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Review 226: Vacanza Bella, Villa Molinazzo


Review by R.G.Diamond from Los Angeles

villa, sleeps 10 +4, Umbria


Spring 2001, Spring 2002, two weeks each time


I am an experienced renter, and Villa Molinazzo is the finest rental property I have seen in Italy. We routinely rent a large house with friends every year, and have developed a degree of trust with Daniel Morneau, of Vacanza Bella, because every positive and negative of the properties he's rented us are discussed with blistering candor. It's terrifying to spend all the money for a property sight unseen, and I now have a very high level of trust with him, so when he told me this was the best he had, I jumped.

We gasped when we walked in. The house was huge, light, spectacularly positioned on a pastoral hillside, beautifully decorated (no renter-y furniture). I wanted to steal some of the antiques. The house was rebuilt from the stones up, but feels charmingly old. One of the advantages of a rebuilt house is that every bedroom has a lovely en-suite bath, giving the configuration of your group total privacy. Out every window was a gorgeous view; out every door was a luxurious lounging patio, complete with upholstered furniture and tasteful outdoor lighting. The pool was at the highest elevation of the property, with one of the most stunning views I've ever seen. (We spent a lot of time sitting up there and feeling lucky.) The maid, Luisa, was lovely and working on her English. Her mother, for a small fee, made delicious lasanga, and we would have used her more had one of us not been a chef. Speaking of which, the kitchen was huge, had a large eating area, and was fully equipped.

I could not, if I tried, come up with a negative about this property. If your group is larger, there is a sweet 2-bedroom guest house at an extra fee; if it's smaller, they'll simply shut it up and not rent it to anyone else.

The Roman owners are obviously very classy and tasteful people, and I guess they use the house for themselves, when it's not rented. Another unusual touch -- there are gorgous fabrics on all the curtains, coordinated with lovely upholstery. Made me wonder if they were in the fabric business.

The area was perfect for daytrips to Orvieto, Todi, Civita, Spoleto, and we started to venture into Lazio, to see some of the Farnese gardens, the Bomarzo monster park, etc., all of which made us feel like we had branched out from Tuscany and were having an even more authentic Italian experience.

We liked this place so much last year that we actually rented it again this year, and we are not repetitive types. Coming back to it was like walking into heaven. In fact, I'd say that heaven, should I see it, will have a tough act to follow.

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

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