Villa Metato

Citta di Castello, Umbria, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Emma Taylor
A ravishing bolthole for 2 in an 18th-century villa furnished in 20th-century style, with huge views, ancient forests and peace and quiet
Umbria is the “green heart of Italy”, and you certainly feel that when you visit Villa Metato. Found in the rolling hills on the border with Tuscany, this villa provides the perfect place to come and sit and snooze and never be tickled by the desire to leave. Situated just above the Upper Tiber valley amongst ancient woodland, it's reached via a breathtaking journey through the mountains. You’re surrounded by acres of private garden, timeless views, and your own pool. It’s staggeringly beautiful - heaven for those who wish to shake the city from their hair.

If this setting sets precedents, the 1-bedroom villa matches them. This 18th-century building has been renovated with true panache: huge windows frame the view, and fabulous 20th-century designer pieces adorn the open-plan interior. On your terrace, take a deep breath, relax and feel part of the ancient wood itself. Fig trees stand on the hill, a Bocce court is shrouded in vines, and those who want to explore this undiscovered part of Italy can hire scooters and take to the hills.


  • The location is truly peaceful, with forest and mountains all around
  • An exceptionally stylish and highly romantic country retreat which you get all to yourself
  • Nick, Margherita and son Marcello live next door, prepare breakfast for you each morning, and help organise anything from a private chef to massages and one-to-one yoga
  • Speakers for your iPod in every room
  • The area is rich in architecture and history - the perfect place to follow your nose, off the beaten track


  • It's a relatively remote location, and most historical and artistic centres are a good 50km away - but to some that's a bonus
  • Getting to a restaurant involves a drive (the nearest village is 3km away), but there's a fabulous private chef to hand
  • Dogs or any other pets aren't allowed

Best time to go

As with the rest of Italy, May and June are gorgeous, with warm sunny days and lots of flowers, though early May can be chilly in the evening in these hills. July and August are hot and busier in the towns, although that wouldn't bother you at Villa Metato. October is another good month for those who can, and the villa's heating and open fireplace mean winter stays are also an option.

Our top tips

If you're here for Christmas, head to Città di Castello on Christmas Eve where a group of canoeists, each dressed as Father Christmas, paddle down the river, under a bridge decoarted with a crib, and then get out and distribute small presents to any children gathered there.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa
  • 1
  • Self-catering (breakfast provided + chef on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available


Be prepared for the "wow" factor when you enter - if you're into design icons then sleeping at Villa Metato is a real treat. The 1-bedroom villa is split-level, arranged over 2 floors (ground and lower ground), and the whitewashed interior is furnished with an eclectic range of cool designer items. The owners, ex-property developer/fashion photograper Nick Ferrand and his Italian fashion-stylist wife Margerhita, both have an eye for detail.

On the ground floor the bedroom comes with a 1960 Memphis bed, matching bedside tables and early 60s Conran lamps. A huge stone arch separates the sleeping area from the dining area, complete with a classic 50s Saarinen table and tulip chairs. Another arch introduces the sitting room with its open fire, Scandinavian teak writing table, contemporary art and Eames chairs. An open-plan feel runs throughout, creating a great sense of space, and the whole upper floor floods with light.

You have the place to yourselves so you can fling open all the shutters and doors during the day and relax. The doors open out on to a lawned garden for your own use, where you can sunbathe and read. And you have your very own pool.

The lower ground floor is reached via a spiral staircase and houses the kitchen and another dining area. It's the same size as the upper floor, but slightly darker, despite french doors leading to the terrace. It's a little cold in the spring months, but the whole apartment is blissfully cool in the summer. Rather like the décor really. The highlight of the lower floor is the table tennis table - yes, you have that much space. Unfortunately, the bathroom is also on this level, down the same spiral staircase, so watch out if you take a shine to the local wine! The bathroom and dressing area, decked out in 70s G-plan teak furniture, isn't as luxurious as the rest of the apartment - there isn’t a bath, but there's a powerful shower and a washing machine (useful should you stay for a while).

