When we travel we tell people it’s because we want to experience other places, cultures, and immerse ourselves in the local lifestyle. What we don’t say is we want all of that without giving up the comforts of our own homes. Lucky for me I’ve found the perfect escape.
Il Fontanaro is a little slice of Italian heaven tucked away on a gravel road in northern Umbria. The mother-daughter owners, Lucia Verdacchi and Alina Pinelli, extend their exceptional country slow living way of life to every guest lucky enough to secure a reservation.
My home for two weeks includes a comfortable villa with a full kitchen stocked with groceries to tide me over until I recover from jetlag and get to the store. The living room has a large tv with access to many English-speaking news and movie stations, which is uncommon in European hotels. There are also speakers to connect my iPhone for enjoying my favorite music. The large bedroom is filled with antiques and has French doors leading to a cozy private patio. The swimming pool is just steps from my patio.
Lucia’s garden is a foodie’s dream: fresh strawberries for breakfast; tomatoes, basil, and garlic for lunches of bruschetta; zucchini, squash, peppers, potatoes, onions, lettuce, rosemary and other herbs can be picked for dinners of deliciousness. Numerous fruit trees dot the property and offer perfectly ripe and refreshing treats for guests to enjoy poolside under the hot Umbrian sun.
If you’re lucky, Lucia & Alina will put together a meal that you’ll remember fondly months later. You can also take one of their popular cooking classes. My son recently learned how to make a special gnocchi that was taught to Lucia by her grandmother.
Alina is a master planner of activities. On a recent visit I enjoyed a tour of a local vineyard, a poolside massage, a paella dinner in the piazza with locals celebrating the friendship with their sister-city, and a Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett concert in Perugia.
You may choose to do nothing but wake up late and sit by the pool. And that’s ok too. Funny though, even enjoying the pool seems an event in itself, given the breathtaking views of the Umbrian countryside.
One of the best parts of Fontanaro is Lucia & Alina’s ability to make you feel like you’re home, as if you’re part of their extended family. You will be greeted with hugs, introduced to new friends, told stories of family and tradition, and learn secrets of medieval towns and villages you won’t read in most tour guides.
Whether you stay for a couple of days or weeks, from the moment their two chocolate labs, Ettore & Bacco, great you at the gate, you will instantly feel like you’ve discovered a special treasure that you want to return to time and after time. That, of course, is how we feel about home.
If you would like to learn more about my experiences at Fontanaro please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to book your visit to Fontanaro.