Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What the papers say…..


From The Mail on Sunday, of 13th November 2005 by Sebastian O’Kelly – Part 1


“Fifteen years ago, John Tunstill used to buy his trousers second hand at the market in Città di Castello, the small town in the upper Tiber Valley in Umbria, around which he has made his home – and his fortune.
At the time, he was in the late 40s, newly arrived in Umbria, but with ambitious plans to set up as an estate agent and property developer in an area that he correctly forecast was going to be “another Cotswolds”.
For Fabio Lelli, John’s elegant Italian business partner, this eccentricity and thrift in clothes shopping caused mingled feelings of ridicule and disgust. But there is no denying that this irrepressible entrepreneur has spectacularly succeeded in his ambition.
In those days, Tunstill, now 63, and his wife Liliana, 61, a blonde and blue-eyed Uruguayan of German origin, lived in a two-up, two-down section of an old farm on an exposed hillside outside nearby Umbertide, the rest of which he had sold off as a second homes. Today, he lives in the village of Calzolaro in a vast former monastic retreat called La Preghiera, which has its own stream and gardens, a house in the grounds, swimming pool and even its own chapel, which is used for weddings.
It is far too large to be a private house and earlier this year, after the complex came back to life having been excavated from centuries of alluvial mud, it opened as a fancy 12-bedroom boutique B&B, a place “where four nights of luxury cost only €895 (£605) per person.....”

See on www.lapreghiera.com and come at La Preghiera, in Umbria!