Why do I have a selfie with a shirtless guy? Is our rental car small enough to fit through this Umbrian castle’s gorgeous but very narrow gates? These questions will be answered as you read this blog post 🙂 Or you can just look through the photos. Either way, thanks for being here!
One of the many things I love about traveling in Europe is being able to stay in historic locations. It amazes me how many beautiful old (and some ancient!) buildings have been converted into lodging. Staying at one of these inns is akin to staying at a museum. Why spend the night at a chain hotel when you can sleep at a castle? Often, these one of a kind historic lodgings are no more expensive than a regular hotel (it still surprises me!). On our way from Rome FCO airport to Tuscany this summer Nick & I spent 24 hours in Umbria. Our home for the night was a beautiful XVI century castle, Castello di Casigliano.
When arranging our accommodations I was very aware that this hotel was under new management and not fully operational. But, once I saw castle’s photos I knew we couldn’t pass this place up. That week there was not yet WiFi, breakfast, or staff on premises. But being in this historic castle was beyond special.
Our room (La Noce suite) had 2 floors and a balcony with one of the best views I’d ever seen. Just take a look at my photos. Situated on top of a tiny picturesque Umbrian hilltown off the beaten path, the castle has only a few rooms and virtually no foreign tourists. It’s magical and peaceful, and there are farm fields and vineyards for miles around. We contemplated the castle’s multi-century history while sipping wine on our balcony at night and while exploring the grounds in the early morning. It was perfect.
As we arrived, two issues arose.
1. We were not sure our rental car would make it through the castle’s ancient (and very narrow) gates (see photo in the gallery below). Later we just decided to park it outside the gates:)
2. There was absolutely nobody at the castle (later I learned that the management had a remote office for the time being).
Calling the number I had produced no results. I must have misdialed (thanks, jetlagged brain!!) because I got a screeching dial tone and an unpleasant robotic voice saying something in Italian. There was not a soul in the vicinity. It seemed like we were the last humans on earth (or at least in this little castle village). The internet wouldn’t load (cell signal was almost nonexistent). It was hot and we were tired from the long flight the day before. Nick and I sat in the car for a few minutes with AC cranked to cool off and regroup.
We decided to walk the perimeter of this tiny hilltop hamlet to find someone to help us. Thankfully, after a few minutes, I caught a glimpse of a human: a shirtless guy by a window! I knocked on his door. He opened (still shirtless), holding a cigarette and a small dog. He was very friendly and didn’t speak a word of English (why should he? He lives in a remote village in Italy!) but we managed to communicate with whatever Italian I knew. And gesturing. Lots and lots of gesturing. Philippo was very sweet and called the correct number for me. While we were waiting for the hotel manager to arrive, he walked us right up to the castle/hotel entrance. Thank you, Philippo! We took a selfie together. You’ll see it in the gallery below. He’s the only one without a shirt 🙂
At night, after our evening in Todi (nearby beautiful town), Nick & I got back and were ready to have some wine on our beautiful balcony (which overlooks an amazing castle tower). Without a corkscrew we had to spend a few minutes figuring out how to open the bottle. Which we did, with a butter knife! Don’t laugh, that’s all we had! We managed to open the wine, but as I was trying to get out the last bit of cork, the wine backfired (not sure how else to describe it) I got a face full of wine 🙂 You can see my silly photo in the gallery.
Click on the first photo and then click next. I put a few captions here and there.
That’s all for now 🙂 Will post more about Umbria very soon!
Have you ever stayed in a castle? If yes, please please tell me where, I’ll mark it on my Google Maps for future travels! Grazie mille!