The village of Tavarnelle is on the main road a couple of minutes drive down the lane from the house. Tavarnelle has a few shops including an excellent local butcher selling locally produced meat, a chemist, and a roadside cafe used primarily by locals and passing tourists. The cafe has a shop attached selling a wide range of basic groceries. The cafe is where information is posted about buses. (The bus stops are near to the cafe so you can have a drink while you wait. Don't forget to check the side of the road you are waiting on - the opposite to the UK!)
The market town of Camucia, 2 kms away, has a wide range of non-tourist shops. The Coop supermarket (a cooperative similar in ethos to ones in the UK) is on the main road leading from Tavernelle to Camucia. There are now four other supermarkets on this road on the other side of Camucia. There is also a very large, lively regional market on a Thursday morning. A smaller market is held on Saturday mornings in Cortona. Approximately 1 km away from Camucia, on the road to Lake Trasimeno, is a Euronics (similar to Comet), selling a wide range of household goods plus a good quality gift section.
Cortona, the most famous town in the immediate region, is situated in the hills above the Val di Chiana, famous throughout Italy for beef - especially steak. There are a number of websites on Cortona. Two are linked here http://www.cortonaweb.net/eng/index.php http://www.festivaldelsole.com/main.html
From Cortona, roads lead into the mountain area with spectacular views. These roads form passes over the Apennines to the eastern region. Although winding, the roads are good and there are a few villages dotted along the roadside. Tobacco is one of the crops grown in the valley. The olive oil is extremely good around Cortona.
Le Celle is spectacular. The monastery is along a lane off the road to the cathedral. It is a monastery where St Francis lived for many years. A 'must see' spot. Directions are in the House Book.
Cortona is a beautiful town large enough to be interesting but small enough to get to know well. There is a large cathedral in the centre although more famous is the cathedral and monastery on the higher edge of the town. There is a fortress at the back of the same square as the higher catherdral. You can visit the site and there are often art exhibitions held here. The cathedral has a famous tree lined path from the town used for centuries by pilgrims with the Stations of the Cross marked along the way. On this path, the native Cortonese futurist and cubist painter Gino Severini, created a series of mosaics depicting the Stations of the Cross. There are several impressive churches in and around the town. There are two museum/art galleries the larger of which, MACE, has Etruscan remains. Well worth a visit. There are several Etruscan archaeological sites in the area. These are called "meloni". Visits can be arranged via the Tourist Office.
Cortona Antique Fair - The weeklong Annual Antique Fair in Cortona is held just before Whit. It is one of the most important in Europe. It specialises in high quality antiques. You need to check the web site for details and dates.
The surrounding area is excellent for walking. There are walking maps in the house.