A charming boutique hotel nestled in the hills of Le Marche in the small village of Monterado, Castello di Monterado is a restored 18th-century palace built on the foundations of an 11th-century church, and run by the warm and welcoming husband and wife team, Orlando and Kira Rodano. Surrounded by fine gardens, and offering fabulous views of the lush countryside, it was here that Prince Maximilian de Beauharnais, Napoleon's nephew, chose to spend his honeymoon. After being occupied and bombed during the Second World War, Castello di Monterado's spectacular public rooms and suites were painstakingly restored to their former glory, and feature high vaulted ceilings with splendid frescoes and paintings, elegant period furniture and beautiful artefacts. A magnificent dining room or 'sala della colazione' is arranged for breakfast each morning, in addition to a billiards room and cosy library to relax and enjoy in the evening. During the day, guests can stroll through the Castello's elegant gardens to the lovely swimming pool for a refreshing swim with stunning views of the Adriatic — a heavenly oasis on a hot afternoon. A heavenly spot for visiting this beautiful region of Italy, the famous seaside resort of Senigallia is just 20 minutes away, while Ancona, with its famous waterfront cathedral and port with ferry links across the Adriatic, is less than an hour's drive from the historic hamlet of Monterado and the welcome embrace of Castello di Monterado.
The main entrance to Castello di Monterado
Orlando and Kira's intrepid cat 'Lillo'
The vaulted interior hallway to our Suite degli Sposi — the Marriage Suite — where Prince Maximilian de Beauharnais, Napoleon's nephew, spent his honeymoon with the daughter of Czar Nicola I of Russia
Our own personal dining room in the suite
The grand bedroom with frescoed ceiling and hanging chandelier
The handprinted fresco above the bed depicts a pavilion in which Mars and Venus are surrounded by blazing torches, arms and lunettes decorated with angels playing musical instruments
Our own private terrace outside the dining room
We enjoyed a bottle of Le Marche Prosecco and slice of Pecorino di Pienza that I brought from Casa Boronia when we left the previous day
View from the terrace across the Marche countryside with clock tower that rung every quarter hour
from 8 in the morning to 8 at night
Breakfast was served each morning in the sala della colazione
A section of juices were set up on a pretty side table
View over Le Marche countryside from the Breakfast Room terrace
The lovely outdoor pool surrounded by rosemary, lavender, sage, bay leaf, rose and jasmine
Beautifully designed and wonderfully tranquil, the pool was a relaxing oasis after touring Le Marche