Guest Comments 2005 – 2007


“Hi – We just returned form Italy and wanted you to know what a great time we had at “Essiccatoio”. We didn’t even mind the weather because it was great to just sit in front of the fire with a good book. Speaking of books, we “borrowed” 2 and I am sending them back to you. I hope they get there before your daughter goes over. Sestilio was very nice to deal with and we appreciated his thoroughness in explaining how everything worked. We had no problems, loved the cozy house and wish we were back there! Ciao!”

“I have to apologize for not writing sooner, and for not writing more in the guest book at Calboccia. The truth is, we had such a perfect time that I had trouble believing it was soon to be over – and we were having too much fun to stop and write. Our trip was everything we had hoped it would be – seeing the reactions of our children to the wonders of Rome and Florence and watching them experience a little bit of life in Italy at Calboccia absolutely filled us with joy. They came, they saw, they experienced, and they marveled. We made time to just sit and enjoy each other’s company, and we wandered around Umbria; we cooked in, we ate out; we shopped for food at the market, we walked the paths in the woods around Calboccia. Beatrice’s welcome dinner was delicious, as were our meals at La Nonna Gelsa and La Locanda del Capitano, and, of course, La Chiusa. I watered all the flowers and shrubs several times – everything was so very dry; Some of the newer plants look a little stressed, but we tried to help them along. Sestilio was marvelous with his information – we could have talked to him for hours, but we did not want to impose. I had a marvelous rather one-sided conversation with a group of hunters (due to my halting Italian) one morning which ended with them overcoming their initial wariness and showing me the hare they had shot, along with an education about the differences between domestic rabbits and hares.I will treasure the memories of all of us having time to sit and look out over the beautiful scene before us on the terrace – just being together, for the first time in three years. We could not have been at a more perfect place. Many thanks again, and I hope someday we will be able to return to Calboccia. Sincerely yours,”
B. E.


“Thanks for a great two weeks. We were so sorry we missed you because we wanted to thank you personally for enabling us to have such a marvelous vacation. Unfortunately, we had to leave too early for Firenze to allow us to meet you. First, Sestilio was so helpful, showing us how things worked, making reservations at La Chiusa and arranging for Beatrice to cook for us. Her asparagus antipasto was marvelous. It was the start of a wonderful two weeks. Umbria seems like a wilder and even more interesting version of Tuscany, a great province itself. Calboccia is such a pleasant locale – both houses were great, though my favorite locale was the patio at sunset, with vino e cioccolatto. And it is so centrally located to so many hill towns. We’ll never forget the wine museum and tasting room at Torgiano, Montepulciano, Montalcino, the view and the lunches at Il Scoiattolo on the way to Castiglione del Lago, dinner at La Castagna, and a trip to Monti Sibillini, where I dined on wild boar steak. It’s odd, but most of my memories seem to be linked to wine and Italian cooking. And saying so often, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” My eight year old granddaughter also had a great time, including her very successful hour learning to ride at the riding academy, tasting Bacci in Perugia, and playing in the snow at Monti Sibillini. Montone is an exquisite little hill town nearby, and I became very interested in the history of the “Strongarm” condottiere Fortebraccio there and in Umbertide, and the Gattamelata (Honey cat?) of Narni, where we dined in a restaurant named for that condottiere, and watched the costumed members of different contrade start the parade to their jousting festival. We missed the festival of the candles at Gubbio, but some of us took the two person waist high basket funicular up the mountain to the church where several groups had raced the huge replicas. All in all, unforgettable! And a great bonding experience for all in the family as we filled up a nine-passenger van both weeks. I can’t thank my old friend J.J. enough for so strongly recommending Calboccia, but I will try.”
S. and W.W., Maryland

“Just a quick note to tell you how much we enjoyed staying at Calboccia. It made for the perfect relaxing vacation in between frenzied stops in Firenze and Rome. We definitely enjoyed our time there. Hope to be back there at some point in the future.”
M.L., New York

“Where do I begin! It was so incredible! Lewis and I loved our stay. In fact, half of the real estate appraisers in SC knew about our trip because of the web site newsletter and our mailing of 800 newsletters a month. I would love to give them the link for the April newsletter. Is that OK? There is much interest. I do hope you are well and things are as you wish. Thank you again for sharing your home with us. Please stay in touch.”
S.S., South Carolina

