Brave the loops of the Gubbio-Assisi road to arrive at the castle at dusk. The vast gates are locked, you ring to be let in… to find? Dim lighting, stone walls, a splendid austerity. In the morning you can marvel at the vast-fireplaced magnificence of this place. The terrace catches the all-day sun, the restaurant is open to the public, candlelit dinners may be presided over by host Carlo. Then it’s up the stairs (some steep) to bedrooms with beeswaxed floors, deep comfy armchairs, beautiful antiques. (Ask for bathside strawberries and cream for the ultimate romantic treat.) In a separate part of the castle are two stunning suites: dark wood floors, curved bronzed walls, vast hydromassage baths. There’s a new salon, too, and a library. The castle sits on a hillock surrounded by its own 900 acres with marked trails running through; dukes and counts have lived here over the centuries. Hunt truffles from October to February; hike to Assisi and taxi back; bus it into Gubbio and take the funicular into the hills… the views! It feels like a privilege to stay – and the staff are unstuffy and delightful.