Postcards from Umbria

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We followed our friends to our rental car at the beginning our short vacation together, feeling a palpable sense of freedom and relaxation. The source of our contentment was easy to pinpoint: we weren’t in charge. While we had all chosen the destination and lodging together, another couple had rented the car and they would be doing the driving and navigating. As Paul and I climbed into the far back seats of the… Read More

Antiques don’t particularly excite me, yet I love the Arezzo Antiques Fair. I planned this trip around a visit to the Antiques Fair, even though it meant shaking off jetlag and jumping out of bed early on my first full day in Italy. Arezzo is a small city in Tuscany about an hour north of Benano. On any regular day, it’s a lovely place to visit. On the first Sunday of every month and… Read More

I always offer to help our guests plan their trips, and I’m happy when they accept some help. And when my friend Katie accepted my offer, I was thrilled. Katie had agreed to act as her traveling party’s activities director, and they hit the jackpot when they assigned her to the role. She read everything I sent her, pored over this blog and Rocca di Benano’s Pinterest Board (which is sort of… Read More

Many thanks to our good friends Kris and Ellen for visiting Benano — and special thanks to Kris for writing this post about our visit with Chef Lorenzo at Ristorante Zeppelin in Orvieto: If I were to write a book about our recent visit with good friend Karen Smith, I’d call it “Eat, Pray, Cook.” Forget the Julia Roberts movie and bestselling book. Cooking is love when you have delicious fresh ingredients, a… Read More

For a pleasant day trip from Benano, I’m always happy to take a drive around Lake Bolsena. There are any number of wonderful ways to circumnavigate the lake. Here’s a description of how Paul and I did it a couple of years ago, and the map below shows how Lynn and I did it a couple of weeks ago: We started in Tuscania, just south of Lake Bolsena and about an hour’s drive from… Read More

I’m lucky to have company on this trip, and lucky to have friends who write blog posts.  My friend Aileen contributed this: I’m not sure if it’s my love of yarn that makes me love sheep, or vice versa, but there’s something special about seeing pastures of sheep throughout the Italian countryside. Their coats are long this time of year and they seemed warm and content as they watched us drive toward… Read More

Few things make me quite as happy as hearing from guests who love Benano as much as we do. With their permission, I’m sharing notes from the heads of two wonderful families who rented the villa over New Years. But first, enjoy their vacation photos (have you ever seen such beautiful families?)! Hi Karen — We arrived safely home and went back to work the next day then battled fairly exhausting jetlag for… Read More

We love collecting travel tips from our guests. Some of our favorite guests told us that one of the highlights of their stay at Rocca di Benano was their visit to renowned ceramic artist Marino Moretti’s studio. After seeing the art they brought home, we decided we needed to get to know Marino. It wasn’t hard. Marino warmly welcomes visitors, is very engaging, and speaks great English. And he lives and works… Read More

Two and a half years out of a perfectly wonderful career at Procter & Gamble, I still find myself mildly unsettled without a real job description (let alone quarterly goals, success measures, and annual reviews) for my work at Rocca di Benano.  If I had one, it would include something along these lines: Accelerate guests’ enjoyment of rural Italy by providing them ample recommendations for day trips, activities, restaurants, etc. All of which… Read More

I had a perfect hot day in Rome last week. (On a hot day in Rome, perfection includes getting back to an air conditioned room by 3:00 and spending the hottest part of the day resting one’s feet.) Loyal readers (that’s you, Mom and Paul) already know of my fondness for Gianlorenzo Bernini, the sculptor and architect whose work decorates Rome and — please don’t think me shallow for mentioning this —… Read More