“Rocca di Benano” is a five-bedroom, four-bathroom villa set amid lovely vineyards and olive groves overlooking Orvieto, one of Italy’s most beautiful hill towns. This meticulously restored home features original stone walls, exposed wooden beams, terracotta floors, and a wine cellar carved out of bedrock.
At Rocca di Benano, a large family or group of up to 10 friends can enjoy Umbrian life as it was 1,000 years ago, yet with all the conveniences of the 21st century, including comfortable furnishings, high-end American beds, and – rare for Italian homes – air conditioning. Guests also enjoy free wireless internet; English-language satellite TV; use of an onsite clothes washer and dryer; GPS with local restaurants and other points of interest/services already programmed in; free landline calls to the US; and a kitchen already stocked with the basics.
More than offering you just a place to stay, we strive to make your stay at Rocca di Benano the carefree experience of a lifetime. Your stay starts with a "welcome dinner" prepared for you in the villa by a local chef, and we provide complimentary wine from the award-winning and nearby Palazzone winery.
Long before your arrival, we are available to answer all your questions and offer personal help in designing your vacation. We want to make you feel right at home in Benano and give you everything you need, including the confidence to explore the area and all that it has to offer. If you would like, we can help you develop an itinerary personalized to your interests. We can steer you to off-the-beaten path towns and restaurants that you will never forget. We can introduce you to our friends in the community who can, depending on your interests, teach you to cook like a local, cook for you in the villa, show you around their organic farm, and serve you a meal there. We can introduce you to the best tour guide imaginable -- a teacher who, when she isn't working, can tour with our guests around the area she loves and has studied extensively. I can also help you arrange winery tours, a visit to an artist's studio (it's in a castle, by the way) in the next village over, or help you arrange for a photographer to capture your vacation memories. On a more practical level, we can help you think through how and where you want to rent your car, suggest driving itineraries, and even put you in touch with a driver/personal assistant.
Rocca di Benano is the principal dwelling in the walled medieval hamlet of Benano, which sits on the edge of a valley, high above the ancient hill town of Orvieto. Its five bedrooms are spread over four levels. Each bedroom can accommodate 2 people. A full bathroom is convenient to each bedroom. The photos below show each bedroom and bathroom.
Ground Floor: There is a lovely bedroom on the ground floor with twin wrought-iron beds, a hand-made armoire and dresser, with a full bathroom with a shower across the hall. This floor includes a family room with satellite TV and access to the terrace. It also features a medieval cistern, well-lit and under glass, so that guests can literally peer into history. From this floor, guests can descend forty feet to the villa’s beautifully preserved wine cellar. There also is a laundry room with a washer and a dryer on the ground floor. An internal staircase connects the ground floor to the first-floor kitchen.
First Floor: The first floor includes a comfortable living room, a well-lit dining room with seating for 10 and a spectacular view across the valley, and a professionally-appointed kitchen already stocked with the basics. The kitchen is equipped with a four-burner gas stove, electric oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, American coffee maker, and a large collection of professional cookware. The living room’s original large stone fireplace is fitted with an iron wood-burning stove for easy, smoke-free fires. There also is a bedroom on the first floor, with a queen-size wrought-iron bed, antique armoire, and rich imported upholstery and linens. The bedroom, dining room, and living room have independently-controlled air conditioning. There is a full bathroom with a shower on the first floor. The internal staircase connecting the first floor to the ground floor descends from the kitchen.
Second Floor: There is an internal staircase of original terracotta tiles leading up to the second floor. The large bedroom, with an exposed stone wall, has twin wrought-iron beds, an antique armoire, and an antique dresser. The bedroom has independently-controlled air conditioning. There is a full bathroom with a shower across from this bedroom.
Third Floor: The third floor also has an internal staircase of original terracotta tiles leading up to it. This floor has a stunning panoramic view across the Benano Valley to Orvieto. Its main bedroom, with restored beamed ceilings and exposed stone walls, features a king-size wrought-iron bed, built-in clothes cupboards, and rich imported upholstery and linens. The other third-floor bedroom features a queen-size bed (European dimensions), an antique dresser, and rich imported upholstery and linens. Both bedrooms on the third floor have independently-controlled air conditioning. Offering another breathtaking view, the bathroom for the third-floor bedrooms is accessible off the internal staircase and also includes a shower.
Terrace: The villa’s back door (off the ground-floor family room) opens onto a private stone terrace overlooking the property’s 25 olive trees, a prolific fig tree (always a guest favorite in late summer), neighboring farms, and a nearby hill town. A beautiful hand-painted ceramic table and wrought-iron chairs provide outdoor dining space for 8-10 people. There is a brick pizza oven and Italian barbecue on the terrace, with firewood stored on a second terrace immediately below. Guests may use the pool at a hotel 2 miles away, free of charge.
Once a defensive outpost, Benano dates back at least 1,000 years, although the villa retains features possibly from an earlier time, including its wine cellar and a recently uncovered cistern from the middle ages. The villa sits on a tiny piazza facing a small, 16th century church, and its external wall forms part of the old “rocca,” or fortress. Benano is home to about 25 year-round residents. Join the small crowd that gathers to meet the bread truck each weekday morning and the fish, meat, and produce trucks that come each week. Or take in the inevitable gathering of locals chatting in the piazza each summer afternoon. Cars and motorcycles are not permitted in the center of the village, so guests are spared the street noise common throughout Italy. Guests can park for free just outside the village gate, 100 feet from the villa's front door.