Sunday, August 21, 2011


History of Petroia Castle in Gubbio (Umbria, Italy)

The origins of the Castle of Petroia are to be found between the IX and X century, when free City States like Gubbio built fortifications and castles to protect their towns and territories.
The Castle of Petroia already existed in the year 1073, when it was mentioned in an old document as part of a donation: " mansum in curte Petroij". A legal document dated 1171 confirms the existence of “Curtis Petroij” and shortly afterwards on the 7th of May 1257 the Castle of Petroia was submitted to Ugolino, count of Coccorano.
On the 24th of March 1384 Count Antonio from Montefeltro occupied Gubbio and became the Lord of the city. Gubbio’s existence as a free City State thus ended and for many centuries the town was part of the Dukedom of Urbino and the Castle of Petroia became linked to the Montefeltro family.
The main historical date for the Castle of Petroia is on the 7th of June 1422, when the young Elisabetta of Accomandugi, daughter of Guidopaolo and niece of Matteo, gave birth to Federico da Montefeltro, who later became the famous Duke of Urbino.
Elisabetta, who was a lady-in-waiting to Rengarda (the Duchesse of Urbino), had a son from an adulterous affair with Rengarda's husband, Guidantonio from Montefeltro (the Duke of Urbino).
Thus the severe walls of Petroia saw the beginning of the fascinating life of a man who played an important role in the XV century and the Italian Renaissance.

Structure - Castello di Petroia (Umbria - Italy)

The Castle of Petroia is composed of medieval buildings enclosed within the Castle's walls.
The origins date back to the XII century when the castle was built in a beautiful setting between Gubbio and Perugia, overlooking the Chiascio valley. It was the stage of many important events during the XIII and XIV centuries. The entire complex was restored between 1982 and 1990, carefully preserving the authentic structure of the Castle.
Petroia RelaisThe Castle is composed of three buildings: the "Castellare Maggiore" (the main part), the "Castellare Minore" (the smaller part) and the "Mastio", the building that surrounds the ancient Tower of the Castle .
The 11 guestrooms are all in these three buildings.
The hilltop location sits on a tree-lined summit overlooking the Chiascio valley, which offers a picturesque landscape beloved by the artists il Perugino and Piero della Francesca.
Near the Castle there is the farm of Petroia, with its park and acres of pristine forest: there, you can see herds of purebred Chianina cattle, grazing in the open pastures.

Rooms and Suites - Petroia Castle (Umbria - Italy)

The ancient and authentic rooms are carefully furnished to create an elegant setting and a welcoming atmosphere.
The ceilings all have wooden beams and the walls are decorated with paintings of the XVIII and XIX centuries.
The Castle offers different types of rooms: Deluxe, Junior Deluxe, Suite, Superior and Classic.
All the rooms have: mini-bar, satellite TV, telephone and hairdryer
Some rooms have: sofa bed, whirlpool bath, air conditioning, stone fireplace and view of the green valley.

Petroia RelaisThe Deluxe Rooms

The Deluxe rooms are extremely spacious to insure maximum comfort and have a whirlpool mini-swimming pool.

Petroia Relais

The Suites
Petroia RelaisThe Suites are 60 to 90 square meters, some with a separate living area and at least one sofa-bed.

Petroia Relais

Petroia RelaisThe Superior Rooms
The Superior rooms are 40 square meters and have a whirlpool bath and a shower.

The Bedroom in the medieval tower of Petroia Castle (Umbria, Italy)

The most characteristic and unforgettable apartment is in the Tower: built in 1000, it is completely authentic.
Petroia RelaisIt was fully restored in 1986, and while carefully preserving the original architectural structure, it is now a delightful living area.
The tower has three rooms, each 10 square meters, set on three different floors leading up to a balcony.
Petroia RelaisThe entrance to the Tower is on the second level which leads into a small living-room. The bathroom is on the lower floor and the bedroom is on the upper floor. Further up still from the bedroom there is a panoramic balcony and solarium for the exclusive use of guests staying in the tower.
The floors are connected by way of the original stairways and are steep and narrow, especially those leading to the bathroom.
The simple and essential furnishing was made specifically for this apartment. There is a mini-bar, telephone and whirlpool bath
The Tower does not offer the same level of comfort as the other rooms but it gives its guests the opportunity to totally immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the Middle Ages.

