Easter, such fun and super great guests, I had a blast here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  Guests from Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy made the weekend very international.  The weather was kind, warm sunshine, indeed another lunch outside in the sun drenched courtyard of Pratale.  This year I have decided to make our breakfasts even bigger, and the Easter table was groaning with delicious sweet Colomba, cheesy Crescia di pasqua, strawberries, (which reminds me I must start making strawberry jam) chocolates and home made breads and of course our Bellaugello home-made preserves.

#Bellaugello #Agriturismo homemade orange and whisky Marmelade #gay

But to gay things…  Unbeknownst to me yesterday three brave guests stripped off and ventured into our infinity pool, and so begin the 2016 series of “Bellaugello Backs”

#Bellaugello gay guest house, Umbria Italy, the infinity pool 2016

The first swim of the 2016 season at Bellaugello Gay Guest House

#Gay guest house Bellaugello Agriturismo, Umbria, Italia la piscina

la piscina al sfioro Bellaugello Gay Agriturismo, Umbria, Italia

I have no idea how warm the water was – not very I hazard and the pool is not officially open but they swam a couple of lengths and I must admit I am really impressed by these guys.

If you have a Bellaugello pool photo that you would like posted on my ‘Bellaugello Backs’ series, do send it over: info@bellaugello.com will reach me, backs or fronts, it doesn’t matter, the series is going wild this year!

I am delighted to announce Bellaugello’s collaboration with the language school of  Lingua Più based in Città di Castello.  We have put together a week of total immersion in Umbrian culture. This course is specifically tailored for gay guys, and is your chance to learn Italian in an informal way whilst visiting historic towns such as Assisi and Perugia, being driven the ‘Strada di Sagrantino’ the fabulous wine road of Umbria – of course with wine tasting 😉  guided tours of museums, the fabulous Burri Foundation, and experiencing a day on a working farm, all accompanied by staff of Lingua Più.

#Bellaugello Lingua Più language course

La mia Umbria – Italian language course tailored for gay guys

Based at Bellaugello Gay Guest House with its wonderful infinity pool, your days with a driver will be accompanied by professional teachers of the language school Lingua Più who personally know this beautiful region and will teach you how to make the most of your Italian experience.  There are 56 hours tuition in the course.  Courses are available throughout the season Bellaugello is open.  Get a group together and book the whole guest house and live la dolce vita!

Gay Italian language course based at Bellaugello Gay Guest House

Italian language course tailored for gay guys based at Bellaugello

Book direct with the language school by clicking here: Lingua Più Language School where you will also find full details of the programme of this wonderful week.

Art lovers, here is a real ‘do not miss‘ opportunity.  Opening today is a major exhibition of fifty important paintings from the collection of the ‘Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia’ representative not only of the Umbrian school over the four centuries, from the fourteenth to the eighteenth, but also of other aspects of Italian figurative art from the Renaissance to the Baroque.

Treasures of the Cassa Risparmio di Perugia. #Bellaugello

The paintings are on display until November 29 in the beautiful Palazzo Lippi Alessandri in the centre of Perugia: Free entrance.

Click here to to the exhibition website for further information.

I tesori della Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia @ Palazzo Lippi Alessandri Bellaugello, Gubbio

Vittorio Sgarbi, sulla mostra di Perugia
“Un esempio di gestione intelligente del patrimonio d’arte”

50 dipinti di grande rilievo rappresentativi non solo delle esperienze artistiche che si affermano in Umbria nell’arco di quattro secoli, dal Trecento al Settecento, ma anche di altri aspetti della cultura figurativa italiana dal Rinascimento al Barocco, sono in mostra sino al 29 novembre in Palazzo Lippi Alessandri a Perugia.

I Tesori della Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia e il caravaggismo nelle collezioni di Perugia
Palazzo Lippi Alessandri
corso Vannucci 39, Perugia
21 marzo-20 novembre 2016
Dal martedì al venerdì, 15.30-19.30
sabato, 11-22; domenica, 11-20
ingresso libero

Recently completed a fresh look for our ever popular Diva Suite.  This 53sqm suite has the delight of having windows on three sides, so giving huge views.  Decorated in a modern style with clean uncluttered lines, live a few days like a diva, it is perfect for your romantic honeymoon.

Entering from the garden terrace through your own private covered portico, the perfect place for an aperitivo or just watching the world float by, you find yourself in the large living room.  Black ceramic floor tiles and lots of white paint, a kitchen corner, ideal for preparing a light lunch or supper.  Head through the next door and you find yourself in the bedroom, you are now at third floor level.  The 1.80m wide bed is super comfortable and now restyled with led lighting in the feature headboard.

Diva Suite Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria ItalyBose Soundlink, Bellaugello Gay Guset House, Umbria, Italy

After a great night’s sleep roll over, to one side a commanding view over the Chiascio valley, to the other flick the switch on your smartphone and listen to your music on the “Bose Soundlink” while your partner makes that first cup of expresso with the “Italcaffé” machine in the kitchen.  Wander together into the bathroom, large, spacious and with your man enjoy a shower, no shower cabinet, just space and simplicity.

sheer indulgent hedonism…

 

Head south west from Bellaugello Gay Guest House and you follow the road crossing the river Tiber and down towards Lago Trasimeno the largest lake in central Italy.  It is a delightful drive, as you leave the uplands the vast panorama of central Umbria opens before you.  Today that panorama was brightly lit under a warm sun that punctured a cloudless azure sky.  Down in the valley bright crisp green fields the winter sowings newly emergent from the mild winter and recent rains, and along the winding road I was passing olive trees already beautifully, some might say too beautifully pruned before I skirted the regional capital of Perugia that noble city, my destination being the village of Solomeo.

