Italy is without doubt one of our most popular and most requested destinations. With a seductive combination of rustic simplicity & urban grandeur; together with homespun charm & cultural sophistication, it appeals to all. The choice of accommodation is amongst the best in the world; including rustic farmhouses, luxury villas, Renaissance mansions, and even castles. Yet despite the diversity, certain areas of Italy, like glorious Umbria, sometimes get overlooked, in favour of Tuscany or Puglia. Beautiful view of the old town of Orvieto Yet Umbria is a joy to visit. Having emerged late to international attention, this special part of Italy has retained its authenticity. Umbria has pretty much everything a visitor could ask for, yet admittedly it doesn’t have a coastline. The wealth of history and heritage together with uncrowded pastoral countryside and some of the best food in Italy, does in our opinion, more than compensate for the lack of a beach. Also, all our Umbria properties have refreshing, sparkling swimming pools. For those seeking to be wowed by history and culture, well Umbria can certainly boast plenty of medieval and renaissance art, and the most enchanting hill-top towns. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is the main place (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta. Duomo di Spoleto) and Medieval Fortress (Rocca Albornoziana) Spoleto Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis, is probably the best- known medieval town in Umbria. This UNESCO protected heritage site features the impressive St. Francis's Basilica, with its renowned frescoes; as well as gothic castles and beautiful churches. Castello Bonaparte The surrounding countryside is amongst our favourite in Italy and its where you’ll find ‘Castello Bonaparte’, a luxury medieval Umbrian castle available for holiday rental through Passepartout Homes. Be the king of all you survey, at this spectacular 1500-acre estate. With 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, this super-luxury, renovated medieval castle is perfect for 15 guests; great for a multigenerational family holiday, or an amazing get-away with friends. Expect stunning interiors, superb facilities, a romantic interior courtyard (just perfect for candle-lit dinners) and even an infinity saltwater pool. The private estate is there for picnics, leisurely walks, hikes and biking. The staff and concierge for the estate will help make your stay extra special. Perugia San Francesco d'Assisi – Umbria International Airport is less than half an hour’s drive away. Castello Bonaparte Umbria is not only physically at the heart of Italy; it was also central to the country’s history. Escaping conflict in Rome, and before relocating to Avignon in the early 1300s, the Popes came to Umbria. The extraordinary hill-top town of Orvieto was the refuge for 5 popes, putting this town very much on the religious, cultural and artistic map. The town is striking as you approach, set upon a huge outcrop of volcanic rock surrounded by fertile countryside. The honey-coloured fortified medieval town clusters around its remarkable 14th century Duomo and extends right to the cliff edge. It’s the sort of fairy-tale scene that really can only be enjoyed in Italy, and especially here in the heart of the country. The cathedral is one of the internationally renowned monuments in the town. Yet this is so much more than a religious building; it is a gallery of fine art. Carvings, sculptures and frescos depict more than iconic stories, they showcase priceless artistry that has influenced and shaped the cultural story of Italy. Villa Caterina Less than an hour from Orvieto one can find ‘Villa Caterina’, a luxury Umbrian villa available for holiday rental through Passepartout Homes. Villa Caterina This 7-bedroom, 7-bathroom home has recently been renovated, creating a spectacular retreat for 14 guests. The accommodation is spacious and includes a self-contained apartment. This beautiful villa is surrounded by a large landscaped garden with swimming pool, loungers, dining table, charcoal BBQ, gazebo with dining table for 16 guests, as well as a wood oven. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy alfresco meals. Perugia San Francesco d'Assisi – Umbria International Airport is 20 minutes’ drive away2 Eating in Italy is of course one of the great pleasures of holidaying here, and in Umbria most restaurants are still family owned and run, offering some truly special home-cooked food. The focus is on fresh ingredients, like lake trout; seasonal produce including local truffles; bold flavours like local pecorino cheese; and hearty generous portions. All perfect with a glass of Umbrian wine – salute! Villa Torretta in San Giovanni del Pantano More inspiration Please remember, we are here to help you create your perfect holiday! Subscribe to our mailing list for more travel inspiration; and feel free to contact us for ideas, or advice on finding the best family holiday villa. View here our Umbria villa collection.