Apartment | 1 bedrooms | sleeps 2
Large private pool included in the rate, 3 miles away, at out Villa Marianna.
Spoleto is just 10 minutes away from this very pretty part of a 16C Convent. Sensitively restored and converted into 2 elegant apartments, the Convent has retained many of its original features. The private entrance, by way of its original and impressive iron gates, leads to the heart of the Convent where the library and the prayer rooms used to be – hence its 8 huge arched windows through which the nuns would contemplate the stunningly natural beauty all around.
La Romantica, a spacious, 1 bedroomed apartment of about 60 sq. mts, is exquisite. This fairy-tale apartment is below and to the side of La Passionata and its entrance is hidden from view.
The double bedroom is off the hall-way and has a walk-in wardrobe. It also has a SatTV/VCR with many, English speaking channels...BBC World, Fox and CNN. Then, there is a kitchen/diner with a fully equipped kitchen built around the rock foundations and a beautiful, ancient iron and gold wood-burning stove that works perfectly. A small sitting room (with TV/VCR) can be used as an extra bedroom. It is 2 steps up from the reception area. There is a shower-room with WC and bidet. And, to complete this love-nest, there is an extremely pretty terrace adorned with as many flowers and potted plants that my husband can fit on it. The terrace faces the stepped gardens and hills beyond and contributes to the astounding views as seen from the large, arched kitchen window.
The main “wow” factor are the 2 wall-sized arched windows. The one in the bedroom overlooks the gentle hills dotted with olive groves, churches and wood-land stretching towards Asissi and fringed by the Sibbiline mountain range; at night you can lie in bed and allow yourself to be hypnotised by the twinkling lights of a hundred tiny villages across the great plane, stare at the vastness of the universe and wonder at the moon and the stars. The other arched window in the kitchen/dining room evokes the feeling of being at one with Nature as it takes in the extraordinarily pretty view of Tuscan pines, the tangled borders of the stepped gardens and the terrace - a riot of colour, texture and scents. The apartment sleeps 2 adults. However, up to 2 small children can be accommodated in the sitting room on camp beds.
We welcome anyone who loves the Italian way of life and who prefers to holiday in a truly Italian community. We are aware that there are many "holiday villages" springing up in Umbria - albeit splendid surroundings such as castles and monasteries converted into many apartments with a shared pool. However, staying at the Convent, your neighbours will consist only of locals.
Apart from the one other apartment next to you consisting also of holiday-makers like yourself, the environment I am offering you is authentically Italian. Indeed, this is the first time your Italian neighbours have experienced "tourism" as such ! They will be fascinated by you and will want to talk to you so try brushing up on the odd Italian word eg "Piacere" meaning "Pleased to meet you" when you shake their hands. We provide information sheets that include their names as well as directions to the local recommended eateries.
There are 50 steps, mostly very shallow, up to entrance.
La Romantica has a private terrace that looks towards the garden.
|Size||Sleeps up to 2, 1 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Adriatic or Lake Bolsena 80 km|
|Will consider||Corporate bookings, Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Nearest Amenities||3 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Rome or Ancona or Perugia (20 km) 40 km, Nearest railway: Spoleto 5 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Internet access, DVD player|
|General||Central heating, Air conditioning, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||1 bedroom, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Dining seats for 4, Lounge seats for 4|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Further details outdoors|
If booked simultaneously with Garibaldi Lusso on the 1st floor, to sleep 6/7 persons, then, there is outside dining for 8 persons on the large terrace of Garibaldi Lusso, which also has a largish balcony, to seat 4 persons.
The simultaneous booking of Garibaldi Lusso (1st floor) and Vittoria Lusso (3rd floor with elevator), to sleep 6/7 persons, is offered at the discounted rate of 950 euros.
The Umbria region
The Umbria region of Italy has been called "The Green Heart of Italy", due to its central location and equal distance from Rome and Florence. The area is far less visited than its neighbour, Tuscany, where Chianti has been dubbed, Chianti-shire, referring to the invasion of the Brits from the home counties over the past 50 years. Indeed, Umbria has remained “unpolluted” by tourism so much so that you can drive along the stunningly beautiful country roads, over mountains and through valleys, and never even see another car !
Umbria is a magnificently, unspoiled area of rolling, forested hills, sprawling grassy meadows covered with flowers, olive groves, vineyards, lakes and valleys. Dotted with picturesque medieval villages, perched on hill-tops, Umbria is best known for its distinctive cuisine……truffle, boar, porcini mushrooms, its fine wines from Orvieto and Montefalco, its very sunny climate - very hot in the summer months, cool at Easter and in the Autumn, crisp in Dec, Jan and Feb - and, the friendliness and hospitality of its people.
A vacation here is truly a feast for the senses.
All the “hot-spots” of Umbria eg Perugia, Orvieto, Montefalco, Todi, Spello, Norcia, Casteluccio, Trevi, Gubbio have festivals throughout the year, the most sigificant of which is held in Spoleto the 1st 2 weeks of July, with some events leading up to it in the last week of June ie the Festival of Two Worlds. However, all the tiny hill-top villages also have festas throughout the year, most commonly in the summer months, celebrating the truffle, chocolate, various pastas, asparagus and boar – all in a context of song, dance, choral music and orchestra. The Italians certainly know how to live !
