There is something intoxicating about the countryside of Tuscany and Umbria in summer. The way the light slants across the rolling landscape, with its pockets of oak trees, pan-tiled farmsteads and the regular spears of dark green cypresses, has an Arcadian feel to it — and the view from Casa Binami is as Arcadian as it gets.
With long views over the countryside on the border between the two regions, this handsome, renovated, brick-built farmhouse with stylish interiors, shuttered windows and a creeper-clad terrace is backed by cypresses and pine trees.
Lawned gardens run down to a small orchard and rosebeds, and lavender grows on the low banks which edge the large, family-sized pool. It’s an idyllic spot, but if you can drag yourself away for a few hours, it also makes a perfect springboard for forays to the region’s ancient hilltop towns and villages.
The setting is as Arcadian as it gets CREDIT: KRISTIAN SEPTIMIUS KROGH
The property was entirely renovated and enlarged in 2016 and the new additions to this two-storey villa meld almost imperceptibly with the original farmhouse. Sleeping up to 10 adults in five bedrooms, the interiors have been designed with a keen eye on comfort as well as style.
Walls are white-washed with splashes of boldly patterned wallpaper and the combination of traditional wooden beams and terracotta floor tiles create a fabulous atmosphere of rustic chic. Contemporary fabrics and furniture are fun: a yellow sofa and blue desk in the master bedroom; a deep purple settee in the snug; red gingham throws on beds and an assortment of colourful silky scatter cushions in the airy sitting room.
Steps lead down from the dining area to a lower ground floor with roomy kitchen. Shaded by vines and lit by pendant lights, an outside table offers a grandstand view of the terraced gardens, large pool and surrounding countryside.
Casa Binami CREDIT: KRISTIAN SEPTIMIUS KROGH
The villa lies just inside Umbria, near the region’s border with Tuscany, and 10 minutes’ drive from the largest stretch of water in central Italy, Lake Trasimeno. Its shoreside town of Castiglione del Lago, with its 13th-century castle and resort-style bars and restaurants, makes a good evening excursion.
The wine-producing, hilltop town of Montepulciano is also within easy reach and Cortona to the south is the best option for food shopping. Arezzo, Assisi and Siena are within an easy drive. The small bakery at the nearby village of Pozzuolo sells the region’s saltless bread and cheese pastries.
Bedrooms are inviting and tranquil CREDIT: KRISTIAN SEPTIMIUS KROGH
What to expect
Long, lazy days of eating, lounging and dipping in the pool. Start the day by flinging open the large French windows which open onto the garden from the kitchen and find shady corners in which to while away the day.
Perhaps you’d like to recline on the upstairs terrace, under the vines, or maybe you’d prefer to relax in the small backroom snug equipped with DVD player and small library of classic novels. The games room, with table tennis, punch bag and pool inflatables, offers an extra diversion for children or energetic adults.
The kitchen opens up directly to the gardens CREDIT: KRISTIAN SEPTIMIUS KROGH
The enormous kitchen acts as the social fulcrum of the house and gives straight out onto the gardens. It’s well-equipped with marble-topped work surfaces, soft-grey units and Royal Doulton tableware — with enough to go around if more friends turn up. But it is the peaceful location and idyllic views which are central to the appeal of this villa.
Not so keen
The master bedroom has disappointing views over the side and back of the property.
One of the villa’s reception areas CREDIT: KRISTIAN SEPTIMIUS KROGH
Airy and roomy, the master bedroom isn’t much more impressive than the other cosily decorated rooms, but does offer a little more space and privacy. All are ensuite and most have views over the garden and countryside. Of the five bedrooms, four rooms are on the first floor; the more private ensuite ground floor bedroom would be ideal for grandparents, domestic help or older children.
The villa’s pool CREDIT: KRISTIAN SEPTIMIUS KROGH
Who it’s good for
One or more families or a group of friends on holiday together looking for a classic Italian villa in Umbrian style.
Weddings are not possible in the villa.
The nearest airports are Perugia (53km), served from the UK only by Ryanair. About 140km away, Florence Airport is served from the UK by British Airways, Vueling and Cityjet.
Price and how to book
Casa Binami sleeps up to 12 and costs from €4,725 (£4,115) for seven nights through villa specialist Scott Williams (01749 812721; scottwilliams.co.uk), up to €6,525 in July/August. Minimum stay is seven nights.