Verified Review icon check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar svg-report-flag pet-dog svg-multiunit Default Owner Icon heart-filled Family icon
Book Online or call VRBO Booking Assistance: 888-829-7076
Book Online or call VRBO Booking Assistance: 888-829-7076

Beautiful Villa with Welcome Dinner and Complimentary Wine Included

Bedrooms 5
Property type villa
Minimum Stay 7 nights


About the property

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. 

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.

More Details

Karen Smith
Member since: 2009
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a day
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
March 16, 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.


Orvieto Villa Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • villa
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 4:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 10:30 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • Children welcome ...
  • Parties/events not allowed
  • 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
  • seating for 10 people
  • 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
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...
Onsite Services:
  • Chauffeur
  • Private Chef
  • churches
  • festivals
  • health/beauty spa
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • boating
  • horseback riding
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • massage therapist
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • hiking
  • 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 -
(62 traveler reviews)

100% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
Beautiful Villa with Welcome Dinner and Complimentary Wine Included
average rating of 5.0 based on 62 reviews

Perfect place to explore Umbria!

  • 5 of 5

We had a fantastic stay at Rocca di Benano over the week before and through Easter. The beautifully restored villa was easy to find with views overlooking olive groves and the valley headed towards Orvieto. We stayed in a beautiful guest room on the top floor; a perfect blend of modern with the original rustic stonework and wood beams.

Benano served as a great jumping off point for explorations of the surrounding towns. A definite highlight was spending the evening of Good Friday in Bolsena, a beautiful lakeside town nearby. We found easy parking and had a lovely dinner at one of the restaurants right on the lake. Then came a highlight of the whole trip: getting to watch the full Good Friday procession through the town! It starts with a reenactment of the Last Supper in town and then Jesus, his Roman captors and followers process through town, with everyone joining in the procession. From the Romans on horseback to the torch light bouncing off the walls of the ancient town, it was an incredibly beautiful and moving experience, totally unlike anything I've seen before. I felt lucky to be able to participate in it. Thanks to the owner, Karen, for the great recommendation!

We also loved Orvieto. Though we didn't take up any of the tours on offer, the city was rich in history and we enjoyed just wandering around and taking in the gorgeous Duomo. We enjoyed great meals there as well as excellent shopping.

Other excellent day trips included trips to Sienna and Civita, both of which we'd highly recommend. We also had an excellent dinner in Montalcino -- home to a famous red wine -- and picked up some bottles to take home as gifts.

Another highlight was a cooking class from Simona of Sagra in Casa, at her beautiful home in the country side. She taught us how to clean & prepare artichoke -- which we learned to love in Italy -- make home-made pasta and a delicious pear dessert, all accompanied by wonderful wine. It was a truly wonderful day and we've used our newfound cooking skills back home. Another wonderful highlight recommended by Karen!

We cannot recommend Rocca di Benano enough! The home was extremely comfortable -- we felt spoiled -- and located perfectly. Thanks to Karen for an unforgettable vacation!

  • Submitted: Dec 27, 2017
  • Stayed: April 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Charming Villa centrally located in Umbria

  • 5 of 5

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!!

  • Submitted: Nov 6, 2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Beautiful Villa

  • 5 of 5

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.

  • Submitted: Oct 10, 2017
  • Stayed: September 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Thank you for making our memorable journey even more memorable

  • 5 of 5

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.

  • Submitted: Jul 25, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Four Week Late Spring 2017 Stay at Rocca di Benano

  • 5 of 5

I leased the five bedroom Rocca di Benano villa from May 26th to June 23rd. Our stay there exceeded the expectations not only of myself, but also of all family members and close friends who joined us throughout the four week period. Visitors ranged in age from 20 to 85 years. Without a single exception, every individual who visited with us has contacted me afterwards and said that it was the most enjoyable vacation they had ever taken. Some of these individuals had previously traveled extensively in Italy, Europe and internationally. The reasons they gave for such high praise were: the accommodations; the peaceful setting, vistas and friendly surroundings; the walking and jogging paths; the neighboring towns of Castel Viscardo, Todi and, of course, Orvieto. The central location of Orvieto permitted enjoyable day trips to an amazing number of beautiful sites, as well as major cities.

Personally, and I speak for two others who spent the entire time at the villa, what stands out most prominently in reflecting on the experience was the friendliness of the Benano townspeople, the property managers, and our communications with Karen Smith, the owner. Another high point was the four visits of Simona, a personable private chef from SAGRA IN CASA, who lectured and entertained all while preparing and serving outstanding Umbrian dinners. There is a high probability we will return at a future date.

T. Roger

  • Submitted: Jul 24, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

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: June 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0


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

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. 




Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • Canceled bookings will not receive a refund

You might like these similar properties