It’s not difficult to fall head over heels in love with this other-worldly retreat tucked away in the Umbrian hills, run with true kindness and grace. It’s a luxury getaway for travellers in the know and remains Umbria’s best-kept secret. The drive is not for the faint-hearted, though owner Riccardo assures the soaring roads become less hair-raising over time.
Set into a steep slope in a secluded spot between Gubbio and Perugia, the 10th-century stone buildings of the borgo are linked by cobbled pathways and stone steps with far-reaching views across the valley.
The rest of the property has an elegant farmhouse feel, with soft operatic music just audible throughout.
The Parisis is devoted hosts and the sort of people you feel lucky to have met. There’s a uniqueness to their hospitality, from a heartfelt welcome to after-dinner conversation by the fire.
The salt-water infinity pool is quite spectacular with its beautiful view and positioning. There’s also an outdoor shower and a wellbeing area for massages and treatments. There’s not a great deal more to do, but that’s quite the point. Thoughtfully appointed with antique armoires, velvet armchairs and fantastically comfortable beds. Each of the nine bedrooms is unique in style, spread across the main building and several stone outbuildings. All have air conditioning, a well-stocked minibar but no kettle – guests are invited to use the tea-making facilities in the chapel.
Bathrooms are a lovely mix of old and new, with contemporary waterfall showers next to traditional handmade tiles and stone sinks with stylish chrome taps. All have robes, slippers, pool towels and extra-virgin olive oil toiletries. The food is everything you could hope for at a rural five-star retreat in Italy with its own kitchen garden. There are no menus here, just the promise that what is put in front of you will be seasonal and delicious.
menu, and assists with the extensive wine list (local Sagrantino di Montefalco is excellent and keenly priced).
Dishes included beef carpaccio with parmesan ice-cream; lemon and ricotta ravioli with basil and courgette cream; beef cheek with celeriac and a coffee chocolate sauce that divided opinion in the dining room.
Sicily’s Bronte pistachios, which are widely considered the worlds best and most expensive), I dare say they knew they were on to a winner.
A generous breakfast is served at the table and includes freshly baked bread and cakes, wholegrain brioche, local meats and cheeses, organic yoghurt, pear soaked in ginger syrup and fluffy egg rolls with pancetta.
Double rooms from €140 (£120) in high season; closed during low season. Afternoon tea and breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi. The value far exceeds cost here, to the extent that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to charge double this.No. There are bedrooms on the ground floor, but the property is situated on a steep slope with deep steps towards the pool.