May 22nd, 2009
La Dolce Vita at Casigliano
Yes, we lived the sweet life for a week at Castello di Casigliano. It had rained pretty much the whole month of April there (the most in 200 years), but that was all in the past and the sun shone brightly 0n the green hills (low 70′s, thank you) for us!
The region of Umbria is known as “the green heard of Italy”. It’s between Florence and Rome. Not as touristy as Tuscany, but still with plenty of wine, medievel hill towns, gorgeous views, and yummy fresh local recipes.
The Castello has a storied history, included stays by Popes, family murders, and oooooh, a current ghost perhaps? Romano gave us a tour on our first day and the photo above shows the group in the beautiful courtyard.
One area of the castle has been restored into an elegant suite and others are planned once they figure out how to proceed with the frescoes that they’ve discovered since the big earthquake in Assisi 10 years ago conveniently dislodged some plaster from the walls to reveal them. Here, Gary and I are “mugging” in front of them. All those holes in the fresco were gouged out by the plasterer so that the new plaster would bond better to the walls. You see this a lot throughout Italy, in many of the churches. It’s absolutely heartbreaking!
The Castello is surrounded by a small, quaint, supporting village that formerly was inhabited by a few hundred people, but now is down to about a dozen. It reminds me of a Hollywood movie set. A place frozen in time. Guest apartments have been created in some of these buildings and this is where we stayed.
Pssst! There is a secret garden area with a tempting hammock that I had to check out one afternoon. It works! What really made the place so special, though, was the outstanding and attentive treatment by the staff, as well as the delicious lunches we enjoyed daily on the terrace overlooking the magnificent view. Romano was so pleased with our work that he treated us to an exclusive Friday night party….
complete with local dignitaries and colorful locals-and champagne….
and even a sparkly cake!
It was almost painful to leave but the bus was waiting, and we gathered one more time in the courtyard for our group photo. You can see that poor lucky Gary was the only man among the bella donnas. Seated left to right, back to front: Scooter Dykema, Rae Westermeyer, Vicki Cromwell, Patty Nickel, Sherry Fleck, Alison Wooley, Nancy Jones, Melanie Royals, Barbara Stratmetz, Gary Lord, Jan Moody, Nancy Escobar, Debbie Rye, Georgia King, Lori Slusarek, Dagmar Alexanderson, Romano’s wife Francesca and the pretty girl who worked there. Thank you to all who made this dream trip a reality!
May 22nd, 2009 at 4:09 pm
The trip was truly magical and the pictures only tell part of he story. The best part was the bonding of new friends and the strengthening of existing relationships in this special place on earth
May 24th, 2009 at 8:26 am
Gary is right, the trip was magical! I had the best time of my life, I can’t imagine a more perfect working vacation. I am looking forward to seeing what Melanie and Gary are cooking up for the next adventure.
May 24th, 2009 at 12:17 pm
Oh, we’re definitely cooking….got to assemble all the right ingredients to make it really TASTY….
May 25th, 2009 at 12:49 am
Hi, courteous posts there thank’s concerning the intriguing advice
May 26th, 2009 at 1:39 pm
Can’t wait for the next destination/recipe to be unveiled~I know a lot of planing goes into making these a great success- It’s one of the best vacations Todd and I have ever taken.
May 28th, 2009 at 4:28 am
I’m still savouring it! It was a great creative mix of special people and a wonderful place. Can’t wait till next time.
November 4th, 2009 at 8:09 am
.. last but not least.. just catching on with facebook..
My first but definitely not last trip with this creative, fun and interesting group of people. Can still not find a Balsamic Vinegar and Olive oil like the “Casigliano’s ” own…