It was my first time to visit Umbria, the middle part of Italy. My first stop was Perugia, a very old town and the capital of Umbria. I picked a few special places to stay this time. For Perugia, I picked a castle. Yes, a castle as a hotel.

I stayed at Castello di Monterone 15 mins by taxi from the Perugia train station, 20mins from Perugia airport. The castle is in the countryside, originally built as military headquarters along the important road connecting Perugia to Rome, now it is a place of peace and retreating. For me, it was pure peacefulness. Usually I stay in the city centre if I know I am only staying in the city for one night, as I love to be able to walk around and explore both day and night. Choosing to stay at Castello di Monterone was one of the wisest choice I’ve made for this trip. After months of non-stop travelling for work, the last thing I need was another packed trip.

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At the beginning of XIII century, the aristocrat Gerardo di Ghislero di Alberico from Assisi interested in becoming citizen of Perugia, declares his properties in the area of Monterone to the notary Bertramus. About 60 years later and about 1 km far from the present location of Castelllo di Monterone, an important templar church- the church of San Bevignate was born with its convent. It is considered one of the most important templar site of Umbria. According to the tradition and to the opinion of many academics of XIX Century, Castello di Monterone became one of the templars’ properties, probably the place where laic servants of the order were hosted. The castle now is a hotel with unique rooms, an outdoor pool and a gorgeous restaurant with endless mountain views. Strolling around the cantle is pure delight, exploring the terrace, the library and turning into yet another beautiful garden, like a little treasure hunt.

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The different details within the whole castle reminds you why it was built for military headquarters back in the days. When I went up to the terrace, I saw everything from afar, even the city on the other mountain. I understood why all castles were built on top of little hills- when back in the days, there was nothing but trees and small houses nearby. Umbria is still a very well-preserved part of Italy where lots of castles, churches, and old towns are still kept the way they were, so standing on top of Castello di Monterone gave me an idea of how it used to be.

The 18 rooms of the castle are divided into 5 types, every room tells a story: Dell’Etrusco, whose name comes from a little face of etruscan origin, set in the walls of the bathroom; La Segreta, a room discovered in 2005 during the restoration works; Del Drago – probably the room of the ghost… – that dues his name to a stone tile depicting a dragon. Each room contains antiques and they have the comfort of a modern hotel, but keeping the medieval style: furniture and beds are made by specialised artisans of wood and iron. As for my room, it was on the ground floor and I had the whole patio to myself, with one of the best views of the castle. The interior is brick walls and wooden ceiling, you do hear a bit of noise from above but all in all, the night was very quiet and you hear only the sound of nature.

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The castle by night, peaceful and beautiful. The sky was so clear, stars and moon so bright- it is the beauty of living in the countryside.

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I went on a day trip to a nearby UNESCO old town Assisi, and had a walk in Perugia before enjoying my stay in the castle. So I made it back around dinner time, and the dinner with the sunset view was so soothing. The food was SO GOOD, portion just about right, and the dessert was divine…

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the black one is made with squid sauce

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a refreshing starter with red onions, carrots, tomato and cucumber

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my beef tartare with beetroot as starter

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homemade tagliatelle with truffle

 

 

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they called this ‘coffee in a plate’ – coffee ice-cream, parfait with liquor, cookie with cappuccino cream, coffee crumble.

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The next morning after breakfast I had a morning dip at the outdoor pool. The sun was very warm and bright but the water was still a bit cold, however staying in the water under the sun was acceptable- and within 15 minutes I got a tan. It was one of the most enjoyable mornings to start my trip!

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It is only 15mins away from the Perugia city and train station, but the castle can always call a cab for you, and it is not expensive- about 15euros per journey. So if you do go to Perugia, I do recommend staying at the castle for a night, you will not regret this experience.

 

Castello di Monterone
Strada Montevile, 3 Perugia 06126
Umbria, Italy
Tel: +39 075 5724214
info@castellomonterone.it