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Review 884: Owner, Villa San Crispolto


Review by Rachelle from FL

9bed/5bath villa near Passignano sul Trasimeno, Umbria


May 8 - 22, 2004, 2 weeks


After planning for about a year, we hit the nail on the head when finding a perfect villa to rent for our group of 16. That place is the "Villa San Crispolto".

For anyone wanting a perfect location, amazing views, outstanding accommodations, a little luxury combined with the typical rusticness of a centuries-old Italian home .. you can't do any better than this!

Our group consisted of a mixed bag of friends from all over the U.S., including three children, ages 6 months, 5 and 7 years old. After converging upon the villa on our assigned Saturday arrival date, we were all excited to get about the task of exploring our new digs.

First of all, the location was prime. Villa San Crispolto sits directly on the border between Umbria and Tuscany perched high above Lake Trasimeno overlooking the little lakeside town of Passignano sul Trasimeno. The views from this spot were breathtaking and any photos would not do them justice!

The villa sits on one of the highest spots in the area with vistas of distant hillside towns, the blue lake with Isola Maggiore situated in the middle, vineyards on one side, and olive groves on the other. On the winding drive up to the villa, you are welcomed by the sight of red geraniums, lavender, rosemary, olive trees, and cypresses lining the road.

Not only was this reason enough to call this place perfect for a "home base" for two weeks but there was also easy access to the autostrada below. You are within a stone's throw from all that the area has to offer. Perugia was a 20 minute drive. You can easily get to many, many interesting towns including Siena, Florence, Assisi, Spoleto, Todi, Orvieto, Deruta, Cortona, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Citta di Castello, Gubbio, Spello. And the best part was that the small resort town of Passignano is a short walk down the hill from the villa where you can easily buy groceries, have a gelato, take a stroll along the waterfront, dine in one of their many restaurants, or take a short boat ride across the lake.

The villa itself is a dreamplace. It sits among centuries old olive groves and the original part of the house was built in the 13th century. This was supposedly built on a sacred spot where ancient Roman tombs were found. Initially a church was built on this spot which is now the owner's home and then was added onto over the centuries.

The owner, Marco Bernasconi, carefully restored this house to it's original beauty salvaging building materials from this site itself and has kept intact original frescos from the 13th century which can be seen in his home.

Marco has also kept in mind comfort in his restoration project. He installed ambient heating under the original terra cotta flooring, air conditioning, screens on the windows, top of the line appliances, bidets in every bathroom, hand painted tiles on the countertops, antique chandaliers and furniture in all the rooms, and a wine cooler, washer and dryer, and working fireplaces to mention some of the ammenities.

There are 9 bedrooms with each being comparible to the others ...so nobody feels "cheated". There are proper beds with nice linens ... no pull out couches in the hallway or anything like that. There are enough bathrooms for everyone to feel comfortable. Five of the bedrooms are on the top floor and the remaining four are situated on the ground floor in two separate apartments which only can be accessed from outside. These are great if anyone in the group wants a little more solitude or privacy. In my opinion though, the top floor was the place to be.

It was wonderful to wake up, open the wooden shutters on the windows and gaze at the view, the blue lake, the flowers and the olive groves and start making the espresso for everyone.

We mostly cooked ourself or went out to eat but a cook is available to make up to two meals a day. You can also arrange to do a wine tasting at the property which is great fun! Or you can take a wine tasting tour which Marco can arrange. There is maid service a couple of times a week and as I mentioned, there is a washer and dryer so you don't have to take that many clothes .. and can leave room for all your purchases!

There is internet access with a use of a laptop which Marco provides at a small charge. TV is available in the downstairs living room. Marco can give you information about market days in the area, horseback riding, sightseeing information, etc.

As for Marco himself, you couldn't ask for a better host. He is young and ambitious and relies on word of mouth. Normally a property like this would cost double but he decided to forgo working through an agency and does the PR himself. And considering the amount of people who can stay comfortably in this property, it works out to be very reasonable for the cost.

I highly recommend this place and hope to be lucky enough to stay here again! It's truly like "heaven on earth"!

Rachelle Tenace West Palm Beach, Florida

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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