The restaurant of Petroia Castle (Gubbio - Umbria - Italy)

The ancient Accumandugi Hall is now home to the restaurant of the Castle.
This charming room, with its authentic thick stone walls and small loophole windows has a warm, romantic atmosphere thanks to the boxed wooden ceiling and softly coloured walls. A candlelit dinner here is magical; the atmosphere of the past envelopes you and you cannot help but feel like the Lord and Lady of the Castle.
Combining fresh and natural ingredients, our Chef Massimo Carleo proposes a refined carte of local and sea cuisine, cooked with creativity and elegance.
The pleasure of dining in this beautiful and ancient place is enhanced by the courteous professionality of our Maitre Danilo with his exclusive and impeccable service.
The Restaurant is open every day from 20.00 to 22.00


Petroia RelaisA stay at the Castle of Petroia lets you enjoy being in the open air and unwind in the quiet of the beautiful castle grounds.
Relax in the swimming pool surrounded by olive trees, or explore the many footpaths that lead through the lands and woods belonging to the castle.

Events - Castello di Petroia (Umbria - Italy)

The Castle of Petroia organizes symphony concerts, medieval and varied events.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Alla Scoperta Dei Sapori Siciliani - Discovery of the Sicilian Flavors

Not just foodart, history and archeology, in a time travel added to extraordinary natural environment. Here, different civilizations have left their permanent mark of their passage. What is not included in the 'proposed route can easily be visited during a stay of a few more days, from museums to nature reserves and parks archaeologists, to the most interesting monuments. In telling the various stages of the itinerary will give you references for small deviations that will complete your tour.The tourist, the traveler would say-visitor will be amazed by the quality of productions, from the passion of the producers, the care with which they worked to keep life and revive the traditions of this great island, but still remain impressed by the diversity. Diversity and variety of flavors and aromas of the oils, cheeses, wines, fruits and vegetables that change even within the territories, in a magical and fascinating kaleidoscope of the senses. We can speak of a Renaissance Sicilian food and wine.

Tour Lands of the Phoenicians
The food and wine we offer runs through the lands that were once places of settlement populations of Phoenix.It winds its way between the provinces of Palermo, Trapani and Agrigento and Trapani are interested mainly on, but also includes the territories of the Belice Valley that fall in the provinces of Agrigento and Palermo. You can walk through as it is proposed, or, if you wish, from anywhere else. To enjoy it fully you will need three days, but I took the offer from the throat of its typical products, the hospitality of the innkeepers and the charm of nature and its history, surely you would like to extend your stay by a few days.



                                                                                                                                                            Hotel Botticelli is situated in a delightful 16th century building, a small Renaissance gem located in the historic center of Florence.
This fine and popular three-star hotel is strategically located within a few minutes walking distance from all the most important monuments including the Duomo, the Medici Chapels, the Uffizi Gallery, the Galleria dell'Accademia and the most famous shopping streets. The railway station is only a few hundred meters away. Also located near the congress center, Palazzo dei Congressi and Fortezza da Basso, headquarters of the Florence Fair, the hotel is ideal for business visits or congresses in Florence. Together with comfort and elegance, the hotel offers its guests courteous and professional service in a special Renaissance atmosphere enhanced by a splendid Florentine Terrace where, while enjoying a glass of excellent Tuscan wine our guests may give themselves over to pleasant moments of complete relax.
The facilities include a private garage, free bicycle rental for pleasant hikes and romantic city rides, the Internet Point and Wi-Fi in all public areas.
Hotel Botticelli is one of the hotels that are part of Panorama Hotels Italy, a group of hotel titles, established in Florence in 1997 with the idea of creating a "landscape" of various proposals that could meet the needs of every type of client wishing to stay in a prestigious hotel in Florence for business or pleasure.


