Thursday 23 February 2012

Infiorata, Spello, Umbria - 9/10 June 2012

The Infiorata in Spello takes place each year to celebrate Corpus Domini, the religious ceremony (in the catholic calendar) that sees the consecrated host being processed through the streets of this stunningly ancient town, complete with Etruscan arches and Roman remains.

Dating back over a hundred years, the laying of flower petals on the streets in front of the procession was started by an elderly Spellana, who scattered broom, the beautiful, fragrant, bright yellow spring flower, in front of her house as the procession passed by.

Since then, the annual celebration has taken on new dimensions and now the streets are covered with beautiful designs and pictures made entirely from flower petals and seed pods.

The whole town is involved and there are prizes awarded for the best designs in various categories including Under 14's, Tapetti (rugs) and Quadri (pictures covering piazzas or large streets).  Even the children join with work starting on the Saturday lasting all night and finishing with final touches early on the Sunday morning before the procession starts.

It's an incredible sight and recommended to anyone visiting Umbria at this time.  The apartment at Villa Bastiola is within an easy drive of Spello making it a great day out for everyone.

Monday 20 February 2012

Property for sale, Umbria - offers accepted!

2 lovely apartments for sale in the small village of Selci, Umbria, right on the border with Tuscany.

A true chance to purchase a pad in this beautiful part of Italy without spending a fortune.  Offers around 99,000 Euro for the smaller apartment (2 beds, 2 baths) make this an amazing opportunity to have a low maintenance, high security, rentable property in a highly desirable part of the country.

Without having to worry about a garden to maintain (there is a small outdoor space with the ground floor apartment to the rear of the property), it couldn't be easier to lock up and leave or just turn the key and unpack when you arrive.  

Both properties lend themselves to holiday rentals so you can cover expenses and make a small profit by renting out the apartment at times when you can't be here.

Restored to the highest possible specification, both apartments have full gas central heating and double glazed windows.
Apartment 1: 

ground floor with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lounge kitchen, small garden to rear, independent access, brand new gas central heating and double glazed windows. Parquet flooring throughout.  Size approx 78sqm.

€105,000 Offers considered

Apartment 2:

Middle and top floor, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lounge kitchen, balcony, independent access, brand new gas central heating and double glazed windows.  Parquet flooring throughout.  Size approx. 86sqm.

€99,000 Offers considered

Normally when buying property from an agent in Italy there is a 3% fee payable by both the seller and the buyer.  As you could buy direct from the owners, this fee would be saved too.

Further savings can be made on transfer of title etc as the owners' cousin (everyone is related here in Italy!!) who is an architect can do a lot of the property transfer paperwork, leaving just the purchase tax and notary fees which are about 6%.

Selci is a picturesque little village near the Tuscan/Umbrian border. E asily accessed from a major road it's near to a Ryanair destination in Perugia, so is within affordable travelling distance from most European countries.

By car it is 1.5 hours to the wonderful historic cities of Florence and Sienna and 2 hours to the "eternal" city, Rome. The coast is an easy 1 hour 20 minutes, and every other Italian city is accessible using the inexpensive and efficient Italian rail system.

The properties will be an ideal base for anyone wishing to see Italy and to use it on a regular basis, but would also be a great investment, as they could easily realise €350 to €450 per week as holiday rentals. 

The owners are happy to offer a caretaker service to ensure everything is in good working order and to act as reception for guests and clean the properties when vacated.They can also assist in obtaining rentals if required.

If you are seriously interested, please contact me at and I will put you in touch with the owners directly.

Monday 13 February 2012

Self catering holiday apartment Umbria, Villa Bastiola

Villa Bastiola 

Website problems!  Our website for the lovely self catering holiday apartment at Villa Bastiola in Umbria has been offline all weekend.

Thanks to a hacker embedding a rogue file in the website, our hosting company had to suspend the account while we removed it and the site was monitored.

It's currently still supsended but we hope that it will be back on line later this morning.

In the meantime, if you want to contact us for availability or find out more about the apartment please use the email address and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Many apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Friday 10 February 2012

Gubbio, Umbria - Festivals & Events

Festa dei Ceri - 15 May 2012
Gubbio, one of Umbria's most interesting medieval towns sees the race of the ancient "Ceri" (Candles) through the tiny cobbled streets and up the mountainside to the church at the top. There is a fabulous atmosphere and it's wonderful to see all generations join in the celebrations.  The Eugubines are called the "Matti d'Italia" and you can see why at this amazing festival!

Palio della Balestra - 29 May 2012

Dating back to medieval times, the town of Gubbio has always been in competition with the town of Sansepolcro, just over the border in Tuscany, to see who has the best crossbow archer. This "Palio" or competition is held between the two teams and a challenge match is held in Sansepolcro in September.

