Villa Pia

Lippiano, Umbria, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Kate Parsons
Award-winning family hotel in the beautiful Umbrian countryside, with a carefree, communal vibe and great prices
This is a paradise for kids, and a genuinely relaxing holiday for parents - the ultimate combination. Set in 5 acres of land, Villa Pia is just over the Tuscan border into the Umbrian countryside, with forest, field and olive-grove views stretching for miles. The location couldn't be more peaceful yet it's an easy drive from several airports (Perugia, Florence, Pisa and Bologna). Families flock here for the informal, house-party feel, the rustic Italian food, and the toys, games and space to run free that keeps young ones happy for days on end. Both children and adults quickly make friends; many families return year after year.

The 25 bedrooms are simple but spacious (choose from big family rooms or pairs of inter-connecting bedrooms), and all meals and drinks are included, which means no stressing about where to eat or what to cook. There are reasonably priced cookery classes for both kids and adults, as well as a local beautician who offers great facials and massages for tired parents. Sit back in the sun-filled courtyard with a coffee or cold beer, safe in the knowledge that your little ones are having the time of their lives.

Highs

  • Everything kids love: a warm pool, soft play, sandpits, bikes, trikes, scooters, trampolines, even tennis and a woodland playspace
  • All-inclusive rates, so no need to worry about soaring costs
  • Hearty and delicious Italian food, with a kids' tea at 6pm and adult-only dinners (plus help-yourself snacks and drinks all day)
  • A great location close to Perugia and Arezzo, with magnificent views all around
  • Daily housekeeping keeps your room spotless

Lows

  • If you prefer your own space on holiday, this isn't for you; it's a very social, though laid-back, communal atmosphere
  • A strict payment/cancellation policy, no credit cards accepted, and a 7-night minimum stay in school holidays (Saturday-Saturday)
  • No food is served on Thursdays so you'll need to eat out
  • Rooms are very simple - No TVs, DVD players, air con or toiletries - and the 4 in Palazzo Regina are off-site, a 5-minute walk away

Best time to go

The hotel is open all year. To make the most of the weather May/June and Sept/Oct are best - warm days and cooler evenings.

Our top tips

  • Take an adult cooking class; we loved learning how to make authentic pasta and traditional Umbrian dishes
  • Take turns with other parents to watch each other's kids so you can all have a break
  • Great for...

    Family
    Foodie
    Spa
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 25
    • All-inclusive meals and drinks
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Heated Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Tennis Court
    • Bicycles Available
    Room:

    Rooms

    The rustic 15th-century buildings can accommodate up to 25 families, in either large Family Rooms (an open-plan space with a double bed and 2/3 single beds) or pairs of Inter-Connecting Rooms (a double and a twin) with a shared bathroom.

    We stayed in the main house and our 1st-floor room was spotless, with charming original-tiled floors and decorative ceilings. Furnishings are simple, and there are no luxuries (no TVs, DVD players, toiletries etc), but you have lots of space to spread out, and lovely antique drawers and wardrobes for your things. Most importantly, bedrooms are warm in the cooler months and airy and cool in the summer. Bathrooms are mostly small but perfectly functional, with a shower over a bath.

    Four of the rooms are in Palazzo Regina, a restored building in Lippiano. It has its own kitchen for making drinks and snacks, but meals are still taken at the main hotel (5 minutes' walk). Rooms here can be booked for shorter stays.

    Features include:

    • Fan
    • WiFi

    Eating

    The price is all-inclusive of food and drinks, and meals are taken communally. Breakfast is a simple buffet of cereals, breads, croissants, meats and cheeses, but we'd recommend you skimp on it in order to enjoy the amazing lunches. A bell rings at 1pm and the cooks deliver a vast array of mouthwatering dishes - veggies, salads, sausages and divine homemade pastas (the pesto was particularly memorable).

    At 6pm a kids' tea is served in the dining room. This might be more pasta or homemade pizzas. Then, once the kids are in bed, olives and nibbles appear, before a 4-course adult dinner is served, along with plenty of wine. In summer this is all outside; in winter in the dining room or kitchen. Popular dishes include steak cooked on a wood fire, truffled tagliatelle and plenty of fresh fish.

    On Thursdays the restaurant is closed, but you can still help yourself to snacks from the communal kitchen for breakfast. There is a local bar for light meals, or staff can help you order a takeaway / book a restaurant (and a babysitter).

    Features include:

    • All meals included
    • Children meals
    • Communal dining
    • Vegetarian menu
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Many families stay on site all day to enjoy the pools, toys, games, bikes, tennis court, and just running free in the 5 acres of garden and woodland play areas
    • Children's cooking and art classes are on offer a couple of times a week and were a roaring success with our kids, who made cookies, muffins, jam tarts and pizzas for their tea
    • For adult relaxation, head to the beauty room, where Maria offers massages, mud wraps, facials, manicures and pedis. Or take a Pilates or yoga class
    • The local town, Lippiano, has a fairytale 10th-century castle and gelaterias, both heaven for kids
    • Borrow bikes to explore the woods, go walking, or arrange horse riding with the local stables
    • Book a babysitter for the afternoon and go wine tasting
    • Opportunities for days out abound: Citta di Castello (20 mins' drive; stunning medieval architecture), Arezzo (30 mins; the Church of San Francesco has incredible murals and there's a Roman amphitheatre), Perugia (1 hour; the capital of Umbria, with a helter-skelter of cobbled streets and ancient stairs) and Siena (1.5 hours; its old town is a Unesco site)

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Art classes
    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Language courses
    • Museums / galleries
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Well being
    • Wine tasting
    • Yoga

    Kids

    Villa Pia is a family hotel. Guests come on an all-inclusive basis; children under 2 stay for free. There is masses to entertain kids both indoors and out, and heaps of useful equipment to borrow (see below). The adult dining area in the evening is within monitor distance. Best for 0-7 year-olds.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Family Rooms are for families of up to 5; open-plan with a double bed, and 2/3 single beds or a baby cot. The Inter-connecting Rooms are sets of 2 bedrooms (1 double, 1 twin, with space for an additional bed or baby cot).

    Babysitting:

    By arrangement (extra cost).

    Baby equipment:

    • Baby cots with bedding
    • Highchairs
    • Potties
    • Night lights
    • Baby baths
    • Buggies

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    Three child-friendly buffets a day (including a 6pm kids' tea).

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Playground
    • Children's pool
    • Games room
    • Outdoor play areas
    • Playhouse in the woods
    • Soft play
    • Toys and books
    • Tennis
    • Bikes, trikes and scooters
    • Table tennis
    • Table football
    • Dressing-up clothes
    • Rope and log swings
    • Music room, with a piano
    • Art and cookery classes (extra cost)
    • Kids' DVDs

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Waterparks
    • Farms
    • Castles

    Families Should Know:

    The communal kitchen has a fridge full of water, milk, yoghurt, ice, baby puree, wine and beer, plus there are cereals, bread, fresh fruit, a coffee machine, liqueurs, spirits and more for you to help yourself to 24/7. The hotel has a washing machine, which guests can use one day a week.

    Distances:

    • Airport: 40 mins' drive (Perugia)
    • Hospital: 15km
    • Shops: 3km
    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    8/
    Rooms
    10/
    Food
    8/
    Service
    10/
    Value
    9/
    Overall

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