Words by Carla Passino

A handful of stone houses set among the gentle hills of Umbria are undergoing a careful restoration to become eight atmospheric homes

Shining golden under dark umber roofs, a cluster of stone houses perches on a mellow hillside of dark greens and deep ochres close to Gubbio. Tall, lean cypresses frame the buildings, standing guard over an emerald lawn dotted with rich violet flowers. Graceful porticoes shelter wooden chairs and tables overlooking the perfect blue waters of a swimming pool. It is San Vittorino, a secluded estate by boutique developers Ultissimo.

Restoration work is going on to turn this once derelict hamlet into an Umbrian haven with just eight homes. The properties are set at the heart of a 120-acre valley affording panoramic views over the soft, sinuous curves of the Umbrian countryside and the snow-capped Appennini mountains beyond.

But, once completed, the interiors will rival with the vistas. Under the guidance of an Umbrian architect, local craftsmen are using reclaimed materials to renovate the buildings while preserving their authenticity. Reclaimed chestnut beams, exposed stone walls, open fireplaces and terracotta tiled floors will meet Italian designer kitchens, contemporary bathrooms, satellite TV and Internet connectivity.

The show home for example, is an ancient chapel with exposed beams, a lovely fireplace set against a stone wall, a sleek bathroom with free-standing basin—and part of a large medieval fresco in the bedroom.

It is already under offer, but San Vittorino is not short of dramatic homes. Number 3 has a look through fireplace; number 4 has an open fireplace, stone arches and French windows leading to a portico area; and number 6 has a vaulted corridor, a large terrace and spectacular mountain views.

The eight properties will share a heated swimming pool, all-weather tennis court, and golf practice area—although riding, cycling and truffle hunting in the surrounding countryside is likely to vie for owners’ time and attention. The hamlet is also very close to Gubbio, Assisi and Perugia for art trips. Perugia international airport is half an hour’s drive away.

“San Vittorino is a unique restoration with the best of modern comforts, which combine to create the perfect relaxed Italian lifestyle,” says Ultissimo’s managing director, Paul Belcher. “The peace and tranquility of the estate is beautifully balanced with the easy access to all facilities that a town offers.”

The development will be completed at the end of March 2009, and Ultissimo will provide a tailored service to clients, including assistance with furnishing. They will also offer after sale services such as garden maintenance, utility bill payments, deliveries, laundry and even fridge stocking before arrival.

Off-plan prices, available until December 2008, range from €420,000 to €600,000 for three-bedroom homes. A special viewing day is planned for 22 November 2008. For more information on San Vittorino, visit www.ultissimo.com or call +44 020 3178 4975.