Villa La Chiesa - Umbria
Umbria and the Marches, Italy
Villa La Chiesa - 7 Bedrooms, sleeps up to 14
Villa La Chiesa is the ancient church on a grand estate, located in the heart of Umbria, only 20 minutes north of the cosmopolitan city of Perugia and close to the borders of Tuscany. The estate is privately owned and has been lovingly restored over the last 5 years by the present owners. What was once an abandoned valley is now a thriving farm including an ancient olive grove, 3 hectares of red and white grapes, a truffle wood and pasture, producing a variety of organic produce.
Villa La Chiesa is the ancient church on a grand estate, located in the heart of Umbria, only 20 minutes north of the cosmopolitan city of Perugia and close to the borders of Tuscany. It is located at the foot of Monte Tezio in a protected valley, where the wildlife is abundant and nature is thriving. The views from all aspects are stunning. To the south is Monte Subasio and the town of Assisi, to the west the ancient castle of Antognolla and to the north woodlands and the mountains ranges of the Appenines. The Villa has been restored along with its adjoining farmhouse into an elegant 14 bed country house; with precise attention to detail and use of the very best of local materials, producing accommodation of outstanding quality. The villa is a stunning 11th century church and 18th century farm house, restored in 2012.
It is now a beautiful 14 bed country house nestling amongst hills in a peaceful valley, surrounded by meadows, woods, vineyards and olive groves. It is reached via a ‘strada bianca’ – white (unmade) road – and is approximately 1 kilometre from the main road. The views from the church and house are beautiful. There is an atmosphere of peace and quiet although the property is not isolated. The nearest village of Pierantonio and its shops are a mere 10 minute drive, Umbertide, the nearest small town is about 15 minutes and Perugia is about 25 minutes away.
The property is divided into two structures, the first the ancient church and the second the farm house. The ancient church features a large well equipped kitchen, a dining room and a large drawing room in the main section of the church. The restored farmhouse features seven bedrooms and six bathrooms: five ensuite double bedrooms, one double room and one single room which share a bathroom.
The farmhouse is a beautiful restored large building on two levels, surrounded by terraces and located across a small courtyard from the church. The main entrance has an arched hallway with stone staircases that lead to both the ground and first floor.
Assisi is a large double bedroom, with a terrace. The ensuite bathroom has a shower and free-standing bath, with lovely views down the valley. There is a generous sized double bed. Antognolla is a double bedroom that is suitable for disabled use; it has its own terrace and an ensuite bathroom with shower. As above, the bed can be double or two singles.
La Bruna is a small room with a single bed, hand basin, small fridge and kettle. It would be suitable for an older child or teenager. Pierantonio is a double bedroom, with its own stone terrace; it has an ensuite bathroom with shower. The bed can be made into two singles if needed. In addition there is a small laundry room with washing machine, tumble dryer and sink. Umbrellas are available (just in case!) in the entrance hall.
Stone stairs from the vaulted hallway lead to the first floor where there are 4 further bedrooms and an additional sitting room. Monte Corona, the master bedroom, has a large double bed and ensuite bathroom with shower. There is a large fireplace, private terrace and outdoor stairs, giving it its own entrance. Monte Acuto is a double room with ensuite bathroom with shower. The bed can become two singles if necessary.
Monte Tezio is similar to Monte Acuto, but has a bathroom right next to it which can also be used by guests using the sitting room. Again, the double bed can be two singles. Monte Subasio is a charming small room with a single bed and its own hand basin. The nearby bathroom next to Bedroom 6 can be shared with this room. The rooms all lead onto the centrally located sitting room, with comfortable sofa, stereo system, satellite TV and a well-stocked bookcase. There are also games, toys for different ages, and pens, paints and drawing paper for the children.
The main church area has been restored to the exact proportion of the original, together with a recently discovered small crypt. It is a magnificent room, imposing in its sense of peace and history. It is furnished with comfortable sofas and a grand piano, and is wonderful for relaxation, yoga or meditation. It is also a good entertainment space. The large floor to ceiling glass window provides a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.
Off this main room is a dining room, able to seat 14. There is a wood-burning stove for cooler days. Doors from the dining room lead onto an outdoor dining terrace, with a covered pergola to provide shade, a large table and dining chairs, to comfortably seat 14 or more. The kitchen is located at the front on this property. It is very well equipped and includes a double oven and 6 gas hobs, dishwasher, microwave, espresso maker and large fridge/freezer. There is also a kitchen table and chairs. A toilet (suitable for disabled) is located here.The kitchen leads onto outdoor dining terraces with barbeque facilities, each providing shade during the day.
