Central Italy's Umbria and Marche regions hold interesting ancient abbeys in an area called the ring of monasteries. East of the hill town of Gubbio, the regions become mountainous and this isolated area was perfect for getting away from the world as far back as the 11th century. Although most of the abbeys are no longer in use, it's easy to imagine what they were like long ago. You can get an in depth look at one of the monasteries that's still in use by taking one of the tours offered at Fonte Avellana Monastery. If you'd like to stay in a place where you can get away from it all, consider this bed and breakfast in the mountains with view of a monastery tucked into the mountainside.
Sitria Abbey photo © by Martha Bakerjian, licensed to About.com