It’s officially nearing the end of the school holidays and I have just had the pleasure of trying and testing family friendly villa Fonte Cicerum for a week. Fonte Cicerum is a stunning 4 bedroom villa nestled in the beautiful village of Paciano, in the heart of the Umbrian countryside but close to the border with Tuscany.
On arrival, I have to admit to being quick to fall in love with this property… who can fail to be blown away by the infinity pool with it’s stunning views over the Umbrian hills, or who could possibly dislike the villa’s interior, furnished as it is with such charm and simplicity but with heaps of character reflecting the owners travels around the globe? On our first evening, we were also treated to the most beautiful sunset and these were just repeated again and again over the subsequent days.
Over the next 2 days, the villa and local area also had lots of surprises in store. I certainly wasn’t expecting the modern mood lighting on the showers in each of the bathrooms. On our first morning, we were also told about a local lady who opened up her home and bread oven to locals twice a week and so we headed there for breakfast and what an amazing start to the day it proved to be. The most fantastic freshly cooked breads and pastries which we sat and ate in the comfort of her garden.
Not being one to plan ahead, I was also extremely pleasantly surprised at just how much there was to see and do within such a small radius. So many amazing towns and cities to explore… Siena is just over an hour away, whilst Cortona, Orvieto and Perugia are within a 45 minute drive and other smaller towns such as Montepulciano and Castiglione del Lago are within easy reach under a 30 minute car journey from the property.
I loved being able to spend a few hours each day exploring the area and then come back to such an idyllic and relaxing spot. A number of evenings were spent sat around the table positioned under the grapevines laiden with fruit, enjoying the company of loved ones and eating the wonderful Italian food. There was a great Weber BBQ to cook on when you’re looking to self cater, however I have to confess to also enjoying take-away pizza from the local village one evening. Certainly, eating pizza at the poolside was the best view I’ve enjoyed whilst eating any takeaway!
And, whilst being a keen cook, I do love the opportunity to have time out of the kitchen when away. This villa was in easy walking distance of 3 superb restaurants. The favourite was definitely L’Oca Bruciata, offering an incredibly varied menu with freshly made pasta galore, an extensive array of pizzas and delicious meat dishes. But the others certainly disappoint either. Osteria La Loggetta was another big hit. The owner, Maurizio, is incredibly friendly and helpful as well as extremely family friendly, providing a children’s corner with an array of games and toys for little ones to play with. The restaurant also has a fantastic terrace looking down over the Umbrian countryside and across Lake Trasimeno.
The owners provide an incredibly attentive service during guest’s stays. Without being at all intrusive, Alina ensured that I had all the ‘insider’ information I could possibly need to make the most of my stay, always letting me know the best restaurants to try wherever we visited or making the time to suggest events that were taking place during our trip. Thanks to her advice, we had a great evening experiencing the palio at Citta della Pieve.
I feel I should try and offer a more balanced account of our stay… surely there must be some negatives across the course of the week…? But, I have to admit, it’s hard to find them. If pushed, I would say a couple of things in the kitchen were missing, such as oven gloves or more baking trays. But did it bother me? I have to confess, for a mere 10 seconds it may have done but that would be it….! And in fact, had I asked for them, I am sure that Alina would have been quick to provide them for me. I just chose to manage without.
Would I stay again? In a heartbeat… I can’t wait to get back to those glorious sunsets and Italian food and hospitality. If you would also like to try Fonte Cicerum for yourself, it’s available to book through Bookings For You. Prices start at under 70 euros per person per night, so it’s completely affordable for those travelling with family and friends.