|Ruspoli Castle seen from the gardens|
|still life at the castle kitchen|
|corridor to the castle chapel|
The town of Vignanello was in full festival mode this week for the beginning of Carnival coincided with the feast days of two local saints, Santa Giacinta Marescotti and San Biagio.
|the Duomo of Vignanello faces the Castello|
|Giada holds her copy of my |
|plan of the castle's Renaissance gardens|
|warming up by the fireplace|
|Family coat of arms and portraits in main salone|
|Ruspoli ancestors tower over Fulvio|
We were guests of Donna Giada Ruspoli for lunch at her family Castello, which dominates the town of Vignanello, sharing the main piazza with the Duomo.
|with Donna Giada Ruspoli|
Arriving to the piazza the noise level increased as we struggled against the icy winds that channeled down the narrow main street: besides the celebratory fireworks that reverberated off the Duomo and castle walls the town band was playing and the traffic in the tiny piazza worked itself into gridlock.
|family portraits and candles|
|crossing the moat|
One must cross the moat to enter the castle’s massive entrance doors and once inside the guests enjoyed bruschette and aperitivi in the warm glow of portable heaters.
|Elisa and Claudio Fochetti, Fulvio and Elizabeth|
|Elizabeth with Santino, the castle's gardener extrordinaire|
Some hardy guests braved the cold to cross a further moat which connects the castle with its famous Renaissance gardens.
|the Renaissance gardens|
|three young guests in the castle 's main salone|
Many of those invited were specialists in antique music who had come up from Rome for the day. Others hailed from places further away: Portugal, Oxford and Brazil.
|guests enjoyed lunch and desserts...|
|...around the tables and the fireplace|
Lunch was served in two living rooms on the piano nobile and guests served themselves at a buffet table in the main room decorated with family portraits and with the best views over the garden.
|Donna Giada and Signor Fochetti|
|Chiara Pelliccia, Giorgio Monari, Francesco Maria Ruspoli and Donna Giada Ruspoli|
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