Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 616: Summer's Leases, Il Montone
3bed/2bath house on estate near Montone and Umbertide, Umbria
6/17/03 -- 6/24/03, 1 week
The property called Il Montone is one of 2 rental homes on the Pereto estate, a 45 acre property about a 10 minute drive outside of the hilltown of Montone in central-northern Umbria, about a 30 minute drive north of Perugia. The location was absolutely beautiful, peaceful, tranquil -- a lovely place to return to after a long day of site seeing. There are 3 other buildings on the estate - the owner's house, and a second, smaller rental. The buildings are spaced about 50 yards apart. The grounds of the property are lush and well maintained. There's a pool that was too cold to swim in (mid-late May), but great to sit by and soak in the sun.
The house is a good 10 minute drive from any town. Though there are a few stores in Montone, they were always closed when we went there, so we did most of our shopping in Umbertide or at the end of day trips. There are 3 restaurants in Montone; we ate at 2 and both were very good.
The building is in excellent shape. It appears to be a new and made to look old or a complete renovation. It's a detached 3-story house; 3 bedrooms (1 w/king, 2 w/2 twins) and 2 baths (1 w/tub; 1 w/shower).
The garden was truly lovely ... lavendar, rosemary, olive trees, and a good sized lawn -- great for playing fetch with the owner's dog. The garden and pool are shared. But the other rental was vacant, and the owner was mostly gone durng the day, so we felt like we had the whole estate to ourselves.
The house was immaculate ... far cleaner than any hotel we stayed in in Italy. The house is very tastefully furnished with antiquey furniture, photos, prints, art. (Apparently the owner's wife is an interior designer). All of the applicances are new. Plumbing is modern and efficient.
The beds, even the twin beds, were very comfortable, with fine linens. There was only 1 blanket and bedspread per bed, but we were plenty warm (in May). 2 baths were sufficient for 5 people, and the baths were relatively spacious compared to most Italian hotels. All of the rooms were spacious ... plenty of room to spread out.
The kitchen was fully equipped with plates, cups, glasses and flatware to serve at least 10 people, pots, pans, platters, espresso maker, and a marble topped dining table and chairs for 8 people. We love to cook and eat, and so we ate all of our breakfasts and most of our dinners in the house. The stove is small by American standards, but perfectly usable. No microwave or American coffemaker, but we somehow managed ;-).
Problems or Bonuses
When we first arrived, I worried that the house might be too remote for our day trips, but the estate is only 10-12 minutes from the I-45, which was the fast road to many sites in Umbria. We were able to make day trips to the Umbrian and Tuscan hill towns of Gubbio (go there on Tuesday for market day), Assisi, Spoleto, Siena, and Perugia, and of course the little town of Montone. After a long day of site seeing, we enjoyed returning to our "home" for a fine home-cooked dinner, plenty of wine, and a comfortable bed.
At the end of our stay the owner gave us T-shirts and copies of his book that he had authored on the history of his family's "countship."
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked through Summer Leases and they were very helpful in answering questions before we booked. All communication was done via email with Louise. The owner of the property (who is a Count, by the way) speaks good English as well. The photos and description of the property were mostly accurate. However, I think the published information understated the distance from the town and did not mention that you had to drive on a dirt, single lane road for about 2-3 km from the main road to the property.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, we would definitely recommend the property and look forward to returning there in a few years. The week we spent at Il Montone was the highlight of our trip.
My only qualification is that this is not a property for someone who wants to walk to the corner bar for caffe every morning ... because they nearest cafe is a good 10 minute drive away. However, this is THE PERFECT place for to serve as a daily retreat from your day trips to the various sites and hilltowns of Umbria and Tuscany.
Things to do in this area
We did day trips to Gubbio (a must!), Spoleto, Perugia (twice), Siena, and Assisi, and of course Montone. We did very little shopping in Montone, and did most of our shopping at the end of our day trips. Go to Gubbio on Tuesdays for their market day -- wonderful produce, seafood, and Porchetta (roast pork). Gubbio also boasts some great ceramics shops. Don't let the tourist books dissuade you from going to Assisi ... the view of the town from the valley - and vice versa - was stunning on the day we went. Just avoid the ticky-tacky souvenior shops. Siena was worth the 90 minute drive there! There's a gelato shop near the main piazza (near the Duomo) that had the best gelato!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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