Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 636: Gira, Antico Mulino
2bed/2bath house near Assissi, Umbria
June, 2003, 1 week
The home is in a lovely spot surrounded by trees in the countryside a few miles from Assisi. It is very private, located on a stream that forms several waterfalls on the property. We swam in the pools formed by the falls every day! (I have been told that the stream is not always flowing heavily enough to do this, however, depending on the season/time of year). There were hundreds of fireflies at night. The only complaint I have is that there is a small dirt road near the house which locals seem to use as a shortcut to somewhere, so that there was some car noise, including local farmers transporting hay, etc. You cannot see the cars because of trees and it doesn't compromise the privacy at all.
Assisi is really the closest place to get anything. It is a very easy drive, taking only about 10 minutes. You enter Assissi through an old city gate and make your way through the town until you reach stores. This can be somewhat time consuming, but I enjoyed it. There are many restaurants there, but we usually ended up cooking our own dinners at the house. Perugia, Spello, Bevagna and many other towns are within a half-hour drive. Gubbio is further, as is Spoleto.
The house is newer and in very good condition. The small old mill house with the old machinery sits below the rental house and is not habitable yet. The owners have taken very good care of it and everything worked fine. The price is very reasonable considering the size, condition and location.
There is a nice gravel patio right outside the bedroom doors with trees all around and a peek of the stream from a small sitting area. There is also a flagstone patio on the upper level. The house sits in the middle of many acres of trees.
The furniture was basic but in very good condition. One complaint that I made to the rental agency was that the kitchen/dining room is the only living area in the home. There is no "living" room or "family" room. The dining area is open to the kitchen and is large and has a nice fireplace, but there were no couches or comfortable sitting chairs, just two large dining tables with many dining chairs. We ended up bringing in some comfortable plastic patio loungers from outside when we wanted to read inside! We did, however, spend most of the time outside until late in the evening, but we had very good weather the whole time.
Beds were great and the bedrooms very large and comfortable. The baths were really nice; both had showers (no tubs) and bidets. Not fancy, but newly done and good sized (especially for Italy!). One small issue was that there was some dampness in one of them on the floor at times.
We did lots of cooking and the kitchen was fully stocked with everything and it worked well. Only thing missing was an espresso or coffee maker; they only had the little "camper" type maker, which didn't make good coffee. We ended up using filters and making our own cups.
Problems or Bonuses
Loved the stream and waterfalls! A couple of times there were locals swimming in one of the ponds, even though it's private property belonging to the house. This was during a heatwave, though, and people were trying to cool off and the ponds are separate from the house itself. Very pretty spot. Very nice owners. Only negative was the local car traffic, which wasn't horrible, but maybe it was magnified because otherwise it was dead quiet. Great location for exploring this part of Umbria, and Assissi was a pleasant surprise.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Gira is an agency based in Denver. Susan is the owner and is very helpful and friendly. The owners met us at the house and spoke almost no English, but we worked things out. We had their phone numbers in case of a problem.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, I would stay here again and would recommend it to others looking for a reasonably priced rental home in Umbria.
Things to do in this area
Assisi is a bustling smaller city with lots of tourists, but I still found it charming. Perugia is a fun city to explore and I liked it a lot, with shopping and tons of stores selling their famous chocolate (not an easy city to negotiate in, however, while driving or parking). Spello is a fantastic little hilltop town with great locally made products and artists. Bevagna is completely unspoiled and has a really nice little museum and a restored Roman mosaic floor in a separate building; I loved this town. Plus there is a store that sells locally made pottery and baskets, as well as a tiny store with a man that throws, paints and fires all of his own rustic little pottery pieces which are truly well priced. And they have the best Gelato shop anywhere! Gubbio is a long drive, but worth it for it's many interesting sites, pottery stores and for the little ski-lift type thing that takes you up the mountain. Spoleto was a long drive and a huge disappointment. Everyone seems to rave about it, but we found it crowded and not very appealing; most of the streets have locals zooming around too quickly, even in the center. The plazas weren't charming and the locals were just not that friendly. All of the above mentioned places were much more enjoyable. However the huge bridge at the very far back end of the city is a must see if you do go there.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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