3 double bedrooms, 2 twin/double bedrooms, 1 ensuite bathroom, 4 ensuite shower rooms
Location: Perugia and surroundings
This property rents Saturday to Saturday
The local owners have transformed an unassuming farmhouse into a holiday house of high standard and local craftsmanship. Here a kitchen corner is sculpted with vines, beds are hand-painted or fashioned of wrought iron, and bathrooms are finished with lovely terracotta tiles that evoke earlier days. All is new, yet all gives a respectful nod to country living and age-old respect for artistry.
While in the past the external staircase would have led to the living quarters, with the ground floor reserved for livestock, a meticulous renovation of the property has prepared the entire building for guest comfort while still maintaining its rustic charm. The door on the ground floor leads directly into a living room whose comfortable sofas face a corner fireplace. A wide archway to the right leads to an eat-in kitchen with a table for 8 and a rear door that accesses a panoramic furnished pergola. As in the rest of the house, the kitchen shows the owner's attention to detail and the skills of local artisans; there is even a small window through which to pass dishes into the adjacent dining room. This room, with a long refectory table for 10 and sideboards, also has a door leading to the outdoor living area. A short corridor off the dining room ends at the only ground floor bedroom suite which includes a double bedroom, a bathroom with tiled tub and a small side chamber with independent garden access that can be set up with a baby cot or single bed.
An open staircase from a small music room off the living area leads up to four bedrooms on the upper floor. The two double bedrooms and two twin bedrooms that can be set up as doubles on request all have ensuite shower rooms. Restoration required that owners were true to the original bedroom layout, which has meant that one of the doubles is complete with an open fireplace and access to the external staircase, while the smaller twin/double bedroom has only a small open corner shower, which perhaps makes it more suitable for children. That said, all bedroom suites are furnished with good quality country antiques and high quality fittings.
The outdoor living area provides full view of the verdant Umbrian landscape complete with a church spire on the distant hilltop. But it also takes in the infinity-edged pool below the house and the sunbeds and nearby pergola that lets guests just how much sun fair skin is ready for. Midway between the house and pool is a brick BBQ and adjacent pizza oven that make outdoor living all the more enjoyable.
Once the property of one of the most powerful guilds in Perugia, the 'Collegio del Cambio', the guild of money changers, this carefully restored farmhouse, ideal for family reunions or a holiday amongst friends, still nourishes its ties with its illustrious past. Its present owners actually work in the Cambio, no longer exchanging money or adjudicating civil suits, but educating visitors about history seen in the richly carved woodwork, or in the bright frescoes of the Umbrian master 'Perugino'.
With shops, restaurants and all amenities but 10-15 minutes away, there is plenty of time left for exploring this fascinating corner of Umbria. Perugia, the capital city of the region and a lively university town, may have a history that dates back to the Etruscan Iron Age, but it is modern host to the Umbria Jazz Festival in July and the Eurochocolate Festival in October. For events and culture on a smaller scale, less than an hour's drive brings you to the winding medieval streets of Gubbio, Spello, Todi, Spoleto or St. Francis' Assisi. When muscles want stretching, there are tennis courts and golf courses in the vicinity and only 45 minutes away Lago Trasimeno, Italy's 4th largest lake, surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and ancient castles and offering sailing, fishing and sandy beaches. And for those for whom shopping is a delight, there are weekly village markets, the nearby town of Deruta, a haven of Tuscany's famed colourful ceramics, and the large Valdichiana Outlet Village, awash in designer brands. Yet lying poolside at Casa del Cambio looking out on hills of green, you might consider such outings and then decide that tomorrow was soon enough.