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January 13, 2023updated Feb 22, 2023

Inside Umbria’s Stunning Hotel Castello di Reschio

The new hotel sits within a thousand-year-old Italian castle.

By Kim Ayling and Luke Abrahams

Hidden among the hills and vast tundras of a mammoth 3,700-acre estate, Hotel Castello di Reschio is very much like its home region Umbria: a land unto itself. Travel here and you’ll still see untouched medieval hilltop towns and grandmothers making pasta on the streets. It’s this old, endless throwback of centuries-ago Italy that sums up the entire Reschio experience. Within its prim grounds (located a short drive away from Perugia) forests of oak and chestnut trees dazzle, fields of wildflowers glow, and a swath of olive groves give the locale an almost vintage Hollywood movie set feel.

Occupying a thousand-year-old renovated castle, Hotel Castello di Reschio sits within the ancient Reschio Estate – a sprawling 3,700-acres of hills, valleys and forests. Originally bought by Count Antonio Bolza 25 years ago, the entire estate has been undergoing a thorough transformation in a bid to restore it to its former glory, a process which is now led by Antonio’s son Count Benedikt and his wife Donna Nencia.

The castle restoration is the latest installment in the family’s bid to inject new life into this beautiful part of the world. Using their artistic background (Count Benedikt is a trained architect and Donna is an artist), the husband and wife duo have delivered a new level of elegance to the design-led hotel, employing a team of remarkable local artisans, carpenters, stonemasons and tilemakers to help bring their vision to life. The result is an impeccably stylish space that celebrates modern elegance while still remaining true to the building’s storied history.

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reschio hotel abthroom suite with marble twin mirror vanity
Each of the suites offers its own added touch of luxury / ©Hotel Castello di Reschio

In addition to its stunning interiors, the Bolza family has gone to great lengths to ensure the guests can enjoy the surrounding estate at its best, from immersive nature-based activities to serving estate-grown ingredients in its various restaurants and bars. Despite the bags of style and sophistication at Hotel Castello di Reschio, in the spirit of true Italian hospitality, the destination remains a firmly family-friendly hotel, with children of all ages welcomed to enjoy a taste of a truly free-range lifestyle.

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As you would expect of a hotel that relies so heavily on the natural world, sustainability is at the heart of Hotel Castello di Reschio: the entire renovation has been imagined to be low-impact, relying on existing structures wherever possible; the bounty of the estate is used to form the culinary offering and the whole estate is completely single-use plastic-free. The Bolzas have also gone to extreme efforts to ensure locality and tradition are celebrated wherever possible.

Sleep

The hotel’s recent backstory, or at least the condensed version, is that the count’s father, Count Antonio, and his wife Countess Angelika bought the once rundown castle as a family vacation house and, by the 1990s, had procured near enough the entire Reschio parkland.

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Living through much of the “drama” — including a “suspect leaky roof” that forced them out of the castle, Benedikt tells Elite Traveler — the project to restore the castle succeeded, with excellent results. Original features, from vaulted ceilings to stone arches, roof beams and roaring fireplaces, wow alongside period paintings, objéts (from all over Italy) and spaces festooned with dried florals.

reschio suite bedroom
Each of Castello di Reschio’s accommodations exude contemporary style / ©Hotel Castello di Reschio
hotel castello suite accomodation with four poster bed
Bespoke pieces of furniture and 21st century mod-cons blend seamlessly with antique treasures / ©Hotel Castello di Reschio

The majority of the 36 rooms and suites are hidden away in the castle and pay homage to either a past resident of the castle, a member of the firm or its past use. Every nook is filled with something beautiful; much of it, Count Benedikt’s own bespoke army of artisanal furniture, lamps, antiques, linens and storied Victorian-esque curiosities.

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In our suite, the attention to detail is captivating: a freestanding tub, vintage mirrors, jewelry box, cashmere throws, and a period writing desk stocked with literature.

However, while each of the rooms and suites are undeniably special, it is the Tower Suite that is the ultimate showstopper. Occupying five floors of the hotel’s tallest tower building, the Tower Suite is spread across 1,938 sq ft and boasts two bedrooms, two bathrooms, an in-room bar, a spacious living area and a study. The suite’s real highlight, however, is its private rooftop garden, which offers 360° views of the Umbrian countryside, best enjoyed from its open-air bathtub.

