Property: 8 |
Cleaning: 10 |
Host: 10 |
Location: 8 |
| Breakfast: 6
This is a lovely Agriturismo located near the village of Ciconia and the delightful town of Orvieto (more on that later).
The property is a wee bit out of the way (about 15 minutes from Orvieto off the A1 Autostrada) but easy to find if you put your trust in the detailed driving instructions provided by Daniela and Marco, the delightful proprietors and your gracious hosts for your time in the Umbrian countryside.
Once on the property you’re greeted by Daniela and Marco, as well as Myles (their gentle and friendly dog) and two cats - Quilt and Lucy. While the views of the Umbrian countryside - and of Orvieto shimmering in the distance - are worth the price of admission, it’s the warmth and genuine openness of your hosts that make this a special place.
Marco revels in his kitchen, preparing delicious, four course ala familia dinners (using local, organic ingredients whenever possible) for guests on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. With great company, apparently unceasing refills of wine, and a selection of house made digestivos at the end of each dinner, these dinners are a ridiculously good value at €30 per person and are not to be missed.
For her part, Daniela is a font of information about sites, activities and restaurants in the area. Whether it’s arranging for a visit to a local goat farm to learn about their production and feast on their remarkable cheeses, or letting you in on the joys of the local goose festival, or making reservations for you at restaurants in Ciconia or Orvieto, Daniela’s advice should be taken to heart whenever your schedule allows.
And, we would be remiss if we didn’t put in a plug for Orvieto itself. Of all the towns and cities we visited on this trip Orvieto was our favourite. Perched high on a plateau the panoramas are amazing, while the town itself has a funky energy - both by day and night (think lots of live jazz pulsing from cantinas and tango dancing beside the Duomo while children scamper about laughing and playing) - that had us wishing we had set aside more time for this place.
So, back to Antica Olivaia. There are just a few things that keep us from listing this as a five-star property. The room is not air conditioned, and while the old stone farmhouse does help moderate temperature somewhat we did find sleeping a challenge on a couple of nights when daytime temperatures reached into the low 30s Celsius and nighttime cooling (and the floor fan in the room) couldn’t keep up.
The breakfast (included in the room rate) is continental in a fashion familiar to North Americans, with cereal, some sweet pastries, bread, yogurt and some fresh fruit, but no more substantive protein options (like cold cuts, cheese or hard boiled eggs). If you’re prone to more active mornings - like we are - this was a bit of a challenge. We would gladly have paid an additional €10 Euros for some cold protein options at breakfast.
On that note, since you’re a reasonably long way from any amenities (a 15 minute drive to the nearest grocer) it’s hard to have your own snacks or drinks on hand for daytime lounging about (especially at the very nice outdoor pool). This challenge could be mitigated if guests had access to a small refrigerator where they could store odds and sods for their daytime access.
But, in summary and to be clear, this is a wonderful place to set yourself up for a relaxing sojourn in rural Umbria. The vibe is chill, the air is clean and smells delicious, the hum of bees in the luxurious beds of lavender surrounding the pool lull you into contentment, and Daniela and Marco top it all off with a generous dollop of charm and energy.
We hope to return someday for sure.
stayed from 06/26/2018 to 07/01/2018