Casa Tartaruga is a classic Italian farmhouse with a modern sensibility. Perched in the Umbrian hills, the stone house has a 360 degree view overlooking the Tiber valley to the southwest and the dense oak forest of the national fluvial park to the east. The house, surrounded by 6 acres of olive orchard and vineyards, is easily accessed from Rome, and some of Umbria's most beautiful sites are a short distance including Orvieto, Todi and Amelia.
Designed by an award-winning Norwegian architect, the house has an open floor plan that includes a large modern kitchen with creamy marble counters and double ovens, and a dining area that easily seats 8 with views of Montefiascone and the hill towns through three sets of french doors. The living room is on a raised level overlooking the dining area and kitchen: the heart of the house. Travertine flooring and a traditional ceiling of terra cotta tiles and chestnut beams fan across the open area offering a warm inviting space for relaxing and entertaining. A shady pergola with newly planted vines extends the length of the dining room and kitchen, providing al fresco dining and seating and the aroma of jasmine and roses. A second floor terrace under an old oak tree offers afternoon shade or a lovely spot for morning sun with your coffee.
Each of the three bedrooms upstairs have spectacular views. The ensuite master bedroom has a queen bed, a dressing area and full tub. Two more bedrooms - each with queen beds - share a bathroom through separate entrances. This bathroom has a double shower and double sinks- it also has the best view of any bathroom in Umbria! There is a fourth bedroom with a double bed ensuite on the first level with a separate entrance. Twin beds can be substituted in one bedroom if necessary. A twin can be added to the master suite.
All of the rooms have writing desks. Windows and most doors are screened. Travertine floors throughout the house are cool in the summer; underfloor heating and the addition of a low emissions wood stove make for a cozy winter vacation. Solar heating and photovoltaic panels make this a green house. The house catches natural breezes and is quite cool. Every door and window provides a framed view: an apple tree, the olive grove, Lake Alviano, the rugged escarpments of Umbria and the peaks of hill towns from Abruzzo to Tuscany. On New Year’s eve, the fireworks of 100 towns illuminate the nightscape.
Guests have access to the entire property. A short walk away is a cave where St. Francis lived and wrote. 30 minutes on foot will thread you through the farmers' white gravel roads past orchards and spectacular wild flowers and land you in the local town of Guardea , with many coffee bars, grocery stores offering local produce and homemade pasta, and a Sunday market. By the way, "Tartaruga" means tortoise in Italian. We thought the name appropriately captured our lifestyle -- we move our home from place to place, and we also love the slow-moving pace of Italian culture.
The house is well equipped for large groups who love sharing the good life:
-The kitchen is well stocked from plates to food processors to sharp knives and big pasta pots!
-A crib and high chair for your little ones.
-Board games and bocce balls.
-Internet, but it is not strong.
-The house is fully screened top and bottom!
-We also have three neighbors within a 5 minute drive who all rent their houses. Please let us know if you would like to bring a large group to our community and I can arrange multiple rentals (about 15 bedrooms all together). These properties have pools and landscaping for wedding parties.
Note: There is no swimming pool at Casa Tartaruga, but most times we can arrange to use a neighbor’s pool (walking distance) for a small fee.
Casa Tartaruga is surrounded by more than 150 olive trees - mostly moriola and leccino- so even though we aren't ready to retire, every November we gather family and friends to harvest our trees. We place large nets under the trees and hand pick the olives dropping them into the net. From the net the olives go into crates and make the trip to the local "frantoia," or oil press. Actually, our local press has state of the art equipment ensuring that our olives are centrifuged and kept cool. This attention to detail keeps the acid content low and makes for exquisite cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Of course, the weather conditions vary from year to year so that while the oil from 2012 was grassy and peppery, the oil from 2013 is buttery with a peppery back taste. There was no olive oil in 2014 due to the mediterranean olive fly, but 2015 was a reasonable harvest and put us back on track. We look forward to sharing our oil with you.