Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 680: Villa Rosa, Apartment
Two apartments and cottage on a farm outside Montemelino, near Perugia, Umbria
Sept. 13-17, 2003, under a week
The apartment we rented was on the ground floor level of a 300-year old farmhouse, in a countryside setting. We had our own entrance, and it was quite private. The front door led into the kitchen area, and there was another door leading to a large slate patio with a bamboo covered pergola. The view from all places in the apartment was pristine, beautiful Umbrian countryside, unspoiled by industrial buildings. Postcard perfect, with the lights of nearby Perugia twinkling in the distance in the night. It was exceedingly peaceful and relaxing.
There is an excellent restaurant within seven minutes' walk from Villa Rosa. (The village church was next door to it, as well.) Otherwise, it is less than thirteen minutes to hop in the car to reach other restaurants and the grocery. The drive goes by fields and pastures, and is very pleasant and scenic.
The farmhouse is 300 years old! The owners have done a magnificent job renovating, using only the best materials. The apartment in which we stayed had granite countertops in the kitchen, and all the appliances were stainless steel. There were two sinks--a prep sink and a wash-up sink, as well as a microwave, large fridge, dishwasher and oven. Top-of-the-line! The bathroom featured a full-size tub/shower combo, sink, toilet, and bidet. It was very spacious and the large window overlooked the beautiful hills. The window sill was very deep and provided ample storage for all our toiletries, which was very convenient. The floors were tile througout. The ceilings were high and vaulted.
The upstairs of the pink stucco farmhouse has two b&b rooms with their own baths. We saw one, and it was very pretty, with beamed ceilings. The b&b rooms were at the other end of the farmhouse away from the apartment we had.
There is also a free-standing "cassetta" (cottage) that has two bedrooms. This apartment is on the other side of the swimming pool (the farmhouse being on one side). My parents stayed at that apartment in the spring; we did not view the interior because there were other guests residing there. However, my parents had nothing but the highest of praise for the cassetta.
There is a pool. There are plenty of chairs and lounges. The pool is shared with the other guests (the two b&b rooms, the cassetta, and the one bed apt. in which we stayed). It looked to be Olympic sized and was immaculately kept. There are flower beds and pots on the property. The lavender near the pool was particularly nice to rub my hands in!
Furniture was very comfortable, and the apartment was spotless and bright. We had four barstools that were tucked under the granite countertops in the kitchen, a table with four chairs for the dining area, and a sleeper sofa and two comfy chairs in the living room/TV area. Very satisfactory. The decor on the walls were prints, paintings, and plates. It was a very nicely done mix of both modern and antique.
On the patio, there was a wrought iron table and four chairs. It looked like a Smith-Hawken photo shoot--straight from their catalog! There was also a drying rack provided for guests' laundry; very handy.
The bed was comfortable, allowing that Italian mattesses are much harder than our own in the US! Four pillows were provided. That was a nice touch. The bedroom window was large, and it overlooked the patio. As in the bathroom, the windows had interior shutters that you could close at night. A classic Italian look.
The bathroom was large, airy, and caught the morning sunlight beautifully! If only we could all be so lucky to wake up to the Umbrian countryside...
Excellent kitchen! I thoroughly enjoy cooking, and this was definitely a cook's kitchen. Two sinks, a very large fridge, dishwasher, microwave, gas stovetop and oven. We cooked a very tasty dinner for four people with no problems! My own kitchen at home had a run for the money compared to this kitchen. There were plenty of utensils, plates, pans, etc. Also, small supplies were at our disposal--olive oil, sugar, etc. The owners left a welcome bottle of wine from Orvieto for us, and yogurt for our first breakfast (in the fridge).
Problems or Bonuses
The bonus was this. We were out in the country where it was scenic and peaceful, yet we found it was no trouble at all to drive in the car on the back roads to restaurants or shops. The owners gave us detailed directions to every place we wanted to go. By the way, there's a very nice outlet nearby...selling gorgeous cashmere clothing! Sort of a nice paradox, to be connected to the outside world...yet in a completely pastoral setting, as well. Best of both worlds!
Another bonus for those of us who love cooking and restaurants is that Megan and Lino will arrange for cooking lessons/demonstrations. The chef is from Osteria Il Gufo in Perugia, and his food is outstanding. He is available on either Monday or Tuesday evenings, I believe, which is when the restaurant is closed. It makes for a very entertaining evening!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I believe www.knowitall.com carries the listing for Villa Rosa. However, because my parents stayed at Villa Rosa, they got to know Megan and Lino, the owners, very well (their stay was for two enjoyable, memorable months). I contacted the owners directly for our reservation. Otherwise, we'd probably have used knowitall. Megan is Australian, and her husband speaks excellent English.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, my husband and I would definitely stay here again!! I thought at first that I wouldn't like staying in the country (I'm really more of a city girl) and to my utter amazement I felt like crying when it was time to go onward to Rome. Our apartment was so comfortable to stay in. It had a home-away-from-home feeling to it. Megan and Lino were very likeable and hospitable. (It was so pleasant to speak English, as well, to tell you the truth!) They are veritable treasure troves of tourist information, and as this was our first trip to Umbria, we were very appreciative of their willingness to share.
To give you all an idea of how we spent our days at Villa Rosa, I will list some of our daytrips: day 1, a trip to Gubbio on the twisty mountain road, with a side visit to Perugia before returning to Villa Rosa for dinner. Day 2: a lazy late start, then off to a full day in Assisi. Dinner at the excellent restaurant in Montemelino; Megan took care of reservations for us. Day 3: A trip to Orvieto, then Todi, finally to Deruta to buy pottery and watch the sun set. Dinner at La Bistecca in nearby Corciano. Very little in the way of ambiance, but my husband and brother-in-law had the most delicious grilled steaks and lamb they've ever tasted. This was an excellent recommendation from Megan and Lino.
As you can see, you will NOT be bored at Villa Rosa.
Things to do in this area
Villa Rosa is very centrally located for the hill towns of Umbria, although I would not recommend more than one or two a day. Not because of the distance driven, but because the roads and mountainous and twisty, and the hilltowns are so beautiful that you wouldn't want to "rush" the experience.
I'm afraid I don't recall exactly the name of Montemelino's restaurant. I think it's "La Fortezza" or something along those lines. At any rate, it is well sign-posted. It is rustic yet chic in its decor, and the food is outstanding. People drive from all the neighboring towns to have an evening here.
As mentioned above, Ristorante Pizzeria La Bisteca in Corciano. Megan described it as basic, and it was, but the tablecloths and linens were of beautiful Italian fabric, and the food was heavenly.
At both of these restaurants, the bill averaged about 20-22 euros per person for three courses, water, and house wine.
Gubbio, Assisi, and Todi made for excellent hilltowns to visit. Perugia is closest to Villa Rosa, and we were sorry we didn't have more time to visit. The nearest train stop is in Chiusi.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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