|Minimum Stay||7 nights|
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Are you looking for the best family holiday or a romantic getaway with a difference?
Our art & book filled home is majestic yet cosy. The house with tower is on 3 levels with 4 Bedrooms (one in the tower) and 2 Bathrooms.
The estate is set within a small fortified village with the village accessible from one side of the house and and spectacular mountain views from the expansive terraces and garden. There is a wide range of fascinating small and large hilltowns within easy visiting range including the wine town of Montefalco, Assisi, Spoleto, Perugia and smaller towns just as fascinating such as Bevagna and Spello, all short drives away.
Imagine sitting by the fireplace with a glass if Montefalco's award winning Sagrantino red wine at the end of the day having wandered the cobbled streets of Spoleto, Assisi, Montefalco or Bevagna, or perhaps having spent the day in the nearby National forest communing with the ancient oaks.
The ground floor level offers a generous living area with leather lounges, fireplace, mountain views and TV. There is a bedroom just off this space with a small double bedd and glorious views. This bedroom has close access to a small bathroom.
There is a fully equipped kitchen area that leads out onto an extensive terrace. This is well set up for outdoor eating or just navel gazing at the 180 degree views. The dining room is just off the kitchen with large glass doors with views both to the countryside and on the village side.
Both the living room and the dining room contain original oil paintings by the renowned award winning artist /owner, Neil Moore. (www.neilmoore.it)
The main bedroom with a king size bed is on the first floor, with more large glass doors allowing in floods of sunlight. All mattresses are new memory foam. The large main bathroom is separated by another lounge area with a fireplace and comfortable chairs. A delightful spot to sit and read or to sit on the small terrace which overlooks the inside of the village .
The third floor with the tower offers the opportunity for Rapunzel to let down her hair.
There are two bedrooms on this level including the most romantic room in the top of the tower with a small double bed. The other co-joined bedroom - off the tower has a queen size double bed in close proximity to access the stairs together with the tower bedroom. The perfect arrangement for parents and children.
One of the many delights of living in Umbria has been the discovery that in almost every church in even the smallest and most hidden away of hilltowns there will be fascinating and often beautiful images still there on the walls, reminders of the rich history that this region on the road between Florence and Rome has been witness to since the Etruscans flourished here two and a half thousand years ago. Fresco painting -that is the application of colours to freshly laid plaster - is the most traditional of all the forms of painting of the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean, but here it seems particularly at home, emerging almost naturally, as do the towns themselves, from the landscape that surrounds us.
Amongst all this wealth of art there are a number of cycles that are a must to see even for those with only a passing interest in art. First on this list, and also chronologically - we're in the year 1299 with the crusades in full swing - is the majestic life of Saint Francis of Assisi in the Basilica dedicated to him in that Umbrian town. Usually described as the first major work of the great Florentine painter Giotto, recent analysis makes a strong case for it being instead the work of an older and little known Roman master called Pietro Cavallini unjustly deprived of the credit for this extraordinarily beautiful and inflential cycle. The young Giotto was there in 1302 and almost certainly did work in the lower Basilica, where there is also work by Cimabue, Lorenzetti and Simone Martini.
This Life of Saint Francis established a canon for the treatment of the subject which can clearly be seen at nearby Montefalco where Benozzo Gozzoli painted another 'Life' in the apse of the Saint's church there. Gozzoli was a pupil of another great florentine Fra Angelico, and prior to his 1452 sojourn at Montefalco had been at work with his master at Orvieto. Comparing this work with the one in Assisi one can clearly see the Renaissance taking form.
Just a few years later and another painter-friar, as worldly as Fra Angelico was holy, painted the marvellous Life of the Virgin in the apse of Spoleto's Duomo. Between 1467 and 1469 Fra Filippo Lippi worked there on what turned out to be his last painting. Ironically he included in the central scene a self portrait where he is making with his hand the classic Italian gesture of the 'corna' which wards off bad luck. One account of his death has him falling off the scaffolding, another that he was given poisoned figs. His tomb is nearby, and his young son and prodigy Filippino, whose portrait is just below his father's, finished off the painting.
The years just before and after 1500 were a magic and never to be repeated moment in painting and there are three masterpieces from that period in my part of Umbria. The middle Renaissance is now at its peak whereeffortless draughtsmanship, beautiful colours and a seemless fusion of christian and pagan subjects all come together in a style of richness and apparent simplicity. The paradigm breaking effects of Leonardo and above all Michelangelo were not yet in evidence when Perugino helped by his fatefully brilliant pupil Raphael decorated the modestly scaled Collegio del Cambio, or money changing room, in Perugia's main street next to the Palazzo Communale. A fascinating work which gives pictorial form to the Renaissance obsession with integrating christian and pagan philosophy, one can already start to see the extraordinary compositional talents of the pupil as he breaks away from the relatively static effects of his master.