Features include:

  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Ipod dock
  • Oven
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


You breakfast outside under the wisteria and vines. It’s included in the price and prepared by the owners, who live next door. You’ll get fruits in season, with the wild strawberries, blackberries, figs, apples and pears coming from the garden. Homemade bread can be topped with local honey and washed down with fresh juices. Organic eggs from resident chickens and the odd slice of local bacon are also on offer for a small supplement. Breakfast can be left waiting for you at a certain time if you wish to not see a soul.

You have a fully equipped kitchen (with a cooker, all crockery, pans, a sink, a large fridge and a small freezer, but no microwave) to yourselves on the lower groud floor, so you can stay at home and whisk up your own lunch or dinner, and there's a BBQ for your use next to the Bocce court. The kitchen has French windows that open out on to your secluded terrace with a dining table and a cushioned seating area.

Alternatively, there are a couple of simple restaurants and trattorias in the village of Volterrano, a 5-minute drive away. However, for busier restaurants with a more extensive menu you'll need to drive to Città de Castello, 20km away. We had an excellent pizza from a local trattoria, and Nick is happy to go and collect it for you if possible.

And if you really don’t feel like lifting a finger, there's a private chef who'll come and cook for you - perhaps some lasagne or ravioli, followed by local meats (or fresh fish on Fridays), fresh fruit, homemade cakes and so on. It's very simple but tasty traditional Italian food (“just like mamma used to make!” says the chef). Dine alfresco perched above ancient woodland, watching the setting sun...

Nick has an endless supply of the local farmer’s wine, and can stock up the fridge with this and other supplies prior to arrival if you give him instructions.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Chef on request
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Oven
  • Shopping service


  • Laze in the hammock amongst the trees, sipping local wine with only the sounds of the local wildlife to distract you

  • Strike out from the front door and explore the hills; maps and a compass are available. Keep your eye open during a gentle stroll in the woods, as porcini mushrooms grow wild. If you find some the local chef can prepare them for you!

  • Borrow bicycles and head off on your very own tour of Italy to roam the villages and towns for hilltop churches, bustling markets, irresistible bars and tempting restaurants

  • Treat yourself to a relaxing massage or manicure/pedicure within your villa, or enjoy a one-on-one yoga session in the tranquillity of the garden

  • Try your hand at Bocce, the Italian equivalent of boules, on the specially made Bocce court under the shade of vines. Play table tennis in your villa or rummage around in the outhouse and pull out the odd game. There's also an 18-hole golf course, Antognolla (designed by Robert Trent Jones II), 25km away

  • Closest to home you'll find Città di Castello (20km away), a Stone Age and Roman settlement with a duomo, churches, palazzi, and a lovely Pinacoteca containing 16th-century frescoes, paintings by Signorelli and di Bartolo, and a single work by Raphael. And the 20th-century Burri Collection - a relatively undiscovered gem of a gallery - is worth exploring

  • You’re in the epicentre of Renaissance country - Michelangelo was born nearby, Piero della Francesca’s frescoes adorn local walls, and the stunning medieval architecture of Montone will elate. Ancient historical centres and artistic towns such as Arezzo can be reached by car in less than an hour. Check out Perugia (45 minutes away) for some cool Umbrian jazz, or head to other classic Umbrian towns: Assisi (55 minutes away), Cortona (45 minutes away) and Gubbio (50 minutes away)

  • Socialise: pop down to the nearest village 3km away and stop for a drink in the local bar, or chat to the lovely English-Italian owners - they know the area inside out and can help you make the most of your stay

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Yoga


Small ones are welcomed with open arms, and cots, babysitting and extra beds are available on request. However, the spiral staircase, the lack of separate sleeping areas and the designer furniture mean the villa might not be suitable for all kids.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available


Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby listening:

Baby monitors are available on request.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

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