“A medieval inn with minimalist, Scandi-chic interiors and divine views, set amidst green vineyards and rolling hills”
The most striking thing about the suites is their loftiness, and the tall windows that pull in the views. The combination of history and modernity is striking too, particularly in the main suite, Cardinale. Long cream curtains nudge creamy tufa stone, wide wooden steps spiral up to the loft, high mullioned windows frame the hills. All the rooms bar one - the first-floor Suite - are split level, with the bed upstairs. The Family Suite, also on the first floor, has a kingsize bed on the lower lever and twin beds (can be made into one king) plus bathroom on the upper level and all rooms (bathroom included) have good views.
We stayed in a Junior Suite and loved the Juliet balcony, fantastic views, and the remnants of the old stone archway within the room.
Comfy beds vary from ultra plain and encased in white to a chic pale grey four-poster. But it's not all minimalism, there are decorative touches too - an antique painted wardrobe, a rococo-esque armchair, a splash of pink or red. Pretty timbered ceilings and new-oak floors complete the elegant picture.
Bathrooms have fashionably circular or square white basins, tiny mosaics, Bulari soaps, limestone showers (no baths), and white waffle towels bundled with raffia and lavender. The attention to detail is reassuringly, exquisitely Italian.
Note the Family Apartment is of simpler design and on the ground floor with 2 levels: on the ground level there is a small living room which also a sofabed (5th possible guest) and handicapped-access bathroom. There is a wooden staircase to the upper level, which offers a king size room and a twin room. There are windows in all the bedrooms (not the bathroom) and lots of light, but no particular view.
Food plays a big part here. The talented Japanese chef Masa uses local ingredients to create imaginative fusion food, and his dishes are beautifully presented. The menu changes daily, but always consists of 5 courses, which you wash down with the Locanda's own, delicious wines.
Our dinner was exceptional; the best meal we had during our 10-day tour of Tuscany and Umbria, which is quite an accolade. It began with courgette flowers, filled with ricotta cheese and lightly fried in batter - beautiful to look at, light and flavoursome. Next up came a carpaccio of salmon with a parmesan crisp, which was wonderfully fresh. The homemade spaghetti with squid ink and calamari was divine; the pork served 3 ways was slightly too adventurous for my palate, but my husband loved it. We finished with seasonal fruits with gelatinous wine and almond ice cream - a fitting conclusion to an excellent meal.
Wine-wise, we sampled the Palazzone Compo del Guardino - an easy white made of 5 local grapes; the Piviere Sangiovese 2006 - a gorgeous, deep smoky red; and the Muffa Nobilis pudding wine - a lovely, syrup-y, moreish treat. You can buy bottles to take home at reception (we did).
On balmy evenings, dinners are served on the outdoor terrace - a beautiful space framed by white rosebeds, with views of Orvieto in the distance, and the sun setting as you sit down. Lodovico and Patrizia formally serve, advise, and chat to guests in their easy hospitable manner. Should it be too cold, meals are served in a low-lit dining room (The Enoteca), where tables are elegantly set with white linen runners, a small posy of flowers, and sparkling silver cutlery.
Dinners are available every day except Sunday, thus giving you the opportunity to eat out in lovely Orvieto. Ask Lodovico for his recommendations. Lunches are by request only.
Breakfast is also a joy, out among the lavender, myrtle and white roses. There's a wonderful Italian spread of homemade pastries, a decadent cherry jam tart, toasted ciabatta served with local ricotta, and fresh fruit salad. Jams are homemade - fig, wild plum, orange and lemon - and as you'd expect, the coffee is jolly good.
Children of all ages are very welcome here, though bear in mind this is a tranquil place and they will be expected to be reasonably quiet around the pool.
There's a Family Suite which has 1 double and 1 twin room, and a Family Apartment which also has 1 double and 1 twin room, as well as space for an extra bed and a baby cot. The Suite can fit a baby cot, the Junior Suites can fit an extra bed or baby cot, and the Cardinal Suite can fit a baby cot and an extra bed.
Babysitting is a useful extra, requested in advance.
Cots, small beds with side railings and extra single beds are all available.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Children's menus are provided at child-friendly times.
Most rooms are split over 2 floors and the steps between them can be quite steep.