Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A view of the garden at Villa Le Mura
The Villa Le Mura is located just outside the hill town of Panicale in Umbria. Normally we are in Panicale for an extended stay in an apartment within the walls of the town. We have spent many evenings on the balcony of Ristorante Masolino with the sun setting over the Umbrian plain to Lake Trasimeno. Often we would notice a large building at the base of the hillside highlighted in the setting sun. We were told that it was the Villa LeMura. So, on a short visit to Panicale last September we thought of LeMura and decided to stay there. The villa is like a page out of the past with modern comforts. The formal garden is serene and romantic.

The garden is a small scale 'grand garden' punctuated with statues and lovely terra cotta pots filled with lemon trees and palms.

The garden at the villa is quiet and welcoming. The formal garden is balanced by a more park like wooded garden. I noticed that in a shady corner of the garden a dozen or more pots of boxwood that had been started from cuttings.
We have learned a great deal from our visits to gardens in Italy, both the grand and the small 'pocket gardens' that can be found tucked behind houses in these hill towns. Italians are very good at using space and efficient with use of terracing. Sculpture, pottery and plant filled containers are used to create focal points and geometric garden layout defines formal spaces. We draw and take notes to assist us in bringing these ideas back to our garden in New Hampshire.

The medieval hill town of Panicale sits proudly surrounded by olive groves and lined by tall cypress trees.

A sketch that James did from the terrace looking down to the formal garden.

A View from the Terrace
After a caffe or cappuccino, mornings were spent on this terrace drawing the garden and the surrounding landscape, breaking of course for lunch, perhaps at La Porta in Montecchiello (Tuscany). After a remarkable lunch, time was spent drawing, exploring the town, and shopping. Late in the afternoon we would return to the villa with time for a swim. In the evening James and I would enjoy a glass of local wine as we watched the sunset before going to dinner in town.
One of our thoughts in staying at Villa LeMura was to bring a group here for an 'art tour'. This would be a wonderful place to spent time drawing and to visit the art treasures of Umbria and nearby Tuscany

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