Dream hotel 1 – Abbazia San Pietro in Valle
Abbazia San Pietro in Valle is the most magic “manmade” place I ever stayed at (sleeping in my tent under the stars in Patagonia is a different story). It is located in eastern Umbria, in the Valnerina to be precise and is a former monastery, which is now transformed into a hotel. But what a hotel!!
After I found my way uphill (challenging for me, haha) and placed the car under the glittering silvery green roof of olive trees (note: they take also care for a car’s soul given this maybe most beautiful parking spot a car can ever wish for) I went uphill to search for the reception desk. A nice lady greeted me, seated me in a little very stylish welcome lobby and served me caffè and orange juice (freshly squeezed by the way). Yes, there were enough rooms available, because they’d just opened the season end of March. After I finished my drinks, she led me through the huge terrace and through a little gate into the abbey’s cloister. We walked upstairs on the first floor and in one of the rooms we passed she made the incidential remark that this would be the reading room. Reading room!!! How could one concentrate on a book if one sits in this room (photo 5) with all this furniture around?? We finally arrived at my room and I couldn’t help but gasp in amazement – this room was the most perfect room I ever saw to stay and sleep at far away from home (but on the other hand… where is home?).
The rooms are nothing else but the former abbey cells with most of their former features like the old terracotta stones on the floor, the wooden ceilings, in-built shelves and fireplaces still in place. The hotel’s leaflet writes that every room is different. Mine had this magnificent shelf built into the thick stone walls with partly wooden and partly stone files. A little candle here, a little pot with dried flowers there, some vases, some books – as if the former inhabitant only left his room for a prayer in the church. Opposite on the wall was the fireplace, also built into the thick stone walls. The former entry was modified to a closet now, the outer door of course locked forever. A little desk and chair completed the spare but very efficient and plain beautiful interior.
The bathroom was restored in the same concept: the old floor stones still there, and the modern amenities (shower, sink, toilet and bidet) only built into the stone walls. In the evening, after a splendid dinner in Il Cantico just below the hotel, I stood for a long time and watched the night through my window and was wondering if the monks might have appreciated this location as much as I (and certainly the other guests as well) did. But then, a monk’s life is spiritual, and I cannot imagine a better place that has spiritualiy written in big letters all around. Despite it was cold and rainy, I slept with open windows and could smell the fragrance of wet grass in the morning when the “sun” (ok, not sun but daylight) woke me up. Yes, that’s something I did – let the light wake me up and not the alarm clock. In this environment I didn’t dare to make noise or let my mobile phone do it.
Breakfast was served downstairs consisted in a huge selection of what was ytpical for the region: wild boar sausage, goat cheese, self-made jam, yoghurt, fresh fruit, cereals, croissants and fresh bread, cakes and tartes and a selection of coffee, caffè or tea.
In my room was a little leaflet with information about the wellness and beauty treatments they offer. On the website is more information about this part of their service. They also have a sauna in the basement.
For my one night including breakfast I paid 90 € (April 2008). That’s more than I would normally spend, but given this location, it was worth every penny.
Would I stay here again? Yes, very much so, but then a bit later with hopefully better weather. I’d bring tons of books and would sit in the garden forever and read…
If you are interested to see more photos, I wrote about the abbazia and the surrounding on my Ferentillo page.
Location of Abbazia San Pietro in Valle on Google Maps.
© Ingrid Denne, May 2008 (just in case, RS or others come along and think they can steal texts).