Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4132: Gorgacce Rentals, Casa Adriano
3bed/3bath house near Niccone, Umbria
May 14-28 2009, 2 weeks
Casa Adriano is located in the hills overlooking the Niccone Valley about 30 minutes east of Cortona. The area is agricultural nearer the floor of the valley with sheep farms, vineyards and tobacco farming. Up in the higher reaches, it is heavily forested. There are a small number of private homes, a B&B and a couple of farms located on the road up to the house. The road is paved but narrow and you have complete privacy even though there are neighbors a hundred yards down hill from the house. Niccone, with several excellent restaurants is just a few miles east towards Umbertide (a larger town with all services)and there is a small grocery store and a butcher in Mercatale, about 10 miles to the west.
If you are a hearty walker, you could walk to a restaurant and bar down the hill but we always drove. All services, including a hospital, COOP market, many restaurants etc. are available within a 15 minute drive from the house.
This home is very old and the reconstruction was undertaken by an Italian gentleman who unfortunately passed away before it was completed. His brother, living in England and his Canadian sister finished the project and named it after the brother - Casa Adriano. The house stands alone with other houses visible only in the distance although there are houses nearby. The house is in good shape, with three bedrooms upstairs (two queens and one bedroom with three twins. There are two full baths upstairs and one full bath downstairs.
You can view the property directly: Casa Adriano.
The back yard was really where we lived for our two weeks at the house. There is a pergola covered dining area that seats eight right out the kitchen window overlooking the pool. The window was great as you can pass food and drink right out to the dining area without having to go back and forth. The large pool has Roman steps and is very close to the dining area so everything you would need is very handy. There is also a kitchen garden next to the front kitchen door with all the necessary herbs.
Furnishings were in good shape. The living room has French doors on two walls, giving good cross ventilation. It was very hot when we visited (getting up to the mid 90's) and the house stayed remarkably cool with shutters drawn. Living room has a fireplace and satellite TV. Dining room also has a fireplace and seats eight-plus.
Beds were quite comfortable and the three baths were a plus.
Kitchen was equipped well and we made many large meals. The house has a dishwasher and clothes washer in the kitchen. Plenty of pots, pans flatware etc.
Problems or Bonuses
The mountain that the house is located on is guarded by two dogs, Piccolino and Bianca. They came by and introduced themselves to us on our first day and we were told by our neighbor that Bianca is an all white purebred Italian Sheepdog whose original owner stopped feeding her after he got out of sheep farming and left her to fend for herself. Piccolino is a beagleish sort of a dog who had been thrown from a car when young. He somehow hooked up with Bianca and they roam the hillside, keeping everything in check. They are outside dogs and will not venture into the house but visited once or twice a day to make sure we were behaving and to see what was on the table that they might sample. They would stay for a few minutes, take a snooze and move on to their next stop. Near the end of our trip, I made the mistake of making bistecca Fiorentina and fed the dogs the leftovers and bones. They stayed a bit longer that day and Piccolino practically threw himself under the wheels of the car in an attempt to get us to stay.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We have used this agency five times over the past seven years. We have met them and find their service to be exemplary. The owner of the house has a local woman who speaks perfect English who takes care of any problems that you may have. We paid £850 per week in late May ($1250) 2009.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would definitely recommend this house to friends. It is in the country so you must contend with insects, chameleons etc. but this just goes with the territory. We really felt that this was a very relaxing holiday.
Things to do in this area
Best restaurants - Nonna Gelsa in Niccone (traditional Umbrian fare) and Agritourismo Calagrana in Bastia Cretie (upmarket northern Italian with a spectacular view).
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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