We are pleased to share that Il Casale di Mele was recently featured in the special 2009 Umbrian issue of Dream of Italy’s newsletter. This is the entire article written by Kathy McCabe…..

Canadians Deborah and Luigi Mele fell in love with Umbria 15 years ago when they were living in Milan. Like many others they found the region to have all of the beauty and charm of Tuscany without the crowds of tourists. When Luigi retired last year, the couple decided the time was right to build their own villa in Umbria and focused on an area between Todi and Perugia.

“While touring with our builder last summer looking at lots to build on, he happened to mention that the two farmhouses across the street from the lot we were looking at were for sale,” explains Deborah. “At the time, we were not looking to buy two houses but they looked great so we made an appointment to walk through them. As soon as we saw the inside and the property around we knew we were meant to own them.”

Now the Meles spend half of the year in Florida and the other half at their new Umbrian home, offering for rent the twin three-bedroom farmhouse 150 feet away.

“At this time we are only renting when we are in Italy as we want to help the guests’ stay at our farmhouse to be as complete as possible. We have rented many vacation places in Italy ourselves in the past, and most often we were handed a key and left to completely fend for ourselves,” Deborah says. The Meles like to welcome their guests with a tasting of Umbrian wines by the pool. They’ve tried to cover every detail when it comes to helping guests enjoy their stay, the most helpful of which may be the preprogrammed Tom-Tom GPS navigational device they lend to their renters. It is pre-coded with directions to local sites, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and much more.

“My husband is fluent in Italian so will be available to help with anything that comes up like making restaurant reservations, or helping guests find a medical clinic. Although we will give our guests their privacy, we will be right next door if they need us for anything.”

Though constructed just a few years ago, Il Casale di Mele incorporates traditional regional design and materials including antique doors, heavy chestnut beams and hand-forged ironwork and antique stone fireplaces. The large open living room, featuring both a fireplace and flat-screen television, is connected to the lovely kitchen through a broad archway.

Those with dreams of scouring local markets for fresh ingredients and returning to the farmhouse to whip up an amazing meal will not be disappointed with the tools provided in the kitchen. There’s a high-end gas cooktop, wall oven, microwave oven, dishwasher and a commercial size refrigerator/freezer. Those who like to do their cooking and dining al fresco, will find a barbeque on the large stone-covered terrace just through the French-style kitchen doors. There’s an outdoor table offering seating for eight as well as proximity to the sweet-smelling jasmine and ample
olive trees.

Deborah, who is an accomplished cook and runs the wonderful recipe Web site www.italianfoodforever.com, plans to make her culinary talents available to rental guests. She will soon offer cooking classes and prepare meals for renters for an extra fee.

Il Casale di Mele sleeps seven in three bedrooms and a pull-out couch in the study. Two of the three bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms with something not always found in Italian rentals – large bath tubs. So grab a glass of wine and some bubble bath, throw open the villa windows to smell the lavender and rosemary outside and soak in all Umbria and Il Casale di Mele have to offer.

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