Postcards from Umbria

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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

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

When Paul and I were first able to afford a trip overseas, we chose Italy over Ireland because, as shallow as it sounds, we figured the food would be better. Fifteen years later, we still can’t remember having had a bad meal in Italy. We will always remember, however, the lunch we had on our recent day trip to Tuscany. It took place at a very special restaurant owned and operated by… Read More

I was skeptical when Robin suggested we try this little place for lunch. I should have known better — she has the same ability to pick a winner that Jeff has. This lunch was easily one of the best I’ve had here. Three of us — Robin, our friend Jude, and I — were in the middle of a day of serious house renovation-related work. We had spent the morning in Piancastagnaio… Read More

What most visitors know as ‘the Italian experience’ is the Italian summer experience. This article in yesterday’s New York Times describes rural Italy in the winter. It features a part of southern Tuscany that is less than an hour from here, so it describes exactly the type of experience I’m having in Italy in the off-season. Being here in the winter feels almost like being an invited guest.  I’m loving having shops and restaurants… Read More