“My wish came true when my beautiful partner gave me the gift of Calboccia for my 50th birthday present. What more can one wish for? This is a magical place and we have enjoyed every moment of our two weeks here. We were blessed with beautiful warm Spring weather and gorgeous sunsets from the patio where we drank delicious local wine and toasted our good fortune for being in Italy with our dear friends. We spent the first week with our friends who joined us for the cooking school at La Chiusa with Masha, our wonderful teacher. This was an awesome experience and I would recommend it highly! The second week, we were joined by other friends and we enjoyed many excursions in the countryside to Assisi, Cortona, Gubbio, Perugia, Montonoe, Deruta, and the Wednesday market in Umbertide. It would be difficult to pick our favorite place because they were all so special, but our favorite day was spent at Calboccia, when we hiked down hill and had a picnic of cheese, salami and local wine at the stone table near the Madonina, in the field. Wow! What a perfect day! We have vowed to return to Calboccia for years to come. Thank you Jan and Sestilio for sharing this special home with us.”
J.H. and C.V., California and Massachusetts

“We met our friends who had already been at Calboccia for a week, and we immediately fell into the rhythm of Calboccia. What a magical place! On our last day we spent a wonderful day just enjoying the view. We ate out on the deck and enjoyed an incredible lunch al fresco, with hills as our backdrop. Drinking wine, laughing, and enjoying the spirit of the place. We enjoyed Fausto’s 4 Euro liter and a half wine, as well as the wonderful wine of the region. We visited many of the hill towns, enjoying the history and wonderful stone buildings and always found the perfect restaurant for an amazing meal. I think Assisi was my favorite – the spirituality of the place as well as its simple beauty. But my favorite memory will be of Calboccia and the peace of this place. As we watched our last sunset for this trip, and knew I’d be back, it was so still and so profoundly peaceful. Thank you, Jan, for this amazing place. It was a vacation full I will remember all my life! We are so grateful. “
A. and B. A., California

“We visited so many wonderful villages here. Our first 4 days were spent at La Chiusa cooking school and restaurant. I highly recommend it! Masha is a fantastic teacher and we learned so much. The food’s outstanding! The view from Calboccia is outstanding. Our perfect day was just staying at calboccia and creating a wonderful lunch that we ate (with wine of course) looking down on the beautiful valley below us. The trees were just budding and changed to a light green since we first arrived. I love this place—it is magical and spiritual. It has been a wonderful vacation. Jan, you have a great place and I intend to come back again.
Thank you!”
D.B., CaliforniaChildren love Italy too!

“Our first visit to Italy was in June 2003. We fell in love with this beautiful country and thought some day we would be back, but maybe not so soon as this. A year ago, however, we attended a fund raiser dinner auction for a charity we support called “First Place Fund for Youth.” At the auction table we saw pictures of Calboccia and the Essiccatoio, and met Jan. We were so taken with the romance of these two stone houses and the pictures of the Umbrian countryside that we placed a bid. We won! What a wonderful time we had! I wish we had had more time at Calboccia. We will return someday, probably with family and friends in tow. Thank you, and Sestilio for a perfect time in beautiful Umbria.”
B. and J. B., California


“Thank you so much for being flexible about our length of stay at Calboccia. It was just what we had hoped it would be and we had a beautiful time there. We definitely would like to return for an anniversary. Please send our thanks again to Sestilio. It was very comforting to know we could call him anytime if the need arose. Thanks again.”
M. and A. H., New York

“A very happy new year to you. We are back from our great trip to Italy. We already miss Italy and would love to go back again. We had a really nice time at Calboccia. ……………….The house was very charming and cozy and the views were amazing. The view seemed to change every hour as the clouds changed their positions over the hills. ………….. We just wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful time and will always cherish the memories of Calboccia. Regards,”
P. and S.D., California

“I can’t begin to thank you for sharing your beautiful home with the 6 of us. We felt like we were in heaven! The location is fabulous and we were all very impressed with your restoration. We LOVED everything about Calboccia. We hope to return some day.”
J. and J. B., California

