Imagine an ancient stone built convent beautifully positioned on an Umbrian hillside of lushly ordered vineyards and ranging olive groves in one of the greenest and prettiest areas of Italy. There's a backdrop of mountains and the shimmering, fabled shores of Lake Trasimeno to the fore, a place of serenity, where St Francis of Assisi is said to have spent Lent on Isola Maggiore in the year 1211. Here lies I Cappuccini, once an important hostelry on the ancient pilgrimage route to Rome, now a superb luxury villa sitting resplendent in its sixty acres of grounds having been inspiringly re-imagined and restored, in keeping with its sense of history and tradition, but brought into the modern world. Always enshrined in an elegance rooted in its architectural simplicity and strikingly beautiful surroundings, the property's restoration plan was to maintain its sense of understated magnificance. As a result, despite its change of function from Capuchin convent to modern day home, I Cappuccini has a wonderful wholesomeness about it. Breath in the restorative country air and ponder the goings on over the centuries as your eyes meander over the spectacular setting of hills and the shimmering lake that has witnessed legions of pilgrims and travellers pass its shores on the ancient routes between Florence, Perugia and Rome.
LAYOUT & ACCOMMODATION:
The gardens and grounds at I Cappuccini are beautifully designed, surrounded by native oak forest (ideal for truffle hunting in the season), overlooking spectacular scenes of hills and lake, with numerous places to gather, relax and play. There are manicured lawns and borders, tall emblematic cypresses, centuries old olive trees - twisted and knarled over time, orchards and olive groves and fabulous spots for dining. There's fun to be had too - in summer months, one area of lawn is usually set up for croquet, in another there's a superb boules area and at the top of the garden, through the trees is a world-class professional tennis court. The swimming pool itself at 20x9m (65x30ft) is large enough for laps in the morning and fun all day for guests.
Set over three floors all bedrooms feature individually controlled heating and air-conditioning, satellite TV with Kaleidescape entertainment units, Geneva sound systems with iPod-docks, en suite bathrooms usually with two basin vanities, separate walk-in showers and freestanding tubs. The house is ideally set up for a maximum of 18 adults two teenagers and a further two infants.
- Bedroom 1: Sophia Loren Suite: King, sitting area with direct access to the gardens
- Bedroom 2: Federico Fellini Suite: King, sitting area with direct access to the gardens
On this floor is the property's main breakfasting area in the dining room. There's a lovely reading room and a living room with house bar, fireplace, games table and grand piano. From various areas of this floor there is access to the gardens and several wonderful al fresco dining and sitting areas in beautiful sunny and shady spots. The ground floor "cloister area" provides access to two more bedrooms:
- Bedroom 3: Giuseppe Verdi Suite:King, living room
- Bedroom 4: Liliana Cavani Suite: King
- Bedroom 5: Michelangelo Suite (owner's suite): King bedroom area with real fireplace, study with real fireplace, living room with dining table, large screen TV with multi-region DVD player. The en suite bathroom has a private terrace overlooking the walled gardens and Lake Trasimeno
- Bedroom 6: Leonardo di Vinci Suite: King, living room with fireplace
- Bedroom 7: Sergio Leone Suite: Twin, suitable for children and teenagers. Here there's a DVD player as well as PS3 player with dual hand controls
- Bedroom 8: Filippo Brunelleschi Suite: King, sitting area and balcony
- Bedroom 9: Giacomo Puccini Suite (family suite): King, separate bunk area for infants and small children, upstairs study area. Here there's a DVD player as well as PS3 player with dual hand controls
A spectacular area of the Convento, the library, has an incredible galleried library and living room with a restructured Renaissance fireplace, a house bar area and, for after dinner entertainment, there is a superb games room area with a billiards table and American shuffleboard. The setting of the library is where the principal dining room is located. Here there is seating for up to 34 guests. There's an adjacent wine cellar through a hidden door with 115 bins. There's also a separate chef's table that can seat ten. Also located within the Library Building is the private cinema, seating 16
- Bedroom 10: Michelangelo Antonioni Suite: Queen, living room, fireplace and balcony
Why we like it: Il Cappuccini is a superb example of a beautifully built, centuries old property that has been brought into the modern world with inspired re-design and refurbishment, without losing the character of the original building, or its wonderful sense of tradition.
The gardens: 13 acres of enclosed formal gardens, with pristine lawns, one area of which is set up for croquet, a boules court and a professional tennis court. There are superb sitting and dining areas and an incredible fire pit overlooking the lake below. In short they are idyllic gardens both from an aesthetic perspective and in terms of the entertainment and activities they offer.
The views: Beautiful impressive views over the shimmering fabled shores and islands of Lake Trasimeno and the hills beyond