Dine

As expected, the surroundings of this paradise dictate much of the food you’ll see on the menu. The cuisine is typically Umbria-centric, sourced from within the estate itself or a few miles of the Castello — fruit and vegetables are picked straight from the kitchen garden; the olive oils are from the estate’s 5,000 trees, honey from the buzzing hives, and its biodynamic wines from the vines. The estate woods are home to scurrying boar and deer (ethically culled), and all the beef comes from a nearby farm.

Naturally, as it’s all seasonal, the menus often change. Al Castello, the fine-dining hangout where breakfast Photo Philip Vile is plated up, serves everything from sea bass carpaccio to succulent meats garnished with herbs and more from the grounds.

More rustic, locally inspired eats are on the menu at Alle Scuderie. Expect truffle pasta dishes and juicy grilled chicken brought to you alongside regular live jazz nights held in the former stables. Pre lunch or dinner, head to the retro-glam Palm Court for a GinEpro (made with the in-house gin) and tonic, plus an appearance from the maestro serving classic tunes from the grand piano.

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the palm court
Indulge in afternoon tea at the courtyard Palm Court Bar / ©Hotel Castello di Reschio
ristorante al castello with views over countryside
The partially uncovered Ristorante Al Castello offers traditional Italian dishes alongside captivating views across the surrounding landscape / ©Hotel Castello di Reschio

The hotel is equally as considerate in its drinks offering, with the estate’s vineyards producing an outstanding selection of light reds and rosés. Joining these on the expansive wine list is a number of lesser-known Italian labels from organic and biodynamic winemakers, all of which have been specially selected by Reschio’s resident sommelier. Guests can enjoy a bespoke wine tasting at Enoteca – Reschio’s intimate wine store.

Explore

As you’d expect of a hotel that sits in the heart of a sprawling countryside estate, guests of all ages at Hotel Castello di Reschio are unlikely to find themselves short of things to do. Equestrian enthusiasts will be delighted to hear that Reschio has its own stables, home to some of the finest purebred Spanish horses in the world. Guests can attend one of the first-class dressage performances, take part in a horse-riding class at the equestrian school or – for an alternative way to take in the wonders of the estate – join a guided hack through the wilderness.

The estate boasts a secluded glassy lake where guests can try out both paddleboarding and fishing, or even hire out the peaceful lakeside cabin for a relaxing day on the waters’ edge. Wildlife spotting opportunities are in abundance on the estate, with the resident gamekeeper on hand to guide guests through the species that call Reschio’s ancient forests home, from wild boar and roe deer to porcupines and foxes. Tennis lessons and court hire, and cycling excursions are also on offer.

On days when the weather isn’t as agreeable, retreat to Hotel Castello di Reschio’s inviting library, where hour after hour can easily be whiled away in a cozy corner with your nose in a good book. Alternatively, head to Reschio’s cookery school that adjoins Ristorante Alle Scuderie for an immersive cooking class. Here, guests can learn how to forage for ingredients before transforming them into a delicious dish using classic Italian cooking techniques.

hotel castello di reschio outdoor swimming pool
The pine tree-fringed swimming pool perfectly matches the organic, natural feel that the entire hotel exudes / ©Hotel Castello di Reschio

Relax

The castle’s ancient wine cellars have been transformed into The Bathhouse, which draws upon the time-honored traditions of Roman baths to create a tranquil sanctuary. At the heart of the stone-walled spa is a large salt-water plunge pool, which invites guests to gently float through its warm waters to achieve a Zen-like sense of calm.

In a series of vaulted cellars adjoining the plunge pool are a Hamman space, a sauna and two treatment rooms, including the Private Room which features a tepidarium, steam shower and two tubs. The treatments on offer have been carefully developed in partnership with medical specialists to ensure that they are both effective and relaxing.

Ranging from massages and facials to traditional bathing rituals, each treatment is entirely bespoke dependent on your individual needs and will be delivered by expert therapists. For complete privacy, in-room treatments can also be arranged.

Back above ground, Hotel Castello di Reschio has an inviting outdoor swimming pool, which sits just outside the castle walls. Designed so the water gently overflows its borders into the surrounding grass, the pine tree-fringed swimming pool perfectly matches the organic, natural feel that the entire hotel exudes. Whether you’re taking a dip or reclining on the surrounding loungers, this is the perfect spot to enjoy an Italian summer’s day.

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The Bathhouse spa plunge pool
The castle’s ancient wine cellars have been transformed into The Bathhouse / ©Hotel Castello di Reschio

From $858 per night. Contact Mauro Mapelli, director of reservations, reservations@reschio.com, +39 075 844 362, reschio.com

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