Witness to good taste and attention to detail, Hotel Botticelli is in a characteristic 16th century building in the historical center of Florence. The hotel been completely restored to revive an ambience of Renaissance flavor and enhanced by modern services and equipment to reopen its doors to guests.
Charm and elegance are everywhere: the rooms are elegantly refined in every detail; the public spaces are decorated with splendid frescoes; and the classic "Florentine loggia" has a pure Renaissance style. Enclosed within the hotel, the delightful central alley which once separated the two original buildings that today make up the structure makes the setting even more distinctive.
At the guests' disposal there is also a spacious, bright hall, with traditional ribbed vaults, where an inviting and substantial breakfast buffet can be enjoyed.
All this makes Hotel Botticelli the ideal location, which in addition to the fascination of the Renaissance palace, brings first class comfort and courteous, pleasant, professional service to your unforgettable stay.


The construction of the "Palazzetto Serragli" in which the Hotel Botticelli is located dates back to the second half of the 16th Century as can be seen from ancient plans of Florence from various historical periods. The building, which is recognized by the Supervision of Architectural Heritage since 1935, has several major elements: the ribbed vaults on the ground floor, the internal "kneeling" window with shelves made of stone and iron grating and the characteristic loggia on the second floor. The vaults of the entrance are painted (probably at a later period) with floral and cherub motifs.
On the front façade stands a coat of arms belonging to the Serragli family. The Palace Hotel opened in 1890 when the owner at the time asked the City of Florence for a license to open an “inn with a stable”. Little more than a century later (we are now in 1995-1997), the hotel underwent a complete restoration under the constant supervision of the Superintendence of Architectural Heritage, which made it a hotel with an excellent standard of comfort. An interesting curiosity is given by an inner space overlooked by the beautiful "kneeling" window, which was mentioned in the architectural notes and which previously opened to the outside.
In this space during the last restoration a "road" was re-created in “the old Florence style” that we thought about calling Via Alessandro Filipepi (real name of the great Botticelli) because of a road plaque in the "old Florence" style that has been a subject of curiosity and comments from our guests.


Very charming and comfortable, all 34 rooms of Hotel Botticelli are finished with indisputable good taste and great attention to detail. Furnished in refined Tuscan style, with predominance of light, delicate colors, the rooms are equipped with every modern comfort; in addition, many of them offer views on characteristic sights of Florence.
Each room counts with air conditioning, satellite TV, mini bar, safe, hairdryer and direct dial telephone.


Charming and decorated in warm shades of color, with superior finishes, single rooms are relaxing and pleasant, and being equipped with all the modern comforts, they make guests feel completely at ease. These rooms feature a single bed with air conditioning, satellite TV, mini bar, safe, hairdryer and direct dial telephone. Smoking rooms on request


With either a double bed or two single beds, double rooms are decorated mainly in warm colors and classic furniture conducive to relaxation and, thanks to all the modern comforts, they make guests feel completely at ease. Equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV, mini bar, safe, hairdryer and direct dial telephone, some of these rooms offer views of characteristic sights of Florence. Smoking rooms on request

Beautiful and elegant rooms where the furnishings and colors combine perfectly with the structure of the hotel. Bright and spacious, they welcome guests to total comfort and relaxation and offer views of characteristic sights of Florence. Available with double bed or two twin beds, they are equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV, mini bar, safe, hairdryer and direct dial telephone. Smoking rooms on request


In triple rooms, the warm tones of the furnishings and accessories create an aura of familiarity, making it pleasant to spend relaxing moments, thanks to modern amenities that make guests feel completely at ease. Some of these rooms offer the possibility of views on characteristic sights and streets. Available with double bed –or two twin beds - plus one extra bed, these rooms have air conditioning, satellite TV, mini bar, safe, hairdryer and direct dial telephone. Smoking rooms on request


Large and bright, the Junior Suite has two rooms, a bedroom and a sitting area, and can accommodate up to 4 guests. The refined appointments and furnishings combine perfectly with the architecture, and the warm colors of the accessories are conducive to total relax; it also offers the most modern amenities, allowing guests to feel completely at ease. The room is equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV, mini bar, safe, hairdryer and direct dial telephone.


