It was my husband's mistake when he showed me a picture of Castello di Monterone (Monterone Castle) at the internet. There was no turning back because he knew that I have a weakness in staying in historical hotels. A 13th century castle with a history intertwined with the Templar Knights? Mamma mia! Yes, I'm packing my bags!
I had been yearning for a weekend out to flatten my mind and get rid of the mental stress that has been hounding me for weeks. Daily headaches are becoming excessive and tiresome. Why not a relaxing weekend date? I struck a chord with my husband because he too, needs to relax. After a friend gushed about spending a refreshing weekend in London alone with his wife without the kids, we also hoped for something similar. With promises to our kids of taking whole toy and candy stores back with us, off we went to Umbria. Our kids stayed with their Nonna (grandmother) & Zia (grandaunt) instead and spent an interesting weekend of their own.
Since it was meant to be a relaxing weekend, we refrained from planning a heavy itinerary of town-hopping which we normally do. Visiting only four towns in two days was atypical of us but what really became our main attraction was the castle we were staying in.
Arriving at dusk, Castello di Monterone was a beautiful sight to see with the darkening skies at the backdrop while the castle was illuminated with soft lights with the well-kept garden surrounding it. I was excited to see more.
Accessing the hotel is through a small arched entryway on the left of the castle that opens to a beautiful courtyard with a water well in the middle of the lawn and outdoor sofas all around it. It was just as lovely as the entrance.
Our room is on the ground floor that has its own outdoor table and chairs with a view of Perugia and the hills surrounding it. The swimming pool is on the same side below us. At night time, you can see the twinkling lights of the city but in the morning, when I went out to check it out, I had to run back to the room and get the camera to take pictures. The panorama was outstanding!
Like its external side, internally, the hotel boasts of ancient beauty mixed with modern fixtures. From the reception area to one of the hotel's restaurants, Il Gradale, which also functions as the breakfast room, the path is through a set of old wooden stairs, and corridors. Dinner had been exceptional and abundant. My advice: Arrive hungry. All five courses (2 plates of pasta) were very filling and for a small person like me, it had been a feat to arrive until the last course. Breakfast was a big spread of sweet and savory food, fruits and a bottle of prosecco for those who want to start early. All that food was so nice to wake up to. The hotel also has another restaurant called Il Postale where Chef Marco Bistarelli reigns in the kitchen.
The hotel has a cozy common room with a fireplace that's equipped with a computer, a TV, a small selection of books and couches. It has a very homey feel to it and I love the chandelier (picture below) too!
Now for some history about the castle. Castello di Monterone, which is also known as Castello Piceller (named after its last owner) is known to have been built in the 13th century. Its owner, Gerardo di Ugolino di Alberico, submitted the castle, among his other properties to Perugia to become a citizen of the area.
About 1 km. from the castle, the Templars built a church called Monastery of San Bevignate a few years after. With its proximity to the castle, scholars believe that the castle had hosted the order in that period. To find out more about its history, click on this link to go to Wikipedia.
After reading about the Templars years ago and finding out how the order was formed, their lives and how it was suddenly abolished, I developed this strong fascination in them. I still have the book and maybe one day, when I have more time, I can read it again.
If you find yourself in the area of Perugia - Assisi, this castle is a beautiful place to base yourself. It is located just 3 kilometers outside Perugia and is on the road that leads to Assisi. After spending an afternoon in Perugia and staying the night in Castello di Monterone, we headed straight to Assisi the following morning.
I hope you enjoyed this post. I will be coming out with a post about our trip to Umbria and the Eurochocolate Show in Perugia soon.
Enjoy your weekend!