Today was a good day and…very very busy. It rained all night and most of the day. There has been a long drought here, so the rain is good news for Umbria. We started the day with yoga, followed by breakfast. We went to the stables to see the horses and waited for Sandro, the owner of Rosa Canina where we are staying, to finish giving horse riding lessons. He formally introduced us to his horses and we got to pet them again. Gianni, our friend who is driving us all over the place, came by at noon and for the next 6 and a half hours, he took us shopping, and to several appointments. He also drove us to his hometown to see a palace and castle.
I think the highlight of today was seeing the villa where our retreat will take place starting tomorrow and meeting our chef, Massimiliano and his staff. Yesterday, Gianni pointed to a villa that sat just off the main road and said, ‘Ecco Villa Visentium!” “There???” “Si, si, there she is.” My heart sank a bit because of its proximity to the main road. I had imagined, from the photos that our villa was very much tucked away in a secluded place, but there it was exposed to the world. Gianni said he went there a few days ago to check it out, but only saw it from the gates which were locked with a thick red cabled chain. Then he asked us, “How many bedrooms did you say are in the villa?” “Nine.” “Mmmm. It didn’t look that big to me.”
That was yesterday…So today, after many errands and some sightseeing, we drove up to the villa sitting just off the busy road. And there we sat in Gianni’s van, parked outside the locked gates of the villa, watching the pouring rain hit the window shield, for nearly 40 minutes, contemplating how different the villa looked from the photos on line, and waiting for our chef to drive up! We had an appointment to meet our chef and now he was late for our first meeting.
Or so I thought! Finally, our chef calls Gianni and says, “Where are you?” Gianni says, “Well, we are here in front of the villa waiting for you. I can’t come in because the gate is chained.” That is when Massimiliano set us straight, “But you can’t be here because the gates are open and I am here waiting for you!” Ah, Dio! We had been sitting at the WRONG villa! Massimiliano gave Gianni directions for getting to the right villa. As Gianni drove up, we could see our cheery-faced Massimiliano and his staff ready to greet us and the breathtaking villa and surrounding grounds tucked away in the hills, far from the main road! Marilyn and I almost cried when we saw the villa! It is exquisite!
Need I say more at this point? We loved our meeting with Massimiliano and his staff! We loved touring the gorgeous villa and grounds. There is a 14th century tower and the villa is built around it. Gianni toured the house with us and kept saying, “Dio mio, I never knew such a place existed in all of Umbria!”
We have an early meeting tomorrow at the villa with the owner’s husband (the villa is owned by a Sicilian woman) and I will take photos of it then.
For now a few photos from today via a slide show:
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