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TOURISM: Il Castello di Proceno PDF Print E-mail
Jun 29, 2008 at 04:39 PM

ImageIf you're driving through upper Lazio on your way to Siena, here's a suggestion. Stop off for a night at the Castello di Proceno, an as yet largely undiscovered agriturismo in a 12th century castle where in the summer you can enjoy a swimming pool situated in a luxuriant garden and (and it's a BIG "and") delicious un-run-of the mill Tuscan-Tuscian food.

Proceno is a tiny medieval town in the area known as Tuscia where the Etruscans once dwelled and which stretches from upper reaches of Latium  and parts of Umbria into Tuscany; in fact, the castle is just kilometres away from the "frontier" with what was once the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and as such has been a stopping off point for travellers for almost 2000 years.

The Cecchini Bisoni family has owned the towering castle for over 300 years and several years ago decided to turn it into a restaurant and hotel. The Enoteca, where meals are served from October through April, was carved out of the castle's cellars. In the summer the restaurant, unfortunately open for lunch only on Sundays, moves to a terrace and loggia in the park outside the castle's ramparts.

The Castello di Proceno has seven well-appointed apartments with wood-beamed ceilings white-washed walls, as well as several suites. I've never stayed here and wouldn't need to since I have a home in Bolsena, about a half an hour's drive south. But what struck me was the food. I can't go through the entire menu here but there are delicacies such as potato dumplings with truffle cream and gorgonzola, a simple but delicious spaghetti dish made with herbs and julienned prosciutto crudo, rice with a deer ragù, pork loin cooked in gin, and a series of luscious desserts. For details see:


Bike-sharing underway in Rome PDF Print E-mail
Jun 21, 2008 at 03:57 PM
ImageRome has finally inaugurated the bike-sharing program that the previous city administration had announced last year. Roma'nBike, modelled on the Parisian system of bike-sharing, was kicked off on June 13 in Piazza di Spagna by the new mayor, Gianni Alemanno and the environment commissioner, Fabio De Lillo and a six-month experimental period is now in full swing in Rome's downtown area, the centro storico.
Hadrian’s Villa: Beauty amid the Blight PDF Print E-mail
Mar 31, 2008 at 07:46 PM
ImageA few days ago, a glorious almost-spring Saturday, a large group of us went to Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli to have a pre-lunch walk and thus begin the celebratration of the 60th birthdays of two friends, Michael and Enrico. The brownish-red ruins (once all these buildings were covered with marble or painted with frescos, but I think they look great like this!) with their brick opus reticolatum were compelling beautiful, set as they were against a cerulean sky, highlighted by the stark profiles of Mediterranean pines and the yellow and white of the first spring flowers.
EVENTS: Roman Triumphs, a Colosseum Triumph PDF Print E-mail
Mar 10, 2008 at 10:57 AM
        Another fantastic look at the glory that was Rome opened last week at the Colosseum and is entitled Roman Triumphs. A Triumph was a Roman procession, usually lasting three days, which was granted to Roman generals, consuls and other heros to dazzle the population with the booty of their exploits - slaves, gold and precious stones, sacrificial animals and the like - and receive their acclaim. These triumphs were among the most important celebrations of ancient Rome and the more than hundred pieces - sarcophaghi, marble reliefs and friezes, memorial coins, frescoes and statues - on view through mid-September give an idea of what life in Rome was like from Etruscan times through the reign of Constantine.

Hours 8.30 -  to 17:00 oe 17:30 in March, 8:30 to 19 or 19:30 in spring or summer. The ticket office closes an hour before closing time.  settembre al 14 settembre. The €11 ticket includes entry to the Roman Forum and the Palatine. Reservations (Colosseum only) by Pierreci tel. +39.06.39967700 or

Of Beauty, Bernini, Organizational Bizzarie and Broken Elevators PDF Print E-mail
Jan 21, 2008 at 03:40 PM

Image Anyone will tell you that a visitor to Rome must absolutely make a point of going to, or returning to, the Galleria Borghese. And whether or not you’ve heard that caveat a million times,  believe me it is true. The Galleria, open daily except for Mondays from 9.00 alle 19.00 (call 06.32810 for obligatory reservations)  is an unparalleled gem.  This doesn’t mean that visiting it is easy. In fact, in more than one way the Borghese Gallery can be seen as a microcosm of Italy; gloriously rich in art and sorely lacking in solid, practical organization.

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