Another of Perugino's pupils, Pinturicchio,was active in that same couple of years and has left us the richly decorated Baglioni chapel in Spello, a very pretty town in sight of both Assisi and Montefalco. Here we have an annunciation, a nativity and the young Jesus debating theology done with rare sumptuousness and astounding colour.
And finally we come to Orvieto, the great Etruscan stronghold whose duomo was built to hold the bloodstained altar cloth from nearby Bolsena which was the basis for the feast of Corpus Domini. One of the really great cathedrals of Europe, the chapel of San Brizio was added to it in the early 1400's, and its decoration was begun by Fra Angelico in 1447. It was not until 1499, however, that the city fathers were able to contract an artist to finish it - Perugino, famous for his penny pinching, apparently asked too high a fee - and the choice fell on Luca Signorelli from Cortona. His Apocalypse cycle, painted in a record two seasons is his masterpiece and a work whose total focus on the human body sums up the well known Renaissance desire to make man the physical center of the universe. This work with its masses of writhing bodies must have been looked at with great interest by the young Michelangelo, who would have seen in it a vindication of his own single minded dedication to the human body
I first came to Umbria twenty years ago, travelling on a motorcycle, and was immediately and forcefully struck by the beauty of the landscape. It was an extraordinary and seamless combination of the natural and the artificial and it made me change my mind about those lovely backgrounds that so often appear in renaissance painting. I had, until then assumed them to be largely imaginary.
Umbria has a fabric of vernacular architecture that seems to grow harmoniously out of the land itself. It is this, in combination with the generally smaller field size reflecting Umbria's long history of relative poverty, that gives it such a finely patterned and intimate landscape whose human scale is deeply satisfying.
Carol Searle purchased this castle in 1990
What really stays in the mind after travelling in Umbria is that extended, medieval vernacular style of simple yet elegant stonework that seems a natural geological extension of the ground itself. The countless hill towns, monasteries and isolated castles that are dotted throughout Umbria's mountainous landscape have grown organically over centuries, house interlocking with house, Etruscan wall merging into medieval loggia, in a seamless unity whose subtle colour variations are those of nature itself. Every cobbled lane, every ancient doorway, at times it seems every stone that you see, carries with it a richness of historical reference that would have few equals in the world.
The town of Spoleto, sitting astride the Roman Via Flaminia as it enters the southern end of the Vale of Umbria, is an excellent example of this. Wandering around its winding streets whose layout has remained substantially unchanged since the time of Christ, one is constantly reminded of a past whose continuous flow has deposited layer after layer of cultural sediment. From the ancient Umbrians on to Roman times, to the barbarian invasions and the arrival of the Goths and Lombards, then through the dark ages and into the medieval period there are reminders at every corner.
The Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi, decorated with the frescos of Giotto, Lorenzetti and Simone Martini and once again can be visited after the earthquake damage of 1997, ranks with the very best of Europe's monuments, as does the Duomo of Orvieto, a magnificent combination of Romanesque and Italian Gothic that is one of Europe's greatest cathedrals. There is the extraordinary aqueduct that links Spoleto to the mountain behind it, the unforgettable Etruscan gate at Perugia, Gubbio's Palazzo dei Consoli, Todi's cathedral of San Fortunato and many others.
Torre del Colle is over 700 years old and in renovating we have aimed to keep much of the medieval texture of the place while also making it liveable and practical to the needs of a young family with children. The renovations have all been carried out by our own hands, well mostly Neil’s hands, and in the rest periods between lifting rocks and mixing cement he produced the art works you see around the walls and acquired & read the tomes on art and ancient history that fill the bookshelves.
When not renovating Neil was painting or reading. The house has been an art studio for most of the time we have been living there.
Leaving them behind has been a major consideration, but we feel that they are part of the landscape of the house, and as much as it pains us to leave them behind while we are away, we also hope that they give you some pleasure.
Torre del Marchese is not just a holiday home. Its fine setting - quiet and secluded, with fine views from the terrace - and characterful building are distinctive in themselves. In addition, we particularly appreciated the owners' generosity in sharing their extensive library and irreplaceable paintings.
The facilities are serviceable and presented no problems.
Our three week stay allowed us to enjoy a good number of the region's treasures: beautiful hilltop towns; museums and galleries, from Roman to contemporary; good walking in the nearby Valnerian valley; and a base for longer visits, from Fabbriano's paper factory to the home of Leopardi in Recanati. And Rome just a 90 minute train ride from nearby Spoleto.
Magnificent. A perfect base for visiting so many fascinating places nearby. But such a perfect setting that we often just stayed 'home', Every evening, we would walk out to enkoy the summer fireflies. Also zppreciated the fantastic outdoor pool in castel Ritaldi and being well away from the tourist hubbub. We simply vould not recommended the superb Colle castello more highly. My mother, who says she is too old to travel to the other side of the world now, is VERY KEEN to return. For at least a month!