A trip to Umbria is a trip back in time. Medieval mists stretch across Roman landscapes. The Renaissance mingles with the Middle Ages. Vintners work vineyards owned by family members for 500 years. Farmers drizzle bread with freshly pressed olive oil. Women kneel in churches filled with artwork by famous artists. Children kick soccer balls down cobblestone streets.
So, take your time and enjoy the show. Bring your camera. Leave your diet at home.
And, if you are wanting the most special holiday ever, why not explore this tranquil treasure from the heart of the most conveniently located city of all, Spoleto, in the very centre of Umbria…and, of Italy, where you do not need a car – you can reach the train station easily from all our central city apartments.
Or, if you prefer to stay outside this famous city and immerse yourself in the dreamy folds of its countryside…. purple hills, pink mountains, violet streaked, blue skies, yellow puffy clouds – the colours of an Umbria landscape defy imagination, then, we have an equally diverse choice of villas and country houses, some with pools, as well as our spectacularly beautiful 16C ex Convent, all of which are close to Spoleto.
To stay anywhere else in Umbria, you risk missing the ultimate experience, the complex mix of food, fashion, religion, architecture, bars, churches, museums, art galleries, arched, cobbled streets that are older than Rome…all to be found in and around this most famous city of all, Spoleto, the city of the rich and famous and, up until now, Italy's best kept secret !
Spoleto and its satellite village, Bazzano, is in the middle of Italy - just slightly to the left ie our nearest ocean is the Adriatic. It's between the Apeninnes and Sibbiline mountain range.
By car and driving normally, it takes 10 mins to the city centre of Spoleto, 15 minutes to Trevi, 30 minutes to Montefalco and Bevagna, 190 mins to Rome, 20 mins to Asissi, 40 minutes to Orvietto, 60 mins to Perugia, 2 hrs 30 mins to Florence, 3 hrs 30 mins to Naples, the Amalfi coast and Pompei. Castellucia, the famous Gran Piano (with fantastic natural flower displays across this giganic plain around about Easter) is just over 1 hour, as is the Gran Sasso. Enroute is Norcia, which is worth a visit and where most of our white truffle is to be found (our area is abundant with black truffle all the year round - consequently, it's cheap to dine out on truffle, one of my favourite dishes, at around 12 euros for a bowl of ciriole al tartufo !).
However, all our local "hot-spots" eg Todi, Trevi, Spello, Orvieto, Perugia, Narni, Bevagnia and Montefalco are all beautiful and fascinating. Benigni, for instance, often stays in the area and, indeed, lived in Coliscipoli (about an hour away) while working on the films, Life is Beautiful and Pinnochio, both of which were filmed locally.
This is also the St Francis area and there are numerous monasteries round about, where he has stayed - although you'd have to research as to where they are since I've only visited 2 or 3 on foot via mountain roads and I was led there by friends but, while I could only tell you how to get to 1 of them in Greccio, I know that others are reachable by car. Actually, there is a map at Greccio that shows how to get to 5 or 6 others by car or on foot. And, in all of the numerous churches, to be found in every tiny hill-top village as well as every town and city, there are frescos, most of which have been restored.
Most of the places further than 1 hour by car can be quicker to get to by train and it can be a lot less hassly eg taking a car into Rome or Naples would not be everyone's first preference and our local train station provides an excellent and regular service to almost everywhere you'd wish to go.
The Convent and its surrounding area is perfect for those who wish to experience "real" Italy rather than the touristy picture post-card version, to see how the indiginous Italian lives, to savour the atmosphere of a bygone era in an unspoilt and beautiful part of the world while, at the same time, having the world's major Italian tourist cultural attractions and shops on your doorstep.
Just a few minutes outside of the Spoleto city centre, Bazzano is a wholly Italian enclave and heaves with a history reflected in many of its wondrous old buildings, its awesome church and its grand palace nestling amidst the olive groves. Bazzano is famous locally for its walking territory. Albeit untouched by tourism, it's a little more sophisticated than its neighbouring villages, particularly regarding its small country roads that meander up and down the surrounding hills and join the upper part of Bazzano with its lower part. Strolling back down to the Convent with the stunning panoramic views changing at every twist and bend in the road and enjoying a glass of cold Orvieto at the end of your walk can best be described as a dream-like experience.
While only a stones throw from Asissi, Trevi, Bevagna and Montefalco - all places you must visit, not to be missed is a drive across the Sibbiline mountain range or through the Apennines to the sea-side on the Adriatic coast (about 2 hours), or to Norcia and the Gran Piano (about 1½ hours), which is simply a drive through heaven!!
Another huge advantage that Bazzano-di-Spoleto has over the other tiny villages in Umbria is its local bus that goes between Bazzano and Spoleto and stops just a minutes walk from the Convent. The bus terminates at the bus-station in Spoleto, up the road from the train station. From here, you can get to anywhere in Italy. The Italian train-service is fantastic and so cheap ! However, please note that the bus is only 4-5 times a day between 7.30 am and 8.00 pm and it doesn't run on Sundays.
