Another challenging Internet place causes me to post a story with no photos. I know that’s not as good…but, it might be better for me to get this out and hope you like it.
I’ll work on the photos with the owners here, but no promises…they are World Class hosts and chefs and awesome people…but, not experts at posting blogs yet. Ciao.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Full travel day today after a leisurely morning and breakfast at Hotel La Badia outside of Orvieto, Umbria.
Seems like everyone has checked out except the couple from the US. (the ones with no wedding rings and she has an excessive laughter problem. You know the type).
A travel day to Borgo di Carpiano near Gubbio. Marilisa Parisi, the owner, is a friend of the McClennens and she’s afraid we’re going to get lost. So, she sent a full page of directions…we are well fortified. Italian streets and highways have numbers, they just don’t’ show them much; nor do they have the street names for the cross streets (except on the walls in cities and towns).
We are going to stop in Todi today, another hill town in Umbria, full of history, craftspeople and another Duomo. We met a couple who own a flat in Todi – Vin & Deb Rosa from Connecticut – in the Newark airport. She is Maureen Valiquette’s sister and we know Maureen and husband, Mike, the builder and chair of the Sanibel Planning Commission from the past few years. They gave us some parking tips.
Picture a hill town looking up at it and down from it. Steep interior streets but a real place with butcher shops and dry cleaners, etc.
We end up at a really high parking spot, right next to the Porta Nuova, which enters the town at their apartment location. They aren’t here today. It starts to rain as we are wandering up the high hill to the Duomo. Nancy has found a neat article in Travel & Leisure Magazine about Todi and is clutching it in her hand, hoping we can find the store with coral jewelry…you know how good she looks in pink, right?
Well, there it is, and we show the owner the article….he knows all about it and it has helped his business. Then, we help it some more by purchasing a pair of earrings….they are lovely for sure. And, the memories are the most fun; telling where we were and the Umbrian trip.
Picture a pair of pink earrings (not too large) with some nice gold surrounding them.
The view from the hill at the top of the town is quite a sight, even in the rain. A cup of capucino helps to warm up the walk back to the car. There is a brightly flowered place to sit outside here in a tiny square…we can’t use it, but it is a fine photo.
Picture a bright, flowery place with some white umbrella tables.
The drive to the Borgo is uneventful and we make all the correct turns along the way – Marilisa has named all the signs by name; not the road numbers or names. As we got closer on “their road” up the mountain from our last exit off the E45 at Ponte Polatti, all we could think of was two words…”guard rails”.
Picture John Wayne, high in the saddle peering down from that hill…looking for the Indians coming around that bend in the canyon below.
Wouldn’t they have them in the states at each of these sharp bends, where you see down about a thousand feet into the valley below? Well, the road is nicely paved (even if quite narrow), so that’s good. That kind of driving in the rain makes the time feel quite elongated. We get to the last mile and find the dirt road, but it’s a good dirt road and leads us to our destination. No one’s around, but we head for the front door of the only building that looks as if it might be an “entry”. Well, you walk in the door to find that it’s a “church” inside…or was for over 500 years. Riccardo and Marilisa bought the place from the diocese of Gubbio about 12 years ago. They spent off-seasons from a restaurant in Antigua – yes, the one in the West Indies (a great story, eh?) and fixed it up slowly over 6 years. Then, they took the total plunge and came “home” to spend 18 months finishing the work and opening the place 5 years ago. Our friends, Jamie and Stephania McClennen have been here several times and are the most well-traveled couple we have ever met. They recommended it highly and that’s why we are here.
Finally, I find Riccardo, way down a flight of stairs. He greets me warmly and starts unloading our luggage into the church. Marilisa shows up and she’s the one who has been doing all of our communication over the months of preparation. She is effusive in her welcome and makes us very comfortable with tea and cappucino to fend off the chill of the rainy day…apologizing all of the time about the weather, as if she was responsible. The bags are magically transported to our room – a little separate building (maybe a former stone garage?) – and, we follow after a while of chatting and warming.
The rooms are wonderful and the bathroom spectacularly well made. Comfortable chairs to lounge, the promise of an outdoor dining table and chaise lounges for when it stops raining.
Dinner is in the church building by a fireplace in a cozy room down the hallway. Only 5 other couples are here, so that is the dinner “crowd”…it’s unlikely that anyone will drop in from Gubbio. Delicious food is the standard and not too much of it. We try some local wine – it’s an Umbrian Pinot Noir – and it’s outstanding. Aliciana is our waitress and has been here all five years of their history….everyone speaks English, so, it’s very easy.
To our room and to bed and we have a wonderful night’s sleep…so very quiet here in the Borgo.