The 15 x 5.5 m swimming pool is located in a quiet and secluded position. It has a shallow section leading into the main pool which is perfect for young children. There are 10 sunbeds, 6 large umbrellas, tables and chairs, outdoor shower and a toilet inside the underground pool house. A large pergola provides shade, and there is a fridge to keep drinks cool, with a storage cupboard for glasses etc. The area around the pool has been fenced for safety but this does not impose on the wonderful views.
The property has stone terraces surrounding it and there are beautiful landscaped gardens, with young Olive trees, Umbrella pines, Cyprus trees, Lavender, Rosemary…and much more. It is still in its early stages, but in a couple of years will look much more established. There are big flower-filled terracotta pots around the church and house. Between the farmhouse and the church there is a stone terrace with wide steps, where you can sit on cushions and enjoy the view.
There are two shady dining areas with large tables seating up to 14, one under a pergola next to the dining room and another under a large Holly Oak. There is barbecue nearby. There is a pond (toddler-safe) with a fountain, and nearby a shady place to sit and contemplate, read or just simply be. Above this is an area with a vegetable garden where guests can take their pick for dinner. The swimming pool is reached via a ‘Roman’ walkway, bordered by an avenue of Cyprus and Holly Oak. Around the pool area is a low fence for safety.
The property and beyond the garden is a field, planted with very young trees of various varieties, which will become a truffle wood in about seven years time. This field leads down to the banks of a stream (which is often dry in the summer months). The entire property is fenced. Each ground floor bedroom has its own terrace with seating, and the master bedroom has an outside staircase and terrace.
The following facilities are available at the property included in the rental price.
Internet: The property has wi-fi broadband available throughout.
Stereo: Stereo and i-pod docking stations are available throughout the property.
Television: Satellite television and DVD player are available in the sitting room of the farmhouse. In the chapel there is a retractable screen and facilities for TV and/or power point presentations.
Linen: All bedroom, bathroom and kitchen linen is provided including towels for the swimming pool.
Hairdryers: Each room has its own hairdryer.
Library: There is a well stocked library including local maps and guidebooks, magazines, novels, CD’s, DVD’s and board games.
Maid Service: 6 days per week
Intercom system: There is an intercom system available between the church and farmhouse.
The property has been designed paying attention to the needs of guests with children and the following can be provided on request:
Cribs and sheets
Appropriate toys and books
One double bedroom on the groundfloor has disabled access and bathroom facilities. If one of your party requires any assistance please discuss this with the managers in advance.
The valley itself is of outstanding natural beauty, with the mountain of Monte Tezio rising high above it. Forests and olive groves adorn the slopes down to the valley with its stream, well managed farmland and vineyards. The land is dotted with ancient stone properties, all carefully restored, which add to the beauty of the area. It is abundant with local wild life including deer, wild boar and our favourite hoopoe bird.
It is very well located to use the amenities of the local area, and after only 1 km of well maintained gravel road you reach the small village of La Bruna. The village of Pierantonio is a 10 minute drive and the larger market town of Umbertide a 15 minute drive, so all the requirements of local shops, restaurants, banks etc are easy and quick to reach. The main road of the E45 is only a 10 minute drive, which ensures that it is easy to reach after travelling. It also allows you to visit the many attractions of the nearby area, and places a little further in neighbouring Tuscany, Le Marche and southern Umbria.
The historical university city of Perugia is only 20 minutes drive, which provides all the larger services such as rail and bus connections, and newly developed Perugia airport, as well as enjoying the famous festivals such as Umbria Jazz.
Only 2 kms from the property is Antognolla Golf Estate, which boasts a challenging Robert Trent Jones Championship golf course and a wonderful restaurant.
Lake Trasimeno is a short half hour drive. There you can enjoy a large variety of watersports, take a ferry across to one of the islands, visit many of the towns that surround the lake and sample the good restaurants that serve fresh lake fish.
Visitors can enjoy the highlights of the area, including Assisi and Gubbio, and can also experience the true Umbria. It is very much a thriving local area, with a vibrant weekly market in Umbertide. Wild boar hunts take place in the valley weekly in the season and many local festas are held throughout the year where visitors to the area are very much welcomed.