Piazza San Lorenzo: with its lively market, is named after the Basilica of the same name. The entrance to the cloisters and to the Biblioteca Mediceo Laurenziana, designed by Michelangelo, opens onto the square. On the right there is the statue of Giovanni delle Bande Nere, the father of Cosimo I. The statue was made by Bandinelli. On the east side, the back of Palazzo Medici Riccardi can be seen, built on a long, protruding base which is used as a bench to rest and to admire the surrounding buildings.

Ponte Vecchio: one of the main symbols of the city of Florence, is suspended over the River Arno at the narrowest point. The first construction dates back to Roman times, but it was damaged several times when the river flooded. In 1442, the city authorities obliged the butchers to move their shops onto Ponte Vecchio in order to isolate them from the palaces and the dwellings in the centre of the city, aiming above all to eliminate the unpleasant smells which could thus be dispersed directly in the current of the river.

Piazza della Signoria: is Florence's main square, in the medieval centre, south of the Cathedral (Duomo) and a few dozen yards from Ponte Vecchio and the Arno. Palazzo degli Uffizi, also known as Palazzo Vecchio or Palazzo della Signoria, built by Vasari in the middle of the XVI century and completed by Buontalenti, is found in the square. On completion, 13 Uffizi (offices), previously housed in various seats, were all moved into the building.

Piazza del Duomo: is in the heart of the historic centre of Florence, dominated by the imposing cathedral, the Campanile (Bell Tower) designed by Giotto and the Battistero di San Giovanni (the Baptistery of San Giovanni or sometimes called the Florence Baptistery or the Baptistery of St. John). Florence's Cathedral is one of the most important architectural works of the period, in Gothic-Renaissance style, and one of the largest and most beautiful cathedrals in Europe.

Piazza San Marco: surrounded by elegant buildings, is dominated by the monastery and the Basilica di San Marco, from which it takes its name. The church was built in 1437, when Cosimo il Vecchio (Cosimo the Elder) commissioned Michelozzo to build the church and the monastery for the Silvestrine monks, although the complex was later taken over by the Dominicans. In ancient times, the area was called San Marco al Cafaggio (faggio = beech), because of the fenced-in wooded area which once existed here.

Piazza Santa Croce: is located in an area which in ancient times was an island formed by two branches of the Arno, which separated near what is now Piazza Beccaria,to join again in front of the walls situated near Via de' Benci. Like Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Piazza di Santa Croce was built to contain the crowds of the faithful who gathered to listen to the sermons of the monks.

Firenze Fiera: is the Florentine complex which organises congresses, meetings and exhibitions in the city of Florence. The structures which house the various national and international events are the Fortezza da Basso, the Palazzo dei Congressi and the Palazzo degli Affari. They are positioned side by side and are in the area of the historic centre beside the Santa Maria Novella railway station.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Privacy, elegance, charm.

All the enchantment of a bay that has been described as the most beautiful in the Mediterranean, a few steps away from the lively town of Alghero.
Villa Las Tronas is the delightful 5-star hotel that has become the symbol of Alghero - "the Golden Door to tourism in Sardinia" - situated on the Riviera del Corallo on the north-west coast of the Sardinia Island.
Once the residence of Italian Royalty during their holidays in Sardinia, Las Tronas conserves the historic atmosphere of the aristocratic "buen retiro", renewing the tradition and charm of the ancient residence.
A spectacular position, on the sea-shore. A peaceful, exclusive oasis on a private headland.
Reefs reaching out into the waters of the bay like the bows of ships, two hectares of park... To forget the rush and tear of everyday life and get back your balance, savouring the pleasures of a good restaurant and the relaxing intimacy of the Spa.
The Hotel and the Spa - with its covered sea-water swimming-pool (also looking out over the Mediterranean), sauna, Turkish bath, Kneipp walkway, gym and the beauty area - are open all through the year.

