Our family of four (kids were 9 & 12 years) stayed at Casale Sento for two weeks in June of '12, and it was a wonderful vacation. The pictures are very accurate, if anything the house and view are even better in person. The roads to get there are somewhat bumpy and have many sharp turns, but are not nearly as narrow and scary as many in Italy, so in comparison, not that bad. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get to Tavernelle, where several gas stations and the largest grocery store are located (the store is open on Sunday!). This is also where the closest main road is that you use for day trips to get everywhere from Perugia, Orvieto, or to Cortona, etc.. We felt this was an acceptable distance in return for being in the Umbrian hills with the gorgeous views. There are no neighbors close by, and the only sound was usually just tons of birds. You could occasionally hear some construction or rock mining a ways off in the distance, but it never bothered us at all. Our "down" days were spent lounging by the pool, absorbing the sun-soaked vistas and making pizza in the wood-fired oven. I researched which flour to use to make the best Italian pizza dough from scratch, taught my kids how to make dough, and we let it sit near the sunny window in the living room to rise. The pizza oven was an essential for me, and I'm very glad I found Sento. The interior of Sento is relaxing and romantic. The beds are very firm, which not everyone likes, but I thought they were comfortable. The linens were nice quality, and very clean. Sento has very nice bathrooms with designer fixtures, and very good showers with plenty of water pressure. The entire house was tidy and clean, and has been thoughtfully restored. It feels and looks like a lovely Italian villa, but it has been furnished in a contemporary yet comfortable fashion. Each kid had their own room, we had WIFI, a great kitchen, a lovely yard (garden), and the most wonderful greeter/house manager in Johanne. She is from the UK, and while I loved meeting native Italians, it was really relaxing and easy to get additional directions by phone and have a bunch of groceries waiting for us upon our arrival. You can be as specific as you want, Johanne will have it there (she makes great choices), and only charges a reasonable fee for her time in addition to the grocery bill. She gave us great recommendations for dining, hand wrote road maps with better/ faster routes, came and got all of the TV's working when we couldn't figure them out, showed us in detail how everything in the house worked, and basically made us feel comfortable and welcome. Coming from the USA, and not speaking much Italian, we felt like we had the benefits of being in a great private house, while still practically having concierge service! The pool is kept crystal clear, and the yard is very well-maintained by Mauro. He was always unobtrusive, very polite, and kept the firewood stocked for the outdoor oven. The home is spacious and we had plenty of room to spread out. Several of the windows have screens (!!), but they do need to repair the ones with holes. They had enough intact screens to keep out most of the bugs while cooling the house in the summer evenings. They have lots of DVD's, music & books. We loved playing Roland's mixed Italian CD's on the surround sound stereo while cooking, watching soccer (futbol!), reading and staring out the windows at the views. As far as the rental process goes, Roland was very nice about answering all of my questions, and even left me a phone message at one point. I had a hard time reaching him a couple of times when I was trying to wire the money, but it turned out he was moving his family across Europe, and did not always have cell service during the move. He always got back to me eventually, and everything worked out fine. I do wish he'd take some other easier form of payment, like XOOM or Paypal. Maybe if enough people ask?! I was nervous about wiring so much money to a man from England, living in Poland (deposit), then Switzerland (balance due), to pay for a rental in Italy, but it was all worth the effort, and I'm so glad I took the chance on Roland & Sento! Roland has obviously put a lot of effort and thought into the personal touches around Sento, such as the mixed CD's, the decor and nice welcome gift. The only things we didn't love about the house: I wanted to swim at night, and we were not given access to the pool lights, there were no bikes to borrow, and the directions to get there were confusing. We needed a brush to clean out the pizza oven, but other than that, I don't think the house lacks anything. We moved some small outdoor tables from a terrace for next to the loungers at the pool, but that was easy. The loungers are the best by far, out of three pools we had while in Italy. We would definitely recommend Sento to friends and family, and we would love to stay there again someday.
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