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Elegant 1,000-Year Old Air-Conditioned Villa in Walled Hamlet

Bedrooms 5
Property type villa
Minimum Stay 7 nights


About the property

Villa, 5 Bedrooms, 4 Baths, (Sleeps 10)


“Rocca di Benano” is a five-bedroom, four-bathroom villa that offers you the finest accommodations and location in the heart of Italy. It’s ideally situated near the border between Umbria and Tuscany and easily accessible to Rome, Florence, and many of Italy’s classic hill towns. 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, beautiful Italian antiques, and – rare for Italian homes – air conditioning. 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 long before your arrival, we are available to answer all your questions and offer personal help in designing your vacation. We can help you set up a driver who can bring your group straight from the airport to the villa; refer you to local chefs who can prepare and serve meals at the villa; connect you with guides in towns and cities you might visit; and suggest day-trips, attractions, restaurants, and shopping throughout the region and beyond. Our helpful caretakers live nearby and offer additional services such as grilling out on the terrace, laundry, and extra cleanings.

The Villa

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.

The Village

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.

Keywords: Villa

More Details

Karen Smith
Member since: 2009
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
July 21, 2017

About Karen Smith

Karen and Paul live in Cincinnati, Ohio. When she’s not in Italy researching ways for guests to make the most of their time in Italy, Karen works with guests to prepare for a trip of a lifetime.

She offers her guests free concierge services to help make them feel right at home in Benano and give them everything they need, including the confidence to explore the area and all that it has to offer. She can help guests develop an itinerary personalized to their interests. She can steer them to unforgettable off-the-beaten path towns and restaurants; introduce them to friends in the community who can, depending on their guests’ interests, teach teach them to cook like a local, cook for them in the villa, show them around their organic farm, and serve them a meal there. She knows where you can rent horses or bikes. She can introduce you to the best tour guide imaginable -- a teacher who, when she isn't working, can tour with Rocca di Benano’s guests around the area she loves and has studied extensively. Karen can also help you arrange winery tours, a visit to an artist's studio (it's in a castle, by the way) in the neighboring village, or help you arrange for a photographer to capture your vacation memories.

On a more practical level, she can help you think through how and where you want to rent your car, recommend a perfect 'welcome dinner,' suggest driving itineraries, and even put you in touch with a driver/personal assistant who can stay with you throughout your visit and drive you wherever you want to go whenever you want to go there.

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.


Orvieto Villa Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • villa
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • children welcome ...
  • pets not allowed
  • non smoking only
  • Air Conditioning
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Free Long Distance
  • Hair Dryer
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Mobile Phone
  • Parking Off Street
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet
  • Wood Stove
  • Catering Available
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • 4 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
    Bathroom 3 -
    Bathroom 4 -
  • 5 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • King size beds (1), Queen size Beds (2), Twin or Single Beds (4), Baby Cribs (1) Available upon request.
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Television
  • Video Library
  • Deck / Patio
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Onsite Services:
  • Chauffeur
  • Private Chef
  • festivals
  • health/beauty spa
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • boating
  • horseback riding
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • swimming
Complimentary house wine, English-language satellite TV, onsite washer and dryer, a GPS pre-programmed with the locations of local restaurants, ATMs, grocery stores and popular tourist sites, two pay-as-you-go Italian cell phones, free landline calls to the US, window screens, a bread/pizza oven on the terrace, and pool privileges at a hotel in Castel Viscardo (see map).


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(56 traveler reviews)

Elegant 1,000-Year Old Air-Conditioned Villa in Walled Hamlet
average rating of 5.0 based on 56 reviews

Family trip to Benano

  • 5 of 5

Our family trip to Benano was a comfortable and well-apportioned Italian stay with space enough to accommodate the sounds and schedules of grandkids (age 18 months to 20 years old), parents, and grandparents. Karen gave us plenty of info on what to expect and where to go that left us well fed, well-traveled, and pleased with the variety and depth of a week in Umbria. We would (and probably will!) go back again.

Rocca di Benano itself is lovely. The views and relative quiet of the surrounding countryside are innately grounding and, for me, had the effect of creating an easy buffer between the demands of my daily life and the pleasures of vacation. The room setup (across multiple floors) easily accommodated those in our group that like alone time, while also providing more than enough spacious common areas to allow for all 10 of us to cook the occasional dinner in and appreciate the local wines until late into the evening. Honestly, I felt we only just scratched the surface of what the area has to offer during our one week at Benano.

