Openings: Hotel Castello di Reschio, on a 3700-Acre Umbrian Estate

As we consider returning to Europe, with restrictions being cautiously eased, it’s likely that bar-hopping in East London, or sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in the Piazza di Spagna are not going to be high on our travel to-do list. Rather, we would consider the serenity and splendor of the countryside a significantly more appealing option…especially considering the social-distancing possibilities of the Continent’s more sylvan locales.

Of course, this summer may yet find throngs of Italophiles again making haste for that glorious region of Toscana. So what better time to finally instead consider adjacent Umbria, where the wine, the vistas and the hospitality are just as life-changing, if not then possibly more so? And for those still wary of numerous close company, staying on a 3700-acre estate would seem of a particular appeal. And that rather spectacular stat is indeed a feature of the Castello di Reschio, a gorgeous new 36-room boutique hotel (officially opening May 13) that, as indicated by its name, is actually thousand year old castle. Perched at the at the western edge of Perugia Province, it practically sits at the border of Umbria and Tuscany – so while the Umbrian capital of Perugia is just an hour by train, the impossibly charming Under the Tuscan Sun town of Cortona is only about 20 minutes away.

Overseen by architect/nobleman/Florentine Count Benedikt Bolza and his artist wife Donna Nencia, their impeccable sense of aesthetics and good taste can be seen in practically every inch of space. To be sure, interiors/exteriors are practically a visual treatise on local craftsmanship, from the tile, stone and stucco work, to the landscaping design, to Nencia’s trompe l’oeil artworks, to the custom lighting and furnishings from Bolza’s own design studio B.B. For Reschio. Sumptuous but rustic-chic rooms boast stone floors, modern four-posters, elegantly beamed ceilings and, most importantly, ethereal views from pretty much every window.

The “local” ethos extends to the kitchen, which draws on the estates own organic gardens, beehives and vineyards, as well as select regional suppliers, for the farm-to-fork cuisine at the in-house Ristorante al Castello. There’s an adjoining bar, a Palm Court for afternoon tea, and yet another, more casual dining option, Ristorante Alle Scuderie – so epicures barely need to leave the premises.

Considering the considerable stress and anxieties of the past fifteen months however, perhaps the most alluring feature is the Bathhouse spa, romantically located in the former wine cellar. It features a salt-water plunge pool, hammam, sauna, tepidarium, and two treatment rooms – plus, where else could one hope to find a real working fireplace in a wellness center?

Though it might be tempting, certainly, at the other end of a fearful pandemic, to want to just spend all day at the spa, the property also has its own cookery school, Equestrian Centre and even a truffle hunting program. And should the urban itch strike, Florence is just about 90 minutes away. Of course, it all doesn’t come cheap, with room rates starting at around $760/night; but if ever there was a time for a totally indulgent (Italian) splurge, wouldn’t this be it?

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