Holiday House in Panicale, Umbria, Italy.
Half way between Rome and Florence, near the border of Tuscany and Umbria, there is a region steeped in history, art and culture.
High up on a hill, perched over the southern shores of Lake Trasimeno, you'll find yourself in the medieval town of Panicale. From here it is a short drive to other towns like Perugia, Orvieto, Montepulciano, Pienza, Assisi, Cortona, Todi, Deruta, and Siena, which places you right in the middle of all that Tuscany and Umbria have to offer.
Let's face it. When you rent a villa or a farmhouse in Italy or France, you're either isolated or confined to the same swimming pool used by other guests. You're a tourist sharing your holiday with other tourists. It's time to experience something else. There's something very different about staying in a village.
You become a neighbour, a friend, or a regular at Bar Gallo for a morning espresso and a weather update from the bar owner, Aldo.
You buy your fresh produce from the local market and swap recipes with the local ladies. You can't walk five paces without being greeted by a smile and a 'ciao'! You're walking because you don't need a car. Everything you need is right here at home in your village. This is the real Italy and you can be part of it.
Just a few steps away from the main piazza down via Cesare Caporali, you'll find CASA MONTE. Over the centuries, this has been home for many Panicalese families as it was built in a part of the town that dates back a thousand years. The current owners have lovingly restored the house to blend traditional charm with modern convenience. This is a home that will sweep you off your feet.
There are three luxuriously appointed levels, complete with state of the art appliances and modern necessities, which set Casa Monte apart from any other form of accommodation in Panicale. It was designed from the ground up specifically for the traveller who appreciates the finer things in life. Especially those who love their food.
One whole level was designed for the entertainer in you. An elaborate kitchen, fitted with restaurant grade appliances and utensils, can easily cook up a storm, and yet those doing the cooking are still part of the action. Meanwhile friends can help unwrap the spoils of your morning's market adventure, and liberate that precious bottle of wine. And speaking of wine, there's even an extra wine fridge relieving the main fridge for equally important items like fresh fruit, vegetables, salumi and cheese.
And when the long day is over, each of the three bedrooms offer a custom built enormous bed that some have described as the most comfortable bed in the world. All bathrooms are appointed with large, full pressure showers, (a rarity it would seem in Italy) and in the main bathroom there is a bath tub designed to soak your jet lag away. Situated on the ground floor is a fully equipped laundry with washing machine, drying machine and a third toilet.
This is a home that is bright and airy in summer, yet warm and cosy in winter. It comes complete with a large wide-screen LCD TV, multi regional DVD player and a DVD library. The house is also totally WiFi for those that need wireless broadband access. The owners have even supplied a Bose SoundDock for guests who travel with their iPods.
Casa Mone is perfect for couples who wish to use it as a base to explore Umbria and Tuscany for a week or more. And for those lucky enough to spend more time, it makes the perfect place to be inspired to write, paint, cook, taste, or learn Italian. Or all of the above.
Within the village of Panicale there are:
A bank with an ATM.
A post office.
3 impressive grocery stores.
A newsagent which sells foreign newspapers.
Tourist information centre which conducts free tours of the town.
A lace museum.
A beautifully restored theatre for live drama and music.
And for art lovers, Panicale's pride is Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino (1446-1524). He is probably best known for being Raphael's teacher. His Martyrdom of San Sebastiano, which was recently restored, is located in the San Sebastiano church. San Sebastiano is a small, romantic and extremely beautiful church just outside the walls.