Colleen's Window on Italy Stories

The odyssey we took to restore this long abandoned gem is the stuff of stories: how we met the mayor within days of arrival, were welcomed into a beautiful village, adopted by four generations of a warm Umbrian family, struggled to finish a massive restoration in time for arriving guests, vaulted months of red tape with the help of our amazing "fixer", the geometra who became our dear friend, how we get involved in village festivals and are now continuing to discover what "living our dream" actually means.              With these stories, I share my own reality, much like a mosaic of brilliant ancient glass overlaid with the patina of true grit: life in a small village. I will take you with me as I explore the historical sites in Umbria and Tuscany that are so near and discover the meanings beneath the layers of that first romance with our dear, sometimes inscrutable, Umbria.

Time Travel to Medieval Days! Read more here....

Meet the Ladies of Piegaro: http://www.italiannotebook.com/local-interest/ladies-piazza/

Read what my very dear friend, Roberta, has to say about Piegaro history and its very special relationship with Pope Pius II: http://friendsofcama.blogspot.no/2012/09/little-paris-art-of-welcoming.html

What to do when you find yourself in Fig Heaven: http://www.italiannotebook.com/food-wine/fig-season/

Discover the Hidden Orvieto: http://www.italiannotebook.com/art-archaeology/orvieto-underground/

On the road with one of the most famous artists of the High Renaissance: http://www.italiannotebook.com/art-archaeology/perugino-landscape/

Wander up to Northern Italy to find out when a Knodle becomes something very Italian: http://www.italiannotebook.com/food-wine/canederli-celeriac-recipe/

Kiss and Tell in Citta della Pieve: http://www.italiannotebook.com/local-interest/vicolo-baciadonna/

Umbria is the Land of the Saints: http://www.italiannotebook.com/local-interest/terre-dei-santi-land-saints/

The Tobacco Harvest at a friend's farm: http://www.italiannotebook.com/local-interest/tabacchine/

Meet the Roosters of Orvieto! http://www.italiannotebook.com/local-interest/cocksure-orvieto/

Weaving the Fiasco in Piegaro: http://www.italiannotebook.com/local-interest/fiasco/

Visit a hidden jewel in Tuscany: http://www.italiannotebook.com/places/pitigliano/

A favorite place in Venice: http://www.italiannotebook.com/places/jewish-ghetto-venice/

Colleen's Introduction to her column on SlowTravel where she posts often: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/intro.htm

Read about how Colleen learned how to make the typical pasta of Umbria: Pici, or is it Strangozzi?? Here: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/leas_kitchen.htm

How we met the Count Lorenzo and shared his passion for a 2,200 year old vineyard!  He created a tour just for our guests five years ago and now open to the public! http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/monte_vibiano.htm

When Count Lorenzo surprises Colleen and her guests during olive harvest season: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/olive_harvest.htm

Pam Nichols and Colleen pay a visit to the famed Arezzo Antiques Fair and make some fine discoveries.  Here: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/arezzo_antiques.htm

Gianni Romizi, our awesome Geometre made it all possible.  Read Colleen's "Ode to Gianni" here: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/gianni.htm

Colleen tries to get the Comune to fix a leak and decides to dig a drainage ditch herself.  See what she stirs up here: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/patience.htm

A visit to Gubbio turns out to be a very dramatic adventure. Here: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/gubbio.htm

A celebration to thank our hardworking restoration crew turns into a village party! Here: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/buonafesta.htm

Children have a very different viewpoint of Assisi.  Read about Colleen's special children's tour here: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/child_assisi.htm

What is it like to live in a small medieval village where the main piazza is everyone's front yard? It is all about constantly connecting: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/matteotti.htm

Festa, Festa!  Any excuse to have a party together with friends.  Read about our friend Luca's annual Festa Primavera: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/primavera.htm

Corpus Domini Flower Festival in 2010 becomes a tribute to a dear departed friend: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/corpus_domini2010.htm

Piegaro's yearly Chestnut Festival is ten days of parties, feasts, dancing, glass blowing and crafts.  Experience one here:http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/chestnut.htm

Colleen wanted a traditional "Long Table" for the Villa. Read what the "Long Table" means to Italians: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/long_table.htm

St. Francis delivers an unexpected message to Colleen in Assisi: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/message.htm

Follow the swallows of Piegaro!  Ancient meanings and connection to St.Francis: http://www.slowtrav.com/colleen/swallow.htm









