About the property
- Half Baths0
- Minimum Stay7 nights
Villa, 5 Bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms, (Sleeps 10)
“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.
- Response rate:
- Response time:
- within one day
- Calendar last updated:
- May 24, 2018
About Karen Smith
We (Karen and Paul) live in Cincinnati, Ohio and I (Karen) retired for corporate America at about the same time we bought the villa. Without ever planning it to happen, renting and managing Rocca di Benano became my "encore career." Early on, it became evident that fantastic customer service could be a marketable advantage. I understand, because I've never lived in Italy and I don't speak Italian all that well, the questions that travelers have when they're considering a stay in a rural Italian village. I wouldn't drive in a big Italian city (or in downtown Manhattan, for that matter) on a bet, so when I say that driving around Central Italy is easy, our guests trust my judgement. I understand travelers' questions because I've been there. We get to Benano regularly, and we make it our mission to research ways for guests to make the most of their time in Italy. And I spend a lot of time with our guests sharing what we've learned and helping them prepare for a trip of a lifetime.
Karen Smith purchased this Villa in 2008
What makes this Villa unique
Benano is the perfect location for exploring Tuscany and Umbria. It overlooks Orvieto, offering stunning views of one of Italy’s most beautiful hill towns. Guests can enjoy a peaceful village pace yet be in the heart of Orvieto in just 20 minutes. Orvieto’s position on the main north-south rail line and autostrada makes it a perfect jumping-off point for day trips to many popular tourist destinations in central Italy. A 10-minute drive from Benano is Torre Alfina, recently selected one of Italy’s “most beautiful small towns,” which features a picturesque castle, good restaurants, and the best gelato in the area. Twenty minutes further along quaint back roads is Lake Bolsena, Europe's largest volcanic lake, which offers fishing, sailing, swimming, and sunbathing. Driving thirty to forty-five minutes in another direction, you reach the four gems of southern Tuscany – Pitigliano, Sorano, Sovana, and the spa town of San Casciano dei Bagni. Benano is close to another jewel, Civita di Bagnoregio, which travel expert Rick Steves calls “Italy’s classic hill town” and his personal favorite. Equally convenient to Benano are the many acclaimed towns that have attracted travelers to Umbria and Tuscany for centuries – Umbria’s ceramic towns, Gubbio and Deruta; Tuscany’s wine meccas, Montalcino and Montepulciano; Perugia, the capital of Umbria and Italy’s chocolate capital; Pienza, home to Tuscany’s finest cheese; Norcia, a must for lovers of Italian meats and sausages; the renowned thermal springs and spas of Chianciano, San Filippo and Saturnia; and Monticchiello, a tiny gem in the Tuscan hills. Viceno, only a mile from Benano, has a small store and a place for coffee. The nearby villages of Castel Viscardo (2 miles), Castel Giorgio (3 miles), and Torre Alfina (5 miles) also have restaurants, groceries, bakeries, cafés, gelaterias, and pharmacies.
Pool / Spa
Local Services & Businesses
Sports & Adventure Activities
Check-in: 4:00 PM
Check-out: 10:30 AM
Canceled bookings will not receive a refund
A once-in-a-lifetime exprience!
From the lovely drive to Benano to the wondeful villa, we loved it all. The property is charming and very well maintained. The kitchen was fully equipped, and we enjoyed gathering around the table for meals and snacks. The owners provide a wonderful welcome dinner prepared by a chef who also conducts a cooking school -- all that in additionto delicious wine. The stunning views in Umbria and Tuscany are simply breathtaking! I could go on and on, but suffice it to say "Go to Rocca de Benano for a wonderful taste of Italy."
We had high expectations and they were exceeded.
The villa was more than comfortable -- and there were 10 of us. This is far more than a rental. Every room is comfortable and guest-friendly. The views from the villa are stunning. A walk (or jog) in the area is peaceful and refreshing. Paul and Karen's "book" is full of comments and suggestions. It not only describes in detail the many things that can be done on day trips throughout Umbria and Tuscany (and every one of them is interesting and fun), it also gives tips and information about the property itself which make the stay even more comfortable. The welcome dinner is a feast. Chef Simona is a charmer and made the evening a really fun (and delicious) event.
Trip of a Lifetime!
