{peasant}ly surprised

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a princess…

This is how every good fairytale begins and was what I fully expected going into our 3 day castle getaway. Tragedy struck when we realized that some would be royalty and reside in the castle while others would be subjected to peasantry and stay outside the gates. Sadly, royalty was not in my fortune, but I was {peasant}ly surprised by my quaint, cottage-style abode. I have lots to talk about in the way of what I’ve seen over the past few days, but let me start by bragging on how comfortable the bed was in my cottage. I slept through the night for the first time since arriving in Italy, and that, my friends, is something worth mentioning!

Okay, now on to the sites and sounds of Casentino. The castle we stayed in is Castello di Porciano, situated in the Italian countryside above the city of Stia. They are known for their wool and I can vouch for its quality as I snuggled into many a wool sweaters and blankets during our chilly May stay. I was fascinated as the owner, Martha told us the history of this castle–built in the early 13th century. When it fell into Martha’s parents’ hands in the 1900s, they decided to take on the project of reconstructing it as it was almost to the point of completely caving in. They spent 12 years on and off repairing this beautiful place and her parents have a beautiful story as well. I won’t go into the story because I cannot do it justice, but it is worth looking into, I promise! The castle now serves as a museum on the bottom 3 floors, and the remaining floors are living quarters available for rent by groups such as our own. Martha spoke lovingly of the work both she and her parents have put into Castello di Porciano and I very much felt at home within its walls. I may not have gotten to be princess, but the memories made and pounds gained in our 3 day getaway will stay with me forever! 🙂

You may be wondering by this point where the school part of the summer comes in, and I promise that I am not just lounging around a castle all day long. There is learning happening here! True, we did have an off day yesterday, but it was much needed and I hiked a giant hill so it was basically work. Anywho, the learning comes into play in the other castles we visited. (I know, it’s the best learning experience–sometimes my classroom just so happens to be a castle.) We started our Casentino journey at Pieve di Romena and Castello di Romena–two beautiful places in the countryside with breathtaking views. I couldn’t help but think of the song lyrics “You are beautiful beyond description, too marvelous for words, too wonderful for comprehension. I stand in awe of You.” It seems as if this song fits every picturesque landscape and moment here. God’s beauty has never been more real to me than in this country!

I have to dedicate a paragraph to the food I have indulged in over the past 3 days as well…first, never have I ever enjoyed a sack lunch so much! Fresh bread turkey and cheese sandwich, Italian parmesan cheeto-type chips, an apple, a Mars bar, and a  water satisfied my hunger for lunch 2 days in a row and my oh my, it filled me up! Straciatella gelato was consumed. Dinner night one consisted of fresh baked focaccia bread (I may have consumed more bread that evening than anyone should ever consume in one setting) and different types of fresh salsa-type tomato stuff–I apologize for my lack of appropriate names for these delicious foods. We ate freshly made little peach cobbler-ish squares for dessert. The second night, in the castle, we ate like royalty, no joke. Our options included 2 types of lasagna, roasted chicken, green beans, stuffed zucchini, salad, bread, and mouthwatering cake for Alyssa’s birthday! (Thanks for being born, Alyssa) Last but not least, my favorite time of the day–TEA TIME. Gunpowder tea and chamomile tea are my favorites, but tea time at the castle was a feast in and of itself. We had fresh fruit and fresh pastries and cookies and honey and and tea and milk and sugar and I could have castle tea time every night for the rest of my life and be okay with that. Okay, that concludes the food portion of this post.

I promise I am almost done now. On our way back to the villa today, we made 2 stops–one at the Poppi Castle and the other at the monastery of St. Francis at La Verna. We climbed a bell tower at the Poppi Castle and it taught me that I am not prepared to climb the Duomo in the least bit. The monastery at La Verna fed us arguably the best spaghetti I’ve ever eaten, and then we had free time to roam around. Being a monastery and all, we had to stay quiet, but I welcomed the silence as I was able to wander around and admire the landscape and scenery. I feel as if noise can easily drown out the beauty of a moment, and without that distraction of noise, the monastery offered much in the way of beauty. It was the perfect way to end a relaxing couple of days, even if I did have to be a peasant.

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2 thoughts on “{peasant}ly surprised

  1. Speaking of climbing: wait until you get to Rome and visit St. Peter’s Basilica. Be sure to go up on the roof for a beautiful view (they have an elevator for that!). But the climbing comes when you go up the stone steps between the inner and outer walls of the dome up to the cupola for the most breathtaking view of all! ….or maybe not! 🙂

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