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- Karen Brown's Recommendation:
The fascinating Castello di Proceno is in the Lazio region bordering Tuscany and Umbria. This unique accommodation combines historical context, authentic ambiance, unspoiled landscapes, regional foods and wines, and congenial hosts. The Cecchini Bisoni family, owners of this 12th-century hilltop fortress for many generations, have done an outstanding job of restoring some of the farmers’ quarters that make up part of the village grouped around the tower. They modernized plumbing, electricity, and heating systems without disturbing the innate quaintness of these stone dwellings. In addition, Signora Cecilia is a passionate decorator and has artistically displayed the family’s antique collections and restored furniture. The restaurant, complete with cantina and fireplace, leads to a labyrinth of tunnels and stairways connecting to four of the apartments, while the remaining four are located in the fortress attached to the ancient pentagonal walls of the tower and castle, in a wooded area leading down to the pool. All apartments have one or two bedrooms and a kitchenette and all feature both a fireplace and garden area or terrace. For shorter stays, the bed and breakfast formula is available within a choice of four suites. Summer concerts accompanied by a buffet dinner in the castle’s park are a highlight.