.
Everything else looked brand-new and very nice. Actually, nice enough to make me want to cook each and every meal we had during our holiday, except for a couple of light lunches of panini or pizza we had on daytripping days.
Problems or Bonuses
Plus? A wonderful welcome gift of fresh eggs right from the house chickens, homemade marmelade, homegrown vegetables (we were also welcome to pick anything we wanted from the vegetable garden, although I only "stole" a little herbs and some salad), homemade wine, homemade oil, homemade everything. Even the soap in the bathroom is a creation of Rebecca! As the week progressed we were offered three portions (there were just two of us, but we ate them all anyhow) of homemade tagliatelle, and on the following day hot torta al testo with homemade salame.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We rented directly from the owner Rebecca, and she was just sweet and very efficient. We had reserved the smaller apartment, La Stalletta, yet on the day before our arrival she mailed us that a couple had canceled the reservation for the larger top-floor apartment, La Loggetta, and she was offering it to us for no additional money! The original price of 450 euro would have been well spent for the smaller apartment too. Yet, the 25% discount I had won during last year's Slow Travel contest made the whole thing an incredible bargain. Even without discounts, I am considering to go back for one week more at full price: even if a little more costly than I am used to, Brigolante is a great deal.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Don't believe what is said on the website: the place is even more beautiful than that!!!
Things to do in this area
We hardly left the Assisi area for our whole stay, and even in that case we never drove further than 20 miles: apart from the main town, Assisi has a lot to offer: Santa Maria degli Angeli's main church is built around the original San Francesco hurch, the Porziuncola, and Monte Subasio hosts the incredible Eremo delle Carceri sanctuary.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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