A Visit to Funtanella, Lumio, Corsica
BoutiqueHomes' curator Simone Schoene has just returned from Corsica, where she visited a newly-added gem. Funtanella, a restored 18th-century mansion, sits on a hillside in Lumio, with breathtaking views of the Bay of Calvi and the beaches of Haute-Corse. But it's what lies within its grounds that impressed her most.
Our day at Funtanella started with meeting Catherine, the property manager, at the local village coffee shop. It was the perfect way to dive into village life, and after a coffee—with an amazing view from Lumio over the bay and the ocean—we walked through the narrow streets to the house.
Guests enter through a courtyard that's planted with trees and has enough space to park cars. Although this is not the most exciting feature of this restored 18th-century maison de maître, I found this really convenient as sometimes village houses do not provide parking, and this is often a stress factor when you arrive in Southern European homes.
While touring the property, I was wearing my vetting glasses to see if it ticked all of our boxes to make the cut for the collection. For example, is there good design throughout? Is there a focus on the details? Is there a story and history? Does it have a soul? And, last but not least, does it provide the space to spend time with your travel party, to cook, eat, lounge, and make yourself at home away from home?
And something I always have an eye on are details, like what kind of tableware, cutting boards, bowls, coffee machine, table linens, sun loungers, seating, cushions and blankets are available. Those make a big difference in creating the perfect experience for our guests.
Entering the house, you pass antique storage jars that now house plants, and you get an instant feel for the design and history combination that this house provides. We started in the indoor kitchen—a beautiful Bulthaup high-end design, combined with handcrafted tiles to give it a more Mediterranean look. All the ceramics, boards, deco, glasses and paintings that the owner collected worldwide make this kitchen a wonderful place, and I could see myself cooking there instantly. The long table and benches are so inviting, and it definitely works for family gatherings or friends traveling together. Everyone can hang out while cooking and be social.
Everything is beautiful—the bedrooms, hallway and stairs, and there are lots of antiques combined with modern conveniences. I would have a hard time choosing my favorite bedroom! All the bathrooms are new, each one different in color but all with a classy yet modern style, plus all the comfort you need. There are so many that, even with a large group, you'll have something for everyone.
An absolute highlight is the living room with its black sofas and terrace. We spent quite some time in there. The sofas are beyond comfy and stylish (in fact, I have added one to my shopping wish list!). The view is amazing, the kids loved the Samsung Frame TV, and the modern style in those storytelling walls mirrors everything the house is. The walls were renovated by a restorer who found the wall paintings hidden under old wallpaper and brought them back to life. Now they are all on display, some with rough concrete traces that put even more of a spotlight on the old techniques and the beauty. Again, there is so much attention to detail—the blankets provided, the books. This home is not lacking any elements needed for a wonderful stay.
One of my personal highlights was the outdoor kitchen. It has glass doors that open to all sides, with a view across the main terrace and pool area. You feel like you are on top—and in the center—of everything. Cooking there, prepping a summer lunch, then having your travel companions get together would be a beautiful way of spending your time. Having an aperitif or sundowner on the main terrace overlooking the village, the bay and the ocean would be a wonderful way to start your evening.
Other highlights for me were the golden ceiling in the dining room, the handcrafted tiled tables outdoors, and the wall sconces, made out of roof tiles from Barcelona.
If, while you're staying at Funtanella, you feel like venturing out, I strongly recommend the local artisan bakery Granu Grossu for breakfast. It also sells yummy sandwiches and salads. For lunch, you can reserve a table at Le Pain de Sucre, a restaurant on the beach, and book sunbeds to spend the rest of your day. Or if you like it more casual, you could stop at Savelli, a wooden barn at the roadside to pick up fresh baguettes, local cheeses and charcuterie, fruits and veggies, and head to one of the more natural beaches like Ostraconi. Alternatively, stay in the village and take a picnic to spend sunset on the rocks.
If you feel like being more active, you can hike just outside of the house, heading up the hill to the beautiful macchia, or scrubland. There are breathtaking views once you reach the top. Close by is the Clos Colombu winery that sells very good wines (try the rosé!) and also happens to be architectural eye candy.