Perugia’s bastion of luxury commands one side of Piazza Italia, looming proudly over the valley below. Built in 1883 to host English travelers on the Grand Tour, the premises have not changed too much in the intervening years, except that the large, traditionally furnished rooms (most with sweeping views) are now equipped with lavish marble bathrooms and lots of other amenities that include extremely comfortable lounge chairs and sofas and good reading lamps. Despite the grand surroundings, the real pleasures here are in the details: fires burn in big old stone hearths in the dining room and lounges; a swimming pool has been carved out of subterranean brick vaults, with see-through panels exposing Etruscan ruins beneath; and a large rooftop terrace is a perfect spot of a glass of wine at sunset.

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