This morning I am off to the weekly market in our local town of Gubbio, it is still artichoke and orange time, they are abundant, and so good, but I am heading by way of the consorzio, the local farmers’ store for potatoes and then straight on to the stall run by the guy from Assisi who grows and sells the most amazing young vegetable and salad plants, and so we will start planting beans, salad leaves and potatoes in our vegetable garden here at Bellaugello.
This afternoon I am spending with a fellow hotelier discussing menus and looking at new recipes. I am so looking forward to the summer at Bellaugello Gay Country House and our dinners served at our long table on the south facing terrace
A friend’s brother reportedly said “Boudicca – don’t let the Romans get near her!”
Last weekend a foal was born in the valley. The mother a beautiful white Camargue mare, both mother and daughter are doing well. Boudicca was born early in the morning and spotted nestling on the edge of some bushes by my caring and diligent farmer neighbour.
The photo is not the best, but it is a hugely happy one! Why Boudicca I asked, “Why not?” came the reply, “This is the year that our horses names begin with the letter ‘B’ ” and how great is that.
This afternoon as I type my blog at my kitchen window overlooking the roofs of Bellaugello Gay Guest House the sky is azure, cloudless, the sun is shining, soft week golds, the strength waning as sunset approaches, the shadows lengthening, not a breath of wind, all is still.
I am reminded that this morning I bundled the dogs into the cab and drove the Apetto down to the Chiascio river below the house where the dogs went for a swim. In the warmth of the sun I dozed languidly on a huge bough of an uprooted tree that is stranded on the rocky shore, suspended in mid – air almost horizontal, large, substantial, but flexible enough to sway gently too relaxing. The November floods have again changed the course of the river, our beach of last year is all but gone, now two huge new beaches full of large stones have appeared up and down stream, the limpid pools have been washed away, new ones carved out, and new swimming holes appear to be formed, they will be perfect for summer skinny dipping…..
I have had so many wonderful greetings from you guys, many guests choose to send photos of your holidays here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House and write me personally for the festive season, I am so very lucky. I plan to find time to sit down and put the photos in order and publish some of them on the blog. In the meantime here is something more pastoral, no Bellaugello backs, or fronts… instead a photo I took the other day of the vaulted ceiling of one of the smaller and more obscure churches in our local town of Gubbio, the city of Christmas…
With things at Bellaugello Gay Guest House being rather quiet at the moment I am able to take time out to socialise and catch up with friends and colleagues who all too frequently I do not get to see during the busy summer months.
So it was that I headed off to Rome to view an exhibition of photographs by one of my guests. Aldo is a brilliant photographer and was holding a small exhibition of his works with the theme of “Water”. This is a follow up to his very successful exhibition held this summer.
Not only was the main poster photo shot in the swimming pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, but there was a superb panorama of the Bellaugello Infinity Pool looking south to the distant hills, the sky heavy with grey clouds, that really gave the impression of not being in Umbria but rather being on a sail boat on the Pacific ocean, indeed Aldo tells me that several people had thought it so. You catch a glimpse of it in the poster above. The exhibition runs until tomorrow and if by any small chance you find yourselves in Rome then do head over there. The Photos are in very limited editions, maximum four prints and are really special.
Rome was resplendent in the sunshine. I did my touristy bit including watching the cutest sexiest actor on film set just by the Foro, and then I met up with friends and, stayed over at my good friend Claudio’s super luxurious bed and breakfast; Resort Cavour. Anyone looking for a great place to stay right in the heart of Rome I can thoroughly recommend it. A chic apartment in a beautiful building on the road running from Termini station to the Colosseum and Claudio is a great host. At the moment there are huge amounts of stairs to reach its lofty heights but Claudio tells me that finally the troublesome neighbour has passed on and they can finally put an elevator in (and will be doing so as soon as possible) that will whisk you right to the apartment. Here is link to his site: RESORT CAVOUR – ROMA
On the train back to Perugia a phone call. My builder Giovanni… Hmm why? Not that I have any building work going on at the moment and nothing planned until into the new year when I have a few new projects in mind including something most inviting… I was surprised to have a call from him. Giovanni has played a huge part of the reconstruction of the house at Bellaugello, including works around the wonderful infinity pool, so has become a friend. Thus it was that he was calling me up to invite me to a celebration last night. His daughter Beatrice was born in September and the phone call was to invite me to join in celebrating her christening. So last night I dug out a tie, ironed a shirt, put in cufflinks and a smart pair of tarts trotters and headed over to a friends house – they were invited also and together in the pouring rain with our best friend we set off to the ‘Dolce Vita’ restaurant.
