After four miles of narrow twisting road, crossing the Turrite Secca in a few thrilling places, you arrive at the lively village of Fabbriche di Vallico: 350 inhabitants, four restaurants, a few working mills and, over one last rickety bridge, an Augustinian monastery carved out of the forested mountain side.
Restored with meticulous, exquisite simplicity: floors are flagged and oak planked, chestnut beams are sturdy, stone walls naked, and furniture minimal. In the adjoining deconsecrated church is a galleried library, and creative courses are held below – ceramics, glass, Italian cookery, and sometimes jazz concerts, recitals and informal cinema screenings.
The saltwater infinity pool is a joy, as are the en suite bedrooms, all with private or shared sun terraces, two with tubs, one with a steep stair to a sky-lit platform; sleep beneath the stars. The area is home to the Slow Food movement; expect local, seasonal, delicious food.