Sometimes relax is the only thing to do…
It seems the inevitable is finally happening. For many months there have been rumours amongst us operators that Gubbio our local council will be implementing a ‘tassa di soggiorno’ or tourist tax. I read both on the official website of the Comune di Gubbio and the Confcommercio della Provincia di Perugia that the tax will be implemented to all visitors staying from 1st September 2015. An extract from the pages of the Comune di Gubbio website;
Needless to say I like the Confcommercio am completely against this tax, but am powerless to stop it. Of course no official notification from the Comune di Gubbio has been received, either confirming or denying the tax, or explaining how much it will be or even when it is implemented it will be collected. My guess is that it will be another bureaucratic excercise and yet more endless form filling.
I am alarmed that the ‘justification’ for this tax is that every resident in the comune is suffering and why should the visitors not make their share, and there is the more idealistic arguement that the tax will augment the services the comune offers to tourists… Not to alarm anybody but rumour has it that we are talking of one euro per person per night to a maximum of five nights. Perhaps even in these straitened times in the global cost of a holiday fifty euro is not a huge sum, but itf it is as I am sure will be the case that the revenue ends up maintaining hugely inefficient bureaucracy and not showing real improvements in services and quality of visitor experiences it can only have a negative effect on the industry that only last year the comune heralded as ‘the saviour of Gubbio’
A couple of weeks ago a guest was packing ready for departure and was unable to find one of his flip-flops. Together with his husband he was staying in our duplex Giardino Suite, the suite with the large private terrace that gives onto the lower lawn and overlooks the Chiascio valley. The guest was distraught, had searched high and low for this shoe that had been left together with its other half overnight outside on the lawn in front of the private terrace. It was nowhere to be found. Of course my dear dogs were questioned, not that Jenny or Bobby are partial to flip-flops they prefer real food, but nevertheless they had to be eliminated from the enquiry. Search and search we did, also coming to the unlikely conclusion that the shoe might just have already been packed!
We searched high and low and found nothing, all very strange a shoe nabber at Bellaugello? The remaining half pair was a very nice shoe, a very nice comfortable padded and expensive looking sandal but still I mean why take just half a pair it does not make sense? Who was responsible and where did they take the shoe? I was left with the feeling that the guys were convinced one of my dogs was Imelda Marco in disguise.
The following week another couple of guests again in the Giardino Suite. Half way through their stay they left a pair of flip-flops outside overnight, indeed they left two identical pairs, azure nice chic, and awoke to find only one pair. Again the dogs were interrogated, the team members and fellow guests and a huge search of garden, grounds and pool ensued… no shoes, a complete mystery.
This week again new guests, and being warned not to leave flip flops unattended overnight they have not been doing so. They have been sitting out late on their terrace in the cooler breeze watching the stars and taking in the utter peace and tranquillity that is the Bellaugello experience, when, the other night they saw something on the lawn, no, not a pile of flip flops, but a young fox. Master fox strode nimbly across the lawn, stopping in front of the terrace and had a good look round. It spotted said guests and still did not move, it merely raised its head as if to say ‘no flip flops to play with tonight’ had another look around then trotted off presumably in search of other toys.
I think we have finally solved the mystery of the disappearing footware.
Always so nice to welcome back returning guys and especially when they bring their sublime skills at table decoration to Bellaugello. Two huge flower arrangements and exquisite place settings on our warm terrace with the huge backdrop of the Chiascio valley and hills beyond.
Last night we dined off figs plucked fresh from the garden, caremised and served with a local pecorino stagionato, followed by a delicious salad prepared by Matthieu and served in a Parmesan basket. The main course of chicken with an Amalfi Lemon sauce was rounded off with our speciality ‘Cloud Cok’ chocolate cake served with lavender ice cream, and of course there was a Champagne and peach semifreddo Birthday cake for the Birthday boy!
Temperatures are reaching the high thirties centigrade, the infinity pool is a refreshing 29˚c and we have a splendid group of guys from various European countries staying.
Today I feel lethargic, finally this evening there is air and it is a bit cooler, I type outside on my terrace after a simple supper shared with Matthieu the guy who is here at Bellaugello so cheerily helping out and making sure that the guests have a good time. Work for me goes on, ensuring that the guys have a great holiday, that is what I and my team are here for and that is what I enjoy most. This year more than ever it has been obvious that guests come here to switch off and relax, they do not want to be organised or be bothered with making decisions, even the odd excursion to some of the beautiful medieval hilltop Umbrian towns have been curtailed, instead bronzing around the pool sipping cocktails is the order of the day.
It has been so rewarding to welcome back so many repeat guests both from Italy and abroad, last week 80% of the guests had been to Bellaugello before, many on more than one occasion, several have become good friends, it is so nice to welcome them all back, and to find out from them just how the Bellaugello network is growing, friends are being made all over the world. One half of a super couple here from the UK pointed out some of the failings and offered many suggestions for fine tuning the new website that I feel I must take him on as my honorary IT consultant, it is so helpful to have a view from the ‘customer’s’ side, thanks ‘R’.
Of course we have been barbecuing and with huge thanks to P & M from France there is another photo of the cook and this time his accomplices!
So good to welcome my friend and neighbour Ben who joined us for the BBQ and brought a huge basket of figs from his farm, most of which went into cakes we serve for breakfast here at Bellaugello Gay Country House. Yummy!!
The other evening after dinner there was a need to cool off and a midnight skinny dip for some…
I even had the pleasure of a return visit of the first guy of the Bellaugello Backs and Butts series, not the Bellaugello Backs but the second series! Although his photo is an inspiration and he is a super nice guy alas he does not appear in this series of photos, I will have to get him next visit..
Naturally these guys in the photo showed admirable and beautiful courage and do the series proud!
News from the valley has been mixed, a sudden death of a neighbour put a huge damper on local spirits, the guy was young and leaves a widow and young son, the funeral was, I believe very well attended. On a cheerier note my dear friend Micaela has launched her range of handmade made to measure shirts both for ladies and gents. Micaela as wall as being beautiful creates beautiful things and as a stylist has recently posted on Instagram some amazing photo of some of her creations, you will find them at italiancollective on Facebook or Instagram @italiancollective Do check it out and order your very own tailor made shirt, I’m placing my order right now.
Last night I took my team for an evening out in our local town of Gubbio, we enjoyed a meal together, a good gossip and a leisurely stroll to the beautiful Piazza Grande, of course stopping on the way for a gelato, it it summer in Italy afterall!