Contrary to my expectations it was not a huge party, there were less than forty guests and four of us involved in running hospitality businesses were the only non-Moldavian or Romanian guests, it was a real honour. None of us was certain what to expect, and as the evening progressed all was revealed. A singer flown over from Moldavia (ok he does live in Italy, but only returned the day before yesterday) sang in Romanian, Russian and Italian, and sang through the evening almost non-stop. A groaning antipasto table was followed with the offering of presents. Now us ‘foreigners’ had clubbed together and between us bought a gold charm bracelet – we thought that appropriate, something that as Beatrice grows can be added to. But we were mortified when the god parents walked to the table and started presenting their presents which included blankets, rugs, romper suites, dresses, coats shoes, and the cutest little socks and a huge ginormous teddy bear that must be all of two metres tall! The next guests walked to the table, yet more clothes – the stores in Perugia must now be empty, boxes and more boxes were presented and thankfully some small expensive looking bags, we were saved! Once the presents were presented the god parents and close family took the blanket between them and put baby Beatrice in the centre and then under the anxious gaze of her father Beatrice was tossed up and down..
The baby safely restored to the arms of her mother the feast began, Italian and Moldavian dishes, Italian wines, Moldavian brandy, and lots of it. Finally at 2am the cake was brought out….
Rather like an Italian wedding it turned into a huge celebration… We were made to feel so very welcome. There was dancing, some of the music very reminiscent of Scottish reels, indeed the dancing style similar, great to have a good dance. The celebrations were still going strong when we left at after 3am.
In-between Roma and the party I had friends from the valley over for dinner. It was all a bit of a rush as there was a train strike on Friday and I was uncertain if I was going to get home at all. Odd how every time I am in Rome I experience travel problems. The strikers were kept company by a huge number of handsome carabiniere, seemingly almost as many as those standing looking bored outside the Banca d’Italia. Anyway the train was running, and crept into Perugia only 15 minutes late, so a quick dash to do some food shopping and back home, let dogs out and cook a curry. All four of us guys foreigners, happy to eat foreign food, and delighted to tuck into my chicken curry, not at all bad.
We finished up with glasses of Williams pear grappa and scrumptious chocolate tozzetti that I had bought in a delightful pasticceria in Roma, and to gorge ourselves also an apple pie brought by one of the guys, really yummy! Italy does have so much good about it!
Today rain all day, so a lazy cozy day in front of the fire. Catching up on telephone calls to friends, soggy squelchy dog walk, and beginning to make lists for our BELLAUGELLO NEW YEAR’S EVE HOUSEPARTY – for which there are still some suites available – For the full details and how to book scroll down on my blog and to get your space BOOKED NOW! or simply email: email@example.com
Oh! and by the way if any of your guys are looking for a personal portrait photographer, I can recommend Aldo, private message me and I will put you in contact.
A distinctly autumnal feel to the air here today in Umbria central Italy
The sun is weaker and the light like the leaves turning ever more golden
Out walking the dogs the view across the valley from Bellaugello Gay Guesthouse to the village of Colpalombo is a delight. I love the crisp clean air the dogs scrunching through fallen leaves and overhead clear blue skies. I’ve friends coming for the night, the fire lit dinner prepared, we are having kedgeree – I was just in the mood for fish, champagne is chilling and the table at home laid. I guess there is even time for me to sneak a shower at one of the outdoor showers on the terraces at Bellaugello , so nice to feel the hot water dancing off my body in the golden outdoors. Yes the outdoor showers have proved a great hit with guests here at Bellaugello Gay b&b They are well used and much appreciated, and now times are quoted it is my turn to enjoy!
As you are all by now probably aware I love my job. I live in the most utterly beautiful place, am surrounded by great friends, plenty of good wines and local food, and my business attracts great guys from all over the world to my door.
