Anatomy is something I have spent insufficient time studying.  I spent a year at university studying chemically why, when heated, or chilled, or soaked, food does what it does and tastes as it tastes.  In my stupefaction I never thought to relate such a study to the male nude.  Unlike Leonardo I have rarely thought of anatomy and its importance to the male nude I am beholding.  Call me superficial, but you would be wrong.

Many years ago, in the house of two eclectic guys I well remember perching nervously on the edge of a stupendously expensive designer chair worrying that the studs on my jeans would snag on the fabric.  It was that sort of chair that is not only classic design, but is, I guess if actually relaxing on, (not that I will ever know) arguably comfortable.   The house was too elegant for me to be able to fully relax in and my hosts, although well meaning made me incredibly nervous.  In front of me was a wall of books, each on the male nude.  More titles than I could comprehend had been published and were sitting on the shelves.  Each spine inviting me to grab the book and devour the contents.  There were more titles than I had ever dreamt possible.  My eyes flicked through ‘cock culture’ ‘twins’ ‘the perfect penis’ ‘my leather life’ and innumerable works of a huge selection of international photographers.

Later, I was encouraged to dip into at least some of these books and to marvel at their contents.  I pored over photos and drawings by Van Gloden, Platt Lynes, Mapplethorpe, Paul Cadmus, Beaton, Tom of Finland et al.  Each artist special in his own way.  Daring, courageous, edgy.  All bringing out in their individual method the beauty of the male nude.  These artists not only carefully lit their subject, but also took time to bring out the best in their sitter.  They  then meticulously re-touched their published images.  They spent patient hours professionally and skilfully bringing out the best in the images of their sitters.  It was all dedication and lots and lots of time.

I am guilty of wasting time staring at social media.  I pore over images that are airbrushed.  Bodies beautiful and oh so, so, perfect.  Guys have gym bunny physique and flawless skin.  Sadly it is unusual to see a male nude that is anything but androgynously airbrushed.  The add on airbrush, blemish removing apps are available to us all, and boy oh boy they all get used.  I despair of Grindr and Scruff, apps of physcial airbrushing gone wild.  The reality all too frequently bearing no comparison with the image.  Where are the real men?

The real men are here at Bellaugello.  Please do not think to come here you have to be airbrush abbed, you certainly don’t.  I have long realised that the joy of the male nude is in its infinite variety of natural form, its blemishes, wobbles, and imperfections.  My eye appreciates natural form in a natural setting.  The swimming pool and grounds here at Bellaugello are places where the male nude are encountered.  No airbrush, no re-touching, just real flesh and in its many shapes, sizes and colours.  Some are slim, some are not, some tall, others short, some hirsute, others not.  Bellies range from ginormous through cute and dinky to toned and abbed.  Some nudes droop, others are firm, but whatever the shape, all are accepted and mix in a true harmony.  It is stunning, sensual, so, so beautiful.

 

 

 

Waking from the cozyness of my bed, I stumble to the window this January morning, throw on some jogging pants, then head outside to catch on video the view which I just have to share with you.

Back in the kitchen I upload the video to YouTube and get increasingly frustrated with the channel over embedding parameters.  I click the option to prevent showing of suggestions at the end of the video.  In this post I want to show only this one video.  I re-paste the link into my blog, check a preview, and to my annoyance see suggestions for more videos to watch.  Back and forth YouTube, Blog, YouTube click, click, click and still I do not manage to achieve what I desire.  Technology moves at such a pace that as soon as I have learnt the way round an app they change the format.  My ignorance is seemingly never ending.

Moving on and smiling, for as the Moka bubbles, I am sitting at my kitchen window, the aroma of arabica fills the room as the sun weakly warms my workstation.  I love the morning glory mist in the valley.  Often seen under grey skies in winter it is at its very best in spring and fall.  These are the months when mist literally rises and falls under the azure sky.  One wakes early to crisp clear blue sky as Bellaugello sits on a cushion of dense mist as can be seen on our website.  The effect is of flying first above fluffy clouds.  I adore how, like medieval rockets the ancient abbey towers that surround us at Bellaugello Gay Guest House reveal themselves, then sink back into the mist.  Now you see me now you don’t, a natural game of hide and seek.  As the sun warms seemingly euphoric wispy strands of mist rise and disappear, breaking free of the valley bottom, it is utterly magical.  Slowly the mist disperses, by 10:30 it is fully gone.  These are mornings when we dither over serving breakfasts on the terrace.  At 7am the table is still damp and enshrouded in mist.  We have to judge if the guys are early or late breakfasters, for the mornings are so glorious we want to share the glory and magic with our guests.

Set a time lapse on your cell phone and one can see dancing clouds, racing mist and golden sunrises.

Nature is so beautiful, here at Bellaugello one has time, space and peace to fully appreciate it.

Click here to book your stay at Bellaugello and witness the beauty yourself.  I look forward to welcoming you.

With its stunning scenery, history, fine art, beautiful beaches, historic towns, exquisite food and wines and so, so many beautiful people, Italy has to be your first choice destination for your European gay holiday.

