The Farmhouse is a beautiful vacation rental with four bedrooms in Umbria, set among tranquil olives, grapes and rolling barley fields. It has a very modern feel and aesthetic to it.
How would you describe Villa Metato in a nutshell
Villa Metato is an 18th-century villa, a small, one-bedroom holiday rental in the Upper Tiber Valley in Italy. It is a little bit of paradise away from busy city life. The villa's open-plan space is split over two floors and furnished with mid-century design classics and cool artwork. There is a private pool and a terrace with grand views of the Umbrian countryside. This could be your private sanctuary, surrounded by the stunning Italian countryside and ancient forests.
What is the idea behind Villa Metato?
The whole idea was to enable busy people to get away from it all, to find a little bit of paradise or sanctuary in the middle of the countryside in a traditional Italian environment. I used to live in London and I know what it’s like when you work in a large city...
This area, which is called the Upper Tiber Valley is still unspoiled. When we bought the property in 2004, someone said that it was basically like living in the ‘70s. I think that really is true. It’s an area where one can come and sit in a restaurant where the only voices you hear are Italian. In Florence nowadays, you’re just swamped with tourists.
Please tell us a little bit about Villa Metato.
The property was originally owned by a middle class farmer. It is quite unique because it used to be an old barn which hasn’t been converted in the sense that it still has a very open plan feel about it. This is very difficult to find in this area and one of the things that drew me to the house.
It has beautiful, almost Norman rather than Roman arches, and all original flooring. There are no dates on most of the buildings here in this part of Umbria and nobody really has an exact date of when all the buildings were built, but there’s a stone on the wall of the guest house which says 1855.
What was your inspiration to buy the property and convert it into vacation rental?
I didn’t want to start an agriturismo or a larger hotel. The idea of the vacation home or Bed & Breakfast is really for couples to come and enjoy the countryside, to find themselves again and to get away from their hectic lives.
We have this life nowadays where we rarely see our partners. We end up sleeping with them, but the amount of time we see them Monday through Friday is maybe three to four hours a day. I thought it would be nice to have an area where one can go relax and enjoy each other’s company.
What would you describe to be the essence of Villa Metato?
I think it’s really a place for people to spend some time getting away from their existence, their lives, and maybe by doing so, they have an opportunity to rediscover themselves or just take some time out.
We would like to welcome people to stay in our home. We all know when we go to hotels that things don’t always turn out to be exactly the way you expect them to be. What we are trying to do is make sure that people get an opportunity to spend some time on their own to relax. We are there to help them for whatever they would like to do and to give them an opportunity to see what the real Italy is all about.
What is the real Italy all about?
Finding things to see which are, in a way, different from what’s in the common tour books. I think the real world is something which is off the beaten track, a small town that’s a little gem which unless you know about it, you’ll never find. Or a little restaurant where a woman works as a teacher in the morning and then cooks traditional food in the afternoon. Those things are hard to find, and you need knowledge to be able to find them.
We cannot give our customers the whole of Italy, but what we can offer them within our area is an opportunity to enjoy parts of Italy other tourists don’t see.
How would you like your vacation guests to remember their stay?
A vacation is a journey which one comes away from thinking it was an experience that one really enjoyed. It’s important that guests enjoy the environment they are in, the service they are receiving, and the experiences which are presented to them.
Although we live next door, the guest house is very private. You become, in a way, a part of the family. We want people to feel very comfortable and secure and we want them to have a really fantastic time.To you personally, what has been most rewarding about running Villa Metato?
Seeing people relax, and seeing the villa develop after all the hard work we put into it. I also like watching the garden grow, which is something I never did before with my garden in London.