Bellaugello Gay Guest House has already established a loyal following, guys who return for holidays, guys who recommend friends who in turn visit and then recommend friends of their own. Bellaugello is a place where friendships are made. Several couples keep in touch with other guests, often across continents, one or other or both keeping me abreast of their friendships. I love it so much. Some guys also become personal friends, kind and generous, their homes open to me.
I am often asked if I have a ‘black book’ of guests not allowed to return, asked to ‘spill the beans’ or ‘dish the dirt’. I must confess to having few such stories to relate, a couple from last year, one from the year before, and this year none, I have had great guests, all a pleasure to have known and hosted. Of course there have been disappointments, a couple of mediocre reviews on Tripadvisor which I felt unwarranted and got me down, the indifferent summer weather that did so little to help the annuals bloom, and saw the chairs and cushions from the terrace yo-yoing indoors and outdoors, and has not helped the olives one bit, it is going to be a poor harvest this year.
However on the up side there were lots of gorgeous men lazing languidly poolside, we hosted our first art show; paintings of the infinity pool by a Dutch artist Paul Van Andel, the subject of many paintings was decidedly male. Many dinners and barbecues hosted, convivial evenings with engaging conversations, A friend realised another form of artwork using photographs of guys in the Bellaugello infinity pool, and is now commissioned to produce personalized chairs. Some great and thoughtful reviews on Google and Tripadvisor – guys there is still time to post your promised review… The fruit trees were heavily laden this summer, delicious plum fruit ripe for the picking, I made kilo after kilo of marmalades, we killed our first pig – I had christened here Daphne, many of you ate and enjoyed bits of Daphne, our lavender ice cream was brought into production and as well as being served at dinner was also available poolside…
I digress. The point of this post is for me to unashamedly promote another of my guests; Bing Taylor, a fascinating cultured and well travelled guy a regular Bellaugello guest and now friend has sent me a link to a book he has written and is now published:
Lago Trasimeno is the largest body of water in central Italy, it dominates the highway from Toscana to Perugia. The North shore is filled with towns such as Passignano and Tuoro that have a ‘seaside’ feel, there are shops filled with buckets and spades, inflatable armbands and floaty toys, restaurants abound, fish predominating the menu. The esplanade gives grandly onto the lake, the sun shining from the south over the water glistening on the limpid waves. Ferries take one onto the lake over to the islands, where one can have a damn good lunch.
But it is the south side of the lake I prefer, it is quieter, more remote, agrarian and somehow real. Every farm in this fertile environment has a stall selling their own Km Zero produce. I stopped at my favourite food place “Da Maria” looking like a truckers stop, even more so now that a major re-building project is underway And took my ticket. I love this place popular with locals and travellers, you eat well and the atmosphere is very convivial. Wait at the crowd, it is like the deli counter at the supermarket, fresh food appearing all the time,. I inspected the counter overflowing with local dishes and the wood fire cooking the ‘Torta al Testo” the local flat bread that is then filled with almost anything your heart desires. My choice of lunch was not the torts but instead fish from the lake itself, they are small fillets, dipped in light batter and fried – the nearest thing to British fish n chips here in Umbria. Utterly delicious, I took my tray and plastic plates and sat amongst the madding crowds in the dappled shade of the umbrella pines looking out over the lake.
Thence onwards to Castiglione del Lago, the ancient Umbrian castellated town on the border with Toscana. A delightful walk along the lungolago, a wee snooze in the sun on an all too convenient bench and a few photos – maybe he was the guy who caught my lunch…
Castiglione is a town fully on the tourist trail, shops overflowing with cheeses, salamis, ceramics, lentils and pulses, and a few nice cafes to boot, it is very visitor friendly and easily reached for a day trip from Bellaugelllo Gay Guest House
Happy birthday ” A ”
And where better to celebrate your partner’s birthday than by bringing him on holiday to Italy and staying in one of our luxury suites at Bellaugello Gay Guest House and of course in our infinity pool!
Sadly I did not have my camera with me this morning, but the afternoon shot is super too…
Manage Cookie Consent
To provide the best experiences, we use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behavior or unique IDs on this site. Not consenting or withdrawing consent, may adversely affect certain features and functions.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.