This lovely, sleepy hilltop town, Santo Stefano di Sassanio was largely abandoned until recently, when it was renovated and made into the Sextantio Albergo Diffuso extended hotel complex. Some of the other units are used as vacation homes. This renovation seems to be successful, as the whole town was taken over and restored for commercial purposes. Units can be rented either by the night or for more extended periods. It's about 75 miles from Rome and is becoming more popular as a weekend retreat, now featuring small boutiques (handicrafts such as homemade soap and textiles seem to be popular). The village is an astonishing warren of small "cupboard-under-the-stairs" appearing units which are sometimes surprisingly spacious inside. This tiny village is easy to get lost in but it's wonderfully charming. This one, and a couple of its neighbors have been called some of the prettiest villages in Italy. There's a lentil festival the first weekend in September. The town suffered some damage in the 2009 earthquake, which caused the collapse of two of its most famous structures, the Medici Tower, previously the symbol of the town, and the 17th-century church the Madonna del Lago. It's home to about 120 permanent residents.
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