After Benano, we spent a few days in Rome among the hordes of other tourists and the grimy hustle and bustle of Italy's capital. While we enjoyed our time in Rome, it reinforced for us the calming and restorative properties of Benano, which is like a countryside palace -- an oasis that I now know has been there, in some form, for millennia (the wine cellar is built on an Etruscan foundations, for crying out loud!).

Also, I can't emphasize enough that Karen is more responsive and generous with her time than one could reasonably expect -- she takes her role as host very seriously and is clearly, herself, enamored with Benano and its surrounds. The personal touches and details at Benano show that a lot (a lot!) of time and thought has gone into anticipating questions and providing simple, easy answers.

In the lead up to the trip, Karen responded to our many email inquiries with paragraphs of detail and with options for us to consider. She found us a pack n' play for our 18-month old that was perfect, explored baby-sitting options for us, and helped us think through kid-related issues. Having that support and attention, in my experience, is a difference maker in terms of quality of vacation. We lacked for nothing.

All 10 of our party found Benano to be relaxing, fun, and satisfying as a home base for Italian adventures. I recommend it.

  • Submitted: Jul 13, 2017
  • Stayed: Jun 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Amazing villa in beautiful setting

  • 5 of 5

Our group of 5 couples spent a great week at Rocca di Benano. The villa is beautiful and immaculate. Karen gives you any and all information needed for enjoying both the villa and the surrounding countryside. Everyone's accommodations were spread out and the common areas gave us plenty of room to socialize. The terrace was where everyone met for early morning coffee/lattes and late night drinks.

We had our first night dinner prepared by Simona Fabrizio which was excellent. On Sunday night we had dinner catered by Chef Lorenzo of Ristorante Zeppelin in Orvieto. It was a meal we will never forget. We had enough food for 20 people and the wine Lorenzo brought was tremendous.

Everyone made day trips from Bennano and the adventures driving were numerous and led to long stories when everyone regrouped each night.

The residents of Benano were friendly and Macco the dog was a hit.

I highly recommend Rocca di Benano for a memorable Italian vacation experience.

  • Submitted: Oct 9, 2016
  • Stayed: Sep 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Davidson, NC

Everything we hoped for and More!

  • 5 of 5

A group of 10 of us, 5 couples, all empty nesters, just returned from two weeks in Italy where we spent a week at Rocca di Benano. What an amazing week it was. First, the Villa is elegant and comfortable, with attention to detail in every corner. The beds, pillows and linens were all of top quality, allowing for restful nights after our busy days. The space was adequate for our large group, without feeling crowded.

As mentioned by others, Karen is one of the best parts of this rental. She is always available to answer any questions and is full of suggestions for adventures of all types. We explored several nearby towns, including Orvieto, Siena, Multipulciano, etc. that are easily within an hour or two drive.

A highlight for our group was a cooking lesson by Simona at her nearby farm, just one of the enjoyable experiences available to guests. We also had dinner prepared for us by Simona's chefs three of the nights we were there. They came to the villa, prepared gourmet Italian fare, served us and cleaned up. Combining that with the wonderful house wine supplied by Karen, we LOVED everything about those evenings!

The neighbors in this small walled village are all friendly and our attempts to communicate with them with our English and their Italian made for lots of smiles all around!

Bottom line, if you are looking for a unique home base for your vacation in central Italy, we highly recommend Rocca di Benano!

  • Submitted: Sep 24, 2016
  • Stayed: Sep 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Cincinnati, OH USA

Can't wait to return!!!

  • 5 of 5

We’ve been searching for words to adequately describe our Rocca di Benano experience. Wonderful, fabulous, beautiful, awesome, memorable…just a few words that come to mind. It was quite simply – perfect. Rocca di Benano was the perfect home away from home as our family enjoyed a week-long vacation in Italy.

When we arrived at the airport in Rome, we were greeted by the best driver in the world, Francis. He not only helped us navigate through our itinerary, Francis served as an extremely knowledgeable tour guide who made our travels through Italy interesting, enjoyable and a lot of fun!

From the airport to the fountains of Tivoli, our journey to Rocca di Benano was marvelous. It was hard to imagine that the first day could get any better. Then we entered the villa…and wow. Rocca di Benano is absolutely stunning and beautifully decorated. Each room has its own character and charm. It is peaceful, and yes, perfect. Karen’s attention to detail is quite evident, not only at the villa but in the way she prepares her guests for the trip.

