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Holiday Homes

Date published: July 07 2018


Click here to visit Special Umbria Website >>

‘In the medieval hilltop villages, among the vines and olives, there are abandoned stone houses waiting to be renovated,’ says Rob Landeweerd and Jeroen Macco, Special Umbria

If you’re looking for a holiday villa or second home in Italy - the real Italy - a new luxury villa website is aiming to ‘make exquisite living in the heart of Italy a dream come true,’ says Rob Landeweerd and Jeroen Macco, founders of the Special Umbria website.

The pair have travelled extensively around Italy since the 1990s and, thanks to a close friend, had the pleasure of visiting Città della Pieve in the Umbrian hills on one such occasion. This sparked their motivation to buy a house of their own in the region.

In 2007, they decided to leave Holland and move to Italy, bravely leaving their business careers behind, to buy a property in the ‘green heart’ landlocked Italian region of Umbria, a treasure trove for old stone farmhouses. The pair consulted local property agents and visited numerous houses before choosing a plot of land in Piegaro, near Lake Trasimeno, and building their dream home.

A combination of project management and designing with their love for Italy led to the Special Umbria site being born. Rob and Jeroen started off managing and renovating clients’ second homes in Umbria, which led to them renting out exclusive villas and apartments and subsequently acting as property finders themselves.

Today, Special Umbria’s office is located next to the pair’s three-bedroom farmhouse, which sits in the hills near Città della Pieve, surrounded by 3500 square metres of gardens with a pool, vegetable garden, 50 olive trees and fruit trees, with breathtaking views of the Umbrian countryside.

The interior décor is warm and nothing if not eclectic. Rob and Jeroen have dressed it with pieces of art by Hendrik Kerstens, Alessandro Papetti, Fons van Laar, amongst many more, and mixed these with Dutch, Italian and English furniture.

There are wood and glass cupboards from an old Italian church, a Dutch chandelier above the fireplace, and an Italian antique chest of drawers, each restored by local craftsmen and upholstered in colourful Italian fabrics. The sofas are now covered in Rubelli velvet and Zoffany fabric, there are red and yellow felt Vitra poufs, and a small footstool covered in Pierre Frey fabric.

The rustic style kitchen features a handmade cotto tiled floor, a marble worktop with a butler sink carved from the same marble, and wooden cupboards and shelves made by a local carpenter. An antique Umbrian wooden table sits in the middle of the kitchen with Hay chairs and hanging pendant lights by Muuto. Bursts of colour are added across the house with handmade lampshades designed by Dutch company Gezusters Stoop.

Special Umbria now has 100 properties on its books, and their interiors are a mix of traditional Umbrian style and 21st Century living. Rob likes to mix things up a bit by pairing high street brands such as Zara Home with high end designers such as Missoni, as well as vintage pieces sourced from markets. In fact, Rob, Jeroen and their team pride themselves on the level of attention to detail each property is given, overseeing every step of the journey.

‘We concluded 2007, the year we built the house, signing the final deed at the notary followed by a big celebratory ‘pranzo’, or lunch, at the house for all the workmen who had done such a wonderful job on our dream - having our own property and new beginnings in Umbria had come true!’ says Rob, adding: ‘In the medieval hilltop villages and Apennine peaks, among the vines and olives, there are abandoned stone houses waiting to be renovated - it’s our turn to make other’s Italian dream a reality…’

Photographer: Kristian Septimius Krogh

Author: Jake Kennedy

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