who, what, where, why, how?

If you browse through the tabs below, you’ll find an explanation of who we are, what else we offer, where we are, why we picked irises and how we came to be doing this.  For other questions, consult our FAQs or contact us.

  • LYR">Who's who

    Casa Nova SRL is owned by Casa Nova SRL, which is a limited company (“Societ√† a Responsibilit√† Limitata”) and an “agriturismo” under Italian law.  Its full title is Societ√† Agricola Casa Nova SRL. (Partita IVA, Codice Fiscale and CCIAA inscription number: 01764240519; N. REA CCIAA di Arezzo 137529.)  The Casa Nova estate is located in the Niccone valley, in the hills above Spedalicchio: loc S. Anna, 251, 06019  Umbertide, (PG), Italy.  However, the registered address for legal purposes (sede legale) is at the office of our accountant in Sansepolcro: Via Panerai, 55, Sansepolcro (AR), 52037, Italy.  See here for contact details.

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    Introducing the people behind Casa Nova SRL:

    Patricia Robertson

    Dr Tom Henry

    “I’m a lawyer who is also a passionate gardener.  My idea is for our nursery to make available an exceptional range of irises, some of them not easily found here in Italy, others born and bred here. Our display garden will provide pleasure and inspiration and with your help we can paint a rainbow of colour across the landscape.”

    “After years as a gardening widower, I decided if you can’t beat them you’d better just join them.  So now I drive the tractor, when not working on my latest monograph on Signorelli or Raphael (each of whom, incidentally, painted irises).”

  • LYR">Other stuff we do
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    Other stuff we do:

    In addition to the plant nursery, our agriturismo offers holiday rentals in one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. On our other websites you can find out lots more about holidaying here and about the art and culture of Umbria.

    We have three websites...

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    This is the website for the nursery. Here you can browse the catalogue and order irises online for delivery bareroot in late summer/autumn.

    This website is dedicated to our holiday rentals and provides a quick route to the key information about Il Casale (sleeps up to 16) and Casa dell’Ortolano (sleeps up to 9), with links to the main Casa Nova website for those who want more detail.

    This is the main Casa Nova website.  You can find a wealth of information here about Casa Nova, holidaying in Umbria, and Renaissance artists in Umbria (Tom’s area of expertise).

  • LYR">Where we are
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    Where we are:

    We are in Umbria, just north of Perugia, in the Niccone valley, which runs between Umbertide, in the Upper Tiber Valley and the pass over to Cortona, in Tuscany.  Click here for a map.

  • LYR">Why Irises?
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    “Why irises?”

    There are, of course, some utilitarian reasons for that choice: they grow well in our soil and climate, are little troubled by pests (so are suitable for organic methods of cultivation), can cope with dry summers and minimal care and can be dispatched as bare-root plants to a far wider market than could ever pass our door here.

    But far more than all that, every garden needs some plants that are the opposite of utilitarian, plants that lift the spirit when in their moment of glory.  Irises offer an extraordinary range of colour, scent and beauty of form.  Their season spans the transition from the delicate beauties of Spring to the full blown splendors of early Summer. The very fact that their period of bloom is ephemeral makes it all the more an event to look forward to, marking the turning of the seasons.  Even the smallest garden has room for a clump of irises and even an inexperienced (or reluctant) gardener can manage their modest requirements and will be well rewarded. For some advice on growing them, see here.

    We hope you enjoy browsing this site.

  • LYR">Our Story
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    Our Story

    Casa Nova

    Casa Nova SRL is an Italian company owned by an English couple, Patricia Robertson and Dr Tom Henry (a Professor of Art History, whose specialism is what first brought us to this area).  In 2003 we bought a farmhouse and several hectares of long neglected land in the hills above the Niccone valley, in Northern Umbria.  Since then we have been gradually bringing it back into sustainable production as an “agriturismo” - a blend of agriculture and holiday rentals.  There are now two houses on the estate, each with their own pool and private gardens, which can be rented for holidays, separately or together.  They are surrounded by olive groves and orchards, run on organic principles, and guests can find fresh produce in the fruit and vegetable plots or (chickens permitting) fresh eggs in the chicken run.  In 2016 we established our specialist plant nursery on another part of the Casa Nova estate, realizing a long held dream. 

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