It's obvious that Borgo Tranquillo is different from the typical Italian country getaway from the moment the artfully rusted gate glides open onto a winding white-gravel driveway. It's the awesome, modern infinity pool that makes an immediate impression: a huge pale oblong of water, framed at one end by lavender bushes and olive trees. The view beyond takes in undulating fields, woods, hilltop churches and the distant peaks of the Appennines. Beside the pool is an ultra-contemporary pavilion with weathered-steel spiral staircase, leather sofas, library, espresso and ice machines, sauna and steam room. (See 10 things to do in Rome.)
British designer Frank Andrew and his Swiss-born wife Ariane bought the farm and hamlet as a ruin in 2003. It lies in the verdant depths of Le Marche, a mostly rural region along the Adriatic that, with its mix of Renaissance treasures, rolling hills and architectural rusticity, is a savvy alternative to the more popular Tuscany. Borgo Tranquillo's owners have remade its buildings in an arrestingly Modernist style while still using the original, reconditioned stones and roof tiles. For rent are four apartments (from $940 a week) and a villa, each with a soaring interior accentuated by weathered beams, white walls offset with bright accents of color lime green to tangerine and witty statements like woven hammock chairs that hang from the ceiling. The furnishings are a clever mix of design pieces (the freestanding Ross Lovegrove Vitra baths in the bedrooms, for example) and treasures from Ariane and Frank's travels, such as silk cushions from Bangkok and antique lanterns from Marrakech.
Le Marche is an outstanding area for fresh food, and the kitchens are kitted out for some serious dining, with thoughtful extras like exquisite local olive oil. Though Borgo Tranquillo (www.borgotranquillo.com) is perfect for soaking in the sun, guests are as likely to be lured by year-round mountain-biking, truffle-hunting and palazzo-visiting. And because each apartment has a striking wood-burning stove, every busy day out can be followed by some cozy tranquillo time in.