In the romantic and picturesque countryside of Orvieto, 12kms. from the medieval "Cathedral City" and 8kms from the enchanting Lake of Bolsena, stands "Villa Alfina", an old country house which has recently been restructured and transformed into an elegant country holiday house.
"Villa Alfina" is ideally positioned on the border between Umbria and Lazium and within easy reach of southern Tuscany.
The property has excellent views of the Umbrian hills covered with wheat fields that surround it.
In the well maintained gardens there is a large pool with hydro-massage and sun-beds from which you can admire the stunning views. In the garden there is a communal barbecue. The villa has furnished terraces with tables and chairs, with night illumination and pretty views over the pool and to the hills beyond during the day.
"The Ox" is a cosy apartment with wonderful views on the Tiber valley; it is composed of a very large living room with a fully equipped open-plan kitchen which includes a fridge/freezer, gas hobs, oven, microwave oven and dish washer.
Comfortable king-sized and twin en suite bedrooms with lots of light.
Highchair and cot available for free.
SatelliteTV (SKY) and wireless Internet access for free, central heating, BBQ, laundry room.
"The Ox" is found on the ground floor of an old country house; it has got a private covered terrace overlooking the swimming-pool area, with a table and chairs for dining "al fresco". There is a huge garden where children can have a great time.
There are also a woodland with secular trees, swimming-pool with solarium and jacuzzi, shaded parking.
OTHER APARTMENTS FROM 2 TO 7 PEOPLE ARE AVAILABLE AT THIS PROPERTY, UP TO 17 PEOPLE.
|Size||Sleeps up to 5, 2 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Bolsena Lake 8 km|
|Will consider||Long term lets (over 1 month)|
|Nearest Amenities||8 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Perugia 80km; Rome 135km;Florence180km, Nearest railway: Orvieto Scalo (14 kms.)|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Jacuzzi or hot tub, Internet access, Staffed property|
|General||Central heating, TV, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 1 En suites and 1 Shower rooms, Solarium or roof terrace|
|Furniture||Single beds (3), Double beds (1), Cots (1), Dining seats for 5, Lounge seats for 5|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Shared garden, BBQ|
"....great, austere, green,
from the mountains that surround it,
Hail, green Umbria..... " (taken from "Alle fonti del Clitumno" by Giosuè Carducci)
Umbria is a small region in the centre of Italy (8456 square kms), being the "Green Heart" of Italy. It is the only central Italian region which is not kissed by the sea. The area is predominantly mountainous and hilly; were we to fly over, we would see thick woodlands broken by valleys crossed by the Tiber and its affluents: Nera, Paglia, Chiascio and Velino, which feeds the Marmore Waterfall and gently rolls on to form the placid lakes of Piediluco and Trasimeno (the fourth largest lake in Italy).
Hot summers (21-25° C) are followed by cold winters which are not too harsh, with temperatures of about 4-10°C.
In the central area one can enjoy the gently rolling hills which slope down bearing their precious cargoes of vineyards and olive groves. In the region of Umbria there are seven nature reserves. In these parks, one can find caves for pot-holing enthusiasts, spring water and an abundance of fossils. These parks can be crossed along pathways, many of which are also suitable for horses. Some can also be crossed on mountain bikes.
The winds and thermal currents facilitate delta-planing and hang-gliding.
Moving from the profane to the sacred, within the Parks one can enjoy several places of retreat, like, for example, the Retreat of Carceri in Mount Subasio Park, where, it is believed, Saint Francesco of Assisi and his Followers retreated in prayer.
The history of Umbria starts in the Neolithic period and traces of human settlements testify to this.
In the centuries, this territory was conquered by many people: Umbri, Etruscans and Romans.
After the eclipse of the Western Roman Empire, the territory was invaded by the Astrogoths, then by the Bizantines and the Longobards.
It was the French King Charles Le Magne who, having defeated the Longobard King Desiderio, gave the land to the Pope who kept on ruling until the region, in 1860, became ufficially part of the Kingdom of Italy. The state and internal wars from the Etruscan period to The Renaissance did not, fortunately, destroy all the works carried out by the conquering people.
Walking through the Umbrian towns and cities, Perugia, Todi, Spoleto, Orvieto, Assisi and many others, one cannot but see Roman churches, Gothic Cathedrals, antique palaces considered to be masterpieces and frescoes by the greatest Italian artists: Giotto, Cimabue, Simone Martini, Beato Angelico, Piero della Francesca, Filippo Lippi, il Perugino to name just a few.
Umbria has made tourism its main commercial activity, pushing industrial development to second place. Folklore and rural traditions represent the "cultural soul" of this region.
Some manifestations, quite spectacular and internationally known, are able to make us relive bygone episodes through the passion of the participants: the celebrations in honour of Saint Rita in Cascia, "The Candle Race" in Gubbio, the Corpus Domini Procession in Orvieto, the "Quintana Jousting" in Foligno...