Now this is no ordinary village.  Located in the comune of Corciano more famous for its light industrial estates than farming, as the comune heads southwards and upwards it brushes the wine growing area, and quaint hill top villages replace the urban sprawl.  One of them the thirteenth century village of Solomeo is a special village.  As recently as 1985 the village was almost in ruins and but for the vision and drive of one person it still would be.

Brunello Cuccinelli started his knitwear business in 1978.  Specialising in cashmere, the business soon grew and Sig. Cuccinelli was on the lookout for a site to expand his business.  He chose the near abandoned hamlet of Solomeo, the birthplace of his wife, and like his cashmere products set about a well crafted and high quality restoration.

Solomeo, Umbria.

Solomeo, Umbria.

Today that passion is evident, the village is overflowing with exacting detail, cleaned and restored stone houses, brick pavier streets and lanes, well tended Italianate gardens, and a magnificent theatre – the only theatre that I know of where you get to sit in armchairs.

Teatro Cuccinelli #Bellaugello

Teatro Cuccinelli at Solomeo

The programme ranges from classical music to contemporary dance and prose. Teatro Cuccinelli 2015 – 2016 programme  If you happen to be at Bellaugello with a free evening and there is something on then do book tickets.  In the open spaces of the village you discover intimate spaces to sit and meditate or chat, maybe under the shade of a large canopied tree, or one of the many cypresses that dot the hillsides and line the roads and garden boundaries.  There are many small loggias with delicate brick vaultings and a considerately placed table and chairs, where you can soak up the atmosphere.   There is also a sizeable amphitheatre, the village is a home to meeting people and the arts.  As I wandered down one lane I brushed against a wall topped with a clipped hedge made entirely from Rosemary, a plant I just knew would make a fine hedge, inspiration for part of the Bellaugello Garden.

Rosemary trained as a hedge at Solomeo

Rosemary trained as a hedge at Solomeo

Of course the day was glorious, 19˚c blue skies and birdsong, a lady tending her pots planted with bright primulas, peace and time to breathe…

Street scene Solomeo

Street scene Solomeo

Solomeo the horticultural college

Solomeo the horticultural college

Solomeo, gay guy climbing the hill #Bellaugello

A gay guy climbing the hill.

and Solomeo in any weather is well worth a detour on your way to the lake or the proud city of Citta della Pieve near the Tuscan border.

And now to the other aspect of Brunello Cuccinelli, his cashmere.  I saw it many years ago at a catwalk in our local town of Gubbio, a girl elegantly modelling a shawl or as they are now called ‘pashmina’ worn over a cashmere dress, both in camel colour, and both woven of the finest cashmere, the shawl was almost invisible and so light it seemed to float.  The good news is that Cuccinelli has a guys range, and it is heavenly.  As well as the Solomeo store you will find his stores in most major capital cities, do check out the website: Cuccinelli Cashmere  you will love it!

Homage to Immanuel Kant

Homage to Immanuel Kant

This amazing waterfall is a man-made and unbelievably was created by the ancient Romans to prevent illness in the nearby Umbrian town of Rieti.  The Consul Dentatus believed the limpid waters of the river Velino that flowed through the then marsh encircled town brought what is now known as malaria so a canal was built to to divert the stream and send the waters over the cliffs at Marmore and into the valley of the river Nera.

Less than two hours in the car from Bellaugello Gay Guest House you are in the southern part of Umbria and near the town of Rieti, from where the road winds into the Valnerina as you approach the 165m high falls.

Cascate delle Marmore, Umbria Italy Bellaugello gay guest house

Cascate delle Marmore, Umbria

Not many people get this amazing view of the falls shot by helicopter, but instead enter by the visitor centre where the view from the ground too is impressive.

Today the waters are controlled by a sluice, part of the flow being diverted to the Galleto hydroelectric power station, itself an architectural gem.

Galleto power station Valnerina, Umbria, Italy, Gay Guest House

But back to the waterfalls which are still allowed to flow so visitors like you can marvel at the water rushing over the highest man made waterfall in Europe. Full information on the falls, and their opening hours can be found by clicking this link:  Official site of the Cascate delle Marmore

Cascate delle Marmore, Gay guest House Umbria, Bellaugello

To complete a day out head further up the beautiful Valnerina to the town of Ferentillo and visit the ‘Museum of the Mummies’.  Under the XIII century church of S Stefano you enter the crypt and discover several hundred mummified remains.  Since the crypt was excavated in the 19c air has entered and now the mummies are housed in glass cases, but many are still amazingly well preserved. A most unusual and unexpected museum in rural Umbria, a region always full of surprises!

Museum of the Mummies Ferentillo, Umbria, Bellaugello Gay Guest House