Whether you are looking to simply relax and soak up the sun, or enjoy an energetic adventure holiday, Italy offers you a myriad of choices and unrivalled opportunities.  From the elegance of the Lombardy lakes in the north to dreamy sun kissed southern coastline of Puglia and Calabria, the Italian peninsular has welcomed visitors since the days of the ‘Grand Tour’ to enjoy ‘la dolce vita‘, a ‘life of heedless pleasure and luxury‘.  With good international connections, your own grand tour European gay holiday can start from many points in Italy.

In the north the former industrial city of Torino has transformed itself into a chic cosmopolitan destination as seen in the 1969 film ‘The Italian Job’.  A veritable café society atmosphere pervades this city of boulevards and grand squares.  You will discover delightful loggias and piazzas lined by stately baroque buildings, just the places to sip a Campari soda.  Head eastwards out of Piedmonte passing through Alba the city of truffles, famous for its autumn truffle market and fair, not forgetting to sample a plate of fettucini al tartuffo, and you touch the lakes of Maggiore, Como, Iseo and Garda.

Each of these lakes have their own charm, majestic alpine backdrops.  Luxury villas with manicured gardens tumbling to the lakeside are the places of celebrity weddings, often featured as part of an Euroepan gay holiday.  Lago di Iseo, less well known was brought to prominence in 2016 by the artist Christo who famously ‘wrapped’ the islands in the lake and linked them by golden floating walkways.

Walking on water brings me to Venice, that city of empire so majestically sitting in its lagoon.  To my mind the best way to arrive is by public ferry from the Lido and you will get this view.

Stop a night in the fishing port of Chioggia, eat fish fresh from the market across the street, at one of the many restaurants, and see a version of Venice as it used to have been.  I prefer Venice out of season; late October, November or late March, and please remember to leave your cellphone in the hotel and look at the city.  The calle may be winding but you will find your way back to a familiar point without the need of Google maps.  Stay on the nearby island of Torcello at the Locanda Cipriani, ask for one of the rooms at the front of the inn.  The intricate masks and costumes of Carnevale, this year from 23rd February to 5th March are a ‘must see’ for a European gay holiday and worth battling huge crowds.   The 2019 Venice Biennale art fair takes place throughout the city from 11th May to 24th November.

A side trip, thirty minutes by train brings the traveller to Padova.  Head down the main street to the covered piazza, stopping off to visit the Scrovegni chapel where you will see the finest Giotto frescoes.

There are two further internationally famous areas of Italy which are much visited; The ‘Cinque Terre’ and ‘Costiera Almalfitana’.  Guys staying at Bellaugello Gay Guest House often head to or head from these two picturesque regions.  As you can gather I am not a huge fan of large crowds and mass tourism, so I advocate to those thinking of the Cinque Terre – the coastal strip running between Pisa and Genova to instead drive up into the hills and visit the enchanting towns of Massa and Carrara (yes that is where the best statue marble is quarried).  The views from 1500m over the coast are stunning, the towns traditional, and food divine.  For accommodation you will pay a fraction of prices on the coast.  Sample Lardo di Colonnata, a white fatty salami which is cured in the marble caves with an IGP protection, indulgent, full of cholesterol, bliss.

In a past life I was a frequent visitor to the Amalfi coast.  Screamingly pretty villages clinging precariously to the base of cliffs are connected by a narrow road filled with large busses and in my day a plethora of tiny Fiat 500s, their drivers with one hand always on the horn.  The stunning belvedere at Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, now in the midst of an seriously luxuriously and expensive hotel, was on the edge of a scarcely visited neglected private garden.  The coastline is stunning, but chaotic and uber expensive, better to head to the lesser known coastline of Calabria in the toe of the Italian peninsular.  A region famous for its mafia, you will find stunning beaches and old fashioned towns.  One of the best is Tropea, a town famous for its red onions deservedly given DOP status that, at Bellaugello we cook very slowly and put on our home-baked bread or into a sauce.

Puglia, that long stretch of coastline in the heel of Italy, has a magic all of its own.  White towns and long beaches, cone shaped Trulli and intense wines make this a great area for a hot holiday.  Head to Nardò and visit the cantina and restaurant at Schola Sarmenti, whose wines we feature at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  Many guys drive from the north of Europe to Puglia stopping off at Bellaugello on the way down and on the way back on their touring European gay holiday.  Mauro, my assistant hails from Puglia and brings with him the finest burrata and mozzarella which we drizzle with Bellaugello organic olive oil and serve at dinner on our terrace.

Before heading back northwards on the long Adriatic coast make a detour to Matera in neighbouring Basilicata, the ancient city of the Sassi.  This year Matera is the European City of Culture, so will be busy.  Take time to look a the cave hotels and houses.  A one night stay here is sufficient to soak up the atmosphere of this unique town.