A WORD FROM OUR GUESTS

  • I don't know if I am a poetic enough writer to do justice writing about this property. Not only is there beauty to the eye in the unique, historical building, in the gorgeous views, and in the sweet village, there is also beauty for the soul in all of these elements. An experience like this is my favorite way to travel: some days my family took day trips to local sites and played tourist; other days we hung around the village, being a part of everyday community life. For the owners of this property, Colleen and Tom, this endeavor is so much more than a business; it is a passion of the heart that is evident in every detail, large and small. They are completely accessible by email, phone, or in person to share their joy and knowledge of the region, the people, and each and every logistical question you can throw their way. I traveled here with my husband and 6-year-old son, and we all found something to enjoy, and we all wished we could stay much, much longer than we were able. I can't imagine not visiting here again.

  • Wonderful accommodation in a working village with REAL Italians and few tourists. A great place to get the feel of the true Umbria away from the tourist spots. Lovely hill top villages to explore when you have had enough of lazing in/by the pool admiring the gorgeous view. No need to cook either as there are a couple of great places to eat in the village. The meat from the village butcher may just tempt you to barbeque on the terrace though as it is superb quality. Colleen and Tom couldn't be kinder and are always around in an unobtrusive way to help with queries. You won't go wrong staying with them!

  • We have been singing praises to everyone who will listen on this side of the Atlantic about our visit to L’Antica Vetreria.  We had a wonderful time in Piegaro and before we even returned to Fiumicino Airport everyone was saying that that they wanted to come back for another visit.   Our stay with you is going down as one of those fantastic vacations that will survive in family lore for many years...and generations... to come. It is a trip that our three granddaughters will be telling their children.

    My wife tells me that whenever she wants to relax, she mentally takes a tour through Piegaro. The butcher, the grocer, Luca’s wonderful meals and pasta sauce, the daily meetings of “the ladies of the Piazza,” Papina's weaving of palm fronds around wine bottles, our stunning tour of the eco-winery Castello Monte Vibiano - followed by lunch at the little family restaurant “down the road” among the farms that we would never have found without Tom’s guidance, Colleen’s fabulous tour of Assisi …and, not to be forgotten, karaoke night in the Piazza. Who knew that a village karaoke night could be so much fun. All of these things stand out in minds, but most of all we remember the warm embrace of the people of Piegaro and warm welcome and assistance that Colleen and Tom gave us throughout our time at the Villa. We all wish that we could hit restart and discover it all over again.

  • A friend and I were travelling throughout Europe this summer and our last week was booked at L'antica Vetreria in Piegaro. We fell in love with L'Antica and the lovely, quiet village. It was the perfect place to spend our last week relaxing and enjoying this beautiful area of Umbria and Tuscany. The owner, Colleen, gave us tours to nearby villages and places of interest that we would never have gone on our own. We also visited some of the more well known tourist towns but the charm was in the places not well known to the tourists. Her knowledge of the area, the culture, people and history made our stay very special. Our room was completely furnished so we shopped at the local stores and cooked several meals in but also favored the local eating establishments that had fantastic food. You must try the Pizza Colleen at Juni's restaurant...I'm sure I'll never have one as good until I can return there. We had a beautiful view from our apartment il Nido of the and valley below and the village square is just a few steps from the entrance. Colleen gave pasta making classes one day to guests which was great fun and the glass factory offered etching classes and we each brought home a treasured piece.. I can't wait to go back. It's not just a place to stay, but Colleen has endeared herself to the local people and because of that, they make you feel welcome and embrace you as part of the village. A great stay, don't miss it.
    Iris Matthewson

  • Thanks, Colleen and Tom, for renovating this lovely building in the charming town of Piegaro. It had everything we were looking for - a pool, a beautiful setting in a lovely town (with groceries and restaurants), and lodgings that are luxurious by European standards. Easily accessible from the Autostrada and within an hour to Orvieto, Siena and Florence, it made a great base for our exploring. I just wish we could have stayed longer!
     

  • It's been a year since we've been there, but the sense memories are so vivid...it feels like a week. Colleen and Tom have created a retreat that's elegant and serene. Twenty times a day we'd witness something so simple and beautiful that we'd stop what we were doing and stare: The view of the valley, the clouds, the town, the birds, the 1000 year old interiors. This is the kind of place that when you're telling your friends about it, you'll say: "Go. Trust us. Just go. Stay as long as you can.

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