“A quick after action report. We are just returned from three weeks in Italy. We loved our time at “Calboccia,” your mountain retreat. Everything worked perfectly. I am so glad we took your advice and rented both floors and the lower porch. The porch views at sun set and wrapping us in the purple night were magic with “Tosca” Playing in the background. We hoped that love blossomed. All of us commented on the lovely quiet and the clean air that surrounded us on the hilltop. Each day I trimmed the roses, pulled weeds and watered the upper and lower level. Why? Because it was apparent that you cared. And because I loved all your plants. They added so much to the visual feeling of nature. The weather was varied including a morning of fog just as Hannibal experienced all those years ago. We felt his presence that morning in the swirls of mist. Maybe we heard his Elephants a bit as well. We were greatly helped by Sestilio with our family crises at different times. Our thanks to his invaluable positive service attitude. He was both charming and helpful when we needed medical help, and package help and advice on Italian city organization. The meals prepared and served in the great outdoors by Beatrice were memorable. Your location was perfectly central to Umbrian visits. Each day we sallied forth in our two cars to a new town, new lunch and a new discovery of some historical note. Perhaps the one surprise for me was Cortona. You should stress is how close one is to Cortona and what a lovely mountain drive via Mercatale one can experience. Similarly, Umbertide is a great town in its own right. We loved market day, bakery, friendly people and the Coop. As you can tell, Calboccia was Magic and we all thank you for sharing your dream.”
J. and V. M., Virginia

“I cannot believe that a month has passed since we returned from Italy. I started school the following week and that certainly took some adjusting but I am still floating with the time spent in Umbria. Thank you for the use of your wonderful house. We enjoyed it no end and were glad to visit with friends and enjoy the wonders of the Italian kitchen both in restaurants and on the fine terrace of Calboccia. The neighbors upstairs were a very interesting and delightful couple form Washington DC and we shared wine and good conversation with them on several occasions. They were ideal housemates. The third of our trio, had some friends who live nearby so evenings were busy. Again thank you for the opportunity to spend time in the Niccone Valley. It is a very special place and your house is the perfect way to enjoy it. Many thanks,”
G. S., California

“This trip has been a very healing and replenishing experience for me. I am a nurse in an intensive care unit. I spend most of my time “nurturing” patients, family, and friends. I needed to be replenished and found here just what I needed. Peace, nature, quiet, and, most of all, the friendly, caring, and happy people of Italy. My daughter accompanied me here, and, being an artist, appreciated all aspects of this lovely country and also enjoyed the serenity here. My sister joined us the second week and my grandson the last week. He is also gifted in art and what an experience it was for him. We saw many places, visited many churches, museums, works of art. The best part for me was relaxing by the fire with a glass of wine, listening to your excellent collection of tapes. Charlotte and Sestilio are wonderful and gracious people and I felt they were our friends, though we had just met and spent limited time together. This was an experience that I will never forget. Thank you so much for this most unforgettable vacation. I hated to leave “Calboccia.”
S. C., Florida

“It is Saturday morning and we are about to leave “Calboccia.” It has been an amazing week and so re-energizing yet calming at the same time. It is almost 8 o’clock in the morning and the mist sits in the valley below us. The peaks of the mountains emerge from this mist – tranquil, hazy, and like a dream. We have had wonderful weather all week-warm and sunny during the day and slightly cooler in the evening. We have touched upon many of the towns in the area – Montone (quaint), Perugia (a must see), Assisi, Gubbio, Cortona, Preggio. And the food has just been glorious everywhere. Thanks for everything.”
S. and J. A., New York and Washington, DC

dining table “Heaven on earth, isn’t it? This is truly the most peaceful place I’ve ever been. We took our time; visited the charming towns of Cortona, Gubbio, etc. and slept in listening to a ferocious thunderstorm. We’re sad to leave. Thank you Jan and Sestilio. We will most definitely return to “Calboccia.”
L. and K. B., California

