Civita di Bagnoregio is perched precariously atop a pinnacle of rock in the dramatic Valle dei Calanchi, a canyon of fragile volcanic tuff in the far north of the Lazio region. Reached only via a footbridge after the saddle connecting it to mainland Bagnoregio crumbled, the tiny medieval hamlet survives dangerously and with only a scattering of stalwart year-round inhabitants. Corte della Maestà offers a handful of huge and lovely period-style suites in this fascinating setting, in a noble residence in use as far back as the fifth century, annexed to the episcopal palace, and now respectfully restored. Furnishings are variously inspired, but all five apartments are adorned with fine original touches and magnificent views over private gardens and orchard, the rooftops of Civita and/or the awe-inspiring landscapes beyond.
The vast kitchen is a common space, and cavernous cellars have become a lounge area where guests can watch art films, listen to music and play the piano. Breakfast is in the walled garden whenever possible, under a pergola and surrounded by the sights and scents of Mediterranean ornamentals and produce. What’s really striking about this place is the silence, or rather the improbably limited noise made by few people calmly offering exquisite hospitality in a traffic-free oasis – perhaps a mirage. As if time had stalled, and Civita di Bagnoregio were actually in another dimension… This other-worldly experience, about 90 km north of Rome and less than 30 from Viterbo, is luxurious, unique, and of course as costly as you’d imagine.