Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1623: La Terrazza sul Macchietto, Apartment
apartments on an estate near Citta di Castello, Umbria
June - July 2005, 2 weeks
La Terrazza sul Macchietto is a fifteenth century estate that has been in Gherardo's family for 500 years. It is in a valley in Umbria just 5km from the Tuscan border on the way to Arezzo. The valley is quite narrow and peaceful, there are tobacco fields over the road, the gate opens into the tiny village of Morra (Lisa St Aubin de Teran renovated her palazzo across the valley!) and the two Alimentari are very friendly and well stocked. Luca Signorelli's mother came from around here so the two churches (and tiny chapel) on the property are quite special.
The nearest small town is Trestina; Citta di Castello is only 15 minutes drive away; the link to the E45 motorway is 10 minutes.
Most importantly, Gherardo and his wife Francesca are wonderful; warm, friendly, helpful but not intrusive. They have put in a swimming pool which is a boon after a long hot day of hill-towning!
We could walk 50m for shopping (food and wine, the vino locale cost less than 1 euro/litre!) Coffee was only available in Trestina (10 minutes by car but a splendid caffe-bar where we were soon considered to be locals). A good restuarant is down the road from Morra but needs a car as it is up the hill. There is a new supermarket up the valley about 1 km.
I can only recommend people to go to the web-site to see for themselves. There are 3 apartments; Fortebracchio is a small building on its own with 2beds/1bath/living-kitchen room, the other two are middle and top floor of the converted granary and are larger - 3beds/2baths etc. There is a ground floor cantina with washing machine, games table, bicycles barbecue etc. There are other outbuildings (one large one with table tennis and easy chairs. The swimming pool is large and well maintained and has umbrellas, lounging chairs etc. It is very peaceful and beautifully renovated without being overly fancy.
The sitting out area in front of the granary building (where we stayed) was quite small but, as it was very hot, we prefered to sit inside in the coolness of the thick stone walls and tiled floors. The pool area is shared (with the family as well, there is a friendly young son of 6).
Everything was spotless. The furniture was mostly old, with new matresses etc. of course but sheets, towels and so on were not necessarily matched. We found this very comfortable and home-like.
There were some single and one double bed which suited our party. The bathrooms were well appointed and more than sufficient for our needs. We were given plenty of towels.
The kitchen was part of the living area so there was limited work surface space but we managed quite happily. There were lots of pots that were clearly intended for Italian style cooking (big pasta pots, a proper coffee mocca, a mouli, etc!) which we appreciated. Plenty of crockery, cutlery. We cooked some memorable meals and then washed up in a carved stone sink!
Problems or Bonuses
Only pleasant ones ... that it was so wonderful and that Francesca and Gherardo were such welcoming hosts and took such delight in their family history and the wonderful old house that they live in (we were shown the whole house from top to bottom and fed truffles from their own kitchen!)
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly with Francesca who offered us a discount for booking early (Feb) and for 2 weeks and she then gave us the bigger apartment when we arrived ... because it was empty! Her English is gloriously mixed up with Italian but her e-mails were enchanting and everything came up to expectations and then some.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, yes and yes again. If you are looking for a smart holiday with easy access to night-life and smart restuarants, this is not for you. If, however, like us you want to relax, buy food in the markets, cook for yourselves, eat in small trattoria where they cook just for you, visit all the major towns of Umbria, drive through the forests and be near a small non-tourist town (Citta), then this is definitely for you.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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