Tag Archives: Castiglione Del Lago

Our Very Own Olive Trees

Centuries Old Olives, Rocking Dog

Centuries Old Olives

Buongiorno from Rocking Dog! Anyone who knows me will know of the passion Andyman and I have for picking olives. For the last five years we have had the amazing privilege to stay with our gorgeous friends in Umbria and to help them pick their olives. They have generously shared their unctuous green and delicious olive oil, shared their friends, and shared all their favourite places with us. It’s been a truly wonderful way to see in the winter. Thank you Baz & Dee, together with Derek and kitty holding Wendy. xxxx

So….when the rare opportunity arose to buy a little property just across the path from our hosts, it was just simply too tempting! In the last sun setting days of August, Andyman and I found ourselves in the Notary’s office  in Castiglione del Lago to listen to twelve pages of deeds read in Italian, and then translated and read in English. There was even a special deed relating to the ancient pizza oven and the stone built laundry shed! We are now the excited owners of a bijoux  two bedded apartment a few minutes drive from Lake Trasimeno. Set in a small friendly village with one bar and one well stocked shop it’s not for those lusting after a noisy vibrant clubbing scene! The one bar is more likely to be the scene of a group of locals contemplating the first mushroom, the vines or the olive harvest. All these contemplations are done whilst nursing  a singular small beer over a card hand.

Andyman and I adore the peace, the starry skies, the food, local festivals, markets and the local wines. Then there is always the continuing exploration of charming sunbaked medieval hilltop towns.

Rome can be reached by train in 2 hours and Florence 1 1/2 hours. The beautiful cities of Cortona, Sienna, Arezzo and Perugia are even closer. For the athletic there is mountain biking, wake boarding, golf, a host of activities on the lake and even a  small water park for kids or those adults who simply don’t want to grow up!  Lazy days can be spent crossing the lake to one of the islands for lunch or simply staying at “home” by the pool. Gently swinging in a hammock or swing chair contemplating the views is always a blissful prospect after the bustle of a busy market trip.

I think visits to Medieval hilltop towns will have to wait for a little while, there is a large garden to tend, and living space which needs a Rocking Dog stamp put on it! There is also the small matter of the 2016 olive crop to pick, including six old trees of our own.

Andyman and I are so looking forward to sharing Number 5 with friends and family. We hope that we too can treat our guests to freshly brewed coffee and Panettone before they arise, and then to  share with them the numerous delights of Umbria and bordering Tuscany.

We are looking to do holiday lets for our little piece of paradise in 2017, so please contact us if you would like further details. lizferg@btinternet.co.uk

Stansted-Perugia (45 min drive to No 5) Bristol-Pisa (Approx 2 hours drive to No 5). Rome and other  Italian airports are also definite possibilities.

The biggest challenge lies ahead…..to learn Italian. A linguist I am not, but I really can’t get by with Ciao bella and Grazie forever!

....& Ancient Oak, Rocking Dog

….& Ancient Oak

Bijoux Upstairs Pad!, Rocking Dog

Bijoux Upstairs Pad!

Before Renovation, Rocking Dog

Before Renovation

Table For Two, Rocking Dog

Table For Two

Twilight Dip, Rocking Dog

Twilight Dip

Poolside View, Rocking Dog

Poolside View

Room With A View, Rocking Dog

Room With A View

Vintage Laundry, Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

Village Shop....., Rocking Dog

Village Shop…..

& Village Bar, Rocking Dog

& Village Bar

Local Hilltop Town, Rocking Dog

Local Hilltop Town

Lovely Lake, Rocking Dog

Lovely Lake

Local Crop, Rocking Dog

Local Crop

For The Athletic, Rocking Dog

For The Athletic

....& The Passionate Cake Eater!, Rocking Dog

….& The Passionate Cake Eater!

Arrivederci Italy- Missing You Too Much Already!

Tribute To Canaletto, Rocking Dog

Tribute To Canaletto

Indeed Arriverderci Italy- Missing You Too Much Already! The sunny alfresco meals, the cooling Aperol Spritz’s, ancient terracotta buildings bathed in winter sunshine and the tremendous olive harvest are alas a luxuriant memory. In the space of two short weeks England has emerged damp, leaf fallen and on the gigantic treadmill that is Christmas

Italy as ever was truly wonderful and the weather blissful- how I love November holidays! A few days spent in eye shot of San Gimignano was followed by days harvesting olives at our friends house near Castiglione del Lago. Finally we ended up in Venice, with our lovely girls flying in to enjoy our stylish yet bijoux Airbnb. Their trip started with getting a Harrod’s Christmas pudding (a gift for our Venetian host) swabbed for narcotics at the airport!

The Umbrian olive harvest was amazing this year. The garden last year yielded no olives whatsoever, in fact there was very little oil to be had anywhere in Italy. A very small enthusiastic group of us picked for four days in a seriously blue skied grove. We harvested 550kg of olives of various hues which were taken to be lovingly processed into the most wonderful organic single estate olive oil. It is truly sublime on lightly toasted bread, smeared with a garlic clove, a drizzle of THE oil and a pinch of sea salt.

Olive picking was interspersed with alfresco meals, trips to Medieval hill top towns (both Andyman and I will have the topic as our Mastermind subject!), markets and generally soaking up Italian life. We bade arrivederci to our gorgeous Umbrian hosts and travelled onto Venice in our hired Fiat Cinquencento.

Andyman and I had our first ever holiday in Italy, travelling in an ancient Volkswagen Fastback which had lain idle in his parents garden for years. We drove through Germany, over the Alps and wended our way down the Italian Riviera. We camped in a two man tent, feasted on frozen Calamari and drank copious amounts of Lambrusco! Homeward bound we headed for Venice. The drive leading to the city was very flat and industrialised and I must admit I didn’t have huge expectations. We camped up and then took a water taxi out onto the Grand Canal at dusk. I remember being totally in awe of the twinkling lights, bridges, gondola’s and water lapped eating places- truly magical.

I have a photograph of me dressed in a white pirate inspired pantaloon suit (we are talking the age of the New Romantics) sat at the gondola station with the gondoliers clad in their iconic striped tops and straw boaters. We certainly didn’t have the money to take a trip out in a gondola, so a photograph was the best we could muster! After a couple of days we eventually headed back into Germany where I was based. We had to drive VERY slowly to make the petrol last as we had not a single pfennig to our name! Eventually back at the base we found a kind soul to buy us a drink in the NAAFI. Sweet memories of the summer of 1981!

Venice 2015 equally lovely and so special to spend sunny moments with our girls.

Room With A View, Rocking Dog

Room With A View

Blue Skies In Umbria, Rocking Dog

Blue Skies In Umbria

Olives To Pick, Rocking Dog

Olives To Pick

What A Workhorse!, Rocking Dog

What A Workhorse!

 Good To Be Back- Venice, Rocking Dog

Good To Be Back- Venice

Laundry, Venetian Style!, Rocking Dog

Laundry, Venetian Style!

My Girl & Fritto Misto, Rocking Dog

My Girl & Fritto Misto

Other Girl, Alfresco Nap!, Rocking Dog

Other Girl, Alfresco Nap!

Venetian Mist, Rocking Dog

Venetian Mist