Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3226: Summer's Leases, Alla Collina
7bed/6.5bath house near Todi, Umbria
August, 2007, 2 weeks
Alla Collina is located on a hill on a large property in the country. It has a 300 degree panoramic view that includes the wonderful town of Todi. The location is completely private. The property is rented to only one party at a time. The villa is smack in the middle of a wonderful area with a great deal to see and do.
Nearest good shopping is in Todi, about 10 minutes away. A good upscale restaurant has opened a kilometer away. Other good restaurants and cafes are within a few kilometers, both in Todi and other nearby towns.
Alla Collina is an old farmhouse that has been beautifully renovated and expanded. The house and outbuildings are in excellent shape. The area is peaceful and private. The main house has three large bedrooms with en suite baths upstairs (plus a sitting room) and a bedroom with en suite bath downstairs. Large living room, games room, kitchen and breakfast room, powder room, laundry room also on main floor. There is a 2bedroom/1bath cottage with living room and kitchen about 100 yards from the main house. There is also a studio (bedroom plus bath) across a covered breezeway from the cottage. There are no other rental units on this large property. The cottage and studio are not rented separately.
You can view the property directly: Alla Collina.
The villa has two large, shaded loggias with wonderful views -- all private. There is a great infinity pool bordered by a seating area that easily accommodates lots of people. There is a wonderful lawn area for bocce ball, an organic garden that produced more tomatoes than we could eat (and there were 12 of us!) and that also produced beans, zucchini, and a variety of herbs. There are fruit and olive trees. The best fruit tree is a wonderful fig tree that gave us dozens of tasty figs.
This villa is beautifully and comfortably furnished. And it is clean. There are enough chairs to accommodate everyone staying there and then some. And all the seating, both inside and out, is good quality, sturdy and comfortable.
One of the nicest things about Alla Collina is that it retains all of its old farmhouse charm but has big, comfortable modern beds with good linens and every bedroom (except the two cottage bedrooms, which share a bath) has its own bathroom. Bathrooms are large, well equipped and have good plumbing. All have real showers, some also have bathtubs. There is an extra powder room on the ground floor which is great for pool users and late night loggia sitters.
The kitchen is excellent and well equipped, though a bit smaller than some. All modern appliances, including a large refrigerator. Enough space and equipment to cook full means -- and for cooking lessons, which we arranged for with the housekeeper.
Problems or Bonuses
I begin to sound a bit gushy when I talk about this place. It surprised us only by being even better than we expected -- and we expected a lot.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We take as many trips as we can afford with our three-generation family and we are pretty fussy. We decided long ago never to rent a villa without first inspecting a property for ourselves. So we spent a couple of weeks trekking around Umbria with agents nine months before our August, 2007 trip. Not all the agents were so great -- most didn't listen -- they were too busy trying to sell us what they had. But the two Brits who run Summer Leases were different -- they paid attention. They are fussy about the houses they list. And they are equally fussy about finding out what clients are looking for and about matching them with good villas. The attention didn't end when we put out money down, either. They were there for us throughout the months before the family left for Italy -- and all during our stay. Besides being attentive, they were fun to be with! From now on we will go to them first when we are looking for rentals in Italy.
The villa was pricey. But the stay and the lingering memories were worth the price.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I'd recommend both the villa and the agency without any reservations. I know it sounds a bit over the top -- but this was our best trip ever largely due to an attentive agent and excellent accommodations. And we are a family that 1) can be pretty fussy and 2) likes to take trips together.
Things to do in this area
Alla Collina is right in the middle of dozens of fabulous medieval hilltop towns, lots of Roman and Etruscan ruins, plenty of museums and great shopping (pottery, fabrics, wine, olive oil, food). In summer, the Perugia music festival is all around you -- every town seems to have concerts of all types (including Monte Castello di Vibio, home of the smallest La Scalla style theater in the world.) You never have to go far to find something to do or see -- 20 minutes to an hour at most. And you never have to go far to get back and chill out by the great pool.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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