Romantic traditional villa built into 1,000 year old town walls, vaulted ceilings, dramatic views (see pix by photographer Cillian Kelly), balconies, roof terrace, olive grove in unspoiled historic town.
Children under 12 stay free.
Beautifully furnished with marble fireplace in sitting room with chandelier hanging from five metre high cathedral ceiling.
Mornings can begin with breakfast on the balcony outside the sitting room, watching the birds dip and swish and the falcons glide as they search for breakfast over the valley below.
The comfortable sofas, the arm chairs, lamps, well placed side tables, the collection of books and videos all offer comfort and tranquillity - cool in the summer heat. During the winter chill bask in the glow from the log fire in the marble fireplace.
In the evening dine by candlelight on the polished table or eat in the kitchen at the oval table under another French crystal chandelier.
The kitchen - its white cupboards offset by red hand-painted Italian tiles - is well equipped with two ovens, grill, microwave, a coffee machine that freshly grinds the beans for each cup and whips a frothy milk for cappuccino. Cook, bake, even try your hand at making your own pasta - directions and ideas in the cookery books on the shelves. And when its all done, just load up the dishwasher.
Choose between two bedrooms on this level, one with vaulted ceilings and its own balcony where the morning light steams in. It has a queen-sized bed, double wardrobes and lots of storage for your clothes. There is an old fashioned dressing table and swivel mirror.
If you feel like writing, checking your emails or uploading your photographs, there is a desk perfect for your laptop beside the balcony windows that make sure your attention wanders every now and then to the wonderful view. Leading off the room is an ensuite shower room under its own mini vaulted ceiling.
The second double bedroom, also with a queen sized bed, has a partly exposed terracotta wall that adds a pink glow to the room in the evening light; a juliette balcony, wardrobe and dressing table. Leading off is the ensuite shower room with more terracotta integrated into the large shower. Italian hand-painted tiles add a fun touch to this well lit room with its large mirror and heated towel rail.
Tucked away is the laundry and cleaning closet with a washing machine and clothes dryer - and vacuum cleaner if you feel you must.
A linen closet holds lots of bed linen and towels, together with extra pillows and duvets.
Upstairs is a small room - useful for anybody who feels the need to escape, with a desk and armchair. This leads onto the roof terrace with a view over the surrounding roofs and of the valley below. There is sun all day on this terrace for those who want to sunbath and in the evenings you can watch the sky as you seldom see it so full of stars, and have a barbecue.
The timber windows are all double glazed with their own shutters to help maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the year.
There is natural-gas central heating for which there is an extra charge, based on usage .
The house is entered through an arched gateway into a small courtyard, shared with our neighbours. The solid old timber door opens onto double-glazed full glass doors that gives the kitchen day-round light.
Take the opportunity to read or write that book on a balcony looking over rolling wheat fields, olive and vine groves. Admire medieval frescoes in monastery next door or Mantegna's long-lost statue of the town's patron saint, Eufemia, in the Cathedral. Taste Italy's best olive oil, sip the local wine from the ancient aglianico grape and learn to make your own pasta. Visit the sassi in nearby Matera and Gravina, visit Altamura for its famed bread, the fossilised remains of the 170,000 year old Altamura-man and the quarry floor featuring more than 4,000 dinosaur footprints - the largest such site found; visit the unique hill-top towns with their own dialect and wonderful summer entertainment; swim in the turquoise water of the Ionion sea in Italy's instep. Ski or ramble in the Pollino natural park - Italy's largest with unique flora and fauna including the black woodpecker; ramble along many of the side roads around Irsina, along laneways to the vegetable and fruit gardens of the local people; go horse riding or cycling or simply stroll through the quiet alley ways of Irsina to one of the local restaurants at dusk.
Villa della Gioia offers the most romantic holiday in a secret corner of Italy where every stone whispers romance and every corner reveals history. The romance includes internet, all mod cons, TV, video, linen, books and a welcoming bottle of vino.
Extra activities: You can book courses and excursions in advance through an excellent local English and Italian speaking agency, details of which will be sent to you following your booking, together with travel options and directions.
Cancellation policy: Deposit refunded minus paypal fees if rental cancelled up to five weeks before first day of rental.