Palm Springs: Where Summer Never Ends…

by editor on August 30, 2011

Tangelos and palm trees
The Parker and Malm Fireplace Palm Springs
Fresh Tangelo Rosemary Juice Palm Springs

Reflection of palm trees in pool

Summer is waning, evening breezes are blowing a little chillier and winter is now inevitable. So where to go for a little escapism? Palm Springs, of course…


Italy: A Hidden Find in Umbria

by editor on June 29, 2011

Looking for the perfect romantic getaway in Italy? I’ve found the place you dream of. A serene, peaceful hideaway near the Umbria/Tuscany border that will change you forever. Rustic yet luxurious, Villa Cerqualto makes a great base for touring Northern Umbria and Southern Tuscany or just relaxing in the countryside. It’s firmly on my shortlist of secret finds in Europe, and I hope you will fall in love as hard as I did…

View of Villa Cerqualto Grounds

Looking out over your very own vineyards...

Nestled on a hillside amidst golden vineyards near Perugia, Villa Cerqualto looks out across a pretty valley and up to the medieval town of Monteleone d’Orvieto (not to be confused with the city of Orvieto). From the open air bedroom where gentle dawn breezes dissolve into warm morning sunshine, to the acres of grounds filled with vines, chestnut, pomegranate and citrus trees, relaxation comes effortlessly.

Airy bedroom at Villa Cerqualto

Airy master bedroom with views of medieval towns and rolling vineyards...

And whether you are familiar with the region or not, warm and welcoming property owner Countess Stephanie Ortenburg has impeccable taste and endless insider suggestions for dining and exploring.

Villa Cerqualto Pool

The pool...shaded by olive trees.

Dining In:
With a rustic farmhouse kitchen and a pretty outdoor dining pavilion, save a few nights to cook lazy family dinners and plot your relocation to Italy. Stock up on supplies at the Supermercati PAM in Chiusi (it has two full aisles of pasta!) or the farmers markets in Citta della Pieve (Saturdays) and Orvieto (Thursdays and Saturdays).

Outdoor Dining at Villa Cerqualto

Outdoor kitchen and dining pavilion...

Eating Out:
Just a few of my favorites in a region packed with outstanding restaurants – mostly casual and a little romantic:

La Tana del Gufo in Monteleone d’Orvieto: Casual, simple pizza, pasta good wine.
La Grotta in Montepulciano
Il Postale in Perugia: Modern Italian, creative, Michelin Star.
Trattoria dell’Orso in Orvieto
Tipica Trattoria Etrusca in Orvieto
Bistrot del Duca in Citta della Pieve

Eating at Villa Cerqualto

You won't leave Umbria hungry...

Around and About:
If you’re in the mood for exploring, Villa Cerqualto is very close to A1 (Italy’s main north-south arterial) – perfect for all day or half-day roadtrips. There’s also nothing quite like escaping back to the pastoral tranquility of your own country house for a sunset glass of wine after braving the tour bus crowds in Siena, Perugia and beyond.

Orvieto (40 mins / 39km): Good restaurants, shopping, dramatic clifftop setting.
Lake Trasimeno (40 mins / 35km): Castles, fishing and watersports.
Montepulciano (50 mins / 50km): One word – WINE (the San Biagio and the views are worth the drive too).
Cortona (1 hr / 53km): Setting for Under the Tuscan Sun.
Siena (1 hr 20 mins / 105 km): Don’t miss the Pecorino farm and factory tour
Montalcino (1hr 25 mins / 75 km): Many wineries, including Castello Banfi
San Gimignano (2 hrs / 150 km): Famous for its saffron or “zafferano”.
Perguia (1 hr / 40km): A definite trip highlight – the Perugina Chocolate Factory Tour.

Cortona Hillside

Views from Cortona

Getting There:
If you’re flying into Rome, rent a car and stay your last night at the sleek, modern H10. It’s a gem for tourists with rental cars – free parking just shy of the center of Rome. The hotel also features huge beds, big modern showers and a lovely rooftop deck with pool and hot tub. Nothing ancient about it and it’s shockingly affordable for Rome.

Sunrise over Monteleone d'Orvieto

A foggy sunrise view from the bedroom of Villa Cerqualto...

Villa Cerqualto is located halfway between Rome and Florence in Città della Pieve, Perugia, Umbria. Rates from €700/week.

Photo Credits: All photos, Edible Society.

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A Northwest Adventure at the Clam Cannery

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Imagine a place where the lines between childhood and adult adventure are blurred. A place with sailboats, float planes, friendly little farms and a cool place to hang out with friends or loved ones to cook, drink and laugh together after a day of playing. Well pack your camera and your appetite, hop aboard a […]

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Paris: Snowy Christmas on Rue du Bac

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Oregon Truffle Festival 2011

October 4, 2010

What better way to spend a crisp winter morning than traipsing through the crunchy, frozen leaves of an oak-lined field in southwestern France or the muddy underbrush of the picturesque Piedmontese countryside, searching for the elusive truffe or tartufo to rock your dinner time? If you can’t spare the time for a bucolic week or […]

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Fall in Umbria

September 12, 2010

A foggy, beautiful morning looking up at Citta della Pieve.

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