Our ancient stone farmhouse built around a lovely courtyard offers rural tranquillity with stunning views across Valpolicella towards the mountains of Lake Garda. The local area is famous for its wine & food, and the beautiful cities of Verona, Venice, Vicenza, Padua and Mantua are within easy access.
4 double bedrooms; 2 bathrooms & a cloakroom-cum-utility room; well-equipped "cook's" kitchen; living room with open fireplace, and wisteria-covered terrace for long lazy feasts under the stars.
Il Castello is a seventeenth-century farmhouse (once in remote times a castle, hence its name), built around an attractive courtyard. The main house is divided into three units, all owned by permanent Italian residents, one of which belongs to Bryan’s brother, Hugh Ward-Perkins, and his Italian wife Paola, who both speak English. Our house, on the opposite side of the courtyard, is managed by Fiorenza Peruzi, who runs a local cleaning agency; she very helpful and efficient if you need help with anything in the house.
Our house is divided into two parts, either side of the impressive ancient gateway into the courtyard. It has four bedrooms, and can sleep up to 8 people (though the fourth bedroom is best suited to children).
The main half of our house has a large downstairs sitting/dining-room, with an open fireplace, and an attractive and well-equipped kitchen (gas hob, electric oven, fridge, and dish-washer) with a traditional marble sink and marble worktops; on the first floor there is a large double bedroom, a bathroom (with shower enclosure, basin, bidet & W.C.) tiled in local pink marble, and a second bedroom with two single beds.
On the other side of the entrance portico, the ‘Fienile’ is a converted hayloft. Upstairs, reached by an external staircase, is a double bedroom with spectacular views across the valley and an en suite shower-room with WC. Downstairs is another bedroom/playroom, with doors opening onto the courtyard; this room makes an ideal children’s bedroom but is a bit cramped for adults. (Since the beds are only 90cm wide, it is the least comfortable of the four bedrooms.) Next to it is a laundry-room, accessed from the portico, with a washing machine, large sink and additional WC. (Please note: The Downstairs Fienile bedroom does not communicate directly either with the Upstairs Fienile bedroom or the Laundry Room.)
All the rooms are fully and attractively furnished, largely with antique furniture, and there is plenty of hot water (and central heating, if needed, in winter). Sheets and towels, including beach towels, are provided at no extra charge. There is unlimited wireless internet access available, as well as a CD player and radio, which can also be connected to an iPod. There is also an extensive collection of cookery books in both English and Italian.
There are two sitting-out areas with shade - one under a portico on the courtyard side; the other under a large pergola planted with wisteria and oleanders overlooking the valley towards Monte Baldo. The courtyard is shared with the other owners, and provides a pleasant sitting-out area and a safe and sheltered play space, with an olive tree, fig tree, and the original large stone washing basins filled with running water from the local stream which runs underneath the courtyard. The pergola has benches and a table in the local marble for eating outdoors. We also provide a large Webber barbecue and deck-chairs. The house is surrounded by fields and vineyards with ample space to roam and explore.
A party of up to four guests will have access to the whole of the main part of our house - two bedrooms, bathroom, living room and kitchen, as well as the laundry room and all the outside areas. Parties of 6 or more will also have access to the Fienile (once a hayloft, now converted into two bedrooms, one with en-suite shower room). The division of the house into two parts makes it well-suited to larger groups sharing with friends and family.
Interaction with guests
My brother-in-law, Hugh, and his Italian wife Paola, live in the main farmhouse on the other side of the courtyard. They both speak English and are always willing to offer help and advice whenever needed.
Other things to note
We have a travel cot and high chair in the house to accommodate a baby, and also a stair gate.
It is possible for those staying in the Fienile to be reasonably autonomous, which makes it well-suited to having family or friends to stay. The division of the house also makes it pleasant to use in smaller numbers.
- Please don't make a lot of noise in the courtyard between midnight and 8am
- Park cars at the back of the house in the parking area
- Observe local recycling regulations and sort rubbish into paper, plastic, glass and organic waste
I was born in London and have lived in Oxford ever since I was a student there. I've spent a lot of time in Italy; my husband Bryan was born and brought up in Rome. We bought Il Castello, our house in Valpolicella, with Bryan's brother, Hugh, and his Italian wife Paola, who are both classical musicians. They live permanently in the main farmhouse on the other side of the courtyard. They are always willing to be helpful and give advice about restaurants, where to buy wine, where to park in Verona and other essential information.