Private Country House that can sleep 16 (8 Bedrooms and 6 Baths)
Bill and Suzy Menard
- english, italian
About Bill and Suzy Menard
We started renting our villa in 2008 so we could share our love of Umbria and the treasures of Italy with the public. But in a sense, ours has been a much longer journey. Our love affair with Italy began nearly two decades ago when Bill was a student in the Georgetown University Law Center summer program in Florence (Fiesole). That three-month taste of la dolce vita, which we shared with our then one year old son, led to other extended visits to different regions, each its own journey of discovery of a people and place. Then, after attending a cooking class on the Italian Riviera in 1995 we partnered with the chef to establish an internet-based Italian import business that supplied artisanal gourmet food products from family-run Italian suppliers to eager American bellies. From those humble beginnings emerged our current business, Via Umbria, a fully blown retail store/fresh market/cafe/wine store/restaurant based in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. After a decade of bringing la dolce vita to America, it seemed the right time to bring Americans to Italy, where they could truly experience la dolce vita firsthand, the way Italians do. So in March 2008 we purchased the beautiful villa La Fattoria del Gelso, a historic stone farmhouse situated on a 40 hectare working farm in one of Italy’s most fertile regions.
Bill and Suzy Menard purchased this House in 2008
Why Bill and Suzy Menard chose Cannara
This purchase was no accident. We were interested in finding a villa that would house a group from 2-16 people comfortably and provide them with a true Italian experience. Location was important and so we looked for a place that was in the heart of Umbria’s artistic, cultural, historic, culinary and oenological center. Cannara, where La Fattoria del Gelso is located, is just that location, only minutes from the SS75 motorway and a short drive to so many of the region’s gems. We think our story and our local network of friends, colleagues and partners set apart the Umbrian experience that we offer from an ordinary vacation. Please feel free to contact us for assistance planning your vacation and we think you’ll agree. It’s what we do. It’s what we love. Ci vediamo. Bill & Suzy
What makes this House unique
With our extensive network of personal relationships in the local community, as well as our highly capable local staff, we can ensure that you will experience a side of Umbria that is not available to the casual traveler, that your vacation will be tailored to your unique personal desires and that all of your requests or questions will be answered with Yes. And while we enjoy the peace and quiet of being in the country, we also benefit from being a short 10 minute walk to the charming village of Cannara and enjoy quick, easy access to the highway. Our quiet villa is the perfect launching pad for exploring and discovering the beautiful and fascinating towns that make up this special corner of the world.
Canceled bookings will not receive a refund
How I Spent My Great Summer Vacation!
Looking back I realized I had to chronicle one of the best summer vacations I’ve ever had. In July 2009 my wife and I put ourselves in the hands of Suzy and Bill Menard at Fattoria del Gelso, Cannara, Umbria Italy. What distinguished this vacation was the hands on warmth and guidance of Bill and Suzy and the entire staff. The updated farmhouse was wonderfully homey and afforded the privacy and comfort required for a restful vacation. The picturesque grounds are beautiful and clean. And after a day out and about, in and around the swimming pool we had a sweet early evening oasis to cool off and enjoy cocktails in. I traveled with my wife and another couple. Each day with the sun shining down on us we were treated to so much of Umbria that we had to plan for some down time. Suzy, Bill and staff helped us plan each day and addressed our needs as we went along, a custom designed on demand vacation. Days were filled with learning, relaxing and enjoying. There were trips to local wineries one of which we lunched at, tours of Assisi and Peruggia, which was also hosting the Umbria Jazz Fest, a private cooking class and evenings meals at the villa or at a nearby village restaurant featuring seasonal Umbrian fare. During our stay other guests included by chance, a prominent author, a news editor, an electronics engineer, and a CEO of a US Bio-Solutions firm. The evening dinners around the pool, anchored by the abundant flow of Umbrian wine were casual and carefree. The delicious nightly dining was not only a food lover jackpot but a wonderful social gathering featuring very interesting conversation among the guests. With discussion and opinions on politics, prose, business and the arts one could not help but feel reminiscent of European salons of the 18th century. As evening turned gently to night we watched the sun set gently over the horizon from our vantage nestled in the valley floor of the “breadbox of Italy” while gazing up at the lit up hillside of Assisi. Importantly we never felt that Suzy and Bill were pushing tours as much as they were treating us as guests in their home. They shared years of knowledge to make sure our experiences were great for us. I suggest you too leverage that knowledge by sharing with them what is you want out of your vacation. They will be prepared, they will arrange everything and you will have a great time. I hope you find the time and means to enjoy this wonderfully hosted vacation spot for a great time.
Myself and 15 other famil...
