Perched on a wooded ridge high above the Tiber valley in a remote part of northern Umbria stands the delightfully relaxed Locanda del Gallo. It occupies a 12thC mansion and its outbuildings, which were rescued from decay by the charming Italian-German owners in the late 1990s. Nine out of the ten sunny bedrooms (several of which are big enough for families) are housed in the main villa: they are simple but warm and welcoming, with carved Indonesian furniture, ethnic details and lovely bathrooms. For extra privacy, book La Casetta, a little annexe in the garden with its own terrace.
  The grounds offer glorious views, smooth lawns bordered with rosemary and lavender and shady corners for reading and reflection. A wide veranda, laid out with Balinese teak sofas, is a cool spot for sunset drinks. Then there’s the infinity pool and hot tub set on a west-facing terrace and a small, Moroccan-style spa for massages or Turkish baths. Organic produce from the garden goes into delicious food served on the terrace in summer or, in cooler weather, in a dining room with huge picture windows. The locanda offers utter peace and quiet, but Gubbio, Perugia and Assisi are all within easy reach, if you can tear yourself away.