Hotels, Photography, Travel

The green heart of Italy

A retreat in the hills of Umbria

Do you like Italian food? How about Italian wine? Fancy a relaxing few days tucked away in the beautiful Italian countryside? These were all the things I considered when looking for a holiday to Italy. After much research (as always) I stumbled across some striking images of the Relais Il Canalicchio and was pretty much sold straight away.

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The first views of Relais Il Canalicchio from the road

Relais Il Canalicchio is a historic Italian country hotel perched upon a hilltop with 360° panoramic views of vineyards, olive groves and forests reaching as far as the  horizon. Set in the medieval village of Canalicchio dating back to the 11th century with a castle like tower dominating the sky line, the majority of the village has been carefully remodelled for use within the hotel complex , keeping the charm and history. It genuinely feels like stepping back in time. There is even a church within the grounds.

The hotel is located approx. 30 minutes drive south of Perugia.

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The hotel is split into two sections – the Borgo Resort and the Country Resort. The Borgo Resort – the main section within the historical village has a range of rooms including a suite in the main tower, whereas the Country Resort which is set away from the main section features rooms and suites in a more modern setting around a central swimming pool.

We stayed in a Superior Room within the main hotel area. These rooms, slightly larger than a standard Classic Room have views over the valley and a wonderful terrace. The rooms themselves have a quaint country house feel to the decor. It’s worth mentioning that there is a suite over two floors within the tower itself.

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Superior Room

The terrace is the main selling point here. The views are completely breathtaking. Beautiful views of the surrounding countryside as far as the eye can see, with only the sound of thousands of chirping birds, including a cuckoo somewhere in the distance – a sound I haven’t heard in decades since spending time with my father on the family farm in Wales. Perfection. A panoramic photo can tell a thousand words, as proven below.

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Panoramic view from the room terrace

The public areas include a bar, a wellness spa, a swimming pool (which is very cold, I managed to dip my legs in but didn’t go any further) and the Il Pavone Restaurant.

The restaurant, with it’s stunning views offers a great menu of classic Italian dishes with very generous portions over four courses. Add into the mix a great wine list including many local varieties and it makes for a great place to while away the time. This is hearty, sumptuous Italian food, if you are looking for a fine dining experience, this probably isn’t the place for you.

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Outdoor deck with views of the Tower
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A perfect place for a pre-dinner drink watching the sunset
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Visiting local wineries is a must
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Sunset through the trees
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Sunset
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The final moments of the sun setting behind the hills

This hotel is somewhere I would definitely visit again. Its peaceful, beautiful and the staff are so very friendly. In fact, I was looking up prices only a couple of months ago, but decided to explore new horizons before returning. It may be on the cards for next year. Who knows.

It’s also worth noting that this hotel is quite remote. I would definitely recommend hiring a car to explore the area, although the hotel does organise some excursions. If staying for a few days, I would also recommend having dinner at the restaurant located right outside the gates of the hotel – Lo Locanda del Colle. This is a family run restaurant (and B&B) with a lovely outdoor terrace looking out over the valley and a fabulous menu of local Italian dishes. They also have their own vineyard and offer a litre carafe of their own wine for €5.00 – amazing value and it is delicious.

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