** NEW: Umbria Villa Rental: Fattoria del Gelso (Free Italy Travel Advice) **
As the owners of Bella Italia,
a successful Italian gourmet and ceramics store in Bethesda, Maryland,
Suzy and Bill Menard found themselves spending plenty of time in Deruta,
Umbria's ceramics capital,
sourcing imports for their store. In time it made sense to look for an
Umbrian villa to use as for both their own frequent visits and as the
centerpiece for the travel services they hoped to add to their
They settled on Fattoria del Gelso,
a former agriturismo
on 90 acres in the town of the Cannara,
just a few minutes from Assisi.
For the Menards, its location and size were key selling points. While
the fattoria is part of a small farm (growing the famous Cannara onions
which are protected by the Slow Food organization), it is also within
walking distance of the charming town center. Plus it is perfectly
situated for an easy and quick drive to a number of towns including Perugia, Spello, Bevagna
On the first floor of Fattoria del Gelso, there's a large
main living and dining room as well as a commercial kitchen, laundry
facilities and a TV room. With eight bedrooms, this villa can easily
accommodate 16 people, but the layout works well to give everyone
privacy. Most of the bedrooms are upstairs via an outdoor staircase.
This means that wine drinking and merriment can take place in the
living room long into the night without disturbing anyone's
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While Fattoria del Gelso offers an ideal location and warm and
welcoming décor (the Deruta ceramics throughout the house
and around the pool are particularly lovely), even better, it comes
with a network of wonderful people starting with its vivacious owners.
For Suzy and Bill, introducing people to the wonders of Umbria
isn't a business, it truly is a passion. Through their vast
network of Umbrian contacts, they can help their guests arrange every
aspect of their visit from vineyard visits to restaurant reservations
to private guides.
There's always someone available to call 24 hours a day and
if guests would like meals prepared at the villa, for an additional
fee, their incredible cook Teresa can whip up Umbrian meals not to be
forgotten (in fact, guests should partake in at least one of
Those who want a truly unforgettable Umbrian experience should join one
of Suzy and Bill's small group tours which are based at
Fattoria del Gelso. Their Umbria Jazz and Umbria Food and Wine tours
are well-priced, packed with authentic regional experiences and lead by
two of the most gracious hosts to be found in Umbria.
Fattoria del Gelso
Cannara (10 minutes from Assisi, 20 minutes from Perugia)
2,500 to 4,000 euros per week, depending on the season.
Eight bedrooms, six full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, screened
windows, swimming pool, bicycles, washing machine, satellite
television, desktop computer for guest use, free Wi-Fi.