Umbria – the central Italian region long known for its bucolic rolling landscape, picturesque stone hill towns, fabulous art and architecture, and hearty country cuisine – has been late hopping on the spa bandwagon, but over recent years a number of fabulous, luxury spas that combine wellness and pampering with culture and history have opened their doors.
Most offer elegant accommodations, if you are dreaming of a romantic weekend away, or day-spa packages for a special treat during a longer stay in this beautiful region.
Where I Want to Go When I Die (Nun, Assisi)
I know I haven’t lived a perfect life. I realize heaven is probably off the table for me by now. That said, I would just like to remind you that I have lived for almost twenty years next door to my Italian mother-in-law and haven’t yet committed matricide, which should count for something.
So, in lieu of the pearly gates, when my time comes I humbly ask to be sent to the new Nun Relais and Spa Museum in Assisi. This breathtaking five-star complex includes a full hammam-style spa, which has been artfully incorporated into the extensive remains of a 1st century BC Roman amphitheater unearthed during construction work in 2008.
With a basic entrance fee of €45, this is a treat within reach of even the meekest of sinners. Amen.
In Vino Veritas ( Le Tre Vaselle, Torgiano)
Five star luxury country hotel Le Tre Vaselle’s BellaUva Wellness Center specializes in treatments featuring grapes, grape seeds, must, and wine from their own Lungarotti vineyards. Long known to have antioxidant properties benefitting the skin and circulation, reducing stress (Yep. I can vouch for the whole wine-use-for-stress-reduction thing.) and signs of age, grapes have inspired a selection of vinotherapy treatments, including massages, facials, and a wine bath.
The best part of the package is the tasting of their house Rubesco–if soaking in some hearty red doesn’t relax you, tossing it down the gullet probably will.
The Villa Life (Villa di Monte Solare, Perugia)
This stately 18th century villa near Umbria’s provincial capital seems to belong to the lost world of the Forster novel. Now an elegant hotel and restaurant, the villa is surrounded by a formal garden and boasts a Limonaia, which houses their Le Muse Spa.
Indulge yourself with their massages, sauna, and Turkish bath, or one of their Charme d’Orient treatments—including Hammam, Ayurvedic massage, and shirodhara (Don’t worry…I had to google it, too.). They also have a selection of treatments designed for expectant mothers, if you are pampering for two.
Boot Camp With Velvet Gloves (Health Center Marc Mességué, Todi)
If you yearn for an iron-fist-in-velvet-glove luxury boot camp experience, this is the place.
Part of the Mességué family’s group of herbal health centers, the spa is housed in the lovely medieval castle Torre Errighi. Clients are given a thorough medical check-up followed by a detoxifying herbal treatment and rejuvenating diet (and, of course, all the pampering extras one expects from a top shelf spa: massages, beauty treatments, Turkish baths, inhalations).
The spa offers day treatments, though the philosophy behind the Mességué program lends itself to a longer stay. Yes, a stay at the five-star castle (where the staff-to-guest ratio is 1:1) will certainly be a sacrifice, but it’s for the sake of your health, remember?
Champagne Taste, Beer Money (Castaeaquae, Assisi)
If you are looking for a little pampering, but managed to max out the credit card on Umbrian wine, ceramics, truffles, and linens, don’t despair. This friendly, informal wellness center, part of the family run La Terrazza Hotel, offers all the comforts of a high-end spa for a fraction of the cost.
I especially like their Ritual packages, which begin and end with a massage and have sauna, Turkish bath, or Jacuzzi sessions and herbal infusions included…all for €100.
Rebecca Winke is an Innkeeper and Blogger who moved to Italy from Chicago in 1993 and shortly thereafter opened an agriturismo in her husband’s renovated family farmhouse at the foot of Mount Subasio near Assisi, Umbria. She spends her time taking care of guests at Brigolante, blogging about the lovely region she now calls home, and wondering about what strange winds blew an urban vegetarian to a farm in Umbria.