The pleasures of dining

Dining at Villa Las Tronas is an experience to be shared with the one you love: after an aperitif at the cosy, welcoming bar, dinner is served by candlelight in the restaurant, accompanied by classical music played live, or in an informal manner but just as delightful on the panoramic terrace close by.
Highly personalised service is available, as arespecial eventsandwedding banquetsfor 2 to 70 people.

History of Villa Las Tronas

In Roman tradition ancestors were worshipped as Lares (from the Latin lar, "hearth", and the Etruscan lar, "father"), whose spirits kept vigil over the favourable progress of the family, property and activity in general. The Lares familiares were represented by clay or wax statuettes called sigilla (from signum, "sign", "effigy"), placed in specific niches and honoured by lighting a small flame.

  In the internet era, an image can give substance to the sigillum and our seeing it will light the flame. The name "Las Tronas" ("the pulpits" in algherese) derives from the characteristic shape of some of the rocks, now largely eroded by the sea.
Built around 1880 on the ruins of an ancient watch-tower by Alessandro, the third Count of St. Elia (Elijah), the villa was initially destined to be a hunter’s cabin. In 1917 the quays and town walls were built, aimed at ensuring the necessary privacy for guests, while between 1918 and 1920 Don Luigi Arborio Mella, the fourth Count of St. Elia, did important renovation work, urged on by his English wife Lady Rosamond Marke Wood: the building took on its shape vaguely inspired by the medieval castle, following the fashion of the time and the rank of the family. His brother Alberto had in the meantime become Maestro di Camera (Chamberlain) to Pope Pius XI, and also kept this rank with Pius XII.
The villa thus became a meeting-place for the highest society of the epoch; the Romanov Princesses and Italian Royalty were habitual guests, in summer to swim in the sea, in winter for hunting.
In 1959 Francesco Arborio Mella, fifth Count of St. Elia, sold the villa to the husband and wife Leonardo Masia and Giuseppina Fonnesu, who turned it into a hotel and donated it to their children, Giuseppe, Teresa, Adriana and Battista. Among their first clients were the dramatist, Samuel Beckett, and the actors Virna Lisi, Ugo Tognazzi, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.
In 1961 another floor was built and the villa restored by Cavaliere (Sir) Andrea Trova, Teresa’s husband, taking on its current form. In the meantime Nino La Spina, Adriana’s lawyer husband, helped to manage the administrative aspects and run the hotel. The atmosphere thus featured an unusual "double insularity": the La Spina family were of Sicilian origin and many pieces of antique furniture present in the hotel came from their Sicilian homes.

Rooms and Suite

Just 25 rooms and suites, some with a terrace, opening onto magnificent views of the park or sea.

Welcoming and bright, each is different from the others, just as the tastes and passions of each of us are different.

Dining at Villa Las Tronas is an experience to be shared with the one you love: after an aperitif at the cosy, welcoming bar, dinner is served by candlelight in the restaurant, accompanied by classical music played live, or in an informal manner but just as delightful on the panoramic terrace close by.

Highly personalised service is available, as arespecial eventsandwedding banquetsfor 2 to 70 people.




  Villa Las Tronas Spa offers treatments and products [ comfort zone ], whose action encourages taking care of yourself, with sensual pleasure. 
Product formulations [ comfort zone ] are certified by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration), the US government
agency that constitutes the world reference base for the work of surveillance, control and protection of health.


The private meeting-room holds 2 to 30 people. Maximum privacy.

For those preferring to hire the entire facility (hotel, restaurant, park, spa ...), a "privacy supplement" is envisaged which will vary depending on the season chosen (and will be added to the price of the services requested).
From 4 January to 21 March, from 31 October to 27 December

 Hotel 5 stelle Sardegna: veduta dell'Hotel Villa Las Tronas Alghero

                                   DOVE L'ARMONIA DIMORA
                                                WHERE HARMONY DWELLES