One good option is outside the hilltop city of Perugia, which is great news, as parking in the city is a hassle. Indeed the Villa di Monte Solare (Via Montali 7, Colle San Paolo, tel. 075/832-376, www.villamontesolare.com, â‚¬240), 25 minutes outside Perugia, is so far outside civilization, it is amazing that such a piece of luxury even exists here. Once you climb up the gravel road, past the olive trees and 17th-century farmhouses, it becomes clear that this is the true definition of civilization: nightly classical music concerts in the villaâ€™s frescoed chapel, spa treatments in a converted limonaia, jacket-and-tie dinners, etc. Try your hand at cooking classes or take one of the cycling tours. This is a spectacular Umbrian experience.
At the heart of Le Marche is the gorgeous medieval hill town of Urbino, and one of the best ways to enjoy the surroundings in peace is at the Hotel Mamiani Urbino (Via Bernini 6, tel. 0722/322-309, www.hotelmamiani.it, â‚¬85 d) just outside of town. With a modern, open villa feel amidst the greenery and views of the surrounding hillsides, the Mamiani caters to those looking to enjoy some fresh air and healthy living with guided bike tours and a full wellness center.
FOOD One of Perugiaâ€™s finest restaurants is Il Falchetto (Via Bartolo 20, tel. 075/573-1775, www.ilfalchetto.it, noonâ€“2:30 P.M. and 7:30â€“10:30 P.M. Tues.â€“Sun., â‚¬8â€“15), just next to the Duomo. The medieval atmosphere is captivating, either inside the 14th-century stone dining room or on the tables along Piazza IV Novembre. De rigueur is the entrÃ©e falchetti verdi, a baked spinach and ricotta gnocchi with tomato sauce and cheeses. Try to save room for the grilled lamb or veal. For an unforgettable meal in Le Marche, donâ€™t miss the Antica Osteria da la Stella (Via Santa Margerita 1, tel. 0722/320-228, www.anticaosteriadalastella.com, noonâ€“2:30 P.M. and 7:30â€“10 P.M. Tues.â€“Sun., â‚¬12â€“15). The rustic dining room, with fireplaces and exposed brick, doesnâ€™t give you a hint as to how elegant the cuisine is, from the tagliatelle with white truffle to herb-filled buckwheat cannelloni, even ravioli with chocolate, which is much more refined and delicious than it sounds.