Escape to the Italian countryside…

I’ve just come back from four days in and around Perugia in Umbria scouting out possible wedding venues and I have to say, it is the perfect excuse to go visit some gorgeous places you might otherwise never have had reason to come across.  In fact, forget the wedding, I now have a list of wonderful places I can turn to in the future should I be looking for a week of Italian R&R.

Le Silve is certainly one of them – tucked away in a national park only 30 minutes from the beautiful town of Assisi.  The estate comprises a restored medieval hotel with charming rooms, complete with pool and tennis court and amazing views of lush green hillsides, as well as very simple farmhouses, with their own pools too and ideal for families. All very reasonably priced. It’s probably less suitable as a base for sightseeing considering the half-hour drive across often unpaved, windy roads makes toing and froing from the estate a little inconvenient, but it is perfect for a little retreat – the sort of place you can see yourself hiding away in for a week, lifting your head from the pages of a book to gaze across the Umbrian landscape.

As I shared my discoveries back in the A&B office, Susie was quick to mention La Foce in Montepulciano (pictured below) – the estate which features in the famed War in Val D’Orcia, one of Susie’s favourite books.  Anglo-American Iris Origo and her Italian landowner husband bought La Foce and kept it running whilst the Second World War threatened the land and its people, looking after refugee children and sheltering many escaped Allied prisoners of war.  The book is her diary, chronicling her life throughout these difficult times – even when German troops took over the house, she buried the diary in the garden and wrote in secret at night.

La Foce has since been restored (by one of Iris Origo’s daughters, Donata, who still today spends time with her family on the premises) and is open to guests who can stay in the stunning villa or farmhouses.  I immediately found myself perusing the gallery of photos on their website and whilst I didn’t get to explore the place on this last trip, I can certainly see myself visiting it in the future. I can picture myself reading War in Val D’Orcia in La Foce’s evocative gardens, transported back to another time, tracing Iris’ footsteps… true Italian escapism.

Chiara Priorelli, Publicity & Online Marketing Manager

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