Ravenna, just north of the busy resort of Rimini is chic and restrained.  Soak up the sun at Lido di Dante, a gay beach before heading to see the Roman mosaics, some of the best in the world.   A couple of hours drive from Bellaugello, guys also take in a shopping trip to the tiny duty free country of San Marino.   I love the nearby towns of San Leo with its Montefeltro fortress and Pennabilli, one of the quaintest towns in Emilia Romana, both close to the lovely national park of Simone e Simoncello, a stone’s throw from Urbino the birthplace of Raphael.

In Rome as well as visiting the usual sites

take time to stroll through ‘il Giardino degli Aranci‘ where in the spring you will wend your way through paths littered with the bitter oranges fallen from the trees.  Italians eat sweet oranges, and these bitter ones from which I make orange marmalade are neglected and un-appreciated.  I have often thought of walking the gardens and filling baskets with these great fruit.  Fiumincino Rome airport is the main point of entry for your European gay holiday.  Recently upgraded, it is sleek and efficient and just over two hours drive to Bellaugello.

Milano is the modern commercial hub of the country. A sophisticated city famous for fashion and design.  Walk the elegant streets, and shop in the glazed Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele.  My mother once told me ‘darling there are only two things worth seeing in Milano – the Duomo and the Station‘.  I add to her statement the beautiful people and modern design but have to agree, both are architecturally different but equally magnificent and every time I am in the city I make a point of visiting them.  Milan airport is the other main port of entry for transatlantic flights for your European Gay Holiday.

For lovers of all things male head to Florence in May and June for the “Calcio Storico Fiorentino“.  A cross between soccer, wrestling and rugby where teams of bare chested guys from the various city ‘quartieri’ compete in the sand covered piazza Santa Maria del Fiore. Click here for the website   This city straddling the banks of the river Arno is a delight.  I stand in awe in front of the statue of Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect forever looking up at his finest creation; the dome of the cathedral.  The enthusiast in me says the traveller can get a taste of Florence in a day, but it is true.  A two hour drive from Bellaugello, start at the parking, and head to the Duomo.  The city centre is compact and very walkable. One will pass through streets lined with sculptures, chic boutiques and gelaterias.  From the Duomo stroll to the Piazza della Signoria famous for the fountain of Neptune and copy of Michalengelo’s David.  Pass by the Uffizzi and walk under the hidden corridor along the banks of the Arno, crossing the river by the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge lined with gold jewellery stores and up to the Pitti Palace.  Return by the Ponte Santa Trinita, perfect for selfies, and to the Piazza Italia, perfect for people watching.  This quick taste will make you fall in love with Florence for life.

The town of Siena some forty minutes south of Florence is a delight.  Guys talk of the Pallio, but unless you have bottomless pockets and the right connections I suggest you visit the town any time but in the frenzy of the horse racing.  Quaff an Aperol Spritz in one of the many bars on the Piazza del Campo before heading to the magnificent Duomo with its star filled azure vaulted ceilings and illustrated medieval library.  Buy Panforte, that sticky candy filled with nuts and dried fruit a speciality of the city.

Have you noticed how I am slowly winding you to the centre of the country?  Siena is a hop skip and a jump to the best gay resort in Italy.  A good network of roads and regional airports brings the traveller to the ‘green heart of Italy’, namely Umbria.  Hill top towns, vineyards, art, both traditional and contemporary, and delicious frescoes by Luca Signorelli meld with rafting, potholing, mountaineering, hiking and trail biking opportunities.  Don’t miss out on the ‘Festa dei Ceri’ (it’s my one crowd exception) which is held every 15th May in our local town of Gubbio.

Our regional airports, Ancona and Perugia have transatlantic connections via Zurich and Munich.  Direct flights in Europe are from Berlin, Brussels, London Gatwick, Frankfurt and Sicily.  Check the Umbria Tourism website: Umbria Tourism what to do, read more for further information.

At Bellaugello Gay Guest House you will find a place to relax in the company of like minded guys on your European gay holiday.  A luxury gay guest house on a sunny south facing slope in tranquil countryside where you can recharge form the stresses of daily life.  We have five individual suites, each with their own private entrance and private terrace.  Our infinity pool is the place where you can soak up the sun, clothed or naked, the option is yours.  Breakfasts with home made organic  ingredients are served daily.  In cooler periods around our antique family table in our dining room, in warm weather outdoors on our terrace.

Each suite has a large bathroom, some also with outdoor showers.

All suites have a kitchen corner, fully equipped for the preparation of simple meals.  Don’t you just get “restaurant outed” and long for a simple lunch or supper?  Guys love heading the short drive to our local town of Gubbio and buying seasonal food at the market and small local stores and making a simple meal either for themselves or for sharing with others.  Three evenings a week in summer we serve dinners with all guests seated together at one table.  We alternate dinners with pizza evenings, sourdough pizzas baked in our ancient wood fired oven.

Bellaugello Gay Guest House is a place to make friends, our network is international and intimate, with attention to detail, fragrant gardens, a place to wile your cares away, to totaly relax, perfect for your European gay holiday.