Published by Telegraph Travel, June 2017 – Photo credit: Locanda del Gallo
Locanda del Gallo, Umbria, Italy: 8/10
This well-loved family locanda is unique in its incredible situation, perched high on a ridge above the Tiber valley, and it’s unusual Indonesian design influences. A genuine home away from home and haven for those in search of a laid-back rural escape.
Gubbio and Perugia are both a short drive away yet you’d be hard pressed to find a more peaceful, secluded spot. The locanda and its shimmering infinity pool materialise in the distance from the bumpy white road – it’s a wonderfully enticing approach.
Owners Paola and Irish shipped a container of hand-picked furniture from Bali to give the locanda a warm, earthy feel. Balinese woodcarving, Italian marble and centuries old stone mingle to create a rather unique style. There’s a pleasant atmosphere of a well loved family home, cluttered in places with its many cockerel ornaments donated by guests, but very comfortable and welcoming. Outside, the landscaped gardens, olive groves and woodland are beautifully manicured and an absolute joy to explore in the evening sun, glass of wine in hand and resident brown labradors at heel.
Service & facilities: 8/10
Guests are largely left to their own devices here with a fully stocked honesty bar and unobtrusive, help-yourself spirit. Owners Paola and Irish are on hand for advice and chat, however, and service during dinner is excellent.
The salt water infinity pool and top of the range hot tub have incredible views that stretch across the valley to a distant Apennine mountain backdrop. An adjacent spa is small but perfectly formed. Therapy rooms and a Turkish bath take cues from Moroccan architectural design and traditional building materials. A yoga studio attracts groups on wellbeing retreats, and the garden is full of hidden spots for reading and sunbathing. For those more active, there are plenty of hiking trails to explore.
Each of the 10 rooms is uniquely appointed in a simple, rustic style with terracotta floors and chunky wooden furniture. There are no minibars as guests are invited to help themselves to drinks and snacks from the honesty bar downstairs. Bathrooms have a distinctly Moorish feel, with patterned tiles and intricate mirrors. Floral soaps are handmade in Tuscany, and the other toiletries are olive-based. Bedrooms on the first floor have the best views, while the garden room is secluded and peaceful, with its own terrace. Suites are well arranged for families.
Food & drink: 9/10
Guests are offered tea and cake on arrival, and so begins the feeling of non-stop eating that is the cornerstone to traditional Italian hospitality. Later, it’s nibbles and fizz in the garden before a candlelit dinner in the gazebo with panoramic views across the hills. There are no menus; chef uses produce from the garden and surrounding area to create classic Umbrian fare that changes daily.
We started with garden figs soaked in wine and served with ricotta, then homemade tagliolini pasta with garden tomatoes, delicious in its simplicity. Main course was a hearty portion of tender pork with confit beetroot, onion gratin and blueberry sauce, followed by a very large mille feuille and garden berries – more rustic than refined, but tasty.
A buffet breakfast is also served in the gazebo and consists of the usual continental spread, not overly imaginative, but very pleasant.
Value for money: 8/10
Rates from €160 (£135) high season; closed during low season. Afternoon tea and breakfast included. Free use of spa facilities. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Children are welcome.
Frazione Santa Cristina, 06020, Gubbio, Italy (+39 075 922 9912; locandadelgallo.it).