There are also 2 very economically priced restaurants, Due Querce and La Trattoria L'Antica Posta that are within walking distance from the Convent – between 1 and 2 miles - a wonderful walk or bike-ride on quiet, country roads that weave through olive groves and poppy fields. Here you can often spot the occasional celebrity enjoying an evening away from the bright lights and the intrusive lenses of the paparazzi……and the prices are the same as any other country trattoria, their owners valuing their less wealthy local customers just as much.
However, one of our biggest boasts is that some years ago the press excitedly reported that Prince Charles had bought a holiday home in this area in order to be close to his beloved Spoleto, quoted as being “his favourite place in the world”. Fortunately for him, his address is our local secret.
As well as the prestigious Spoleto festival featured in the Bigitte Bardot film based on her young life as a star, there are many other big festas, ranging from the less prestigious, but still spectacular, festival at Todi (Spoleto's unofficial rival), the specialist Flower festivals at San Gemini and Spello, the Water festival at Piediluco (all within 1 – 2 hours), Ferentillo's historic Pageant, involving 400 volunteers and showing life in Ferentillo over the last 1000 years…..as well as hundreds of more modest festas where you can dance, eat and drink all night and it will cost you practically nothing. Italians know how to love life to the full! Further information on any of these festas can be got off the internet or from the tourist offices in Spoleto, Terni and Assisi when you get here.
About an hour away is the Piediluco lake which was famously painted by that great impressionist, Turner. Here, also, there are many bars and restaurants. Indeed, for the serious swimmer, there is an Olympic sized pool next to Piediluco lake. On the lake itself, there are all the usual boating facilities (though speed-boats are not allowed) and sun-bathing areas. There are also three other pools nearby, one in Spoleto itself, a 50 metre pool in Pissignano and a 50 metre pool in Scheggino - another very pretty village you must visi that has an excellent pizzaria.
For those who prefer to explore places only accessible on horse-back, there are riding stables close by and day-long pony treks can be arranged across the mountains at special rates. Treks also take place on full-moon nights. At Marmore Falls, the largest in Europe – about an hour away, there is white-water rafting. And, rock-climbing and hang-gliding is on offer in the hills. There is even a bowling alley about 5 minutes drive from Bazzano. For the less actively inclined, also just up the road, is a trout farm/restaurant. Here traditional wooden fishing rods are provided so that you can fish for your own trout to either take home or have cooked for you at the restaurant. And, there are cinemas in Spoleto, open air and indoors.
About 1½ hours away is the relatively undiscovered plain of Rieti. In this area are to be found the original worship places, in tiny monasteries dotted around, of St Francis who lived in this area when he first left his privileged existence in Rome to spread a less conventional Roman Catholicism in the rural areas of Umbria, before settling in Asissi. Some of his “churches” in this area are to be found outdoors, a simple assembly of wooden benches and an alter beneath the trees.
And, last but not least is 10C San Mamiliano, the oldest inhabited village in Umbria, where we lived until recently. This tiny, walled fortress, with its fifteen or so Italian inhabitants, whose history embraces a time when the Pope used to stay here (San Mamiliano marks part of the boundary of the Vatican state), is perched just below the snow line, often above the clouds, on a hill that faces the Apeninnes and that overlooks Ferentillo in the valley below. Go and say Hello to our neighbours and mention you are guests of Norma and Laurie and you will get a rapturous welcome - such is the friendliness of the local Italians.
The Convent in Bazzano-di-Spoleto is also off the beaten track, relatively undiscovered and, therefore, it is unusual to see other tourists here. Yet, you have easy access to all the main attractions…..Todi, Perugia and Rome, about an hour away, places like Assisi, Montefalco, Trevi and Bevagnia just up the road and Spoleto next door. In all these places you are spoilt for choice regarding the local wines and olive oils - the Montefalco wine and the Trevi olive oil definitely worth sampling.
Local shops and many trattorias are all within minutes to half an hour by car or bus. Eating out in the summer months is highly recommended. It would be difficult to pay more than 15 - 20 euros for a 3 course meal with as much wine as you can drink in the local eateries. Of course, the more “flash” places in Spoleto and the more touristy places can cost more. However, all pizzerias tend to cost much, much less. Eating al fresco on a warm evening with the sun setting behind mountains silhouetted against a pink-streaked, azure blue sky takes some beating.
In the surrounding woods and olive groves, there is a diversity of wild-life: foxes, black squirrels, wild boar, porcupine etc. and many different species of birds, including nightingales. Occasionally, especially at night or of an early misty morning, these animals can be spotted on the roads leading to Bazzano.
In summing up, I'd say that La Romantica is to be most appreciated by those who love wandering in woods and mountains and soaking up spectacular scenery that looks up to the mountains and across a great plain, steeped in history, dotted with olive groves, vineyards and monasteries, and framed by hills meandering towards Assisi.
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Norma Williams (Property Manager Umbria Holiday Rentals)
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Calendar last updated:07 Sep 2014
Based in Italy
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