Il Torre di Colle del Marchese in the valley of Umbria is a romantic tower where I was very comfortable during a six week stay in a semi-caretaker role. This allowed me the opportunity to explore most of the fascinating local towns and villages, for which the Torre is the perfect base. If you are coming from Rome by train, Spoleto station is a 20 minute drive; from the north Foligno station is half an hour. I drove to Rome airport twice in just under two hours; to my pleasant surprise the autostrada toll was under €5 and the toll system is easy to use after a little research.
The tower was one of six which comprised the strongpoints of the fortifications of the C14th town, and is now the only one still intact. It has been faithfully and lovingly rebuilt by Neil Moore, and the adjacent town walls have also been rebuilt and converted into extra living living space and bedrooms. The master bedroom is enormous with huge centuries-old beams across the ceiling, and views across towards Montefalco. Downstairs is a large airy studio and dining room with a double divan style bed. (The lounge room also has 2 double sofa beds!) On the third floor there are two more double bedrooms.
The kitchen has the feel of a traditional Italian cucina, with everything you need to make a simple or more elaborate meal. It is full of gorgeous hand-painted Deruta and other local crockery. It does not have a big range of modern gadgets, and we did not use the dishwasher. The freezer is necessary as it is a few km to the nearest shops at Bruna. Bruna has a fantastic fresh pasta shop as well as a good butchery and pasticceria, and several supermarkets. Just before Bruna is the wonderful Locanda Rovicciano restaurant, and nearby Montefalco has many good restaurants. Best of all, the Celesti vineyard and cellar-door (http://www.aziendaagricolacelesti.it ) is a couple of km down the hill and has some the best wine I had in Italy for only €3 or 4. The local bar in Colle when it was open also had fantastic local wine.
The Torre overall is very liveable and comfortable. Be aware that access to the top floor bedrooms is by a very functional but steep flight of stairs. One unexpected boon was the two large LCD TVs with satellite modems, 1,000+ channels including some English language, I watched lots of movies with subtitles.
Nothing beats looking out over the valley in the afternoon sunshine from the terrazzo, or watching the mist rise the mornings. The atmospherics of the light!
Torre del Colle is the most amazing castle tower that has been transformed into a unique family home. Perched on the top of a hill with a vista of undulating hills provide the perfect setting to enjoy an authentic Italian holiday with friends and family.
Umbria is a dream landscape of serene valleys and fortified hill towns, vineyards and olive groves, in a setting of unsurpassed beauty nestling at the heart of the Italian peninsula. Forest trails lead you on walks through a landscape of extraordinary and uncontaminated beauty, of softly undulating mountains, following ancient trails laid by hermits, saints, peasants and pilgrims. Visit celebrated Medieval and Roman towns which retain the hauntingly primeval qualities of their past, and provide intriguing glimpses of the ancient world. Days can be spent high in the Apennine mountains, or simply immersed in the unsurpassed beauty of patterned fields and hilltop towns that give Umbria its characteristic charm.
Nearby towns such as Spoleto, Bevagna, Foligno, Perugia, Orvieto and Assisi and numerous small villages offer you the opportunity to wander through local markets, delightful piazzas, enjoy award winning wines and be brought face to face with a vibrant and attractive way of life that has deep roots in an ancient past while admiring the many architectural and artistic features that enrich the central Italian province of Umbria.
The area offers impressive locations within the towns where Etruscan arches, Roman architecture and Renaissance frescoes form a fascinating collage. You will have the opportunity to explore a region rich in an extraordinary wealth of history, art and some of the oldest architecture in Europe.
Umbria is very much the expression of its long past. From the twelfth century on it participated fully in that great demographic and economic boom that signalled the end of the dark ages and was the real platform on which the Renaissance and subsequently much of the modern world were built. This was the golden age of the independent city-state and it was also the period in which the great majority of the architecture that one sees today in Umbria was built. During these two and a half centuries the inhabitants of central Italy picked up the never completely forgotten techniques of Roman building and constructed the basilicas and pallazzi that give Umbria its distinctively Romanesque appearance.
That this long boom would come to a disastrous end with the Black Death of 1348 nobody could have predicted. There are in fact delightful garden areas within the walls of several Umbrian towns which owe their existence to the fact that when these communities were planning for the future in the early 1300s they anticipated steady population growth and placed the new wall line well beyond the existing houses.
|Rental Period||Minimum Price||Additional Nights||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly||Event Price|
My Standard Rate
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
|Refundable Damage Deposit||£314|
|Per person over 4 pax||£90|
A deposit of 25% plus a bond of EUR 350 is required to hold the reservation. Final payment is required 60 days before arrival.
CANCELLATION FEES *
The deposit is non refundable, unless cancelled by us. Cancellations made subsequent to the final payment will incur a cancellation fee as a proportion of that amount as follows: Over 45 days prior to Day 1: 25%; 45 days: 50%. 21 days: 100%.