Myself and 15 other family members have just returned from a fabulous vacation at La Fattoria Del Gelso. It was an ideal family trip in a most beautiful section of Umbria, Cannara. Wendy, Marco and Teresa made us feel right at home and we highly recommend at least one night of Teresa's superb Italian cooking.The location of La Fattoria is excellent for day trips to the many fascinating towns surrounding it. We especially enjoyed Deruta and Assisi. Some of us even travelled to Florence only a two hour drive. Truffle Hunting was a unique and fun experience for everyone. We can't say enough good things about our stay. La Fattoria was immaculate and inviting with plenty of room for all of us. We couldn't have picked a better place for our first trip to Italy.
Dear Bill and Suzy: than...
Dear Bill and Suzy: thank you for making our stay at Fattoria Del Gelso so memorable. We had such a special time mostly due to your help in arranging all of our many activities, and your staff's assistance in seeing those activities through. The house is charming, and even though we did not fill all the bedrooms, it did not seem to big for us (we were 8). Our smaller children loved running around the property and the bigger kids enjoyed the many outdoor sitting areas. The location of the house is superb, and, although we had excursions every day to the surrounding areas, we never felt overwhelmed. The girls agree that one of the highlights was our ceramics class in Deruta and the boys (big ones) said the Paolo Bea winery was a very special experience (my brother in law has even discovered where he can get Paolo Bea wine in Houston). The best part, however, was the birthday dinner that Theresa cooked, with the help of Wendy and Marco. It was the best meal we have had in all of Italy! When we left, my 7 year old son cried. That says it all!
I arrived a day early at ...
I arrived a day early at La Fattoria del Gelso to participate in Experience Umbria’s first food and wine excursion. It was late October, fall was in the air, and I was escaping the crashing and burning of the American economy, with visions of extended years of indentured servitude, known in some quarters as working for a living, when I should be expectantly looking forward to the travel and leisure of retirement. My hosts were still in route from Turin, but they had arranged for a friend to pick me up at the airport in Rome. After dropping our bags and freshening up a bit, it was off to lunch. We ended up at a little café, appropriately called Le Delizie del Borgo, just outside the gate to Bevagna. Seated at table out front, we embarked on a two-hour plus sampling of the food and wine of Umbria. The proprietor was most gracious, taking our desires to sample a number of dishes on the menu, and turning our afternoon into a delightful series of small courses accompanied by a lovely Montefalco Rosso. And so I was introduced to Umbria.Our excursion began in earnest the following morning. There were tours, Assisi with its history of St. Francis; Perugia and, coincidentally, the international chocolate festival and a chocolate making class at the Perugina Chocolate School; Norcia with St. Benedict and all manner of pork, wild boar, sausages; a truffle hunt near Città di Castello. Interspersed were visits to wineries and fabulous two or three hour lunches in Assisi, Spello, Montefalco, and at Il Bacco Felice in Foligno. A typical day would begin with a tour or a winery, then lunch, followed by one or two more wineries in the late afternoon, then after catching our breaths, off to dinner for a few more hours. I remember being asked if I had brought a good book for the “down time.”Despite the hustle and bustle of the days, I felt refreshed. Perhaps that was due to the bucolic ambiance of the morning hours. In the early, autumn dawn, the air is just a bit nippy with a slight haze. Nevertheless, you can see a fair distance in any direction to the hillsides bordering the Umbrian valley with a vision of the ubiquitous grapes changing to olive trees capping the hills. The soil has been turned to lie fallow until the spring and occasionally the shot of a distant hunter breaks the stillness. Flowers are still in bloom, but the leaves of the trees have begun to turn and fall. It is energizing to experience this tranquility and peace, until Teresa
Bill and Suzy: We just r...
Bill and Suzy:
We just returned from a week in your beautiful home. It is such a perfect place for medium to large family gatherings. We packed 50 people into your dining room for Thanksgiving! The bedrooms were comfortable for the 15 who stayed.. so great to have so many bathrooms and private spaces in country home. We know Umbria well, but Cannara's location is so close to some of the prettiest spots in the area -- not to mention the great vineyards for wine tasting. Such great hospitality by your staff too, who were so attentive and helpful but also left us to enjoy in front of the fire too. Next time we will try a summer party when the pool is open. Thanks again!
I arrived at the villa wo...
I arrived at the villa worn out and worn down after a family bereavement. It was the perfect getaway- beautifully quiet surroundings and a gorgeous pool, surrounded by fields of sunflowers.
The interior decor is beauutiful and the kitchen up to commercial standards.
I loved not having to drive everywhere-it's a short stroll into Cannara. But when you do get in the car Assissi, Foligno, Perugia are all on the doorstep. Javier will even explain the best spots to park. We were there for the Umbria Jazz Festival, and even if you chose not to go to the big events, Perugia was a great place just to hang out and watch the world go by.
I left a lot more at peace than when I arrived, and would highly recommend the villa to anyone who deserves a break.
Cooking classes, guided wine excursions, guided sightseeing excursions, photography classes, language classes, ceramics painting classes, and more!