We spent a week at La Casella, booking as an RCI timeshare trade. After finding many dumpy options in Italy on RCI, I was thrilled to find this resort as an option. This resort was everything I had hoped for and more. The resort itself is a large property, set in the stunning scenery of Umbria, about an hour and a half north of Rome. Everywhere you turn, you want to have your camera out because the views are stunning. You will definitely need a car to enjoy the surrounding areas. This resort is the perfect location to take day trips to different locations in Italy. We visited Orvieto (great Duomo), Florence, Rome, Pisa (just for the leaning tower), Civita (cool bridge to get there but not much to do), Montepulciano (loved this town), Lake Bolsena (pretty but mostly camping sites around the lake - not much else) and Siena (a favorite city - huge market on Wednesday), all of which were easy driving distances. There are two train stations within a 20 minute drive, and we recommend taking the train into larger cities like Florence and Rome. We also drove to Cinque Terre after we checked out. None of these places was more than a 3 hour drive/train trip. There was a small winery down the road, and they gave us a personal tour, served us a fabulous lunch and wine tasting, and we ended up buying wine there and having it shipped home (didn't love the wine at the more famous winery in Montepulciano).
The room was exactly as I had hoped - very Tuscan and roomy. We had a unit that slept six, for our family of four (including two children). There was a small kitchen, and and three stories with a bedroom upstairs and a bedroom downstairs. Two of my only complaints about this resort- the beds were not very comfortable, and we could definitely have used at least one cleaning during our week. Otherwise, this room was perfect for us.
Our timeshare included "half-board," and this cost us around $1,00 for our family of four for the week and included breakfast and the five-course dinner every night. The breakfast was not fabulous - some fresh fruit or protein would have been nice - but we enjoyed the pastries and they will make you fresh drinks which are fabulous (they made my kids hot cocoa which was to die for). The dinners were fabulous. I wasn't sure how I would feel about sitting with other guests every night, but we met some very interesting people. I saw some couples sitting alone so this may be an opion if you ask. Keep in mind that the dinners take a long time - around 2 hours. This was a little difficult for my kids, especially since we were busy talking with the other adults (though they actually looked forward to the dinners -the food was great). My daughter is a vegetarian and they were so nice to accomodate her diet, making her vegetarian options for every course that contained meat. The food was delicious and we were completely stuffed every night.
The staff was extremely friendly. From the front desk to the equestrian center, they were very helpful and concerned that everything was perfect during our stay. One of the reasons we chose this resort was because of the equestrian center, as my daughter rides at home and loves horses. The equestrian center did not disappoint. They have around 35 horses and ponies, and we were even lucky to be there as they added a new one - a pony had a baby which was adorable. My kids took lessons twice. They have several arenas to ride in, and wow are these horses lucky - they go out to graze every day in this gorgeous field surrounded by mountains every day. We did not do any trail rides, but we talked to guests who did and enjoyed it, and I am sure with this property, the views must be spectacular. The guide who gives lessons and takes care of the horses was very nice and obviously loved the horses as they were well taken care of. My kids also loved the other animals around the resort, including two dogs, cats, and we visted the chicken coop (which we were told they use only for eggs). Note that there is a lot of hunting in the area - we heard dogs and rifle shots several mornings. I believe they are hunting for fox and wild boar.
The pool, tennis courts, etc. were not in great working order since we were there in the fall, but I am sure these are regularly maintained and fabulous in the summer.
All in all, this is an amazing place to stay if you want to visit Tuscany/Umbria. Apparently not everyone likes this type of place, as you are in with a nature a bit and there can be bugs, dirt, etc. If you want a five-star, sterilized resort, don't stay here. If you want to have an amazing Italian experience in the heart of Umbria, don't hesitate to stay at La Casella.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La Casella, in the beautiful Italian countryside, a tourism enterprise that aims at combining the concepts of sustainable economics and high quality standards. La Casella has transformed the countryside Vacation in a life style. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- La Casella, Eco Hotel Ficulle
- La Casella Eco Terni
- La Casella, Eco Resort Italy/Ficulle