Under the Umbrian sun

At a villa in the Umbrian countryside, I relax into a soothing Italian way of life and learn to appreciate the weather we get.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Our Italian villa

Through the windows of our Umbrian villa, I had watched the Italian sun in battle with the clouds all day.

At times I thought a victor should be declared – unfortunately on the side of grey. But not long before the sun was about to set and retire from the warfare for the day, it finally broke through.

It had been hard-fought. But as the orange glow struck the walls of our Italian villa, we were rewarded for the solar persistence and the whole countryside came to life in front of our eyes.

Renting a villa in Umbria, Italy

These photos are the record of that moment – ‘the magic hour which only lasts ten minutes’, as one of my friends described it. The short period that I traipsed in the slippery mud through the garden, the olive grove and the vineyard to capture the sun’s victory lap.

Renting a villa in Umbria, Italy

It seems slightly twee to talk about the weather but, as it turns out, the ever-changing conditions came to show the versatility of our home for the Easter long weekend.

With five other friends, I had rented a house in a rural part of Umbria and the cold, wet afternoons had helped us appreciate our accommodation as much as the clear, sunny periods had inspired exploration of the surrounding lands and hilltop towns.

Renting a villa in Umbria, Italy
Renting a villa in Umbria, Italy

Sitting around a fire, the wood crackling and the flames leaping from the freshly-placed log, I had relaxed for the first time in a while.

When I say ‘relaxed’, it doesn’t mean that not having a full-time job and the regular chores of daily life isn’t relaxing. It means that I stopped thinking, my mind suspended in the moment with no consideration for the past or for what was to come.

For in the dancing glow of the fire, the comforting presence of my friends, and the disconnection from the outside world, there was a peace that had no way of being broken.

Renting a villa in Umbria, Italy

Renting a villa in Italy

When the weather discouraged us from leaving or the inclination was carried up the chimney with the smoke, we would stay in the villa and cook our meals. Huge feasts of pasta, roasted meat, local salads and fresh bread filled our stomachs.

When the sun was shining and a restlessness was starting to develop, we would venture out to explore the region.

Assisi was not too far away. Orvieto was a bit further but worth the drive. Even the local butcher across the hills was an expedition that took our minds from our residence and closer to the Italian culture.

In perfect harmony we did nothing and we did just what we wanted. And it was all because of the house – a home for four days that we made our own. A villa that took us in as its own and gave us every bit of hospitality it could.

Renting a villa in Umbria, Italy
Renting a villa in Umbria, Italy

For a constant traveller, this was a bit of a splurge – one I would recommend to everyone, though.

There are houses like this all across Italy and they come in every size and every price. There’s sure to be something to suit your taste and budget.

The only other advice I would give if you’re considering renting a house here: make sure you give yourself enough time to enjoy it, make sure you have a car so you can go exploring, try to cook at the house sometimes so it feels more homely, and (finally) don’t worry too much about the weather because you’ll enjoy it regardless.

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