Corpus Domini in Piegaro 2010

In a small village, especially in Italy, there are many rhythms. Living in a small village I am bound by the daily and yearly rhythms of this life. This life is characterized by ease and naturalness. I am easily bound to my neighbors. Deep friendships develop and are easily nurtured. Our lives are naturally intertwined in many ways. From the first opening of our window shutters and our morning greetings to each other, to the last “buona notte” when we leave the piazza and head to bed, we easily pass the time of day and share our lives. We pass each other in the central piazza, meet up at the butcher shop, the café or the grocery store. We care about each other and naturally share our lives together. The fabric of village life is woven with daily and yearly rituals.

When I arrive at the train station in April upon my annual return to Piegaro, I am picked up by Carlotta and Alessandra of my adopted Italian family. The first important news that they give me is one of sadness. My dear neighbor, Tito, is in hospital in very grave condition with cancer. Immediately I go to his wife, Giocanda, lovely Giocanda who lives just above our terrace and who I see many times a day watering her plants, hanging her laundry, passing the time of day  

Lovely Giocanda

Tito comes home to rest for three weeks soon after my arrival, but he is in great pain and I cannot visit him. Giocanda points out his bedroom window above my terrace and I send him my daily prayers. 

The rhythms of the year are marked by annual festivals and in early May, we celebrate the festival of Corpus Domini to commemorate the first time the wine of communion turned into blood near Orvieto.  Each year the streets of Piegaro are decorated with floral tapestries that line each street.  This flower festival is called an “infioriata”.  This year I wake early to help Giocanda decorate our street together, but am greeted by young Valentina, my other neighbor instead, with Giocanda’s sad news.  Tito has passed the evening before Corpus Domini, perhaps the most important religious observances of our year.

Valentina steps up to take Giocanda’s place. She is just putting together a large heart outside my gate with roses and greenery. I quickly gather rose petals from Giocanda’s and my rose bushes, clip lots of ivy and geraniums. So together, we decorate our street in honor of Tito, while Giocanda remains shuttered in mourning.

Description: My Neighbor, Valentina, Coming to Fetch More Roses.JPG Colleen with Flowers
Valentina comes to the rescue! And Colleen spreads the ginestra

On Via Cavour by the Villa
Valentina's beautiful heart outside our gate in Via Cavour

Valentina and I work our way up our street creating a pathway of pink and red roses and greenery with yellow ginestra.  At the corner we join my good friend and Italian “sister”, Lea who has more ginestra that she has collected for several days.  We continue to create floral tapestries along their street up to the entrance to the church.  Together, with the advice of Maria Pia and Carla, we create a beautiful chalice and early Christian symbol of peace.

Filling chalice
Filling the chalice with flower petals

Joined by Tom to supervise!

Banners are hung outside the houses, and every street is becoming an “infioriata” a floral tapestry.  Each street has its own altar that will soon be blessed by our village priest Don Augusto.

Out the window
Dear friend, Pepina, hangs her banner.

Watching the procession

ChaliceWatering to keep flowers freshPagliaccia Family
The Pagliaccia Family gathers to decorate their street, Via dell'Industria

Within only a couple of hours, our village is transformed into a magical and mystical warren of floral displays of great creativity.  Everyone joins in and I run around checking to see what each of my neighbors is up to!

Beauty everywhere

Piazza Matteotti
Piazza Matteotti has an altar to be blessed.

Soon we join our fellow villagers in the church where young children have been confirmed and the holy service of Corpus Domini begins with a procession through the streets. Everyone follows Don Augusto, chanting a song that has remained unchanged through the centuries, into every street of Piegaro, stopping at each altar to bless the people, the street and our village.

Marco holds the banner while Don Augusto begins the processional and blesses Piazza Matteotti

Beauty and blessings

Our Corpus Domini Infioriata this year is dedicated to Tito. Walking in the processional, chanting together, gathering in each street and piazza, we are joined together as one in a powerful tribute to Tito’s memory. Just as he walked with us in processionals of years past, we will soon walk him to his final resting place in the days to come. This is the basic rhythm of a life well lived among villagers who preserve cherished traditions that resonate powerfully within our hearts. The ease and naturalness of our lives joined together fills me with great joy in the midst of sadness. This is the essence of village life in my beautiful Umbria.

Don Augusto calls forth a blessing for all our people, our village, our land.


Through the streets

Corpus Domini

A gallery of the floral displays...



  • 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 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.