A winding road leads up into the hills and the rewards on arrival are great. Tucked out of sight from the village street, beneath a medieval castle, this beautifully restored barn appears to hang on to the side of the hill – and the views, from pool and terrace over the Spoleto valley, are stupendous. A night swim almost leaves you feeling suspended in space! As for the recently refurbished, split-level interiors, they combine traditional, solid, cave-like Umbrian architecture with funky modern touches. Slabs of wood from the wall make a glass-bannistered staircase, there are cream marble floors, a glass-topped dining table, a groovy, steep-stepped mezzanine area where children can sleep, state of the art showers; the contrasts and colours are gorgeous. Ethnic spreads, an oriental rug and a corner fireplace add warmth to the sitting room on cool evenings in, while the fully kitted kitchen leads onto a barbecue terrace for lazy lunches under the olives trees. Herbs scent the air. The hills are laced with walking and riding paths, the area is rich with history, Assisi is a short drive.