Rocca di Benano is centrally located which allowed us to take day trips and fully enjoy Italy. We were able to experience Rome (The Colosseum and Vatican Museum), Florence, Pisa, Pompeii, Tuscany and Orvieto. We fell in love with the hill town of Civita di Bagnoregio, Torre Alfina and the Sorrento coast. Each day brought more joy and excitement as we enjoyed the great food, culture and awe inspiring scenery.

It was an amazing week that left us wanting more – more of Italy and more of Rocca di Benano. In fact, we are already making plans to return!

  • Submitted: Sep 20, 2016
  • Stayed: Aug 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Covington, KY USA

Hill top Paradise

  • 5 of 5

Having just completed a week stay at Rocca di Benano, I can only say WOW!! So beautiful and well appointed. The owners provide such complete information and connections to everything you need for an incredible Italian experience. 9 of us stayed comfortably in this elegant ancient villa. A dinner recommended by the owner and prepared by locals greeted us our first night and it was fabulouso. Day trips to local hill towns, a winery and the local villages made each day an adventure to remember. A highlight was the Machinna di Santa Rosa-I have never seen anything like it! Just another example of a great recommendation by the owner of this amazing property. The people who live in the village were welcoming and kind even though we did not speak their language. I promise you this is an experience full of comfort, fun, history, and adventure.

  • Submitted: Sep 15, 2016
  • Stayed: Sep 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Trip of a lifetime

  • 5 of 5

The villa at Rocca di Benano was an amazing experience and I HIGHLY recommend it. I felt in instant respite mode the second I walked in the door. And this was after a 15 hour flight and two hour drive. I was in awe and truly felt the villa provided us an authentic Italian experience- but with all the modern amenities that most American's love like A/C and wifi! We were a group of 4 (two couples- we were originally a group of 6 but one couple had to cancel due to a medical situation) In some ways the space was too large for just the four of us but in other ways it we could spread out and have our own space and in this way it turned out just perfect.

The very best thing about actually saying 'yes' to this trip at this villa, was Karen. She is kind, professional and genuine. She truly prepared us for what to expect and our various options without bombarding us with too much information. She's the real deal as far as understanding how to guide us; a true pro. Her pre-trip information packet which she sent through the mail was simply outstanding. It contained all the pertinence from navigating from the airport to countless detailed ideas of how to make the best of every moment. None of the people in our group had ever been to Italy before and her suggestions and experienced help us prepare in such a way that we felt relaxed and confident in soaking in every single second.

The villa is an amazing structure and tells a story in every stone. The views from ANY window are stunning. The wine cellar was so unique and such a surprise I took a video of the walk down (way down) to the cellar! The rooms are clean, prepared and comfortable. Each room has so much character you can't miss. No one in your group will have a 'bad' room. Everything is well labeled and easy to navigate. (light switches, laundry- yes there is a washing machine and dryer there which we found extremely helpful in packing light enough to return with goodies from Italy!- the trash/recycling/compost etc)

The villa was true magic for us. One night we canceled our plans and 'ordered in' and just relaxed on the back terrace. We honestly couldn't have made a better choice for our once in a lifetime vacation and feel lucky to have experienced staying in this quaint, authentic real life utopia.

  • Submitted: Jul 8, 2016
  • Stayed: Jun 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
99 Miles
Nearest Barpub
0.8 Miles
Nearest Train
8.5 Miles
Nearest Motorway
9 Miles
A-1 Orvieto Interchange
Nearest Restaurant
2.2 Miles
Castel Viscardo
Car: necessary

Cooking classes, olive harvesting and pressing, wine tasting, and referrals to great tour guides for the best attractions in the area.


Rates & Availability

Orvieto Villa Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
Spring through Fall
May 13 2017 - Nov 3 2017
7 night minimum stay
Late 2017
Nov 4 2017 - Dec 15 2017
7 night minimum stay
Winter holidays 2017
Dec 16 2017 - Jan 4 2018
7 night minimum stay
Early 2018
Jan 5 2018 - May 10 2018
7 night minimum stay
Spring - Fall 2018
May 11 2018 - Nov 1 2018
7 night minimum stay
Late Fall
Nov 2 2018 - Dec 20 2018
7 night minimum stay
Holiday Season
Dec 21 2018 - Jan 3 2019
7 night minimum stay

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Canceled bookings will not receive a refund
Contact Owner

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