About Us

Umbria-Rentals.com was started back in 1995 by accident. I (Francesco, that is. I'm the one on the right) was in my fourth year of computer science at Uppsala University in Sweden and wanted to learn HTML. What better way than to put my parent's apartments in Panicale (Umbria, Italy) on the internet and rent them out on a short-term basis. So from my university account, I put three apartments online. I was planning on taking down the site in time for my internship at Ericsson a few months later, but by then, there was no turning back!

With several thousand hits in the first few months, people were e-mailing me with glowing reports of their stay. Others who had rented elsewhere e-mailed that they had visited Panicale because of the site. They were still dreaming of Mamma Bruna's home made pasta at the Masolino Restaurant, Aldo's Cappuccino at the Bar, or just the views, the art and the peace and quiet surrounding the area. Panicale was a secret I wanted to share, not with the whole world, but only with people who could appreciate the beauty and lifestyle it offered.

Before 1995, no one in their right state of mind would have thought that some one in Sweden could have been successful in renting out vacation apartments in Umbria (At the time a very anonymous region) to people in countries as remote as America, South Africa or Australia. These countries were later to be joined by Singapore, India, Hong Kong, and many others. The Internet had made it possible.

The very early visitors were emailing me telling me they were getting strange looks from the locals. They described them as friendly but it still made some people feel uncomfortable. Little did they know that these looks were an expression of bewilderment. Visitors had always been welcome to Panicale, but how on earth had Americans, Australians and South Africans found their way to Panicale? You need a boat to reach these remote continents.

Well, I did learn HTML, and even if I am no longer a student, this site is still up and running. It has become my hobby. I maintain it in my spare time for Panicale and its people, giving back a little of what they have given to me. What was a well kept secret a decade ago is today still a secret (a badly kept one), shared among the people who know how to appreciate the best of Italian lifestyle and culture. At least, these are the people who keep coming back for more. A special acknowledgement goes to Catlin Barnes of CSB/Design. An Umbrian enthusiast and Panicale affictionado redesigned and helped built the new Umbria-rentals site, giving it the facelift it deserved (Imagine what it looked like back in 1995).

What happened to Me? I changed the snow storms in Sweden with English rain. I now live in London, where I run a software consulting business called Erlang Training and Consulting. And I do not complain about the weather, as there are five international airports with as many flights to Italy as I want!


Contact Us for more information on the area, properties, and bookings.