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House | 5 bedrooms | sleeps 10

15 kms from central Spoleto, Il Castello and L'Arco are in the centre of the tiny 10C walled castle of San Mamiliano, the oldest inhabited village in Umbria and part of the boundary of the Papal State.

Just 3 minutes walk from the piazza, where you park your car, safely and free of charge, Il Castello is a large family house and L'Arco is a 1 bedroom apartment next door to Il Castello, at right angles to it, a few metres across the communal courtyard.

This is a "Harry Potter" setting, a living pop-up, from the pages of National Geographic Magazine. If you are looking for a fairy tale setting, then, picture purple tipped mountains, lush green valleys, monasteries, vineyards, olive groves and blood red poppy fields dotted hither and thither, the sun spearing and illuminating dense mists with sharp blinding rays, allowing brief peeks of fertile farmland in secret valleys far below. Picture yourself gazing across a dazzling sea of clouds into a clear, deep, endless blue sky, and, if you are lucky, at eagles circling and spiralling slowly out of sight, knowing you have seen them. An early morning setting, as seen from the terrace and all the back windows of Il Castello and L'Arco, above the clouds and in the heavens.

At 700 metres above sea-level, just below the snow line, you are in the mountains, but not so high as to be isolated. The 3 roads that lead from San Mamiliano, take you on a 15 minutes drive to the junction of the Valnerina and the Flaminia, the 2 main highways that flank each side of Umbria. From either of these points, it takes just a further 10 to 15 minutes drive to reach Spoleto,a gigantic version of San Mamiliano, bustling with shops, bars, restaurants, museums and churches, cobbles, arches and higgledy piggledy lanes. And, here is a train station, from where you can get to practically anywhere in Italy.

Driving down either side of the hill, you pass small villages with grocery shops, banks, chemists, clothes and furniture shops. A little further and there are supermarkets. And, all around are a diversity of bars and restaurants, some set in their own private parks, one, where the Pope used to stay at the turn of the century and which has retained its grandeur, and, others tucked down miniscule alleyways, all of which offer unique menus, passed down from mamma to mamma, each trying to outdo the other for "gusto" and price. After all, it is the local folks that businesses compete for, tourism not being a big thing in these parts. What this means for you is that nowhere is ever too crowded, except maybe on carnival days or Sunday lunchtimes, and, you can eat and drink the finest quality food and wines without fear of the cost.

Il Castello, totally restored, with Sky TV and high speed WiFi, has 4 double bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 large living/dining rooms/can seat 10 + 1 terrace/can seat 10, with sensational, panoramic mountain views. There are 2 entrances : 1 is the main entrance from the main street and the 2nd entrance is the back door, at the bottom of a tiny cul-de-sac, which opens onto a small patio that seats 4 persons. Just 2 metres away, on the other side of the patio, is the front door of L'Arco. This apartment, also totally restored, has 1 large bed-sitting room/seats 6, with Sky TV and high speed WiFi, 1 fully fitted kitchen/diner/seats 3 + 1 bathroom.

Size Sleeps up to 10, 5 bedrooms
Will consider Corporate bookings, Long term lets (over 1 month)
Access Car essential
Nearest Amenities 2.5 km
Nearest travel links Nearest airport: Rome or Perugia or Ancona 50 km, Nearest railway: Spoleto 15 km
Notes No pets allowed, No smoking at this property

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