Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4771: Rentvillas, Villa del Castello
4bed/3bath house in Torre Alfina, Lazio
September 2010, One week
Torre Alfina is a very small town near Orvieto, where Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio come together. It is quite rural, and is on the edge of a big natural reserve. The villa sits on a very large lot about half an acre or so. It is right on the edge of the town, two minutes' walk to the little piazza in front of the church. The town is in an elevated position, part of a high plain that surrounds Lago di Bolsena. The top of the hill is taken up by a huge medieval castle, which is privately owned.
It is only two minutes walk to the little food store (alimentari). Also very near are a butcher shop, a bakery, a cafe, and a gelateria. There are two restaurants in town, both quite nice, with regional cuisine, including seafood, as it is about 90 minutes to the ocean, and there are also fish in Lago di Bolsena. You do not have to drive to anything in town, as it is very small. If you want to go to a supermarket, you must drive about 10 kilometers to Aquapendente, but you shouldn't need to.
The villa was so beautiful, clean, well-maintained and comfortable that we could not believe our good fortune. There were three bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs, and a bedroom and bath on the ground floor. The dining room was very spacious and the kitchen was modern and totally equipped, in some ways better than our own at home. it was very quiet. The only sounds we heard from the village were the church bells.
You can view the property directly: Villa del Castello.
The garden was huge, and included fruit trees and a big vegetable plot from which we could pick food to cook. There was also a big outdoor dining table under a grape covered pergola next to a stone wood-fired barbecue. Plus a big lawn. At the bottom of the garden was a wash house with a washer and dryer, or you could hang clothes on the clothesline outdoors. There was no pool, but my understanding was you could use the pool at the small hotel around the corner.
The villa was beautifully furnished and very comfortable, and very clean. The living room would not accommodate eight people but it never was an issue because we didn't all want to sit there at the same time. The dining room table was big, twelve people could sit at it.
The bedrooms were roomy, with new beds, all quite comfortable and large. The bathrooms were very big and the fixtures were modern and worked well. There was plenty of hot water although sometimes the water pressure was variable if two people were showering at once. The only drawback was there were only two showers. This meant that people had to take turns using them. The third bathroom had a jacuzzi tub but everyone wanted to shower.
The kitchen was fairly large and so well-equipped we were amazed. The pans were all-clad and in great condition, there were lots of utensils and dishes and serving dishes. We cooked many full meals, with three or four cooks dodging around each other, but it worked well. There were plenty of staples in the cupboards, so it was not necessary to buy so many things.
Problems or Bonuses
The villa has its own wine cellar, and the red and white local wines were complimentary! So was the olive oil. I have never stayed in a place that was so generous in its supplies.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Rentvillas is a great agency to work with. They are responsive and helpful. We also liked it that our rent was paid in advance in US dollars, so we had a fixed cost for the rent. The owners are American, and the caretaker speaks English. The owners met us and showed us around and explained how things worked, and were always available by cell phone. They were very helpful in many ways. Our rent was about $3200 for the week, but divided among eight people, it is quite doable. Plus the complimentary wine and produce from the garden makes the cost seem more reasonable.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would absolutely stay there again! In fact, I am looking forward to going back. All eight of us felt the same way about the place. It was like the dream villa vacation we always wanted.
Things to do in this area
Orvieto is about a 45 minute drive through beautiful countryside. The area is full of Etruscan burial sites, and we were fortunate to find a good guide who took us around for a day to see them. Lago di Bolsena is nearby, and so is Citta di Bagnioregio. You can also drive north to Val d'orcia.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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