Showing posts with label Umbria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Umbria. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Cottage in the Country

I've been having a great summer and am so sad to see it coming to an end. I am extremely grateful for the time my mother and I have been able to spend together. She will be leaving next week and I will miss her dearly but I am already looking forward to my next trip to the States this winter.

We spent the first half of august in southern Italy with family and friends and everyone was so happy to see her as it was over two years since she had been back in Italy. 

We had a big family dinner but unfortunately not everyone could be present.  We have a huge family in Brindisi.  It was nice to see everyone again.  Even though I live in Italy I don't get to see them all very often because I live further away so it was a treat for me as well to see everyone. 

The last week of vacation we did something different and rented a villa in Umbria close to Assisi through an agency called Emma Villas. They rent luxurious private villas all throughout Italy but are mainly based out of Tuscany and Umbria. 

There are hundreds of villas to choose from. All of the villas have private pools and offer all kinds of services and amenities that suit your needs. It was a dream come true for me as this cottage pretty much sums up my dream home... 

Some of the pictures here I took myself but others are from the website since they did such a wonderful job capturing the beauty of the property. 

Since there were originally 6 of us (we ended up being 4 since two of our guests couldn't make it) plus our pup, we decided on a 4 bed 4 bath 3 story villa. The property was entirely enclosed which was perfect for the the dog who could roam around freely and I wouldn't have to worry about him running onto busy streets.

I absolutely fell in love with the home and it was such a peaceful and relaxing week that I needed to take my mind off of things and just recharge my batteries. 

This was where we had dinner most nights and I loved waking up early and just taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery with my morning coffee.  It was so peaceful.

There were olive and fruit trees all throughout the property which were illuminated at night. 

Here are some more pictures of the cottage of my dreams... swoon...

The pool was located at a lower level with respect to the cottage and was surrounded by secular old olive groves. 

The villa had everything we needed including a barbecue which we used almost every night. Mom was the one who knew how to start the fire! Neither Mr. Amore or I had ever used one before (I know...) and she was seriously a pro! 

Everything was amazing! One night we made grilled fish, calamari and prawns on the grill and they were outstanding!

The house we stayed in was filled with beautiful artwork.  Each room had a special piece that you could tell was original and probably pretty expensive. 

One of the paintings really stood out to me for some reason and there is quite a story we found out about the woman in the painting below. 

I found out that the lady is mother to the owner of the cottage. Her name is Madame Suzanne and she was from Auvergne, France. I found out that she was a talented decorator and lover of antiques, gourmet food and an excellent swimmer. She was mother to three boys and unfortunately died in a tragic car accident in Italy, most likely in Umbria in 1964, 10 years after this painting was made and was probably in her early forties. Her three boys were all very young when they lost their mother. 

Here is a picture of her with one of her sons. I don't know why this particular painting stood out to me so much.  She seemed like a very sweet and loving lady as well as beautiful indeed. May she rest in peace. 

While we were in Umbria we visited Assisi which I've visited before but my mother was never there and really wanted to visit the Basilica of St. Francis. 

It is astoundingly beautiful inside and I'm not going to lie I got pretty emotional.  It touches me to see so many people praying together and when you're in a place like this you can't help but pray for more peace in our world. 

Assisi is a medieval town and it shows through its architecture. 

We stopped at a cute little restaurant before heading back home and had some great food. 

Umbria is famous for it's prosciutto and wild boar so many of the typical entrees include these ingredients.  

Above is a typical Umbrian first course dish of egg pasta or pappardelle with a ragu sauce made with sausage and wild boar meat. Below are two different types of flat bread pizza one with squash blossoms and one with prosciutto.  

I think I'm going to end this post here with my favorite know, food :-) 

Now that august is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to all things fall and am glad to be getting back into the routine of things. 

Hope all is well with you dear friends. 



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Monday, April 10, 2017

Birthday Weekend Recap

Last week I turned 35... I was dreading this day because as of April 5th 2017 I am in an entirely new age range...Let me explain: I am a huge fan of Sex and the City and I own the entire dvd collection and never get sick of the show even after all these years.  I also know for a fact that Carrie's actual house is not really where they say it is and I know this because I dragged my mother and my boyfriend all over the Upper East Side looking for it last summer thus eventually finding out that the actual brownstone is located in Greenwich Village on the complete opposite side of the city...  Needless to say they were pretty mad at me by the end of the day and I had to listen to my mother say over and over again that I was trying to kill her by making her walk so much... ANYWAYS, I distinctly remember the episode (Season 4 - episode 1) in which Carrie turns 35 and she talks about checking the age box when filling out forms.... and that was all I could think about for the entire week... Yeah so, I switched boxes. Not cool. 

Anyways... aside from some temporary tears and depression... my sweetheart made a real effort in trying to lift my spirits and for this I will be forever grateful and he booked a one night stay in a Relais & Chateaux Luxury Hotel. :-)  It was truly magical! We had a spa session when we arrived and a three course candlelit dinner for two.  The Resort is located in the province of Perugia in the Umbria region.  Borgo dei Conti Resort is an estate that originated as a fortress in the twelfth century and was later inherited by Count Bernardino Rossi and his wife Countess Angelina Scotti of Perugia in the second half of the 19th century. It includes a 50 acre park with trails for hiking, a gourmet restaurant, outdoor and indoor pools and a wellness center. 

   This is the entrance to the hotel. 
Below is a picture of the entrance to the park/forest and some other pictures I took of the external grounds. 

