Sunday, October 27, 2013

Guests at a Hilltop Castle

Palazzo Orsini , Mugnano in Teverina
balcony  across  the piazza 

One of the many  castles  perched on hilltops  along the A1 Autostrada north of Rome  is Palazzo Orsini located  in the tiny village of Mugnano in Teverina, just a speck on the map and not included in any tourist itineraries. 

meeting at  Mugnano 's tiny park
the Barberini sisters  in  the courtyard 
 The owners are  sisters Elsa and Gabriella Barberini who   grew up here, a slice of heaven in Northern Lazio, bordering on the  regions of Umbria and  Tuscany .

the castle's  loggia 

entrance to Palazzo Orsini 

When they inherited the  rambling palazzo  from their parents they began the long, difficult restoration.  Over a period of many decades  they put their time and money into the huge project, while working as teachers. 

 courtyard with bricks in fishbone design 
The most recent  restoration involved repainting the façade and the installation of a new roof using the original terracotta roof tiles.
steep  stairway 

Now  Palazzo Orsini has been returned  to its original splendor, and has been officially inaugurated as  a very special historic  B&B with only   3 bedroom suites.  
Breakfast is served in one of the several frescoed halls or on the south facing  loggia and often the castle hosts receptions and  wedding parties which use the  tiny church  on the main piazza for the ceremony.
frescoed loggia overlooking the Tiber valley 

When a group of friends led by Pamela  and Terri  recently came to visit, the sisters  invited us to stop by on our way to  Bomarzo’s   Sacro Bosco  nearby.

homemade  crostata  and yogurt cake 
The day was splendid  and the views over the Tiber river valley from the castle’s frescoed loggia were breathtaking, especially to ladies hailing from  the flat plains of midwestern America.

hospitality for American  visitors 

  Elsa and Gabriella  showed us around their beautiful castle home pointing out  the different  phases of  restoration and original  architectural details such as fireplaces, secret  doors, frescoed walls and coffered wood ceilings. 
original door with peephole 

geraniums on the loggia
 What castles have you visited in Italy?  
Your comments are welcome.

the rose symbol of the Orsini  family   


  1. Just heard from the sisters, who are thrilled to have their castle/home featured here.

  2. We live in this village, too! I love living here, but admit I'd love to move to a smaller place without a lovely garden, but a view of it would be fine. I've become too old to do much gardening these days. If you dream of living in a place like this, your dream can come true. We look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Really enjoyed this article this morning Mary Jane. I hope to visit someday when I return!

  4. Greetings Mary Jane!Great article I reread this morning. I hope to visit again someday,and intend on using lots of your tips! Lovely pictures too by the way! Hope you and Fulvio are well! Fondly, Janie