Set in the Tuscan hills between Cortona and Mercatale, the exquisite Villa Sartino is the ideal retreat for those wishing to enjoy idyllic and peaceful surroundings in extreme comfort. Set within its own meadows and olive groves, a private lake and numerous woodland walks, it is still within easy reach of many of the major Tuscan and Umbrian towns.
The picturesque Niccone Valley is the perfect, central point from which to explore the hill towns of both Umbria and Tuscany. Located roughly midway between Rome and Florence, just north of Lake Trasimeno, it’s an easy drive to the historic cities of Cortona, Gubbio, Perugia, Assisi, Deruta, Montefalco, Spoleto, Spello, Todi, Montepulciano, Pienza, Siena, Umbertide, Città di Castello, Sansepolcro and others.
The Niccone Valley is named for the stream that flows through it, spilling into the Tiber River at its eastern terminus near Umbertide. Part of the valley is in Umbria and part is in Tuscany; at either end are the Umbrian towns of Lisciano Niccone and plain Niccone, and a small section from Mercatale to La Mita is in Tuscany. A country road, route 416, runs through the valley, roughly parallel to the stream.
The valley was a much travelled route throughout Italy’s history, and evidence of its strategic position can be seen in the castles that dot the hilltops, facing off from both sides across the border. Today the fertile plain is devoted to crops—winter wheat, sunflowers, maize, tobacco, alfalfa and vegetables. There are vineyards and silvery olive trees on the slopes and myriad shades of green in the surrounding forested hills. Farmers still raise animals and maintain kitchen gardens for their own needs, and the towns along the road supply what must be bought.