“We are here in Italy on our honeymoon. We started out by spending a few days in the lovely seaside village of Portofino, and then we came to “Calboccia.” After just an amazing week here, we are completely in love with Umbria! What a truly special place “calboccia” is! We can’t possibly put down on paper all the wonderful things we have experienced about Umbria and Italy, but we will do our best to include our major hi-lites. First, Sestilio. What a thorough introduction to “Calboccia”. His advice was invaluable to us and always on target. He was so generous with his time and his grace. He is truly one of the most important treasures of “Calboccia”! Second, as animal and nature lovers, we were thrilled to see some of the local wildlife on a late night drive back from dinner in Preggio. It rained rather hard while we were enjoying a great meal at La Castagna, and, on our drive back, we saw numerous frogs (some quite large) and even a couple of snakes lying on the asphalt road to get some warmth. We saw a few hedgehogs- what beautiful and funny little animals. On the road up to Calboccia we even saw a wild boar, who ran away into the trees as quickly as possible upon seeing our car. Third, we loved seeing the beautiful sunset (and the rising moon) from our place in the evenings. The beauty and serenity at “Calboccia” has been just perfect for us!”
T. and B. B., California

“Kelly and I have been meaning to contact you since we returned from our trip, but, unfortunately, the pace of life back home is not nearly as leisurely as it was in Italy. Calboccia was breathtaking, and we cannot tell you how much we enjoyed our time there. We’re already trying to figure out when we can make our next trip to Italy. We would be happy to provide a testimonial for your website, or provide a reference to prospective guests. We were so taken by your home and by the region; we’d love to hear more about your experiences there and learn more about the history of Calboccia. If you would take us up on the invitation, we’d enjoy having you come over one evening to share a bottle of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Again, thanks for contributing to such a memorable vacation.”
K. and J. M., California

“Just a note to tell you how much we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Calboccia. We planned two weeks in Umbria with two other couples, with whom we’ve traveled before. Two couples each took a separate floor of the main farmhouse, and the third couple took the Essiccatoio. We used Calboccia as our base for daily forays into the Umbrian (and Tuscan) hill towns, including a day trip to Florence. We would return in the late afternoons, shop in Umbertide, and cook communal dinners at night. The accommodations were comfortable, warm, and had all the amenities we could hope for (an added bonus was a local cuckoo who announced dawn, and, in the evening, cocktail hour). We were made to feel very welcome by Sestilio who was an invaluable help and advisor. We also took advantage of hiring Beatrice (through Sestilio) to cook us a farewell gourmet dinner of white asparagus lasagna, canellini beans, veal scallopini, finished off with a pannacotta with fresh local berries. We would not hesitate to recommend Calboccia as a wonderful destination in Umbria and hope to return someday.”
R. and E. C., California

“We had an amazing, unforgettable time! Although there are so many interesting things to do, I recommend that guests take at least a day or two to just sit around and enjoy the house! Although it was a bit rainy during our winter visit, the fact that we didn’t have to fight any crowds made up for it. We had snow our first day, which covered most of the surrounding area – that was worth seeing! We recommend that visitors don’t discount visiting the area during the winter months…certain days it seemed that we were the only tourists in town.”
J. and L. W., Washington. D.C.

“We had a wonderful time at Calboccia and hated to leave. I will definitely be back and the next time with my husband. I too hope we have the opportunity to meet. One thing Carla and I really enjoyed was the music you have on tapes there. We would sit by the fire, drinking our wonderful wine with candles glowing and felt so at peace with the world and to be in such a beautiful place. I’ll email you some of our pictures. Thanks again for the opportunity to stay there. Sestillio and Charlotte are such nice people. Regards,”
S.C., Florida

“Just a quick note to tell you we had a wonderful time in Italy and we loved Calboccia.”
M. and A. R., New York

“Our last morning we awoke in a fog-maybe the hills’ tribute to a wonderful day of wine tasting in Montepulciano. Each day of our stay found us in a different town. The Duomo in Siena was one of the highlights of a trip full of wonders. Gubbio and Montone were charming. Our Sunday dinner at La Locanda del Capitano took top honors although the home-cooked meal prepared at Calboccia by Beatrice ran a close second. Her asparagus risotto was excellent and the panacotta in blueberry/blackberry sauce…to die for. We loved Calboccia and the surrounding areas. Arrivederci!

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