02/10/2010

MY SURPRISE WEEKEND - BACK IN TIME IN FUMONE

I hinted at my surprise weekend  and to the fact that I was leaving for an unkown  - to me - destination  in my previous post... Maybe you've got curious so here I  am with some pictures and information about the enchanting location I was driven to by my  resourceful husband on Friday afternoon. It had been our anniversary on the 29th,  but we couldn't go anywhere then, since we had to work. So he decided he wanted a special weekend (Friday - Saturday) out  for us but didn't want to tell me anything about our destination nor about what we were going to do there. It was a lovely surprise and quite a romantic trip. Actually , we didn't drive so far from home, only 40 km. However,  it was to a place we had never been to before and somewhere really worth visiting: FUMONE and its borgo medievale.

One of the steep alleys of the medieval village

It was a bit cold and it had rained  in the afternoon, anyhow , when we arrived at the cute , little B&B hotel , ANTICO BORGO, where my husband had booked our room,  we were welcomed by the warm smile of the kind English lady who runs the place. Lisa comes from Exton but she has been living in Italy and in Fumone for many years now . She speaks perfect Italian, has 3 Italian sons, and,  as you can imagine, I was so happy to meet an English native-speaker! It's not an ordinary event in my life. She offered us a good Italian coffee and we had some nice chat over it. Then we went upstairs and unpacked the little we had taken for the night and the following day, we rested a bit and changed for the dinner at the TAVERNA DEL BARONE  which was nearby.

 Taverna del Barone
It was a lovely evening : a typically medieval inn, excellent food and good red wine, waiter and waitress in a period costume. We ate  as much as we could but it was impossible to eat everything : for only 20 euros they serve delicious huge dinners!
The room and the bed were so comfortable that we slept tight till past 8. Lisa was expecting us with a  tasty  breakfast and there were other guests too: a German couple and an English lady. Fumone is a very small, still undiscovered- by- mass- tourism , ancient village but there are very active international inhabitants working  there,  trying to give it new life and opportunities. Apart from Lisa, who's English, we also met Daniel who's German and lives and works in Fumone. He is young, speaks several foreign languages and  runs a culture centre with his Italian wife:  at their INSITUAZIONE they  offer their guests language and culture holidays, intensive Italian language courses , cultours and seminars.
After thanking Lisa for her perfect hospitality, we left our room and visited the CASTLE OF FUMONE, which was the main papal stronghold in southern Latium. It dates back to the 11th century and belongs to the noble family Longhi  De Paolis,  whose heirs and heiresses still live there. Unfortunately, even a Marquis has to face the harsh reality of our consumeristic world and to afford to live in that wonderful castle has to share it with paying guests (B&B)  and let part of the rooms for wedding celebrations and elegant parties. 
Moreover, the castle   houses an archaeological museum, and the tiny claustrophobic prison cell where Pope Celestine V was jailed  after his renunciation of the papal throne. He died there after a 10 month's seclusion.
Inside the castle
The castle  is said to be haunted by ghosts but what shocked me was the vision of the poor little mummified corpse of a 2-year-old Marquis, Niccolò Longhi, who died poisoned by his jealous sisters ( 7! ) who envied him for being the heir of the family's patrimony. The tiny corpse and some of his tiny clothes are kept in a display case in a  room of the castle. Probably one of the ghosts is that of his poor mother coming to visit him . She became crazy after his death. In addition to these terrible stories, there are others such as the one connected to "il pozzo delle vergini" (the well of the virgins). It is  linked to the ius primae noctis:  in the middle ages the lord of the castle had the right to check if a just married woman was a virgin before she slept with her own husband. If the lord discovered she wasn't, she was thrown down  into a deep well which is still in one of the halls in the castle. Awful, barbarous custom dating back to distant  times that become so impressive when told about in such a location.
Fumone - Borgo Medievale
Everything was perfect in our romantic escape: the setting , the weather, the accomodation, the food, the people we met, the moments we had completely by ourselves, the chats, the walks...well... as for the walks.. . there was something definitely wrong : my high-heeled shoes!!! If you want to visit Fumone, remember, you'll need a pair of comfortable shoes!
Leaving Fumone late in the morning, we went for a picnic by the Lake of Canterno , just few kilometres from there. It's a picturesque site, quiet and relaxing, where you can walk, breathe the fresh air, fish or  have a picninc .
The Lake of Canterno
Watching the lake
Glittering water, cool wind, warm sunshine
We were back in the middle of the afternoon, after just 24 hours from our departure. Too quick? Too short? I really don't mind being back at home. It's been beautiful, relaxing, romantic and, especially, out of ordinary. We rarely go out for the weekend. I'm happy I went, I'm happy I'm back. It's just my philosophy : appreciating all the precious little moments, whenever and wherever we are granted the chance to live them. 



 P.S. I've found two videos about  Fumone  from Utube HERE and HERE

11 comments:

Kath said...

What a wonderful surprise! Fumone looks the perfect place for an anniversary or romantic weekend and it sounds as if you had a wonderful time away. 10/10 to your clever and lovely husband!

phylly3 said...

Such a beautiful and romantic getaway. Glad you both enjoyed yourselves! There is so much history to see in your part of the world, I would so much love to visit Italy some day!

Karen said...

Ohhhh! A REAL medieval castle: what a location for a romantic celebration: Lucky you! And congrats to your caring OH, too :)
x K

TeeTotallyNot said...

Aaaaaaaaawh. You've certainly found Mr. Right!!!! How very thoughtful and resourceful.. and romantic. It sounds like you had the perfect weekend, and I've already marked the town on my little map of places to go (Mr. T will need hints).
Really chuffed for you (and only ever so slightly envious :)) - thanks for sharing with us. And may you take as many happy extraordinary memories into the (?) ordinary week.
:)

mesmered said...

Beautiful, MG. The castle is inspiration for something in The Sheriff's Collector, I am sure. Wonderful scenery and aren't we lucky, you and I, that we have such romantic husbands?

So nice to see a photo of you as well. I like to put faces to my e-friends.
Cheers.

Katrina said...

That looks like the perfect weekend. The lakes and hills/mountains look quite similar to Scottish scenery.

Yes, it's nice to see a photo of you but I see what you mean about the high heels!

Adriana Zardini said...

you had a great time, isn't it?

maribea said...

Hi Maria Grazia. I am happy you discovered Fumone. I have been there many times and I made my dance schoolmates discover it, too. They simply fell in love with the place and with the food at The taverna del Barone. I think it is one of those little jewels we have in Italy. I don't know if you know it, but Calcata is another medioeval borgo near Rome and it is well worth a visit.
By the way, once i went there with high-heeled shoes and we found snow there and...you can imagine what happened to me and my shoes!!!!
MBeatrice

onemorelurker1 said...

Beautiful place to spend the weekend, looks great and relaxing and even if it's only 40KM from your home, I'm sure feels like disconnecting from the world.

Ohh, I can see the high-heels, must not be too comfortable for a long walk :P

OML :)

JaneGS said...

Happy anniversary--sounds like a perfect weekend. Sometimes I think these little gems of time are better than long, drawn-out trips--short, precious, memorable.

Thanks for sharing.

novembersautumn said...

What a beautiful place! I'm glad you and your husband had a lovely anniversary.