This is the fitness area with huge windows overlooking the park. 

Inside it was a mix of modern and classic.  I personally thought that they should have stuck with the classic decor but that's my humble opinion.  I'm not too into mixing modern with baroque. However it was beautiful nonetheless. 

I absolutely fell in love with this mirror. There were so many beautiful antique mirrors. 

We stayed in the Countess suite.  At the time the Count and the Countess slept in separate rooms. The room had a gorgeous fireplace and original fresco's all around the room. 

There is also an adjoining library which was connected to the Countess and Count suites. The door pictured below is the entrance to the Counts orginal bedroom while ours was on the other side. 

The library had Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy transcribed on elephant folios which you can see pictured above. Each book contains one of the three canticas: The Inferno, The Paradiso and The Purgatory. 

This is the fireplace in the library...swoon!!

Pictured above is the restaurant which was originally the ballroom in the 800's. I had a squash risotto with truffle and pistachios. It was seriously I literally have no words to describe it other than amazing.

Then as a second course I got grilled lamb chops with an olive tapenade over sauteed zucchini...also amazing and cooked to perfection. 

I had a magical time and while I was there I forgot about all my problems and of becoming older and just enjoyed my time with my sweetheart.  We really needed a nice romantic getaway both as a couple and for each of us individually. A little TLC is necessary at times.

...And for one day I truly felt like a princess in an enchanted castle...
(no matter what age box I'm in)

Have a great week friends!



Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter Weekend Getaway in Umbria

We had a long weekend here in Italy and decided to take a trip to Umbria where we stayed in a beautiful Relais in the province of Perugia. This is going to be a pretty long post so grab a cup of coffee and I hope you enjoy the pictures of the Umbria Region as much as I enjoyed being there! 

We arrived Friday evening and left yesterday morning. It was short but sweet and hopefully we'll go back this summer because it is such a beautiful place to visit. 

We stayed in a small Beauty and Wellness hotel called Villa di Monte Solare in the outskirts of Perugia. It is a villa that was once the home of an aristocratic family in the 1780's and was transformed in a luxury hotel immersed in the Umbrian countryside. 

The Hotel has only 25 rooms available. There is a spa, wellness center, two pools, tennis courts and an esteemed restaurant with a Chef that is not only really really good looking but also very talented. He came out to greet us the last night we were there and got loads of compliments from all the guests. Here are a couple of the delicious dishes that he prepared. I apologize for the bad lighting. 

This was a cream of pumpkin soup with almonds and toasted amaretto crumbs. To die for!

This was a rack of lamb with a pistachio crust that I got two nights in a row as a second course because seriously....I have never tasted anything so good in my ENTIRE life! This was outstanding!

Saturday morning I went for a run around the hotel property. I woke up at about 6:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. I saw it was such a beautiful day and I wanted to take in all the fresh morning air. 

It felt so good taking in all that beauty. 

There was a beautiful abandoned stone house along my morning walk and I dreamt about fixing it up and decorating it. My dream is to own an old stone house like this one, fixing it up and blogging about it. Maybe one day...

I love stone houses and in Umbria the majority of the villas are stone. 

Later on we went to Assisi which was about a half hour drive from our Hotel. Assisi is a very characteristic town that is famous for its Basilicas.  

This is Saint Clare's Basilica where you can visit the Tomb of the Saint. 

I was able to sneak in a picture while down there. It was very touching being able to see the tomb and all the people that go there to pray and worship the Saint. 

Later we walked around the square and visited some of the shops.  I was surprised to see there were so many Americans visiting Assisi. Everywhere I turned I heard someone speaking English! 

I loved looking around all the souvenir shops. 

We walked so much that day! My legs were killing me that night.

The town is filled with so much historical and medieval architecture.

We finally made our way to the Basilica of Saint Francis which was a sight to see. 

That concluded our trip to Assisi. 

I loved the stone houses and the typical Umbrian roof tops. 

The rooftops are so pretty. 

On Easter Sunday we had a spa appointment at the hotel at 3:00pm so we decided to check out Perugia in the morning. 

Perugia is definitely a bigger city with respect to Assisi and we happened to arrive when the big Easter Antique Market was taking place. Ahh.. be still me heart! I wanted to buy ALL. THE. THINGS.

Above is the main square in Perugia. At the other end of the square is where the market was going down. I was all of a sudden in shopping mode. You know what I'm talking even if a bomb was going to drop in the middle of the Piazza and I saw something I wanted NO ONE AND NOTHING was about to stop me from getting what I wanted!

Oh those chandeliers were so beautiful!

I fell in love with these night stands and I was such an idiot for not taking them home with me! They were so beautiful up close. This picture does not do them justice... 

I was in heaven here!

Aren't those old irons adorable?

I debated on whether or not to take home those plates but I decided not too. I wasn't pleased with the asking price and the guy wouldn't budge.. 

This is what I bought from the market in Perugia. 

I bought this set of six crystal Vintage Champagne coupes which are just beautiful. One of the glasses has a little chip on it so I was able to get a good price. 

Here they are in my hutch. 

Then I found a big green vintage glass bottle that I have been looking everywhere for and I finally found it for 10€!

I've been collecting wine corks just so I can put them in a bottle just like this one and I finally found it! Now I have to rinse it out and finally fill it up with my corks :-)

That pretty much sums up my Easter weekend. It was rough going back to work and getting into the routine again even if it was just three days. 

I hope you all had a fun and relaxing weekend as well and I wish you a great week ahead.