Currently: sitting at my kitchen table catching up on email, listening to Alaska by Maggie Rogers, organizing my packing list for London, missing and craving my signature Italian breakfast (un cappuccino e un cornetto con frutti di bosco)
A few weeks into my trip I received a message from Sylvia, a woman who runs a small winery and hotel right down the road. She had connected with Bridget (find her amazing blog here) last Summer, and was wondering if i wanted to get coffee. A few days later we met on the steps of the Duomo and when we wondered which cafe to go to, the answer was obvious- Febo.
I would be embarrassed to share the number of hours I have spent here. It's one of my favorite spaces. There's something about the wall color, the lighting, and the artwork that helps me focus without limiting my creativity (not to mention, my favorite coffee in town). Anyway, over glasses of orange and tomato juice we got to know one another and we each answered the obvious question- how did you end up in Orvieto?
Now I had heard about the Palazzone though the grapevine, as some of my friends had done a wine tasting there and given it amazing reviews. But oh man, I was not prepared for my first visit. The photos don't even do it justice. This place is INCREDIBLE. Here's a little bit about them, in their own words.
"The Locanda Palazzone is a beautiful contradiction in terms. It is considered to be one of the oldest hotels in the whole of Italy, having started off life as a 13th century pilgrim’s inn, yet it is also one of the country’s most contemporary accommodations with its Scandinavian-style, minimalist design. In short, old world heritage and new world panache."
So, in short, it's a dream. I happen to make my first visit the day before my portfolio reviews in Cortona (which you can read about in my last post), and after a morning visit to the charming little town of Civita, pictured below. This day was filled with so much beauty! It certainly relieved the pre-portfolio jitters.
And now for some photos of the Palazzone (and some other thoughts)- taken over the course of my three visits during which I relaxed by the pool, was treated to lunch with Sylvia and Lodovico (complete with her homemade mayonnaise and an informal wine tasting), took a winery tour and had a formal tasting, ate of my favorite lunches that I had while in Italy, and photographed the interior of the hotel.
Still dreaming of Sylvia's homemade mayonnaise.
I also have a major style crush on Sylvia, by the way. Not only on her wardrobe, but also her taste in home decor. While wandering back to my apartment one afternoon we bumped into each other on the street, and I accompanied her to a fabric store to pick out a color for some chairs that she was reupholstering. Her home is a collection of objects and souvenirs from her many travels, each with a story.
I also recall one of our drives when I told her about my train encounter with Benedetta which led to my first portfolio review (which you can read about here). She said "Now that is the purpose of travel". I wholeheartedly agree. Some of the richest parts of my trip were the result of simply saying yes, something that my introverted, cautious self usually has trouble doing. Travel has given me the space to say yes, yes to coffee (or orange juice) or early morning conversations with strangers on trains. Encountering the beauty of travel has given me a new sense of confidence to show up, speak up, and begin to see this scary world through a new lens, a lens that one of my favorite artist and writers, Mako Fujimura, has greatly shaped. I am reminded of his letter, How to see my painting in which he writes...
Instead of fearing what the world brings, what others may say, or what you think of yourself, an encounter with beauty allows you to see its refractive, prismatic image...
Instead of being filled with anxiety about the world, we can truly see the prismatic possibilities of the world around us...
Our table. Enough said.
The bottling and labeling machine!
I got to see three of the rooms, and I don't think I could pick a favorite.
The lobby gave me major heart eyes. The attention to detail was unbelievable and the space was perfectly planned. To the right of the seating area was a beautiful long dining table, and behind where I took this was the elevator (and yes, it was beautiful too) and the staircase.
Also, if this isn't lamp heaven, I don't know what is.
And if I wasn't completely sold, this magazine (with my all time role model on the cover) was front and center on the coffee table.