The famous sbandieratori are also present and a serious flag-throwing demonstration heralds the beginning of the competition.

Both these events take place within a fortnight at the end of May.  It's a great chance to visit Umbria and enjoy some of the rich culture of the area and join in the fun with the locals.

The apartment at Villa Bastiola is just 40 minutes away so it's perfect for a day trip.  There are some excellent restaurants and trattoria there too not to mention the incredible remains of a Roman ampitheatre.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Assisi - Calendimaggio - 3/4/5 May 2012

The beautiful historic town of Assisi celebrates the arrival of May each year with the stunning celebrations called Calendimaggio.  It runs over 3 days and is riot of colour and tradition.

The first day  starts with a procession of the townsfolk dressed up in medieval costumes starting in the Piazza di Sopra and finishing in the Piazza di Sotto.  There are blessings in the Cathedral of S. Rufino and the Basilica of S. Francesco.Later in the afternoon the flagthrowers (sbandieratori) demonstrate their skills in the Piazza del Comune. The bells ring out and the Maestro del Campo assumes his soverign powers! Later there is a crossbow challenge between the two factions of Assisi.
The second day is devoted to the crowing of the Madonna del Primavera, the Maid of Spring.  There is another medieval procession and medieval games including archery and tug of war.
The afternoon of the third day sees the challenge between both factions of Assisi with both groups in medieval dress processing into the the Palazzo del Comune for the results followed by a procession down to the Piazza Santa Chiara.  Later there is the presentation of the Palio.
A really beautiful event, where much care has gone into the detail, the costumes, the reenactment of past times.  If you get chance come and see for yourselves.
The self catering apartment at Villa Bastiola is available for weekly rental ( and is within an easy 40 minute drive to Assisi.  New parking has been put in place at Assisi with lifts and escalators to take you up to the main town.  It couldn't be easier to enjoy this special event especially with the new terminal open at Perugia International Airport. 

Monday 21 November 2011

Harvesting the olives at Villa Bastiola

This year we were lucky enough to have some guests staying with us at harvest time.  Kathy and Tom from Maine in the States who couldn't have been nicer and who spent a lovely morning harvesting the olives from our trees in the gardens at Villa Bastiola.

This year's crop wasn't great - the long hot summer meant that the olives were fairly small and not all of the trees had produced any olives.  So the yield was low, but we managed to get just enough to have nearly 10 litres of delicious green/golden nectar of extra virgin olive oil to see us through the year.

Although Kathy and Tom couldn't fit much into their suitcases, they did manage to make room to take back a couple of bottles of the oil to enjoy at home, reminiscing about their holidays here.

The weather was gorgeous, no fog, so the olives were dry, blue skies and sunshine.  Pretty cold at first, it soon warmed up and we were able to have a coffee break on the terrace!

We served a traditional Italian lunch for the workers, with crostini, oodles of pasta al forno and pannacotta to finish up.

Kathy and Tom have travelled extensively throughout Italy and particularly like Umbria. They had been to this area before and were keen to come back in time for the Truffle fair at Città di Castello at the beginning of their stay.

They really enjoyed the self catering apartment at Villa Bastiola and shared it first with their daughter and son-in-law and then with some old friends from the States.  The two en-suite bedrooms and lovely kitchen, make for a really comfortable place to stay.

For full details about the self catering apartment at Villa Bastiola, please visit 
Recommended by Trip Advisor and Alastair Sawdays.

Thursday 3 November 2011

White Truffle Fair, Città di Castello, Umbria - 4-6 Nov 2011

Truffle Fair, Città di Castello, Umbria
The White Truffle Fair at Città di Castello in Umbria takes place every year and is a fantastic event.  

This coming weekend, the historic centre will be full of stands and gazebos selling everything from dried porcini to truffle sauces, black truffles and white truffles, olive oil fresh from the presses this year, to salami, (the best are from the Norcia region of Umbria), cheeses, breads and traditional cakes and sweets.

White truffle is currently being sold at 3,300 Euro per kg this year!!!! That makes it about100 Euro for one very thin slice on top of your plate of your pasta - it just could be some of the most expensive food you will every eat!!! And the most delicious...

The first time I went to the fair (6 years ago now), I was overwhelmed by the fragrance and smells coming from the gazebo in the main square.  There's nothing like it and it really seems to mean that autumn is well and truly here.  

Not to miss are the hot roasted chestnuts with a glass of vin novello (the "new" red wine from this year's harvest).

There are all sorts of activities happening too, chefs showing their skills cooking truffles, workshops and classes to take part in.

I always say it but late October and early November are a great time to visit this part of Italy.  It really comes into its own, with truffles, porcini, olive oil, salami and cheeses being found and produced locally.  The cuisine of Umbria is hard to beat!

Come and stay with us next year for this special occasion - .