Thursday 7th of December was the day.  The setting, the International Space Station linked to a medieval town in central Italy nestling on the lower slopes of Mont Ingeno.  That town is Gubbio our local town.  Settled in pre-history there runs throughout the town a strong sense of tradition and bond of loyalty, but that does not mean that the Eugubini are not open to a bit of change and progress and boy they certainly do know how to party and to invite celebrities!

So it was at dusk on last Thursday this surreal technological link took place as a signal from the International Space Station circulating some 350km above the earth was sent by Italian Astronaut Paolo Nespoli all the way down to deepest Umbria to switch on the 460 lights that make up the “World’s Largest Christmas Tree“.  Gubbio was packed solid, hotels, bed and breakfasts, agriturismi, and private homes all welcoming visitors from all over the world to witness this great switch on.  We from Bellaugello Gay Guest House were lucky to be invited to a private home to witness the event, great hospitality, wonderful apri-cena, and seemingly endlessly flowing prosecco and to boot a first class view of this tree which rises from the ancient city walls to the top of Mont Ingeno.


More than 460 lights are lit using 8,500 metres of cable stretching 650metres up the hillside.  It is a gargantuan task undertaken by a squad of 50 volunteers who start erecting back in October.  But such is the strength of the locals or Eugubini, they love a huge project and to do things together.  Gubbio really is a blend of the traditional and modern as this wheel spawned doubtlessly from the London Eye and landed in the lower Piazza and the following event goes to prove.

The next big date for the Eugubine calendar is May 15th when the annual ‘Corso dei Ceri‘ or race of the candles is run.  The first Sunday of May the three wooden phallic ‘candles’ are processed down from the church on top of the hill, seen to the right of the star in the photographs, and left in the Palazzo Ducale until the morning of 15th May when the three teams each representing  a saint; Ubaldo, Antonio and Giorgio, meet in the Piazza Grande in the ancient historic centre of Gubbio.  The Ceri are brought out of the palazzo horizontally and mounted in their H framed holders and after a dousing in wine they are raised vertically and processed round the town.


And then following a large and lengthy lunch, it is Italy after all, the Ceri are raced back up Mont Ingeno to the church of San Ubaldo.  This amazing day is the culmination of a year of planning, and is an event held by the locals for the locals, but one which you are welcome to attend.

We at Bellaugello always are in  town for the Altzata the town is seething with hot guys in white pants, an occasion not to miss!  For more information check the website: Click Here – Festa dei Ceri, Gubbio and Book Bellaugello: Book Now or enquire

This week the English speaking Italian newspaper ‘The Local’ featured an article on “Five crazy Italian festivals nobody should miss” and our local town of Gubbio with its annual “Festa dei Ceri” or race of the candles is up there with the best in the video:

….and to my mind the Calcio Fiorentino looks like another good reason to be staying at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in late June.

Sunshine, comfort, a swimming pool crystal clear and waiting….  Bellaugello is waiting peacefully for next week and the “Festa dei Ceri” the traditional “Race of the Candles” held in our local town of Gubbio every 15 May

The flag of S Ubaldo the patron saint of Gubbio hanging in the gardens at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, Italy

We are ready, are you?  There are still some suites available for next week, come join in the fun.  Grab a flight to our local airport of Perugia S Francesco di Assisi which are are aplenty.  Quote “ceri 2015” for a 10% discount on a stay that includes 15 May 2015. Email us at: book@bellaugello.com

Time for cheery facts:  Here at Bellaugello Gay Country House all is good.

We are getting ready for the new season and will open for the  2015 season on Wednesday 1st. April.

Why not come and join us for Easter?  There are still some vacancies in our luxury suites.

Tulips on the terrace at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, Italy #BellaugelloThe Azzurro Suite at Bellaugello Luxury gay resort in Umbria, Italy, europeThe weekend starts on 3rd. April with the ancient and deeply mystical “Processione del Cristo Morto” which takes place at sundown in the medieval city of Gubbio, our local town.  We have our favourite restaurant booked and will once again be there to witness this very special evening, as dignitaries and townsfolk process and chant throughout the centro storico.  Saturday is a day for exploring, the exhibition of Dinosaurs and the Gola del Bottaccione one of the few places in Europe where you can actually see the evidence of the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs,  If contemporary art is your pleasure then the unmissable exhibition of photographs by Steve McCurry runs until late April in Gubbio.  Return to Bellaugello Gay Country House and sweat a while in our sauna, before enjoying a dinner served around our family table.  Sunday and we are out for lunch in the valley.  Once again we will be rolling eggs and joining in the festivities, it has become a tradition here.  The quiet country lanes round Bellaugello give perfect possibilities for lazy walks and with the knowledge of returning to a blazing fire and afternoon tea at Bellaugello, your day or relax is almost complete.

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The primroses are in flower under the fig tree, we have been busy with our maintenance programme, kilos of orange marmalade are now bottled, the sauna is now looking resplendent with its new coats of wood preservative, the vegetable garden has been dug over, a few more days for the soil to dry out and we will be planting potatoes and beans, I am nearly done restyling one of the suites, and I have a great team of guys joining me for the season, all the vacancies are filled (more about the team in a future post)  and my two big pieces of news are imminent, one happening later today the other shortly…..  So much to do so little time to do it all!

 

Buongiorno! Good Morning!

I wake to this view, and kind of like it..  Come share it with me…

cloud in the Chiascio valley over the infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy #Bellaugello

It is our infinity swimming pool and you are looking over the clouds low in the valley of the river Chiascio south towards the town of Assisi which is over the far side of the hill on the horizon.  Bellaugello is a peaceful place, far from the madding crowds, a place to relax, unwind and find the real you.

The peacefulness and tranquillity does not mean that you need do nothing on a Bellaugello holiday, no, you can be as active as you wish, and we are here to help.

By popular request we are offering a YOGA RETREAT, with our resident Yoga teacher all the way from Amsterdam, a week to relax and find your inner spirituality, scheduled for 11 – 18 April.  This will be followed on 18 to 25 April by a COOKING COURSE, learn how to make the finest pasta including a tour of one of Umbria’s finest vineyards, and in May back by popular demand our HIKING WEEK, 3 – 10 when Mirko our local guide will be leading guys over the hills in the Monte Cucco Regional Park.  May also sees huge celebrations in our local town of Gubbio, which on 15th celebrates the annual FESTA DEI CERI or race of the candles.  We have a week of cultural excursions planned 10 – 17 May with our guide Danilo, a native of Umbria, with a phenomenal knowledge of those places one normally cannot get to, you will be visiting hidden abbeys, admiring frescoes and drinking Sagrantino

Now is the time to REGISTER YOUR INTEREST for any of the above weeks.  Simply drop me an email to: book@bellaugello.com and I will put you on the mailing list for the holiday of your choice.

 

The sun continues to shine here in Umbria as it has done for the past month.  Despite the lack of rain the garden and surrounding countryside at Bellaugello Gay Guest House near Gubbio is looking lush and verdant.  We are lucky to have our own spring, which up till now is still pouring forth cool clear water, enough to keep the garden maintained.

I am just back from the vivaio with a car load of summer bedding plants which I will spend the afternoon planting into the pots and putting on the various terraces, as tomorrow we are all off to join in the annual celebration of the ‘Festa dei Ceri’ or ‘race of the candles’ in Gubbio.  More about that and some photos on tomorrow’s post!