The best hotels in Europe: The Gold List 2022 and 2021

Tenuta Di Murlo, Umbria

The first thing you notice is the space. In every direction are rolling hills of deep emerald – and almost nothing else. At this labour of love spanning thousands of acres, the great outdoors is the point. Alessio and Carlotta Carabba Tettamanti have spent the past 12 years converting parts of the estate, which has been in Alessio’s family for centuries, into a project celebrating everything that’s glorious about the green heart of Italy. Remarkable for being so intact, the property looks much as it would have before World War II, when the workers who sustained its upkeep began their exodus to towns, leaving behind more than 55 ruins: farmhouses, barns, a water mill, a watchtower or two. The first to be restored was San Savino, the former parish church, whose reassuringly solid stone walls date from the 14th century. With four bedrooms, a full cook’s kitchen, a deconsecrated chapel-turned-living-room and wide gardens framing a pretty pool, it encapsulates the USP: smart interiors (Carlotta’s look mixes shades of Kit Kemp with a dash of Flamant – and the odd flourish of colour), with full exposure to that timeless landscape. Accommodation ranges from B&B-style rooms and one-bedroom cottages to Castiglione Ugolino, a gorgeous castle that sleeps 20 and hollers ‘have a really fun gathering here’. Larders can be filled with produce from the estate; chefs can be dispatched, too, if you don’t fancy cooking. Or wander down the hill to feast at Murlo’s Il Caldaro restaurant; porcini and cinghiale in autumn, broad beans and sweet-succulent tomatoes in early summer, wolfed down amid profusions of hydrangeas and blissful silence.

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