Be my guest... in Italy

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Be my guest... in Italy

Telling us his rental story this month is James Brown-Muir who has been letting out his Tuscan townhouse in the beautiful Lake Trasimeno region for three years...

I am:

A 60-year-old retired art teacher from Scotland who decided to move to Italy over ten years ago to enjoy a different pace of life as an artist in Italy.

I own:

A traditional Tuscan townhouse in the picturesque village of Macchie, near Lake Trasimeno and the lakeside town Castiglione del Lago. I restored the building, which was once the old village post office, and now live in the ground-floor apartment, with independent holiday accommodation occupying the two storeys above.

The holiday apartment blends contemporary home comforts with the traditional elements of the old building. Sleeping five people, the first floor consists of a living room, kitchen, double bedroom and shower room with toilet, while the second fl oor offers a further living/dining room, second kitchen and two bedrooms (one double, one single) and bathroom. The open fire in the living room and central heating keep the apartment cosy during the winter months, while holidaymakers can take advantage of the views of the village from the furnished terrace during summer.

The area is abundant with hilltop villages, which are easy to tour by car, with parking available at the property.

I chose:

Macchie because of the beauty of the area, with vineyards and olive groves spread across undulating valleys. It is a small village with a post office, supermarket and two bars, all within walking distance. The nearest airport is Perugia which is only 40 minutes drive. Rome and Florence airports are two hours and an hour and a half respectively by car.

I have always loved Italy and this part of the world is an ideal place to live as an artist. I also offer painting courses for holidaymakers, which have been really popular. Enjoying the best of a rural location, with nearby attractions including the Lamborghini Golf Club in the next village (five minutes by car), the property also has easy access to the galleries and cultural delights of Italy's urban areas. Florence and Rome are both easily explored via the fast train from nearby Chiusi, taking approximately an hour and a half from the door to either destination. We also escape some of the bustle of tourists attending tours visiting nearby Cortona, made famous by the best-selling memoirs, 'Under the Tuscan Sun' by Frances Mayes.

I rent out:

The townhouse all year-round and I advertise it through Italian Country Cottages. The website was recommended to me by neighbours three years ago. It is free to list my property on the portfolio and I am pleased to say I get repeat bookings each year. The busiest time is the summer but many people prefer autumn when it is cooler. The rate paid to me for summer lets is £490 per week and £390 per week for off season. The changeover day is usually Saturday. The apartment is available to rent off-peak for £488 for seven nights (£13.94 per person per night – based on arrival dates throughout November). This rises to £726 during the peak summer months (£20.74 per person per night based on arriving 27th August).

Meeting the holidaymakers is the best bit of the job, and I have become friends with many of them. They are of various age groups but the majority are professional people between 50 and 60. I advise them on the best restaurants in the area and I have a fully equipped artist studio on the ground floor if they wish to use it.

I pay:

Approximately €1,800 per month, which covers utility bills for the property and ongoing maintenance, including the cleaning of my property between guests. Having refurbished the old building from its former role as a post office, keeping the place fresh is an important part of the upkeep! And utility bills continue to rise in Italy, as they do everywhere.

If you want to share your rental strory then write to

Book your tickets to A Place in the Sun Live on 30th March - 1st April 2012If you're thinking of buying a property in Italy, pay a visit to The Italian Pavilion at A Place in the Sun Live. The exhibition takes place at Earls Court on 30th March - 1st April 2012. Tickets cost £15 for two when booked in advance and come with a free six-month subscription to A Place in the Sun magazine.


A Place In The Sun