Umbrian culture is also open at a worldwide level. There are several manifestations which are particularly interesting, like the "Festival dei Due Mondi", this year its 52sd edition, which takes place in Spoleto between the last week of June and the first two of July and "Umbria Jazz Winter" , held at Orvieto on the last days of the year.
Orvieto, situated in the South West of Umbria, stands on a volcanic tufa plateau as high as fifty metres, from where it overlooks the valley below and the rivers Chiani and Paglia which meander among the vineyards and olive groves.
This tiny city is representative of Umbria at 360°, geographically, folkloristically, artistically and culturally, being recognized, also at an international level, as a jewel visited every year by thousands of tourists coming from all over the world.
Walking through its squares and streets, we can see that the city is dotted with testimonies of the Etruscan, Roman and Renaissance periods. Everything, albeit from different eras, well amalgamated like the instruments of an orchestra. We can see an itinerary which guides us through the centuries.
Were I a tourist, I would start by visiting the Church of Saint Francesco, founded in 1240, where we can find recently uncovered frescoes from the XIV Century. From here, walking along Via Maitani, after a bend, we can see the façade of the Cathedral, one of the most beautiful and impressive Gothic works of art, with its splendid rose window in the centre and its sides hidden by the nearby buildings which seem to bow in its magnificent presence.
This sight takes your breath and, at the same time, speeds your pace, curiosity biting, to see more and closer.
The façade of Maitani and the central door in bronze panels, work of Emilio Greco, make up the door of the scrigno which conserves inside it, in a small and simple side Chapel, the relic of the Corporale, the reason for the construction of the Cathedral.
In the proximity of the Cathedral Square, we can visit several museums: the Claudio Faina Museum, housing archaeological artefacts from the Paleolithic period; the Museum of The Opera del Duomo; the Museum of Emilio Greco, which holds over 32 bronze sculptures, many sketches and lithographes by Emilio Greco.
Underneath the building which until 2000 had housed the Hospital, is Orvieto Underground, with a great many caverns, tunnels, wells and cellars. Heading towards the Fort of Albornoz, one can admire the gardens and the famous Well of Saint Patrizio, built by Antonio Sangallo between 1527 and 1537 and considered an engineering masterpiece. A few metres from the well, on a small hill, stands the Etruscan Temple of Belvedere, dedicated to the Gooddess Tinia.
Along the panoramic road which leads to the station, just outside the city walls, we cannot miss a visit to the Etruscan Necropolis "Crocifisso del Tufo", dating to V-IV Centuries B.C.; the Necropolis can also be reached on foot from the city along a suggestive path through the Archaelogical Park of the Rupe.
Strolling along Corso Cavour, it is pleasant to see the Mancinelli Theatre, the Tower of Moro, with a mechanical clock which at night appears to be suspended in the air, Piazza del Popolo with The Palace of the Capitano del Popolo, now a congress hall, Piazza della Repubblica, where we can find the Town Hall and the Church of Saint Andrea, dating from the first half of XII Century.
On the very edge of the tufa cliff, in the oldest part of the city, is the Church of Saint Giovenale, known as the old Cathedral for its bell tower and baptisimal font, with many medieval paintings inside and a Bizantine marble altar.
To leave the city walls, we must go through "La Cava", a road which takes us from Piazza della Repubblica to the open countryside and surrounding villages. It is pleasant to walk along this street and so admire the characteristic shops along the sides: antique shops, arts and craft shops, food shops selling local produce. Almost all the shops and restaurants, here, have thick glass panels instead of floors, so that customers can admire the underlying Etruscan artefacts.
Leaving the walls of the city, our attention is drawn to the wonderful small towns and villages and temples of old traditions: Montefiascone; Civita di Bagnoregio (the "Dying City"); Todi; Gubbio; San Gemini; Stroncone; Narni; Assisi; La Scarzuola, nearby Montegabbione; Perugia, the wonderful Etruscan city which dominates the high Tiber Valley, as well to natural beauties like the Marmore Waterfall, nearby Terni.
Going towards the borders with Lazium, we can visit Bolsena and an area which thrives on fishing, farming and tourism; in Bolsena they offer wonderful trips on the lake to visit the two islands, Martana and Bisentina, where elderly people make lace, small objects in basket work and pottery.
On the Lake of Bolsena you can also go swimming, windsurfing, canoeing, water skiing and fishing.
The surrounding countryside and the sunset are very spectacular and there is nothing nicer than sitting
outside one of the many lakefront bars enjoying an aperitif or an ice-cream.
Besides pleasing the eyes, tourists can relax after their sightseeing by tasting savoury local Umbrian produce and the world famous wine of Orvieto in characteristic restaurants and "trattorie", and... should you wish, in the months of April and May, go looking for truffles.