Our very first vacation in Umbria

Then you have bought an old farmhouse in Umbria and the adventure begins. Read here about our very first vacation in Umbria and the renovation of Polmone

Holiday and renovation in Umbria

Autumn vacation 1989

When we first saw Polmone in the fall of 1989, we were incredibly enthusiastic about its special location: on top of a hill in the middle of the huge Fersinone valley. 360 Degrees unobstructed view all around! The next house at 800 meters. There was a special peace. You heard the silence. And in the wider area, white cows grazed that occasionally looked up when they saw us.

Christmas vacation 1989

During the Christmas holidays we came back to show the children Polmone and to decide whether we would really buy Polmone or not. It was a beautiful place, we felt immediately at home. What a purity and special, attractive appearance we found there. The children were also enthusiastic: "my father is going to buy a medieval farm!".
There was just no road to Polmone, there was no water and no electricity and the house was a little more than a ruin. However, the walls were straight and sturdy. We went for it.

The renovation starts

The unpaved road to Polmone was constructed by the municipality in March 1990 and in May of the same year Nico renovated the roof with the help of family, neighbors and friends. The renovation of the Polmone ruins to the current Polmone holiday home had begun.

Summer 1990

In the summer of the same year we moved to Polmone for the first time. There was still no water and electricity, there was no toilet and shower, the windows on the north side were open holes and all the interior walls were still piled with clay between which the lizards played tick-mine.

A special holiday

It has become our best time at Polmone. Every morning our neighbor brought a huge wine bottle (damigiana) with water. We did everything with it: bricklaying, making tea, cooking and washing dishes. And at the end of the afternoon we ourselves walked to what we called our bathroom: a bowl among the rocks about a kilometer from Polmone, where water remained and ended in a kind of waterfall. We washed ourselves in there. Ice cold!!!! And if you had climbed up again to walk back to Polmone, you could take a bath again ...
We had dug a hole behind the old pigsty as a toilet and soon Nico had turned it into a 'real' toilet.
For the power supply, Nico and my brother rolled out a cable across the country from Polmone to our neighbors who had electricity. The cable was way too heavy to lift, so the men had placed the roll in the trunk of the car. Nico at the wheel, straight through the hills. My brother in the trunk to unroll the cable slowly.
We had power!
If Nico had to drill, I just had to stop making the curtains on the sewing machine.

That summer it was almost possible to finish the Simpatica apartment. And in the autumn holidays we were able to open the apartment and receive our first guests! We still look back with great pleasure on that first eventful year! It was perhaps the nicest period.


  1. This is nice to read !!! We still look back with pleasure and a little homesickness on our stay with you. Kind regards Jan and Ria Bosma

  2. Marijke Beker

    What an adventure and what a work you have done! Also nice to see the pictures from then.

  3. tons of mesh

    Hello, I have lived there for a few months. Via Beato Leopoldo.

  4. Maria Ankone

    Nice to read . If we see Polmone today it is easy to forget what a huge challenge the realization of it has been.

  5. Marie Louise

    What a beautiful story! Very nice to read this. And I knew it was a ruin, but it was such a challenge! Great photos too. I hope we come back someday.
    Lots of love!
    Marie Louise

  6. We have known you since the winter of 1999-2000. And then your accommodation was almost complete. You must have worked so hard in those 10 years. In a relatively short period of time, you have turned a ruin into a beautiful whole. Impressive. I am also a handyman, but for this I take my hat off.
    It's very nice to follow your story.

  7. Ellen Himinael

    Nice story Roos, through GJ we heard from you at the time, do not remember so well what our first year was with you, we rented Bibliotheca a few times with the children, later Cinema and Sympathica. We and the children still have a wonderful memory of the stay and your socializing, pizza evening on Wednesday. The pool was not there yet, but that did not matter for the children, plenty to do. The tranquility, therapeutic, when you get up and look around you ... then the cows that pass by, the little fox in the evening, the hunt for the Illy heads has started with you! Lots of lie
    fs of us all!

    • What a nice response Ellen! We have always enjoyed it so much that you were there! And very special that last time Selma came with Josefien and so surprised Olav and Winnie! Are you still saving the Illy cups? You actually don't have the time to go to Italy to buy them. Lots of love from us for the whole family !!!

  8. Annet Olyhoek

    Hello Roos and Nico,
    How nice of you to share your experiences. It is now even better to understand where that wonderful atmosphere has come from that you have added to Polmone.
    We look forward to September, to be able to breathe it all in again and fully unwind.
    Love from Annet & Sicko

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