You might say that Umbria is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets (you can read why here). In all of my years of traveling in Italy, I had never really explored Umbria. Sure, I had made the obligatory pit stop in Orvieto on my way to Rome, but I had never experienced the charm and magic of the Umbrian culture and countryside.
That all changed when the team at Villa Louise contacted me. They invited me for a stay in their newly established, enchanting villa situated in the hills of Umbria. After four intense days in Paris, arriving at the tranquil Villa Louise felt like a dream.
The villa and its surroundings are simply idyllic (my first morning I awoke to a symphony of birds chirping). The estate is nestled between vibrant green hills, olive groves, vineyards, and blooming flowers. And if the wind is right, you will hear old church bells ringing across the valley. Villa Louise perfectly combines the traditions and charm of old-world living, with the creature comforts of home – Wi-Fi, satellite TV, pool, full kitchen, modern bathrooms, fireplaces, central heat, air conditioning, and luxurious queen-sized beds.
While Villa Louise offers exceptional amenities, it is their customer service and dedicated staff that really sets them apart. The villa is family owned and operated by an exceptional team. Because their goal is simply to share the culture and magic of Umbria that they love so dearly, they go above and beyond to make your Umbrian vacation unique and spectacular.
From the moment you book, the Villa Louise team is ready to help you organize and plan your stay. Everyone on the team speaks excellent English and is always happy to answer your questions. They offer everything from detailed driving directions from the airport to helping you arrange guided visits and restaurant recommendations. They can also help arrange truly special experiences like frolicking through a field of Umbrian sunflowers (in July and August), picking fresh wild asparagus for dinner, wine tastings, taking a cooking class, or having a five-course, five-star meal prepared and served to you at the villa.
For me, having a gourmet meal prepared and served at the villa was truly a once in a lifetime experience and a highlight of my trip. The chef from the best restaurant in nearby Foligno (and might say best in the entire region), Il Cavaliere, personally planned and executed our incredible 5-course meal. The menu highlighted local Umbrian specialties, like scrambled eggs with truffles and polenta. This is the best part about the Villa Louise; it is completely customizable! You can go all out with a catered gourmet meal, have a simple meal prepared for you, or cook for yourself while you are there (and even a combination of all three over the course of your stay). There are also plenty of amazing restaurants near the villa to try. I ate traditional Umbrian fare next to a medieval castle at Osteria delle Torre, and got really adventurous at Locanda Castellina (I tried the intestines and animal glands… both were surprisingly delicious!).
Are you ready for the best part? This stunning villa is completely affordable. That’s right, you don’t have to stay in crappy, overpriced hotels. You can enjoy all the comforts and charms of Villa Louise for what you would typically pay for a small, sub-par hotel in Florence or Rome. And that’s just if you stay alone or as a couple. The villa has three bedrooms, two baths, and can sleep up to 7 people. When split between just four people the villa becomes cheaper than almost all hotels in Rome!
Finally, don’t let the perceived remoteness of the villa dissuade you. It is important to remember just how small Italy really is (about the size of Florida!) and how easy it is to rent a car, drive, and park in the countryside. I have said it before and I will say it again, you have not truly experienced Italy until you have explored the Italian countryside. And I will be sharing more in my next post explaining why I think the Umbrian countryside is truly a special and unique experience.
Getting to Villa Louise is a pleasant drive through calm country roads and you can easily rent a car from the airport in Rome (Fiumicino) and drive straight there in just a couple hours (completely bypassing the chaotic center of Rome). From the villa you can effortlessly drive to and explore all of the adorable medieval hill towns, which I will be sharing more of later this week, so stay tuned!
You can check out Villa Louise’s website for more info, or to book your next amazing vacation!
Finally, one tip for planning and booking accommodations in Italy. In general Italians pay a lot in taxes and many of these small family run estates, villas, and “agriturismi” lose a substantial percentage of their revenue listing their properties through third party sites. Often, if you book directly through their website, and not a third party, these family run establishments will pass the savings on to you and you can get a better price dealing with the property directly!