consultant
traveller
Eremito, Umbria, Italy

This “little hotel of the soul” is run with passion by its ex-fashion designer owner, who offers his guests a restorative retreat from the modern world.

✓ A focus on wellbeing
✓ An environment made for meditation and rest
✓ Perfect for solo travellers
✓ All-inclusive vegetarian dining

Hidden in the Umbrian mountains, Eremito is a unique place inspired by Franciscan monasteries and a desire to create brand new concept in the sphere of luxury travel. Owner Marcello Murzilli drove thousands of kilometres with his dog Beppo to find the perfect spot and eventually purchased an entire valley from which to run his retreat.

Who stays here?

Solo travellers looking for unique experiences; those looking for a digital detox, wellness retreat or a purposeful escape from the everyday.

Rooms 

There are 21 “celluze” bedrooms inspired by monastic cells that are pared back but surprisingly comfortable. Features include a single iron-framed bed, heavy hemp sheets, rock-hewn desk, sackcloth curtains, brass rain shower and tumbled marble sink. Soaps are handmade by Marcello’s sister and shampoo is decanted into little brass dishes. The view from my “cell” was most impressive in the early morning when I opened the shutters and climbed back into bed to watch the sun rise over the misty valley.

Food and drink

The full board offer includes lunch and a four-course dinner. It’s a set menu of simple  vegetarian dishes inspired by traditional monastic recipes (think pulses, root veg, soup, pasta). eaten at long communal tables in silence. It took a little getting used to, but once my cup of wine was replenished and I was thus able to ignore my inherent awkwardness, it become a pretty extraordinary experience. A gong clanged to signal the end of dinner and the group moved into the lounge to read and talk by the fire. Trays of hot apple tea were offered around.

Breakfast is also served in the dining room. Cereal, yogurt, fruit, bread, jams, etc. are displayed on an attractive buffet table, while scrambled eggs are cooked to order. Lunch is a relaxed, chatty affair hosted by Marcello himself in the garden and when I was there comprised a salad and simple pasta dish.

"Can you imagine sleeping in the reception of a Sheraton? It would never happen! Here, we’ve had people falling asleep by the fire and I wake them the next morning with an espresso."
– Marcello, in conversation with Hotel Palette

Design details

The building looks centuries-old but it’s actually a new build. Marcello and his team built the hotel from the ground up on the footprint of a derelict building using 13th century Italian masonry techniques and incorporating a sustainable photovoltaic electricity system. Natural materials take precedence and candlelight throughout the hotel creates a meditative atmosphere. Every surface has a natural or handmade quality to it, from the cups and plates used at mealtimes to the deep stone walls and their rough, tactile texture. Everything feels like its always been there – even the luxurious rain showers are made from brass with a beautifully tarnished patina.

Service 

Service is convivial and makes you feel part of a family home rather than a guest at a hotel. Marcello’s small team is completely charming, and includes his brother Sergio and two childhood friends. Expect warm hugs goodbye on departure.

There’s a daily programme beginning with morning readings in the chapel and a yoga class. Breakfast is served at 8.30am, after which guests are invited for a walk in the woods. The group reconvenes for lunch in the garden with conversation mostly led by Marcello, who misses no opportunity assume his role as storyteller.

Things to do

There are lots of hiking trails to the nearest village or through the valley that guests can take guided as a group or alone. The small spa (there’s a plunge pool and stone steam room) opens from 5pm which is perfect for a pre-dinner wind-down. Slippers and tan coloured robes with pointed hoods (!) are provided. There’s nothing else to do at Eremito, which is quite the point.

"I love Umbria, it’s unknown and wild. It is the land of spirituality. Yesterday we were 7 people eating in 3,000 hectares. No-one else in the whole valley. No village, no electricity posts, no farms. I mean come on, we are not in Tibet, we are in Italy. This is Umbria. And only 20 minutes from the highway."

Packing List

Swimwear for the small spa. Hiking boots. Loose and comfortable clothes for lounging on the floor cushions.

Getting there

It’s a simple enough drive from the Fabro exit of the A1 to a designated pick up zone which is described in detail in the hotel’s arrival instructions. A member of the team then drives guests up a near-vertical white track to Eremito in a rickety 4×4. Pick ups can also be arranged from Fabro-Ficulle station, where there is a direct route from Florence and Rome (110 and 90 minutes respectively).

 Localita’ Tarina 2, 05010 Parrano TR, Italy
eremito.com
From £175
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