Below is a brief outline of some of the places that are an easy day trip from Chiesa Del Carmine.
Arezzo – Tuscany (approx 45 mins)
Famous Tuscan city with a magnificent square and many wonderful restaurants to sit and enjoy the views. Visit the Bacci chapel in the Basilica of San Francesco to view the fresco cycle of the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca. A scene from the film The English Patient was shot here. Arezzo also features in the setting of the film A Beautiful Life. There is extensive antique market the last weekend of every month.
Assisi – Umbria (approx 30 mins)
The birthplace of St Francis of Assisi is of course a must on a trip to Umbria. The crowds can be overwhelming but I don’t believe much can take away from the magnificence of the Basilica. Above Assisi is the Eremo di Carcere (Hermitage) which is an old monastery built around the caves used by St Francis, and the tree where he preached to the birds. It has a very peaceful atmosphere and is shady and cool on a hot day.
Cortona – Tuscany (approx 45 mins)
Beautiful Tuscan hill top town, with a wonderful square and a great walk to the top of the town. From the top there are magnificent views across the countryside. Famous for France’s Maye’s book Under the Tuscan Sun, and the subsequent film.
Florence – Tuscany (approx 1 1/2 hours)
It is possible to take a day trip to Florence, either by driving or train. It takes approx 1½ hours to drive there and we can direct you to a good car park on the outskirts which has a shuttle service into the centre. Alternatively it is possible to take a train from Tertontola station and leave your car there.
Gubbio – Umbria (approx 30 mins)
Gubbio is one of the most perfect of Umbria’s medieval hill towns, as its atmospheric streets and alleys are unspoiled and not on the main tourist trail. The town is set at the feet of the Apennines and the views from all around are quite spectacular. The main square is halfway up the town and houses the Palazzo dei Consoli, which is a vast 14th century palace. There is a great walk to the Basilica which is high above Gubbio. It takes a good hour or so but there is also a funicular (cable car) that will take you there – either way it is worth it for the views.
Lago Trasimeno – Umbria (approx 20 mins)
In addition to the water sports on offer (see section on activities), towns such as Passignano and Castiglione del Lago are the most appealing and you can take boat rides out to the islands of Maggiore and Polvese. On Isola Maggiore the old ruined castle and church are worth a visit.
Montone – Umbria (approx 15 mins)
A small, but just perfect hill-top town. There are some great restaurants here and quite often the town will be hosting an event, including dancing in the square on New Years Eve, and the summer fiesta. It is famous for its film festival.
Norcia – Umbria (approx 1 1/2 hours )
Said to be Umbria’s gastronomic capital, famed for its hams, salamis and wild boars. The town gives its name to the Norcineria, the pork butcher’s shop and the Norcini, the butchers themselves.
Orvieto – Umbria (approx 1 hour)
Orvieto is home to what is said to be Italy’s finest Gothic Cathedral and the façade is truly magnificent. Inside is Signorelli’s fresco cycle of The Last Judgement, for which you have to buy a ticket in the information shop opposite the cathedral. It is a bit further, but worth it for the cathedral (one of Umbria’s key sights), and could be combined with a wine tour of the area.
Perugia – Umbria (approx 20 mins)
Perugia is the capital of Umbria, and is famous for the Umbrian Jazz festival which is held at the end of July. It has the normal ugly suburbs and a mad traffic system. But the ancient centre is wonderful, full of monuments to its Etruscan, Roman and medieval past. The best car park is at Piazza Partigiani, where you can take the escalators up through the original walls of the fortress of Perugia. The Corso Vannucci is the main (pedestrianised) street, where you will find some great shops and where you can join in the evening ‘passeggiata’. On the Corso, which are all well worth visiting are: Palazzo dei Priori, the Collegio di Cambio, Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria and the Duomo.
Spello – Umbria (approx 40 mins)
A beautiful hill top town at the base of Monte Subasio just a few kms from Assisi. It has wonderful little streets to wander around, many gournet restaurants and stunning views.
Spoleto – Umbria (approx 45 mins)
A rather chic hill town known for it summer arts festival and with plenty of artistic, historical and cultural interest. There is a spectacular medieval aquaduct which is worth seeing.
Todi – Umbria (approx 45 mins)
Todi has a magnificent position perched on top of a hill with picture postcard views all around. It is home to quite a large proportion of ex-pats and has a high tourist profile, with a main square of austere beauty, some wonderful streets and alleys and some good shops and restaurants.