People, including Tom, often ask me how I come up with where we travel. The truth is, I don’t often remember. I read a lot. Travel guides, hotel books, instagram posts, blogs – no reading materials is safe from me. (I’ve read the Relais & Chateaux destination book cover to cover, and I am working through the Small Luxury Hotels book.) However, in the case of the Roccafiore resort, I know exactly how we ended up there – and it is one of my favorite stories because it truly embodies how far I’ve come in terms of my knowledge of food and drink.
In September 2021, I was on my first work trip post-pandemic. I had been in Seattle for a conference, and I drove out to Olympia to spend the day with one of my friends. We ended up at a wine bar, Swing, for dinner. The waitress dropped off the specials menu, and Elizabeth and I both decided that the Umbrian wine was the way to go. It was called Melagrano (pomegranate in Italian). It was different, delightful, and I enjoyed it so much that I took a picture of the details.
In October, we headed to Cortona for a long weekend. As we were finalizing which wineries we wanted to visit, I looked up Roccafiore and realized that it was on the way from Rome to Cortona. Eager for him to try the Melagrano, we made an appointment at the cantina. It was gorgeous with rolling hills and vineyards surrounding the property. I knew then that Tom would want to come back – no question. We shlepped our 12 bottles of Roccafiore wine home in October, and for two months, Tom kept talking about going back to Umbria.
Our winter trip was planned rather spontaneously. Ultimately, we knew that we had to be in Rome to fly home, and we had a dinner reservation at 7:00pm our final night. As I pieced together our itinerary in late December, it became clear that we would have two nights that we could spend somewhere between Tuscany and Rome. The Roccafiore wine resort was open, so to Roccafiore we would go.
And, that, my friends, is how a random trip to Washington led me to a tiny wine resort in the heart of Umbria. You never know where inspiration will find you.
Getting to Roccafiore
This is one of those places where you are generally best served by car, depending on where you are coming from. (I promise driving in Italy isn’t as bad as at seems.) It’s not too far from Todi, but it is off the beaten path in terms of public transportation. For example, we were coming from the Rosewood in Montalcino. It’s 6 hours by bus. By car, it is only 2 hours.
Keep in mind that those times are just to get to Todi – from there you have to figure out how to get to Roccafiore. It’s only a 10-15 drive, but you wouldn’t be able to walk it. The drive is easy though – we made a few trips to Todi for meals, views, and groceries. It’s a gorgeous hill town in Umbria with a lively, local vibe.
We didn’t get on the road until the mid-afternoon from the Rosewood, so we arrived at the Roccafiore right before sunset. While it’s relatively easy to get here, I think it’s easier to arrive before dark, just to get a sense of the turns required. Plus, the sunset over the vineyards is absolutely gorgeous.
Roccafiore Deluxe Room
Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by Sarah who was happy to show us to our room and help us get settled into the property. We were even able to immediately purchase a bottle of the Melagrano to enjoy with the sunset. She offered to make us dinner reservations at their Michelin-starred restaurant, but still full from our afternoon cooking class, we politely declined.
While there are various room categories at the Roccafiore wine resort, I booked a deluxe room because I wanted a bathtub. Winter + bathtub + beautiful scenery is the height of luxury for me. And, in small resorts like the Roccafiore, the best way to get the room you want is to book exactly the room that you want. These are not places to expect upgrades (though they certainly are a bonus if you get them!), they are places where every guest selects they room they want. And, in our case, the resort was actually pretty busy, so I’m glad that I did!
Our Roccafiore deluxe room was decorated with soft colors of yellow, terracotta, and blue with a nod to Italian design, especially in the tile work. The rooms are simple yet warm. While the rooms are not quite as plush as the rooms at the Borgo dei Conti (another Umbrian resort that we love) or the Meneghetti Wine Resort (our first wine resort!), they are comfortable, functional, and the setting is absolutely gorgeous. In our case, our room overlooked Todi, and we had the most spectacular views of sunset. (The windows have screens on them, so you can leave your windows open to enjoy both the view and the sounds of the countryside.)
The resort is a refurbished 1930s home that has been updated with all the modern amenities. These rooms have everything you need for a relaxing weekend away. The bathroom amenities are branded specifically for Roccafiore. There’s a minibar, hairdryer, and the front desk can help you with everything from wine glasses to silverware.
