Friday, June 27, 2014

Lavender Fields near Rome,Viterbo and Civitavecchia

Wide expanses of purple flowers, a heady perfume, bees buzzing…no, we are not in Provence, nor in faraway Tasmania, but  just a short drive from the  cruise ships docked in Civitavecchia and about an hour from Rome.

Here is a short video  of the lavender fields  I took yesterday. There was a soft breeze and lots of bees gathering  pollen. 

lavender sachets 

at the lavender shop  in Viterbo 

a window full of lavender products 

Finding the lavender  fields  is  also an exciting  experience for the  road  leading  to them is  actually  an Etruscan  “tagliata “, a narrow  passage carved out of the tufa rock  by the Etruscans.  

Here is a short video clip   of the drive along  Strada  Signorino,  leading to  the lavender fields. 

Please share this with friends who love lavender, for  the flowering  continues  until mid or end of July.  
If you are coming to see the lavender fields in the Viterbo area, I will be speaking at the Caffeina festival in Viterbo (Piazza S. Maria Nuova )  on July  2nd, at 8 p.m.  
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Monday, June 2, 2014

Romantic Hideaways near Rome

loggia of Palazzo Orsini  
A hilltop cottage or  a candle-lit   cantina,  a tree house surrounded by lavender or  a seaside villa with mature  gardens, a castle overlooking the Tiber river  valley or  a  tower suite  in   medieval  Viterbo: whatever your idea of a romantic hideaway, you can probably find it in Etruria/Tuscia, just an hour north of Rome. 

Forget about  expensive  Tuscany,  hard to reach Cinqueterre and touristy Venice  and focus on  Rome’s hinterland  now being discovered by some of the  2.5 million   cruisers  who pass through the  port city of Civitavecchia. 
In the past  20 years  dozens of romantic  places to stay have sprung up  offering a wide variety of romantic  and unique getaways. 

Yesterday we were invited to the inauguration of Mauro’s  restored  cantina  in the center of Capranica, 50 kms north of Rome. Furnished  with antiques collected over the years, this cozy apartment with a luxury bath is carved out of the ancient stone cantina where wine was  made until a few years ago. Today it has become a luxury apartment perfect for escaping the present century.  
Entrepreneur Renzo moved from Milan to set up  a country  B&B which includes a  romantic tree house   that is booked solid until  2015, proof that  city folk have an innate desire to return to nature. 

Cinthia’s  cottage suites  with an English flavor are perched atop Menica Marta   hill near Fabrica di Roma where her horses roam among the olive trees.

 The colorful suites include  private outdoor spaces, a BBQ and guest laundry plus the  fascination of being in nature.
breakfast at Menica Marta Country House 

 Celeste’s  magical villa in Tarquinia  overlooks  mature gardens which once belonged to a luxury loving cardinal.
 Nearby are black sand beaches, Etruscan sites  and   Civitavecchia’s port, making   Le Tre Portale  perfect for  pre or post cruise  vacations.
Villa Le Tre Portale near Tarquinia

Does your idea of a romantic hideaway mean staying in  a castle?   If so, sisters Elsa and Gabriella can grant your wish at their family castle  located in the tiny hamlet of Mugnano .

see previous blog post about our visit here
 It has only three suites and magnificent views  from the loggia over the Tiber  river valley. The adjacent church makes it perfect as a venue for wedding parties.
Palazzo Orsini, Mugnano in Teverina 

For those who prefer a city location,  Giulia’s  medieval Torre di Vico , a B&B in the center of  Viterbo fills the bill. 

 You will have all of Viterbo to explore  plus the thrill of climbing the tower to your suite at the end of the day.

Other unique  romantic  places to stay  abound in the area north of Rome. Let us know if you have a favorite.