Elciarelli is a microcosmic Italian Heaven. I have been here many times over the years and it holds a unique charm and appeal I have found no where else in Italy. I don't know how to do it justice in a review, so this will read more like a professional travel promotion than a visitor's review, but every word is carefully chosen, sprung from countless wonderful experiences and memories formed in this special location.
Forget the worn tourist routes of Tuscany where an endless flow of visitors dilutes and threatens to overcome the very culture and character you have travelled to visit. Umbria is as ancient and as appealing, but more rustic and genuine, where the ancient rhythms of Italian life still dictate your own.
And Elciarelli is unique. The character of the landscape viewed from every window and terrace and hillside is direct from a fresco of Fra Angelico or Giotto do Bondone. This is the landscape of olives and vineyards and forests where Virgil's farmers worked the bounties of nature with the same methods that are employed today. This is the landscape in which St Francis lived in seclusion and preached to the birds and beasts. Here Roman armies were raised and marched to the capital to join the wars or civil strife of Rome. Here artists have come for solitude and peace and to connect with nature.
If you want world-recognized art and architecture then visit the cities of Assisi or Perugia or the nearby papal city of Orvieto, that can be seen perched on its cliff tops beyond the intersecting hillsides textured with vineyards and olive groves. Or if you want quaint there are the smaller Roman and medieval towns and villages dotted all around the region, where every echoing empty church conceals more local treasures.
For dining, the food and viniculture of Umbria are world-famous. For local produce to prepare Umbrian feasts on one of the terraces, walk or drive up to the charming village of Civitella, where the locals will still stop and give tourists a second curious glance. Here all the bounty of the Umbrian landscape is available in the few small speciality shops that have served Italian kitchens for centuries. But if you want convenience and greater range, the supermarkets of Orvieto are a short drive away, supplying everything you expect from first world supply chains. Of course like anywhere in Italy there are any number of restaurants of all types within a short driving distance, and if you like high cuisine there is nearby one of the very rare restaurants in the world to have achieved 3 Michelin stars.
The apartments themselves are spacious and full of character, rooted in the landscape, with ancient foundations sympathetically restored and extended to meet the desires of comfort and convenience that modern travelers look for. The cool walls of deep stone are plastered and painted in rustic colours that reflect the world about you. Aged terracotta blends the roofs and terraces into the landscape. Modern fittings and soft comforts welcome you within. And every window, every open door, every view from terrace or hillside presents a sweeping Umbrian panorama like a living renaissance fresco, or something plucked out of a travel magazine specializing in exotic locations.
Essential for all holidays in hot locations where the blistering afternoon sun will drive you to partake in the ageless tradition of a siesta, is the swimming pool area! This is an oasis among the terraced olive groves and absolutely imperative for summers in Italy. The pool is cool and deep and the the adjacent facilities equipped with everything you need for lazy afternoons as you relax while the kids paddle and splash.
The final treat that engulfs you is Nicole's Umbrian garden. There are few people in the world that love nature and all its beauty as much as Nicole, and though her labour to maintain the vast gardens seems endless, it is certainly a labour of love as she waters and nurtures the many colours and textures that offset the local landscape like so many postcards.
The owners, Marco and Nicole, are perfect hosts. Respectful and available, knowledgeable and welcoming. Elciarelli has been their love for many years and the rhythms of their family life are rooted in the seasonal and annual cycles of the property and countryside. They will help and advise in every way they can, but most of all will share their love of Umbria and Italian life and the nature that surrounds you and binds you.
Clearly I couldn't recommend this highly enough. If you are looking for a genuine Italian experience, or even better a regional Umbrian experience, then look no further.
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