Umbria is often thought of second after Tuscany, but it is just as beautiful, if not a little more rugged and perhaps more authentic. It may not be home to world-famous cities such as Florence but a day trip is possible, and if its a true Italian escape you are looking for, you have come to the right place.
Below are the best hotels in Umbria if you want your breath taken away.
Torre di Moravola
Twist your way through the Umbrian Hills before arriving at a long gravel track shaded by trees before approaching an imposing 10th-century watchtower. This small, boutique hotel offers some of the most dramatic views in the region.
Surrounded by hidden valleys and a 10 minute drive from the nearest village, this is where travellers come to get away from it all, the constant sounds of nature rejuvenate and reinvent the senses.
It took 5 years to restore the watchtower, it was chosen by architects and owners Christopher and his wife Seonaid due to its peaceful location and breathtaking views. when they bought it it was a mess, with no electricity or water, and trees growing from the centre of the building. The signatures of the builders from the 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries still remain today.
The hotel is minimalist inside with a beautiful colour palette that contrasts with the nature outside. The restaurant serves dishes made up of vegetables that have been grown in the vegetable garden on site and high quality organic meat.
There are seven charming suites, a huge terrace, two living rooms with medieval fireplaces. There is a dining room despite meals usually being taken on the terrace, olive grove or by the pool. The poolside massage room allows for that extra bit of relaxation, yoga and pilates are also available.
Good to know: All guests must be aged 12+, the hotel is closed November-March.
Prices start at €260 per night
Castello Di Reschio
One of the most standout properties in Italy, Hotel Castello di Reschio is perched on the Tuscan/Umbrian border. This thousand year old castle sits upon 3,700-acres of pristine countryside, offering a number of luxurious villas and renovated guest rooms also within the millennium old castle itself.
It took 30 painstaking years to renovate this castle and it remains family-owned, the property is both impressive on the outside and stunning on the inside. The wild Umbrian countryside blends perfectly with pristine Italian decor, hotel rooms are organic, comfortable, and reflect some of the characters that have once lived here.
The communal swimming pool offers breathtaking views and the restaurant serves up organic dishes, many of which have been sourced within the grounds of the property.
For those wanting a little more privacy, guests can rent one or several of the 8 houses scattered around the castle grounds. These once ruined farmhouses were meticulously restored by the Bolza family, keeping the original footprint whilst making them comfortable and liveable.
Guests can enjoy an abundance of activities including cooking classes, art classes, horse riding, wine tasting and even oil tasting.
Prices start at €790 per night
Castelvecchio is a stunning Italian castle that is now available as a holiday rental. The castle boasts 8 majestic bedrooms fit for a king or queen, being transformed into the ultimate medieval retreat.
The castle is sits within the mountains on the Tuscany/Umbria border, it can be rented as a private retreat but also makes an unforgettable wedding venue. The original part of the castle dates back to the 12th century, it stands 580 metres above sea level and dominates the Tiber Valley.
The castle suites are furnished with authentic antiques, each room is designed in a different dominant colour. Guest rooms feature velvet drapes, fireplaces, frescoes, renaissance tapestries and artwork.
100m from the castle walls is a swimming pool with panoramic views, peeping through the olive groves. The professional kitchen means no one will go hungry and there are plenty of living areas for family and friends to gather and catch up. The castle fits up to 16 guests across 8 rooms so family gatherings are an absolute must.
Prices start at €23,000 per week
The Umbrian town of Norcia unfortunately hit headlines in 2016 due to two fairly severe earthquakes that were strong enough to damage buildings, infrastructure and take lives. However, 6 years on the town is bouncing back and remains one of the most important settlements in the region.
Hotel Palazzo Seneca is just one block away from the 16th century town square and offers a sleepy sanctuary for travellers looking for towns that remain off the beaten track. It was originally built in the 1500s and the best Umbrian artisans were taken on to complete the most recent detailed refurbishing of the property.
As this is an inner town hotel, there is no pool, but there is plenty of space on the delightful terrace to soak up the Italian sunshine. For those really wanting to relax and unwind, the hotel is home to Turkish baths, a sauna and a hydro-massage bath big enough for six.
Palazzo Seneca is very welcoming to families, couples, solo travellers, children, and even small pets. It is perfectly located to explore the best of Norcia as well as the miles and miles of surrounding countryside.
Prices start at £130 per night
Villa di Piazzano
A historical residence dating back to the renaissance, Villa di Piazzano was once the hunting manor of Cardinal Silvio Passerini, today it is a warm and welcoming villa hotel. There are a host of different room categories alongside suites with ultra comfort king mattresses, soft pillows and exquisite signature bed linens.
The pool offers a refreshing break on a hot summers day, the surrounding ancient garden is a refuge for contemplation, attracting dozens of birds and butterflies that change with the seasons. Silence is interrupted only by birdsong.
The 15th century wine cellar sets the scene for cheese and wine tasting, a must-do activity when in this part of the world. Al Fresco dining is served on-site at L’Antica Casina di Caccia (bookings are necessary), a fine-dining restaurant that draws inspiration from the signature dishes of the greatest Italian chefs and special plates of game meat that honour the history of the manor.
Prices start at £250 per night