The water pressure in the shower is incredible. We got really lucky on this trip with amazing showers, but this one really stood out because both the hot water and the pressure were consistent. I certainly enjoyed soaking in the tub as well.
The only thing – and this is certainly a personal issue – is that my hip had a hard time with the bed, which is rather firm. If you have hip or back problems, this might not be the place for you, but I recognize this is personal. Tom slept very well.
Because of current restrictions on spas, we had to make reservations to enjoy the spa. Upon arrival, we tried for same-day evening reservations, but we were not able to secure them. (The resort was busy, though it never felt that way!) Sara was able to secure them for the following afternoon though. The spa is located one level below the ground floor and has an enclosed pool, a jacuzzi, and sauna. It is beautiful and relaxing, though not all the facilities were open at the time of our visit. (There is also an outdoor pool that is surrounded by vineyards. Obviously, we didn’t swim, but the view from the pool is gorgeous.)
The spa area is coed and you will need a swimsuit and swimcap. (There are robes and slippers in your room.) As Americans, we don’t generally use swimcaps, but they provided a plastic shower cap we could use in lieu of it, so don’t sweat the requirement too much.
You can reserve the spa in two hour blocks. I don’t know how many people they allow to reserve for each time block, but we did not have the spa to ourselves during our reservation block. You’ll have to figure out how to rotate through the hydrotherapy stations and keep everyone happy. That said, it’s really nice to be able to use the spa at all. Also, because you are sharing the space, they do try really hard to keep the noise level down for everyone’s enjoyment, which is nice – though a bit a difficult with the jacuzzi noise.
All in all, the spa is a nice place to relax. Be sure to make your reservations as soon as you figure out your schedule.
Roccafiore Wine Tasting
Though we were not able to book a wine tasting experience on this trip, we did tour the Roccafiore winery when we visited in October. Eduardo gave us a tour of the Roccafiore production facilities and then we tried several of their red and white wines. Afterwards, we were able to explore the vineyards on our own. October is prime harvesting season. The vineyards in bloom are a sight to behold, though I think this area is beautiful in any season.
Our wine tasting at Roccafiore was a private experience. Our wines were served in their beautiful tasting room that overlooks the vineyards and rolling hills. What I love about Roccafiore wines are that they are different. They aren’t the traditional red wines of Umbria – Sagrantino, rosso, etc. They are creative blends with unique flavors and an original take on the traditional wines of Umbria. The white wines are made from the grochetto grapes and have very smooth finishes. The Prova d’Autore has a smoky finish that reminds me of snow days by a warm fire. The Melagrano rosso is influenced by the flavor of pomegranate. (You’ll find pomegranate plants and blooms spread throughout the vineyard and resort.) While we have done quite a few wine tastings in Umbria, Roccafiore stands out because of its unique flavors. And, I really loved that they provided us a small guide to their wines where we could make notes. Because these aren’t the “typical” wines of Umbria, it was helpful to be able to do so.
If you visit Roccafiore, or if you’re going to be in Todi or the surrounding area, I definitely recommend booking a tasting at the winery. It’s a brilliant contrast between the traditional and the contemporary, and so are the wines. (I’m excited to try their passito. It was sold out both times we visited.)
Final Thoughts on Roccafiore Hotel and Spa
The Roccafiore wine resort is a wonderful place to unplug for a few days and enjoy the best parts of Umbria – the food and the wine. I really loved its proximity to Todi – we could see their Christmas lights from our room and we weren’t disappointed when we visited.
You’ll want reservations for everything at Roccafiore and at restaurants and wineries throughout this area. We were definitely disappointed to be turned away at restaurants because we didn’t have reservations. Restaurants are small (and delicious) gems to be savored. That’s just how it is in these small towns. Unlike wineries in the United States, Italian wineries do not have a continuous staff to conduct tastings. Spa reservations are compulsory for the immediate future. (This is true everywhere in Italy, not just at Roccafiore.) Plan out your itinerary in advance so you don’t miss out on things you really want to do.
Roccafiore is located in a beautiful part of Italy, well off the beaten track of tourists. If you’re looking to get away from everyone and enjoy some wine, this is a lovely place to do it.