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Dicono di Noi

Food and travel

Tried & tasted/Places to stay

The roads through Umbria carry a sense of history. Perugia and Assisi, Todi and Orvieto, hilltop towns that once warred with one another, are the basis for any good trip. In Bevagna, the rather active belltower provides a vignette of this architecture and spirituality. St Francis might have whispered to the birds in the garden of L’Orto degli Angeli; the jasmine, wisteria and clematis are stile tended by a family that first came here in the 18th century to make a nest in a 16th-century palace and Roman ruin. Today, it feels like a museum, albeit a very cosy one. None of the 14 rooms conform to the usual templates. Even your room key, frustratingly sticky, refuses to modernize.  Tucked away in all corners, up hidden staircases and in silent alcoves, there’s an air of secrecy to these chambers. No two rooms are the same, and once inside you may find a prancing cherub fresco, a sturdy chandelier or an ochre canopied bed. Breakfast is bespoke – freshly cocked eggs, fresh hams and cheeses, fruits, cakes and a heart-shaped biscuit dunked in a creamy cappuccino. In the evening, relax in the drawing room under a scaring ceiling, or repair to the Redibis restaurant, dining amid the preserved ambulatories of a theatre built in the 1st century. Recipes here (and there’s a cookery school too) draw from a hallowed family cookbook and make fine use of hand made pastas, Chianina beef, fresh herbs, wines and cheeses from the local fields and farms. In summer, throw open the windows, savour the scent of plants around the lawn below, or lock out onto the light streets, with locals’ chatter drifting up, and simply breathe it all in. JW. Doubles from £ 108.


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