Enjoy the peaceful setting of Grillo,
overlooking a sea of trees, where the only sounds will probably be the birds in the trees nearby.
Drive into the nearby hamlet of San Leo Bastia
where you will find a pizzeria and a great bar where you can enjoy an aperitif of the local wine.
From San Leo Bastia, follow the road westwards, which winds its way through the hills
- a beautiful drive through the forested countryside until you arrive at the back of Cortona where the landscape opens out in front of you.
Spend the morning or afternoon in Cortona
wandering its narrow streets that lead to the main piazza. There are lots of little shops and plenty of stunning views to admire.
A 'must do' on anyone's list is to experience the 'passeggiata'.
No, it is not an Italian dance. In any town or large village, especially on a weekend or holiday, the inhabitants of the town will congregate in the main square in the early evening, to have a stroll around, talk to their friends, have an aperitif or ice cream, before dispersing for dinner. It is the perfect time to people watch!
Make time to visit Gubbio,
one of the jewels of Umbria - less known than Perugia and Assisi, but no less impressive, it is a wonderful place to wander around. A huge music festival takes place in the town throughout the month of July.
For a relaxing day, visit the spa 'Fontecchio',
2 km from Città di Castello. Set in a wooded park, the thermal baths have been around since Roman times. Nowadays, you can simply relax and enjoy the treatments on offer.
There are lots of walks in the area (information is provided in the house).
Set off from the house and wander along the country lanes enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Make sure you have some Italian ice cream
- most towns will have at least one 'gelateria' (ice cream shop), where you will be able to pick from a vast array of flavours.
Visit the little village of Caprese Michelangelo,
birthplace of the great man, Michelangelo. The 14th century castle houses plaster casts of his work. On the way back, stop at Anghiari, a beautifully preserved medieval hill top town.
Relax on the terrace at Grillo,
catch up on the books you have been meaning to read for ages, take a dip in the pool, sunbathe, or do nothing!
Head to one of the markets and buy some fresh mozzarella, salami, tomatoes and salad
and have lunch al fresco on the terrace.
The weekly open-air market is part of Italian life.
Stalls laden with produce, scents and smells filling the air, and a crowd of Italians - finish the morning's shopping with a coffee in a bar. Go to Umbertide on Wednesday morning, Trestina on Tuesday and Cortona on Saturday morning.
Visit Arezzo on the first Sunday of the month and you will come across the famous antiques fair,
which takes place in the main piazza. Antique dealers come from all over Italy to attend. See if you can pick up a bargain!
Take the country roads to Lake Trasimeno,
at the centre of the country, and its fourth largest lake. Go to Castiglione del Lago for a wander around, a fish lunch and then a paddle in the lake. If you are there between 24 and 30 July, you will see the Palio of the Boats - a big boat race on the lake.
Pick up one of the many booklets available at the tourist offices.
They suggest various drives around Umbria based on different themes e.g. Art Trails, Wine, Life around the Lake. Discover Umbria at your own pace.
Pop over to Le Marche and the magnificent town of Urbino.
The drive takes you about 1 ½ hr and you go through some lovely countryside. Urbino itself is a Renaissance beauty, with fantastic architecture.
If you want to visit Rome,
take the train from Perugia (2 ½ hrs) and maybe stay overnight. Italian trains are actually very efficient and good value. The best way of getting into Rome.
If you love jazz,
go to Perugia in July for its world famous Umbrian Jazz Festival. Performers come from all over the world, and concerts take place day and night.
On a warm summer's evening, sit with a glass of wine on the terrace
and wait for night to fall, to the sound of the cicadas. Count the number of stars you can see in the deep blue velvet sky.
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