Trip of a Lifetime!
Thank you for the incredible stay at your beautiful Italian villa! From the moment our entire family arrived, we were blown away by the hospitality. The villa was absolutely perfect and fully stocked with our favorite items which made us comfortable. The detailed manual provided along with the fabulous contact via email was one of a kind! We had the pleasure of staying at Benano during Holy Week which was an unforgettable experience. The small community welcomed us to their palm service and mass and were incredibly kind. My husband, both of our parents, my sister and brother and law and niece had the most unforgettable trip. From cooking classes with Simona, private dinners, day trips to Florence and Rome and an unforgettable wine tasting and lunch at Fanti and our afternoon in Cortona followed up with dinner at Il Falconiere--we had the trip of a lifetime making memories together! Simona cooked the most amazing Italian meals and shared a half-day cooking class in her one-of-a-kind custom kitchen at her private home. Not to mention, she was incredibly sweet and welcoming! We loved her! My sister and brother-in-law even hired a photographer to come and take family photos at Benano. Truly one of the best trips ever thanks to Karen and her incredible team. We would highly recommend this villa to all of our friends and family. We hope to return for another vacation soon at Benano!
Charming Villa centrally located in Umbria
Rocca di Benano is one of those charming and rustic villa's that is too good to be true! Centrally located in the small Umbrian hamlet of Benano, this villa is fully equipped for modern day travel enthusiasts. Although the ancient town is very quiet and small, the folks who reside there are friendly and enjoyable. The villa, which is located smack in the middle of the village, offers all of the standard amenities, including fully stocked kitchen, wine cellar, elevated outdoor patio, WIFI, and numerous travel books and information for many adventures. From the Villa, you can take nature walks and explore many of the legendary Umbrian towns located nearby such as Orvieto, Torre Alfina, Spoleto, Lake Bolsena, and Perugia. The Owners also have arranged with a local and quite talented Chef who will cook you fabulous meals and provide to you a great cooking class. I could go on and on, let's just say, that Rocca is more than you could ever imagine!!
We recently stayed at this beautifully renovated villa situated in the quiet countryside. Had a feeling like home. Great central location for day trips and relaxing evenings. The welcome dinner was a great convenience after a day of travel to get to the villa. The owners go out of their way to make your experience memorable. We enjoyed large lunches at the cities we visited each day and elected to have nice casual dinners at the villa. You can get chefs to come in or get catering, but we fended for ourselves. Definitely consider this villa if you plan to travel to Italy.
Thank you for making our memorable journey even more memorable
This was a trip my siblings and I planned after our mother died. She loved Italy, and wanted her ashes scattered in Florence. The three of us and our spouses arranged to stay at Rocca di Benano over a year before we actually left.
I worried that a trip in July would be miserable; my European friend refuses to travel to Italy in the summer. But one of our party is a teacher, and summer is the only time she could come. Although we welcomed the air conditioning upon our arrival, as Italy was in the grip of a heat wave, we quickly learned we didn't really need it. There was nearly always a cool breeze, and we slept comfortably even on the top floor with open windows.
The owners provide everything you could hope for to make your stay comfortable. All house rules are clearly provided, and there are tons of resources for planning day trips. We loved Orvietto, and spent two of our days exploring its streets and views, and a tour of the caves below. This is a perfect location for exploring central Italy; we had day trips to Florence, Assisi, and Montepulciano, as well as the many smaller towns close to Benano, like Aquapendiente and Torre Alfino, where we had our final dinner out together.
Runners and walkers will find plenty of places to exercise while in Benano -- some easy, some challenging. And for city dwellers like us, the night-time stargazing was a real treat.
I could not have asked for a better place for our family to gather and memorialize our mother than in Rocca di Benano. Mille grazie to Karen and Paul for hosting us.
Rocca di Benano is in a tiny walled village called Benano. Benano is near Orvieto, right in the center of Italy, between Rome and Florence, roughly where Umbria and Tuscany come together.
The location makes it a great home base for terrific day trips. Rome and Florence are both about 2 hours by train from Orvieto, and it's easy to reach some of the best hill towns in Tuscany (Siena, Pienza, Montalcino, or Montepulciano) or in Umbria (Todi, Deruta, or Assisi) by car.